Here’s another shoot I did with Shawneé back in Novermber, 2016. This was the second time she hit me up for a photo session and this time she went all out. We came up with the idea of creating some portraits in her bathtub at her home in Durham, NC. With shoots like these, I really appreciate the cloudy, dreamy, atmospheric look the water creates. I wanted to do a shoot like this before I worked with Shawneé, but it was perfect timing for us because she happened to have the perfect bathtub for this type of shoot.
Before I came to her place, I left the store with a gallon of milk, food coloring, and some roses. We filled the tub to about three-quarters high with water. At the beginning of the shoot, we added in a little milk to give an almost translucent look and we didn’t add any food coloring. We got some amazing shots at this point. We only used natural light from the bathroom window which created a blue tint over the milky waters.
We decided to take it a step further by adding in some blue food coloring and a little bit more milk to the water. This made the water completely opaque and saturated with color. I took all the petals off of one rose and tossed them on top of her. I also gave her another one to play with while posing. This is sort of my method with a lot of my shoots. I don’t really go for exact poses or looks, I just kind of set things up, put the model in a certain situation, maybe hand them a couple props, and have them handle the rest while I’m shooting. I’m pretty hands off while I’m shooting because I spend so much time planning.
To end the shoot, we drained the water and went for an entirely new look. Once the sun went down, we turned the overhead light on in the bathroom. It had an extremely warm tone to it, but it was still soft and looked great on Shawn’s skin. She drained the tub and removed the roses to fill it up with more of our milk water concoction. We didn’t need to add any food coloring to it since the light above us had such a strong orange color to it. These pictures were my absolute favorite.
This is one of my most iconic shoots to date for many reasons. Shawn is someone with a huge personality and charisma, which is no surprise to me since she’s such a naturally talented performer. Shoots like this are perfect for her. Her bathroom was spacious enough for us to experiment with the lighting and angles, which I had plenty of fun with. I’ve always wanted to have work that reflects my beliefs on body image and the exploration of beauty. These are two concepts I’ve only lightly touched on so far.
Not to mention that this shoot was the first time I had a model pose nude for me. There’s a certain stereotype and stigma with being a male photographer. I had a hard time with agreeing to do nude work in the past because I didn’t want to be put in that box. I’m an artist and a professional first, but I am very aware that many other photographers aren’t. I appreciate Shawn for trusting my craft to be able to take portraits like these. The level creativity from this shoot alone is something I strive to exceed in all of my work. Huge thanks to Shawneé for bringing this vision to life.
Enjoy the photos below and let me know what you think!