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Friday Finds | Vintage Silk Ribbon and Suitcases

My entire life, I’ve been an avid collector. Not of stamps or coins or bottlecaps or dolls. What I’ve collected is found objects: stones, wood, beach glass,  seed pods,  bolts, washers… you name it, I’ve picked it up off the ground and pocketed it. I have an incurable attraction to little things that catch my eye and have a certain feeling about them, a sense of  “ordinary, but out of the ordinary.” I have glass vases  filled with my most special pieces from significant locations, and little shrines full of unusual bits and bobs.

I find these items in riverbeds, on streets in the gutter, and littered on tables at antique markets. I’m drawn to objects patinaed by age that seem to carry a weight, a history, and a personality: mirrors, jars, keys, fishing lures, beads, ribbons, buttons. There is an appeal to these things that are not new: they are already part of the world and in that sense have become, to me, somewhat more wonderful.

This habit of collecting and admiring found objects is so quintessentially *me* that it has shaped the way I view the world. It inspires where I choose to travel, what types of fashion I favor, and, above all, what I love to photograph. With that in mind, I’ve decided to start a series of blog posts about my treasures and talismans called “Friday Finds.”

Vintage Silk Ribbon and Suitcases for seattle boudoir photographs and engagement session propsVintage Silk Ribbon and Suitcases for seattle boudoir photographs and engagement session props

Today’s post, though belated, is dedicated to the departing of a favorite neighborhood vintage curiosity shoppe, “Private Screening.” I’ve purchased some of my favorite costumes, props, and tchotkes there. After 18 years in the same location, they closed their doors on the last day of this month. Last Sunday, I was lucky enough to stumble in (rather shocked at the discovery) while they were clearing out stock at 50% off.

Most of the stuff I gravitated to had already been sold–vintage lingerie for the boudoir studio, classy shoes, and collectible jewelry. I had to scrounge to find what I was looking for, but I knew there was something there. After a few minutes I found it… a stash of vintage silk ribbon at no more than $1.50 a yard! I was tempted to buy it all, but there was too much, and in too many colors. I limited myself to six spools in spring pastels… a lovely faded rose, white, soft yellow, purple, and two shades of green. Only *cough* 80 yards of it. I may never have to buy ribbon again.

But! It looks sooooo good with the packaging I’m designing. Just wait. You’ll see!

And there, next to the door, was just what I knew I’d come for. Three old suitcases with distinct personalities perched one atop the other. Each opens and closes and one (the coolest by far) opens sideways, has separate square compartments and clothes hangers inside. And a pair of keys for the locks!

These puppies are so sturdy you can stand on them. You better believe they’ll be a prominent feature in the boudoir studio (one as a lingerie/jewelry display case) and in future engagement shoots. Hell, if we take a train trip any time soon, I’M going to use one for my luggage. (IF I can get it to stop smelling severely musty. Ugh.)

Anyhow, enough chit-chat. Here are the pics. I realize I should have taken some with the cases open but, oh well, another time. Enjoy!

Hollywood luggage logo tag on vintage suitcase

Vintage green silk ribbon for Persimmon Images photography packagingPerfect for vintage boudoir sessions and vintage engagement photography, these suitcases decorate the Persimmon Images studio

The texture of a vintage suitcase

Vintage silk ribbons decorate boudoir and engagement session propsHardy, textured vintage suitcases

Travelogue | Viva Las Vegas!

After almost three weeks on the road, I’m back home in Seattle and settling in to the last day of my first week as a full-time photographer. Ever since I started this business last year, I’ve been looking forward to this moment. Let me tell you… it feels every bit as good as I imagined! I’m so proud to have built something this special and close to my heart with my own two hands and excited to see how the coming years will play out.

Vegas was a complete whirlwind. I think in the week I spent there, I probably had 4 hours total of “down time” in addition to each meager night’s sleep. It was my first time in Sin City, and I think I made the most of every second… it was worth the two days of recovery time required when I got home.

Thursday through Sunday, the Bees took Vegas by “swarm.”  Thirty-five past and current Wedding Bee bloggers crashed at the Mirage for three days of partying, gambling, and shows. We played Wolverton and Wheel of Fortune nickle slots in the casinos and befriended group of gentlemen from Cypress and Istanbul there to play semi-pro tournaments for $300,000. There were dinners, brunches, and a reader meet-up at every type of Vegas eatery. We went to Chippendales and Cirque du Soleil the same night. Several of us tore through four bottles of Grey Goose in a VIP booth at club Lavo, dancing on platforms until we shut the place down at 4AM. It was raucous, authentic Vegas and I alternately loved and was horrified by every minute of it.

The New York New York is a hodgepodge cityscape of Empire State landmarks

The newer parts of the Las Vegas strip are dominated by ultra-modern architecture

Wedding BeeWedding Bee

The Bees flew home Sunday and the WPPI conference started that night. Another intense four days of attending classes covering every facet of photography imaginable, walking the trade show floor to find my favorite vendors, listening to seasoned speakers share their experiences,and  meeting friends and colleagues from far and wide. Of course, even a conference in Vegas can’t be without its share of epic parties. Airhorns and Lasers rocked my world, even if it was nearly a fiasco. (I lost– and later recovered– my wallet… and don’t get me started on the amount of time we spent running around aimlessly that night.) The ShootQ/Pictage/KISS party at Studio 54 was INsanely awesome. And though I didn’t make it to the SmugMug Slumber Party, I hear it was a riot…enough so that the suite got shut down for noise complaints!

Atlas shoulders the world above the escalators at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, where the 2010 WPPI conference took placeThe mini Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas doesn

A ceiling fixture inside Harrah

The Venetian fountains almost resemble the real thing with creative enough photography and a bit of black and white

My brain is so full of information and my hard drive so full of photos, that it’ll take me a bit to make heads or tails of it all. WPPI was, without a doubt, worth the investment and probably the most educational and socially valuable experience off my career thus far. I came away with a wealth of information about branding & marketing, off-camera lighting, wedding day workflow, portrait techniques, pricing metrics, album design, boudoir poses and studio decoration, and… uh, LOTS more.

What finally came to life for me, the beating heart at the center of it all, is how to truly stand out from the crowd by providing the very best for the incredible people who choose me to help tell their story. On the one hand, WPPI helped me figure out exactly how to offer new and unique photography sessions, indelible service,  the highest-quality printed products. On the other hand, it taught me how to do all this while honoring my commitment to be true to myself to my business: to let my love, passion, and self shine though my photography; to be selective about the work I do and who I do it for, finding clients who are the best fit and likely to be long-time friends; and, above all, having fun, sharing joy, and creating memories to last a lifetime.

There will be lots of changes coming in the next two weeks… a new website, new photo sessions, new pricing, and lots more. Stay tuned!

Travelogue | Colchuk Lake

I’m in Portland and on my way to catch a 10AM flight to Maui. I wish I could say that the trip was planned to celebrate my transition to full-time photography, but we’d scheduled it before the company I worked for laid me off. Nevertheless, it’s my first time in Hawaii and I’m really psyched.

Posting will be light over the next week, as I’m not sure how much Internet access I’ll have. Same goes for email responses. I’ll be back next Wednesday!

While I’m off to the land of sand and sun, enjoy these recent photos from a steely gray (but beautiful) hike to Colchuk Lake:

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