Tag Archives: beauty

The Beauty Of Age Project

The Beauty of Age Project is a labor of love to celebrate women at every age. We often see women photographed in media and at family events but they all start to disappear around age 50. I want to photograph women ranging in age from 50-100 years old and hopefully inspire others to see the beauty of aging…

As with any project, I have decided to set up a few deadlines and goals:

1. To photograph women over the next two years (final session in December 2019),

2. To photograph one woman representing each age,

3. Host a show in January 2020.

I have successfully tested my old Contax camera using Ilford black and white film that I want to also use for the project. Thanks to my friend and fellow photographer, Lena Eivy, of Lena Eivy Photography and her dog for being lovely models! It was also a good test run to see how long the lab takes to process the film.

Confirmed: The old Contax 35mm camera works!

I plan to capture a “test” image using a digital camera so that I can provide a preview to each model and for sharing updates. I’ll save the magic of the film portraits for the show! This way I can save some bit of surprise for those who are able to participate in person first. The completed project will be shared online as a slideshow after the show.

The latest update is that I have found a location I can rent to use as studio space for the duration of this project.
I will be hosting the project portrait sessions once per month so I can keep making progress and keep it manageable alongside my business and family life. I’ve already spoken with a few of my brave, beautiful women and am delighted that some have signed up through the grapevine, believing in the project before I even have anything to show for it! Thank you all, truly, for helping to spread the word!

Warmly, Holli

Tree Woman Project: Moss

The beautiful thing about this project is how it appeals to women of all ages and stages of life. Remember the model who sat patiently for me while I worked through my studio lighting technique with my classmate, Alecia Lindsay?

Well, after telling her about my project, she offered to join the volunteer models! And, since I didn’t have a specific tree in mind, she braved the cold, rainy Seattle weather to adventure around the Duwamish Greenspace with me as we found pretty mossy places in the trees.

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This session was more of an adventure than classic beauty portrait of a tree and a pretty woman…

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I treated the session much like all the rest of the series, by creating her crown, and planning around her dress to pair with a green velvet jacket and a little glamorous makeup…

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This session inspired me to be more adventurous with my editing, and I explored some techniques to make them look like old school film prints…

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Much thanks to Jessica Marie Cantu for being an adventurous Tree Woman!

 

Tree Women Project: Bamboo

When I posted about this idea I had for the Tree Woman Project, I was pleasantly surprised. First, I was not expecting so many of my friends and family on Facebook to support the idea. Second, I was impressed by the number of volunteer models that emerged.
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Jackie is such a doll. When I met her we were children attending the same church. She was my friend’s younger sister. I always thought she was adorable, and so it was really like a mini-reunion dress up session to photographer her for this project.
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She’s a strong woman who never stops encouraging others…and with a flair for fun. She brought her own fairy wings that are special to her, and so we snapped a few of those too.

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Jackie was up for wandering around the Kubota Garden with me, so we tried a few other locations too. I think it was a pretty neat way to mark the half way point toward my goal to capture 12 Tree Women!

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Tree Women Project: Deodar Cedar

When I think of Christmas trees, I envision a classic Scandinavian Noble fir. As I was learning about trees this past summer, I saw the Deodar Cedar and thought it looks very much like a Noble, but was surprised to find it’s what some folks call a “real cedar” tree. They grow very tall and look like giant Christmas Trees.

My Dutch friend, Robin, was the chosen model for this tree because she is a strong woman. A mother of four, her reputation proceeded her as a woman who gets things done. Though our kids don’t know each other, we have become friends through Facebook. Exchanging comments through social media seems like a shallow way to make a friend, but I can honestly say that I admire and appreciate her.

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This was like getting together with an old friend to play dress up!

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As a mother of young kids, I really think it’s important to feel beautiful, and to be celebrated in the midst of seemingly thankless years of raising kids past toddlerhood. That transition for the kids to become independent is vital for both parties, because it’s so easy to get lost in the care and shuffle of daily living.

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A hearty thanks to Robin for being my model, and braving another “Seattle Winter” day – braving the cold and steady mist-like rain to show let me capture her beauty!

Tree Woman Project: Douglas Fir

In the spirit of the season, the Douglas Fir tree was the inspiration for this Tree Woman portrait session. At this maturity, the Douglas Fir looks an awful lot like a classic Christmas tree. Cassie was my intrepid model who braved the cold, rainy day with as much excitement as I had for our photo-project adventure.

Her style is fun and very Seattle, so I had to snap a few photos of her dressed normally before she went into Fairy-tale beauty mode (a mix of Tinkerbell and Peter Pan suits her)…here’s my favorite:

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From Seattle girl to Beauty girl:

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Going with the fun feel of the dreary-dreamy weather, we adventured nearby to some other parts of the Duwamish Greenspace, and found a few perfect spots for exploration. Even though this wasn’t part of the Douglas Fir themed shoot, I just love them. It feels like a story is waiting to be written about these scenes…and, sadly I don’t know what types of trees they were – they are prefect for a woodland story!

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And last but not least, a little admiration for old snag of a tree, the decay process revealing an ornate pattern:

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She is more than just beauty too – a woman in the Seattle Tech world, I greatly admire. Big thanks to Cassie for being my model!

Tree Women Project: Wild Apple Tree

When I saw this old apple tree, I could not believe how big it had grown. It’s hiding in a green space where rumor has it there used to be an old military bunker. The story goes that they filled it with cement and it’s buried deep under a school nearby. Regardless of the old military presence, this part of the green space is home to many fruit trees. This apple tree is overgrown like a wild tree in a Dr. Seuss book.

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My mother loves apples, and so it was truly delightful to pair her session with the old wild apple tree.

The day we woke up to do our session, Seattle saw it’s first snow. It was bitter cold outside, but we decided to go for it anyway. Add to that the fact that my back was out of alignment, and you have two very determined artists stomping through the frozen forest to get these photographs.

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Kaarisa_HolliMargell 161We left the green space with frozen fingers and toes, but huge smiles as we had gone against the natural inclination to stay indoors and capture natural beauty.

Special thanks to my Mom for being my model, and camera assistant lugging around my old fashioned metal tripod and large camera bag. It was truly an adventure!

 

Tree Woman Project: Lawson Cypress

I have had a love for trees for quite some time now, and this past summer, I was able to volunteer with a Tree Ambassador program in Seattle by photographing trees for a self-guided tree walk map.

Capturing beauty in women is also a passion of mine. When I discovered Brooke Shaden, both of those passions merged into a lovely light bulb moment: I wanted to photograph women AND trees. This little idea further grew after meeting and hearing Jeremy Cowart speak during Creative Live’s Photo Week in September. His work is amazing, and his experimental nature inspired me to just jump in and start my idea: Tree Women – and did a first try with my daughter last month.

When I posted to my friends on Facebook asking for volunteer models and help with the project, I was so encouraged. Not only did I get volunteer models, a fellow photographer friend offered to assist. The morning of our photo session, it was super windy – like storm warning the night before windy. It was so gusty, that I almost cancelled for fear that we’d be in danger, but my model/friend Tasha was sure it would be okay.

And, boy was I glad we decided to go for it. Literally, the clouds parted and the sunshine came out toward the end of our session. It was beautiful!

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Jump!
Did I mention how great Tasha was for being willing to climb and jump from the tree?!
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Huge thank you to Tasha and Chris!

p.s. Check out Chris’ photography too!

Seattle Mother-Daughter Beauty Walk

What do you do to capture a sweet, energetic 3-year-old and her Mom? Take a walk, of course! Meet Rio and her Mom, Melanie, a fellow photographer

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On Seattle’s rare summery spring day, we adventured from the University Village to the Arboretum. These two are such fun, sweet souls, it was fun to capture their beautiful personalities.

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Photographing little Rio as she explored the gardens and snuck across the bridge with her Mom trying to not wake the sleeping dragon underneath was simply adorable.

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I know how easy it is to never be in photographs with my own children. That’s why I was so happy to do this session with Melanie and Rio. Some day Rio can look back and see photos of herself with her Mommy!

Mother’s Day Special: Through May 30th, book your session at the Portrait Package rate – $175, which will include your children, 10 -4×6 photographs in a keepsake box, and images on a memory stick. Additional images available for purchase at $25 each. Let’s plan a fun session that reflects what you enjoy doing with your kids or your favorite spot in Seattle.

p.s. I LOVE to use Pinterest to brainstorm ideas!

p.s.s. Melanie does stunning work: check out her beauty portraiture!

 

Am I Beautiful or do I look like a Bobble Head?

I’ve been branching out in my photography business to include Beauty Portraits. Last week, I had booked a portfolio building session, and when my friend forgot to come, I decided to step in front of the camera myself…

Here is what I look like on a normal morning:

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Here is what I look like after some make up, brushing my hair, putting on a vintage dress and posing in a flattering way:

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I love this one above, because I secretly wish I was a movie star back in the 40’s when women wore amazing dresses that left room for the imagination. The only thing I wish I had done differently was to put my hair up and wear long satin gloves ala Audrey Hepburn.

Here is what I look like in my favorite dress:

SelfPortraitsbyHolliMargell 2{Above} My arms can’t be nearly that thin, and my head that big, but I love this dress and the background color. So, I’ll keep it:) The reason my arms look so tiny and my head so big is not because of Photoshop (which I’m still saving up to buy), but because I used a 35mm lens which warps an image slightly into a wider angle. This can be very flattering on some people who want to appear thinner than they are. But for me, I’ve got the Bobble head!

Overall, it is fun to have these photos that help me see myself as prettier, but I struggle with this idea of Beauty Portraits. I’m in favor of natural beauty, but a part of my heart loves glamour and pretty dresses. I want to help women (especially Moms) to feel beautiful, and do portraits in a way that does this without a bunch of Photoshopping to make them look fake. So, personally, I can say proper posing and a pretty dress with a dash of red lipstick did the trick for me. I can look the part of a model. But. There’s still a but tugging at my soul.

We have this culture in America that divides women: those who feel they need to “put their face on” before leaving the house and those who rebel against this, and wear their husband’s old Band Tees and jeans that don’t fit anymore. I think I want the freedom to dress how I want and not be judged, but I’d have to live in a utopia to experience that.

I think the tugging comes from this altruistic desire for all of us to feel beautiful in our natural skin. To capture that spark from the soul that makes a person beautiful. And, that doesn’t require make up or a pretty dress. But, I think sometimes putting on those things gives a person the costume they need to feel safe to shine.

 What would you think if you saw me in the polka dot dress at the grocery store?  Would I be trying too hard? Or just plain cute? Do I look like a Bobble Head?

xo,

Holli

 

 

Mother + Daughter: Beauty Portraits

Vera is a beautiful woman inside and out. She is a mother, business owner and community leader. Her nursery is an amazing space where my kids never want to leave, it’s a wonderland. So, I was looking forward to photographing Vera and her daughter in the nursery surrounded by flora and spring colors.

Sadly, being a true Spring day in Seattle, I arrived for our portrait session in the pouring rain. Instead of waiting it out and losing our time, I asked if I could do the portraits indoors. Vera’s home is also full of plants and reflects Johanna’s love of music. I quickly found a couple of spots in the living room where the natural light was just right. Their turquoise upright piano was a true gem for a back drop. Vera was excited to do the portrait session as a birthday present to herself. Her daughter Johanna clearly shines a beauty like her mother: strong and pure. This is what I did my best to show in each photograph.

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In some ways, I think that rainy day helped capture a more intimate portrait session in the home. And, it helped me remember that no matter what the weather decides to do, we can always find a space to capture beauty.