Play Time with Photography by Dawndra

I love working with Dawndra. You can see our past collaborations here, here, and here. She is so creative and she is constantly pushing herself and expanding her portfolio. Not to mention that her photoshop skills are getting to be pretty mind blowing.

For me, our photo shoots aren’t just a fun morning in the studio, they are an exercise in character study. Dawndra and I always start with an inspiration image. We gather costumes and props that roughly match, and things that spark our interest. I do my hair and makeup, and then we start putting it all together.

But like all shoots, photos and film alike, you realize that things end up in a different place than you thought they would be. When I finally get into hair and makeup and wardrobe, the character I thought I was going to play is different than the person that is inhabiting my body in that moment. The character tells you who they are, and it’s your job to listen.

This character told us that she was a sad queen. Married to a king much older than she, her husband died and she was left with an uncertain future in a foreign land. 

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After we exhausted that story, I saw one of Dawndra’s amazing props: a taxidermied squirrel. I picked him up and rested him on my arm. I instantly knew who this character was: A crazed young Southern aristocrat, who may or may not dabble in the occult.


Finally, I put on the ridiculous jumpsuit I found at the thrift shop, added a beret and turtleneck and it was like I was back in the seventies. A bohemian artist who has no problem expressing herself; full of life and creativity.

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In one morning I got to play three completely different characters. I didn’t have any lines or blocking, but we were able to tell a story with each image.

That’s what I love about Dawndra‘s images: she isn’t just a photographer, she’s a storyteller. As always, I can’t wait until our next shoot!


Which are your favorite images?


Picture 2



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