Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fashion is an Artform in Itself

This is one of the many images shot for Garland Drake International ( based out of Costa Mesa, California. Their hair has been worn by celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon and featured in magazines such as Vanity Fair and Vogue. Did you honestly think these celebs were born with such volumptuous and perfect hair? Ha, not so much!

Speaking of magazines and celebs, this brings up an uber important issue today about the unrealistic body image most of us have because of the constant perpetuation of the media. I mean really, who have you seen lately that looks like these plastic people in major magazines??? Nobody! Thats because these models have loads of professionals doing their makeup, hair, and styling. Then comes the perfect lighting and millions of pictures taken to get that one perfect shot. And wait, still not done..... EVERY SINGLE IMAGE YOU SEE PUBLISHED IN A MAGAZINE HAS BEEN PHOTOSHOPPED..... the skin airbrushed, the body slimmed and enhanced, the eyes brightened, etc. etc. to make that normal person look perfect. In fact, anyone can look like these images with the right combination of makeup, lighting, hair, photography, and photoshop. So you people (including me, I am just as guilty) stop trying to live up the to perfection of these surreal people you see in the media. Chances are, you wouldn't even recognize them on the street.

That being said, I'm sure you are curious what kind of editing I do to my images. I do walk the line when it comes to fine tuning photographs. First, a little philosophy behind my editing process:

I believe that fashion photography is art in itself. It is not meant to be real... It is meant to be more of an illusion. It depicts an imaginary state in which romance, love, and dreams come to life. In fact, it is the surreality of fashion photography that makes us not only see but feel these emotions that the models in fashion photographs evoke. Its sort of like reading a fiction romance novel, not that I've ever read one, but I'm fairly positive that real life is nothing close to a real raw romance. It can be this at times maybe, but not as a whole. In my opinion, fashion photography should not contribute the the ever growing problem of low self esteem, but instead should be accepted as an art form like painting, a tangible piece of creativity straight out of the human mind. There are no rules in fashion photography, just good fashion photographs.

Back to my editing process: Okay so I shoot hundreds of RAW photographs from each photoshoot. I then select a group of images that reflect the unique beauty and personality of the client or in an advertisng perspective, the unique aspect/idea of the fashion/product. These images go through a detailed editing process: Each photograph is carefully cropped to enhance composition and expertly adjusted for tone, contrast, highlight, and shadow. Then the best few images are professionally retouched to enhance the natural shape and features of each person, as it is done in the major magazines. So yes, I do photoshop my images to enhance the natural beauty of each subject. That is my style and my way of editing. Photoshop can go a long way, but it cannot ultimately change what was captured through the lens, it can only enhance it. As always, I leave you with a quote:

"Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it." - Confucius

For me, finding that beauty in every person/thing I photograph is an adventure in itself!

(The amazing team behind these images: MUA- Josi Lauritzen and Kay Catro/ Models- Christine Quinn and Jenn Davis/ Hair-Tony Greenleaf/ Wardrobe Stylist- Jasmine Anderson/ Photographer- Dixie Dixon)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Good Industry. Great People.

This month I have had the pleasure of working with so many wonderful artists. Josi, Mat, Mark, Soulever Lift, and the entire JCPenney team, you rock my world! A few comments:

From Talented Model/Actor Mat Beadroux above:
"OMG! Dixie! You are a bonafide rockstar! I could just feel the magic as we were shooting. Ive never felt so free to experiment or been able to visualize the shot as I did with you. Besides your obvious talent, your sincerity and manner that you express your ideas will take you to the top. Can't wait to show the world our magic! Xoxo" (that made my day!)

Also this month I have begun assisting at the photo studio in JcPenney's headquarters. Its is a great lesson on studio lighting and a rare find as a freelancer. There aren't many photography jobs that are 8 to 5. Basically, we work on the shoots for the company's catalogs and advertising materials. I just love this industry. I am constantly surrounded by creative, interesting, and passionate people.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Life is a Winding Road. Cali is far from Home.

What's a girl to do? Part of me is yearning to make the plunge- drop everything, move to LA, and try my wings in the high fashion world while the other side of me is completely content with my current state of southern comfort. (No pun intended) I mean what more could I ask for really? I live just minutes away from the most amazing people in my life and am making beautiful pictures full time for a living.

However, a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to pay a visit to LA and work with Matthew Jordan Smith, a world renowned fashion and beauty photographer who has recently been featured on AMERICAS NEXT TOP MODEL. I could not have asked for a better week, he was such a down-to-earth individual, who unlike many top photographers was completely willing to help out the little people who are new to the industry.

No only that, I was able to visit some of the sweetest spots in sunny California. We cruised down Pacific Coast Highway with the windows down all the way to Malibu. Talk about one fine ride. It was invigorating. Also, made it up to the Getty museum and braved night surfing for the first time. Somehow I sqeezed myself into a wetsuit, ha, that was a sight.

LA was such a tease, leaves me unsatisfied and craving more.... more of the dream

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Remember, that the original state of the minds of uneducated men is vulgar, you now know why vulgar and commonplace works please the majority. Therefore, educate your mind, and fight the hydra-headed monster-- vulgarity... Vulgarity astonishes, produces a sensation; refinement attracts by delicacy and charm and must be sought out. Vulgarity obtrudes itself, refinement is unobtrusive and requires the introduction of education". -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I believe this to describe where I would like my photographs to be, edgy yet refined and innocent, of unique sophistication with room for interpretation, mirroring my personality. I am sure all that makes sense to you, lol.

Last Quote for the nite:
"The type of photographs you make, the subjects you single out, reveal the person inside of you. How close you get to your subjects reveals how close you want to get." -Anonymous

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Holga 120 N

You are looking at a the newest addition and quite possibly the cheapest addition to my camera collection, a HOLGA 120N camera. It is plastic, $30, and light as a feather. The makers of this camera were all about simplicity, i mean it has about 3 settings- portrait, landscape, and night. You couldn't get much better than that. You load the square film and you are on your way to creating a piece of art right out to the camera. This is not just another complusive purchase, I've already used it in a photoshoot and plan to take it with me to L.A. next week. Ha, like I need another camera.

Speaking of simplicity, I am a firm believer that the more equipment you have, the less pictures you make. This is the main reason that I primarily use natural light in my photographs. Not to mention that I am faithfully unexperienced in studio lighting, which I am not proud of, but learning takes time. The use of daylight photography is an art. I found that it is so incredibly true that the more we learn, the more we realize we don't know. It can be frustrating at times, but overall I am happy with where I'm at.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"It is difficult to master you passions and impossible to satisfy them." -De La Sabliere

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What makes a good photograph?

I seem to have a love/hate relationship with photography because no matter how hard I try, I am never completely satisfied with the end result. I continually ask myself...what makes a good photograph? Is it perfect lighting? Personality? Composition? Lines? Color? Yes it is all of these things! And there are so many different ways to light subjects, show personality, compose an image and use lines and color so which one is right? Some teachers might say that in order to make a good image, you have to follow the the rules, you know the rule of thirds, depth of field, etc, etc. But the fact of the matter is that there is not one right way to photograph. When you completely follow the rules, pictures end up void of the most important element- YOU. And without you, what is the point? I've found that passion is the energy that comes from bringing more of YOU into what you do. Simply put, it's being who you are and doing what comes naturally.

I've always been a free spirit and I am going to continue to break the rules of photography because my images represent me, my thoughts, my desires, and my personality. Don't get me wrong, the subject is by no means absent in my photography. It is more of a combination of interactions between the subject and the photographer... or chemistry.

Some of my work is fabulous, some of it not so fabulous, but its all me. Basically, I think good photography comes down to what you personally feel good about and how others are able to relate to your images. Does the picture say something worth hearing or is it just another pose or fake expression. Bringing out the real personality of people is challenging, but the more you interact and the longer you spend, the more likely you are to capture the true essence of an individual. This is a long strain of thoughts from my frustrations with photoshop this morning. I suppose this unsatisfaction with my work is what keeps me shooting and working tirelessly to get that perfect shot. I leave you with this:

There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs. -Ansel Adams

Monday, August 20, 2007

Just Listen

Music brings so many thoughts to mind. I can turn it up and tune out. In an instant I am losing myself in memories. It is such a powerful voice in my life.

Sometimes the only thing that helps me slow down in this stressful world is to jump in my car and turn up the radio. It intoxicates my mind and instantly puts my soul at ease. Everyones life has a soundtrack, you just have to listen to find it.

This is why during photoshoots, I've got to have music in the background- it relaxes the models and I am instantly in my element.

"In all things there is one common connection. A link that is like no other, and that is music. Music is an art to express what cannot be put into words, but cannot remain silent. Music influences everything including the way we think, act, and speak. Everything in life has music to it, you just have to search to find it sometimes. I truly believe that deep down, whether we know it or not, we are all musicians." -Adam Coffman 1980-2004

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fashion Shoot

I was recently PUBLISHED in PCT magazine! Check out the Vogue Section (available at Barnes and Noble off of Hulen). Future shoots for this mag coming soon!

Friday, July 20, 2007

I love photographing couples. There is just such a chemistry that exists between two people that creates a kind of energy in the images. This collection was shot in an house turned office building with beautiful window light. It made for a sweet ambiance within the pictures.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I've never really understood the point of a blog, but I have since decided to conform to the new age of information sharing by creating my own. Here I will post pictures, current thoughts, client comments, photoshoot specials, photography tips and random knowledge that I think is worth sharing. Photography is my life and my passion! And for those who are interested enough to talk about it are much appreciated. If you have any ideas, questions, or useful information about photography, please comment here. Thank you to every person who I have had the pleasure of working with! You people have enabled me to pursue my dream and your encouragement is why I push on to be the best photographer and person that I can be. You are just amazing! Thank you!
To be continued....