My new friend Sue from SAID interior design suggested I swing by Bernadette Brue in SE Portland for a visit. She knew about my fondness for beautiful, old things and she didn't steer me wrong. This large retail space was choc-a-bloc full of interesting objects, furniture, toys, light fixtures and all-around great treasures. There were several things I fell in love with including an old farmhouse butcher block table that seemed to have experienced a lot of life and this gorgeous little settee bedecked in red velvet. Stunning. Want to go discover a little something for yourself? Bicycle on over to 1338 SE 6th Avenue.
One of my favorite haunts on Hawthorne Blvd in Portland, Oregon is the aptly named curiosity shop 'Really Good Stuff'. I never miss a chance to stop by when I'm in the neighborhood to see what they've squirreled away. A gypsy fortune teller has even been hand crafted to predict your future. The best part is that the store cat figures prominently in the premonitions. Not surprisingly, I couldn't find a website for these guys but here is the address if I've piqued your interest -1322 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Twins Audrey and Abby had been coming to our Campbell Salgado photography studio since they were in utero - a mere eight years before. I've always had such a fondness for this creative little duo that I couldn't wait to have them step in front of my camera for an El Corazón style portrait. You'll have to see how their love of all things Wizard of Oz manifested itself into a wicked portrait in my portfolio - Abigail and Audrey. Maybe it's the doppelgänger effect that I find so evocative...two Dorothies. With their matching American Girls dolls and outfits I found these simple portraits above singularly stunning. Their directness with the camera makes me feel like they are looking into my soul. Which knowing these striking girls...they probably are.
Theodora accompanied her sister Shelby to an El Corazón photo shoot with a wait and see attitude. One of the things I've learned over the years as a children's photographer is that when I child needs space to watch and assess it's best to just move forward with another subject until they are ready. I have a similar personality so I'm very supportive of kids who express uncertainty about the process.
After getting a feel for the props, the space and the photographer Theodora decided to play. The cog that always gets children's photography sessions rolling is simply having fun. I knew she had opened the window a crack so I slowed my shutter speed while watching her play with a slinky. Isn't it bizarre and wonderful how her face so clearly looks straight ahead?
I always have a handful of vintage toys in my costume boxes for children to discover. It's pretty fun to introduce them to the simple toys I played with as a child. After discovering a rubber snake in one of the prop boxes she agreed to peel on a vintage bathing cap and let me perch it on her head.
Callum is a truly sensitive and intuitive little soul. I'd spent time with him on a number of occasions before asking to photograph him. One thing that had really caught my eye when I visited Callum in his personal space was a homemade spaceship crafted out of plastic, recyclables and ingenuity that lived-to-be-played-in in his living room. They let me borrow this six foot beast for the shoot and I was able to capture Callum and Tamaio interacting with it.
Musical instruments are favorite props of mine and I incorporate them whenever it suits the child or the concept behind the photograph. A flying V ukelale was all it took for him to let loose and let his inner-rock-star come out. Callum also gave me a soulful rendition with the harmonica that truly stirred something inside of me.
Taking simple objects and creating mood in a photograph is an ongoing exercise. Photography that is choc-a-bloc full of mystery, passion and delight is always my starting point. If I could pinpoint some of my earliest shots with the El Corazón collection it might be this one with my son Tamaio. Each Spring this scraggly bush that I've considered removing 11 months of the year comes to life with the magical blossoms. The Quince is alive I always think when it emerges. Taking branches into my house is a Spring ritual. This year I asked my six year old son to simply hold it for me. This kid is always obliging so he gave me at least five minutes of his time and presto...a portrait that's both about beauty, life and childhood was born.