this shoot was a really tender reminder of how I fell in love with photography. When I was a senior in high school, I would drive around in my clunky VW van and take my friends to all of these crazy, remote corners of Chesapeake VA and take their senior portraits in abandoned barns, undeveloped fields, and on fallen tree trunks. They would constantly ask me “how do you even find this stuff” and sometimes I had the locations planned, but more often than not, areas would catch my eye as I drove by them and I would U-turn to see what magic would come of shooting there.
for as long as I’ve been taking portraits in these sorts of places, it was always a dream to take a day-trip with a model and shoot everywhere along the way that inspired me. Shooting with Makiah was that dream actualized, because that’s exactly what we did. we knew we wanted to end at Bagby, and I knew there was going to be spots along the way that I would want to stop by. It was sunny and warm and felt auspicious and vibrant, driving along the river, chatting and stopping at this beautiful little embankment
after we wrapped up on pretending that it was summer, we kept driving until we got to bagby. Which was covered in snow. This was my first time in months actually getting out of Portland for an afternoon so even though I hate the cold and could happily go the rest of my life without seeing snow, the hike in to the springs was so refreshing. The way the four elements present themselves in the forests of the northwest make for some of the most holistically beautiful sights I can imagine.
that sunlight feeling
and then we got to the springs. I had wanted to shoot here since my first visit to Portland, when a friend had brought me up the mountain at midnight on the summer solstice of 2016 and we bathed nude under the moonlight. it was as poetic as it sounds and was one of the experiences that swayed me to Portland. The light was catching on the steam all around us and it felt like a dreamscape.
The reality of shooting at the springs was frustrating, unglamorous and freaking cold. My lens kept fogging up and the light was scarce. I was flustered but Makiah was a freakin champ and was able to make being freezing and uncomfortable look feminine and dreamy and I’m so grateful she was up for a challenge.
This was my first portrait session shot on film and I’m so so happy with them. All of these were shot on portra 400 with a canon EOS 3 and a canon 50 mm f/1.8.