Wow. I just looked back at work I was doing in early 2018, and I’m astounded by the difference in my work from then til now. Absolutely astounded. I’m almost having a hard time believing that the photos I took last year were even mine.For comparison:

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let's tessellate // model: @prospects_313

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I’m incredibly grateful to say that I’ve learned much, much more about using my equipment to its fullest potential and more about the content – now, we really take the time to style our shoots, select a location, talk about the concept, and prepare in any way we need to. Sure, we still go out and explore, taking photos of each other in cool spots as we come across places, but that’s part of having fun with it.

That’s how most of the collaboration days we host go, actually. I’ll come back to this in a bit, but first, I want to share some of the bigger, more planned out projects I had over winter break.

The first project and the most intensely planned out one was my shoot with Hailey (@haileyrhayward) for The Atelier Chronicles Magazine, run by the amazing creative powerhouse that is Keely Clements (@theacmag/@keelylc).

What an experience it was. The location, Rainbow City Roller Rink, is an interactive art installation in Detroit created by Sam & Tury of FriendsWithYou, an art duo. I believe it closed at the end of January, which makes me a little bit sad because I would love to have something like that around forever. But regardless, the shoot went wonderfully and the images were everything I dreamed it would be.

The garments for this shoot and the following shoot were both designed by Nabeela Najaar, also known as @seamstressbeela on Instagram. I linked her website to her name – highly recommend checking out her work. It’s absolutely exquisite and has a wild amount of detail in each piece.

The next shoot was a collaboration with Rachel Rose (@aquarianroses) and Tori (@redsfxmakeup) in a location called Mirage, also located in Downtown Detroit. It was an immersive exhibit – it was basically a giant mirror house. All walls and ceilings were mirrors, both inside and outside. The first look at it was absolutely breathtaking. It was near impossible to dull the sparkle coming out of my eyes after I saw how wonderful Doug Aitken’s design was.

We did get kicked out of this location, and we suspect it had something to do with asking the older gentlemen in there to not photograph our model. We can’t say for certain, though.

I had the opportunity to work with Ruma, an influencer in the Detroit area who is incredibly personable and relatable.

It was also the first time I shot something in the Detroit Dart Club. I returned after New Year’s to shoot something else with a friend before I left the Detroit area – but we’re not there yet! Following the shoot with Ruma was Christmas and taking a break from shooting.

The next shoot following that was December 30, a trip to Grand Rapids with Tori to meet up with Alex and some other friends and the first of two collaboration days.

Here’s my favorite solo portrait from our day in Grand Rapids! We went, we explored, and we shot with what we found. Tori (@imashortyru12) and I drove up to Grand Rapids to meet up with Alex (@axieblake), Tawwney (@tawwney.mua), Adara (@adaratran), and Lindsey (@lindseykhamphouy).

Adara drove up to Mt. Pleasant to meet me during the fall semester, so I had to see her again when I was back on the west side of the state. Below are the first photos we did when we first met. She was so peppy when we first met that I knew I had to work with her again!

Anyway, our collaboration day was a reunion for some people, and an introduction for others. Tori knew Tawwney and Alex knew me, I knew Adara, Lindsey and I had discussed shooting together way back when I started photography, and it was just a jumbled ball of connections between everyone. We all knew each other somehow, but we finally had the opportunity to meet in person.

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I'm so excited I finally got to meet Tori! She's freaking amazing! @imashortyru12 | | | #pursuitofportraits – @pursuitofportraits #aovportraits – @aovportraits #portraitgames – @portraitgames #portraitpage – @portraitpage #discoverportrait – @discoverportrait #earth_portraits – @earth_portraits #featurehighlight – @featurehighlight #moodyports – @moodyports #cityports #cityports2k – @city.ports @city.ports2k #theportraitcentral – @theportraitcentral #portraitsociety – @portrait_society #777luckyfish – @777luckyfish #bravogreatphoto – @bravogreatphoto #bleachfilm @bleachfilm #ftmedd – @dark.daisies #portraitvision – @portraitvision #bravoportraits – @bravoportraits #gramkilla – @instagramskilla #portraitfolk – @portraitfolk #buildandbloom – @buildandbloom #l0tsabraids – @l0tsabraids_ #model #editorial #vogue #designer #withportrait #plussize @vscomag @thevisualgods_ @castdetroit @comfyportraits @alltheoceanblues #abandoned @portraitsofdetroit #featuremymind @volant_magazine @volition.mag

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It was certainly a long, cold day for us, but we created so much fun work together and had a great time! We ended the day at dinner, and it was a blast to socialize and put warm food in our bellies after working hard.

A couple days later (New Year’s Day), I went back to Downtown Detroit to meet up with Marissa, Indi, Ryan, and Jasen. We wandered a couple blocks from the coffee shop we started at, took just enough time to get some photos in, and then rushed back inside to avoid losing our extremities to frostbite.

I’m currently quite backlogged on work, so I have yet to post some shots from the last couple of months of 2018 still (I know, we’re nearing the end of February already).

To end winter break, I spent my last full day working with Gabriella Csapo, a model who I can thank for a bulk of my creative work.

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Back to the scene and the scenery, back to the blue I see in you 🌊 . 📸 @emcrombez Shout out @detroitdartclub for the sweet spot. . . I enjoyed my little getaway to Chicago even though it was a bit work related for me. I’d never thought I’d feel so good being back in Detroit—this city represents a hustle and I can’t love it enough these days. Not sure if Detroit hustles harder, but Detroiter’s certainly do. . . . #nymodel #model #detroit #detroitmodel #nycmodel #detroitphotographer #detroitphotography #dmmscoutme #femalemodel #colorpalette #neutrals #neutral #winterfashion #naturallight #naturallightphotography #casualstyle #casual #f21xme #asos #portrait #vogove #cityports #cityports2k #warehouse #jonesingtobeajones

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We returned to the Detroit Dart Club to shoot a moody editorial for Corrosive Mag, an online magazine that focuses on edgy looks with moody vibes. We completed all styling on location, and I used the opportunity to practice using my new camera, a Canon 6D that was previously Jasen’s.

Jasen actually came to visit in early February, along with Adara. We were joined by Haley Ayotte, a photographer who primarily shoots film. The four of us together shot as a small group, and in the process made a 4 photographers, one model challenge video! When the video gets posted on Jasen’s channel, I’ll return to edit this post and add the link here.

The Sunday before Valentine’s Day, Tori and Tawwney came to Mt. Pleasant to visit and collaborate on probably the strangest and most fun studio shoot I’ve done. We all needed some kind of Valentine’s content, so what better to do than turn Tori into a strawberry?

There was so much red body paint all over my bathroom counter, and chocolate syrup was everywhere after this. It’s an occupational hazard, I suppose.

At this point, it’s nearly impossible for me to keep track of my total running shot count. The 80D finished out at just under 60,000 shots, and I’ll likely be selling that off to a friend soon. Though I am a little bit sad about it, but where I am in life currently, it doesn’t make sense for me to keep it currently.

Wow. That was plenty of updating. While I’m still finishing up school work, expect monthly blog posts detailing my adventures, travels, photo escapades, and whatever other shenanigans I get myself into. I have a lot of work to get done, so I will focus my efforts on completing my school work – there’s only three months left of this work, anyhow.

Thanks for reading all of this, I greatly appreciate your support as I work to build an online brand! Your views help me get a better idea of what you enjoy reading, and what kind of content people want to see, which in turn helps me adjust my strategies and the stories I tell. Especially as someone who’s beginning their career in photography, your support means the world to me.

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