The purpose of this ‘life chapter’ portrait photoshoot was to celebrate and memorialize where Shyana is in her life right now, highlighting certain objects that bring forth a particular memory or poignant idea. A San Francisco native, Shyana is at a point in her life where she’s just landed her first job in her chosen field after an intensive course of study, and is also intrigued by the possibility of moving abroad. It seems like a point in life where a professional photoshoot – Shyana’s first – would provide her with valuable memories of this time of youth, exuberance and unlimited possibility!
Shyana’s ideas that she brought to the shoot came in the form of two meaningful items. The first was an empty photo frame, hand-crafted by a local vendor in Oaxaca, Mexico. Shyana remembers the woman who made it and signed it on the reverse. To Shyana it represents what she realizes is most important in life: making as many special memories as possible.
She says, ‘not living to pass the days by, but to live to capture moments that you can reflect on in the future, to remember how it made you feel, what you learned from it. Life is a string of moments put together, like scenes put together to make a movie. The picture frame represents being aware, and concisely trying to transform each day into a memorable moment worthy to be captured and placed in that picture frame.’
Shyana’s second small prop was a simple, small, gold-colored box made of paper and card, common for Indian gold jewelry. ‘When I was younger’, she says, ‘my mother bought a lot gold jewelry, and each piece was placed in this small gold box. It was an ordinary box, always handed to me filled with what was expected – the jewelry she bought. I collected the empty boxes from my mother. I started writing poems in fourth grade. Each one I wrote, I would place in one of the boxes. Some people have poem books, I had poem boxes. I had about 4 at one point, and I would randomly choose a box and reflect on that particular poem in that box. I thought it was the coolest thing.
‘The box represents many things; sometimes we say we live in a “cookie cutter” society, where we think we cannot think outside of the box. Some may see an unspectacular jewelry box, but I see it as a poem box. Viewing things “outside the box” unknowingly as a child was a great gift. I try to continue that mindset, and to be open minded about people, places, new adventures etc.’
When it came to deciding on locations, Ocean Beach was top of the list. Shyana goes to Ocean Beach a lot to journal, and it’s always been a place of escape and retreat into both her inner world and the vastness of the landscape, the unruly elements. It also just happens to be my favorite place to shoot in the Bay Area, if not the world. I’m forever drawn to the rough sand, driftwood, pale pastel, succulents and dunes, washed out vibes, deserted vastness, yellow sun, muted blue hues and the whipping wind.
Shyana’s keen sense of adventure and voyage into the unknown, is palpable. This life chapter photoshoot was heavily imbued with meaning and I hope that will always be with Shyana as she journeys further into the uncharted waters of the rest of her life. I call this kind of photography ‘life chapter’ photography and I call these JOYFUL PORTRAITS.
Hope you enjoy this joyful portrait shoot that celebrates life! I’m available for portrait shoots anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area. Feel free to get in touch if there’s a portrait or couple shoot that you have in mind and would like to chat about xo