I'm single and bitter, but who can resist heart shaped suckers?
Model: Sophie Tumillo
For this series, I have two artist statements because this series has multiple meanings to me. It is inspired by two separate yet autonomous issues that have affected me for quite some time, and still continue to shape me.
In the midst of an abusive relationship, I became numb by means of diversion. Before him, I ruthlessly made life give me all it had to offer. I bled every emotion out of every experience, both good and bad. When he no longer allowed me to do that, I justified his rules by changing who I was and telling myself that it was making me a better person. I decided that I would become a functioning member of society who abided by laws and social norms, with a perfectionist mentality. I lived in fear of consequences and yearned for acceptance among the masses. In other words, a “healthy” individual with a linear human condition. When I made this switch, I did not know that I wouldn’t be able to undo it.
This series encapsulates the mundanity that comes after blood, trauma, tears, promiscuity, guts, glory, highs, lows, and feeling every emotion fully at both ends of the spectrum. It follows a life of going through the motions when you have decided not to cry over spilt milk but instead, clean it up. It encapsulates the time spent alone after you’ve shut off your emotions. The nothingness while watching your garage door open after a long day of doing everything right. The numbness of refusing to feel an ex lover. The memory loss of blurring through each day just to finish it. The disconnect that helps you to feel less and push harder. The limbo of living a still life.
I went away to Chicago for a year. Moving out of Fort Wayne, Indiana had been my lifelong goal since I was 11 years old. If you are familiar with the abundance of wealthy families and white supremacist males from Fort Wayne, you can understand the toxicity of the city. It's a place where good souls and unrepentant creatives go to ruin their great minds. A place heavily bombarded by stereotypes, littering, factory waste, and radical missionaries. A place where the lifelong goal is to marry someone your peers approve of in order to raise a family that's entirely on board with hiding their emotions and telling the neighbors that the skeletons in their closet are just for the science fair. I could go on for hours, but you get the gist. And I made it out. Little did I know that I sold my soul to multiple devils to do so. One year of freedom was all that I got before extenuating circumstances arose from every angle and I was forced back to my roots. It's been nearly 3 years and I still can't breathe in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The stillness of life here haunts me every day as I feel my mind conforming to the molds that the city predetermined for me. I try to remain a square peg in a round hole but the suppressive nature of living here gives me a constant fear that I am losing the spark, divinity, and individuality that has given me so much ridicule yet so much pride in who I am. I see it every day in the way that, I too, am living a still life.
We went in front of a little asian grocer for these photos and the woman thought we were going to rob her, but was kind enough to let us take photographs out front anwyas. I had a blast directing Madi on how fake punch Dylan and getting fake blood everywhere.
Models: Dylan O'Neal & Madison Yoder
Definitely the most boujee shoot I've done in a while. Thanks Jeff Hidy for having dope ideas and being a dope person. And props to Natalie and Georgia for putting up with our spontaneity and having a limo at the ready.
I am amazed, excited, blessed, thrilled- to have worked with #Girl Magazine in creating Cops & Robbers! It was such a wonderful experience working with someone so passionate about and submerged in not only their project, but their craft as a whole. It is even more exciting to me because Cops & Robbers is so meaningful to me and I hope that others can find it meaningful and empowering as well
Download #Girl Magazine Volume 1 here
And find the shoot on page 116-126
Cops & Robbers
A “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” is a movie trope that refers to “the bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” In less formal terms, manic pixie dream girls are youthful, carefree, creative, rebellious, a bit troubled, deep, flawed in an endearing way, spiritually ahead of most, in understanding of life’s joys, and intent on living life to the fullest. Sounds like a beautiful person.
Unfortunately, the term manic pixie dream girl refers to a super amazing girl who has all these great traits, but her sole purpose is to fulfill everything that the male character lacks, to teach him all of life’s beauties. This was a very disappointing and troublesome aspect for me because no one focused on the girl, no one focused on the fact that she was free-willed, unique, and happy before she came into a man’s life. Her purpose should be more than just completing him.
This gave me the idea to redefine the manic pixie dream girl, giving her a new connotation, a more empowering one. A connotation where it is no longer looked at as the boy letting the girl complete him, but her having the power to complete him, and the choice of whether or not she wants to. In the series, she is not a counterpart, but a heartbreaker. A heartbreaker in the regard that she is not only independent, but she is also not villainized when she doesn’t fall for the boy in the end. I want to show that a woman can be all of these things for herself, not that she must be all of these things as a tool for a man.
I made a couple of Spotify playlists to shoot photos to and wanted to share them with you guys. Music makes every photoshoot better so here’s some of the music that I usually shoot to!
Playlist #1: “Shooting // Almost Too Chill”
This playlist mainly consists of chill, moody music with good lyrics and nice ambient beats.
Playlist #2: “Shooting // “Get Hype”
This playlist isn’t as hype as it sounds, so don’t be fooled. It’s pretty energetic, but I wouldn’t take it to a party.
If you want more playlists, follow my friend Former Vandal’s playlists on Spotify. He does seasonal playlists so if you love fitting mood music, follow follow follow.
The full set. An amazing shoot with one of my favorite models, Sarah Meyer (insta: @clay_evergreen).
L.A. Loud is a series that embodies the idea of “tinsel town” and the glamour that surrounds it via an heir of flirtation and over-the-top consumption of a culture. Growing up in the midwest, this series shows an outsider’s look at America’s iconic culture that captivates the entire world.
Yeah, that never happened. So instead, here's a long overdue photo set of Raegan Cureton (insta: @raegan_cureton) from when we went to a random motel and broke into their empty blue pool.