the feeling of fragrance | pine

Happy Friday! As you may know, I recently wrapped my The Feeling of Fragrance project, or at least phase one of it, in time for my gallery show. The prints are now sitting happily at Full Spectrum Gallery until the end of December, after which select ones will go to their new homes, and some will go up in my apartment. Now that this phase of the project has been completed, I thought it would be fun to tell you a bit about each individual portrait. Today, we'll start with the story behind "Pine." Here is the portrait that was included in the collection:

I decided on this portrait after much debate. Of the entire series, it was the second most difficult to choose. I ended up with this one after my test group of family and friends unanimously voted for it. I usually kind of operate in a vaccuum without outside consultation, but I found I needed quite a bit of help making final decisions for this project. The reason is simple. For every other shoot, I usually deliver many images, never just one. Or when I do have commercial assignments that only require one deliverable image, it's the client who makes the choice. For portrait clients, I get attached to many images and send as many as I think are pretty and flattering. So for this project, choosing one was really hard.

What ultimately helped me make the choice was to land on an image that did two things:

- captured the essence of the fragrance it was imagining, in this case the scent of pine needles
- complemented the other images in the collection, providing balance and harmony

With the help of my confidantes, I chose the above portrait because of the way the sunlight wove its way through the needles and onto her cheeks, and because it was the only tight closeup in the collection.  I am so happy I got to work with model Vicky Q of Orange Models. She and her mother were wonderful to work with, and we had fun hunting for all sorts of evergreen trees in the blocks surrounding my apartment. Vicky was the perfect model for this portrait. Her quiet grace and lovely complexion just shone and she helped me create exactly the vibe I had in mind for this scent.

For her makeup, I knew I wanted the colours to directly echo the greens and browns of evergreens. I kept the lines straight and purposely didn't curl her lashes to mimic the shapes of the needles. I kept her lips nude and glossy, so that the shiny finish would provide some nice contrast against the rough needles. I kept her hair straight and continually roughed up the texture throughout the shoot. Vicky's hair is really healthy, so it kept falling back perfectly into place between shots. It was fun to just keep teasing it to get that messy feeling I wanted. For clothing, I either wanted a cozy woolen look or a bit of sparkle, so I brought along garments in both textures. As it turns out, the tight crop of the image eliminated any trace of the styling, but I wanted to have options, you know?

Here were my many other choices of images. I couldn't decide what kind of foliage looked best, so we tried pretty much everything we could find!

This photo below was the second runner-up. I still love it, especially because it's pretty much straight out of camera and the natural light was just so fabulous.

We had a bit of free time at the end of our shoot, so I shot a few photos for Vicky's book.