Note: Before we even start, I’d like to say happy belated birthday to Spencer! Yesterday was his birthday and I’ve waited since last year to release this shoot with him and his lovely girlfriend who is also a Chicago photographer. Spencer is one of the most kind and genuine people I’ve ever met. He’s also the creator of Heavy Horns, a custom battle jacket collection. (He made my black and purple jacket.)…
Happy Taking Back Thursday! Previously on JDcom, we took two women and followed them into an abandoned house for a very… different type of tea party. Becky and Erin brought us to an abandoned building where
This is no regular maternity session.
Picture this! You walk into your local Hot topic and are greeted by the friendliest person you’ve ever met. She’s dancing, she’s laughing and telling these terrible knock knock jokes. You still laugh though because she’s absolutely precious. You stay there. You don’t even buy anything. You just enjoy her company.
Passion is not transparent.
There aren’t too many sessions that I get genuinely emotional about but this one is one of them. When I announced my first boudoir session booking ever, Saint was one of the first women to respond. She was eager and being a modeling duo alongside her boyfriend, she wanted to share this first with him. Truthfully, I didn’t know what to expect hosting a Chicago boudoir session. I wanted everyone to feel comfortable. Kage was a bit uneasy and naturally, I suggested backing out immediately. Yet, he said no. He wanted to share this with his girlfriend.
They say tragedy strikes at the worst times. You know, something like… “When it rains, it pours.” Well, they weren’t lying. I recently found out that my brother moved to Arkansas and before that, one of my ex-boyfriends got sentenced to prison. Needless to say, that was a rough week. I thought to myself “how could ‘God’ allow such a thing like this to happen to me?” So many downfalls in one week, how can I take this? The truth is… every stressing is a lesson. This lesson was on the truth about love.
After going to visit my ex, I received a letter from him. We didn’t end like most relationships would, in fact, we ended like no relationship I’d ever heard before. We went from completely inseparable to a restraining order. We loved each other but to what extend, we weren’t aware at the time. In his letter, he talked about how my visit motivated him to carry on. In thirty minutes, I had recalled every moment we shared together. He taught me how “into” Justin Bieber I was. He read my first book in a night. He was my first absolutely painful breakup. He was my first real fear. Yet, there we were… in this childlike banter. I wondered to myself… Did I still love him? How could I?
In his letter, he apologized for everything. He wished me a happy birthday (Though it was many months passed) and congratulated me on school. He asked me about everything he could possibly have missed in the time that we hadn’t spoken. He did all of those things.
After I found out about the ex, I drifted into a state of depression. How could I have ever given up on someone who loved me so profusely that even in his darkest hours, he remembered things like my birthday? Suddenly, I remained to myself… I was devastated, content on never leaving the house again. My friendships became split down the middle. There were friends who had dealt with my emotional bouts in the past, who gave me me space and there were friends who had never seen me like this who grew a little wary of my absence. None of these things made me feel loved. I don’t know what I expected but I was not happy with the results. Did I want my friends to pry or did I want my friends to stay away.
What about the ones who were angry? Should I have been mad at them?
That’s when I learned it… The lesson hidden beneath the tragedy.
The Truth about Love.
In my post about what love means to me, I tell you guys that love is a complex being. The truth about it is that you are it. When you’re with someone, you are teaching them to love you. If you weren’t, why would relationships exist? Why would us girls continuously put on makeup on dates and why would guys take us to fancy places? The truth about love is that when we don’t love ourselves, we stop understanding the love that we share with others. Of course I didn’t understand how my friends would react to me closing up… That is a form of rejection. Rejecting love. Of course I couldn’t understand how I could still love someone who I broke it off with, we shared love and unlike a relationship, love is everlasting.
The truth about love is that you may never understand it, but within sharing it with yourself you will learn to share it with others. You will learn how to smile when a person compliments you. You will see the importance of someone remembering your birthday. You will understand why your friends are mad when you turn them away. The truth about love is that you are it. When you love yourself, you are not giving anything to yourself… You are being yourself.
So if you’re a little confused about something you may love…
Lighten up! You are love.
It’s very seldom that I photograph something outside of people. People are my passion. They have life, they have emotion, and they have substance. I was never one for the city of Chicago. The hustle and bustle of it was just too much for me. People crash into you downtown, they make a bunch of noise, they drive you up a wall, and they never apologize. It took me years to realize that I have become one of those people.
In a land far far away called “the south side of Chicago”, a very skilled cosplayer by the name Kali has transformed yet another awesome cosplay. Last time, it was Catwoman but this time it’s a Soul Eater Cosplay! So, imagine little 4’11 me frolicking the fields of Chicago with a Blair behind me. For those of you who don’t know Kali, she has folders upon folders dwelling in her Facebook where she showcases patterns she’s created and step-by-step progression shots showing off each and every intricate design she’s created from scratch!
So frolic forward with Blair!
Remember how I insisted to you in past posts that cosplay is art? Well, ever since then I’ve been constantly wondering about the intimate art of drag but had no idea who to go to and how to start learning. Lucky for me, Aiden Zane and Lucia Saint invited me up to Lansing, Michigan to show me a thing or two about the transformation of drag. Despite them being from Atlanta and I from Chicago, the location we picked, set in Lansing was absolutely perfect for not only a photo shoot but an entire afternoon’s worth of fun and fabulous memories! Yet, it wasn’t all fun and games. The intricate art of drag queen photography was also a challenge and a learning experience.
Prepping For The Shoot.
Getting to be there from beginning to end was almost too surreal. The knowledge passed on to me during the prep period was phenomenal and extremely educational. While you’d have guessed that this period was like watching “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” up close, it was much more than that. As the boys decorated their gorgeous guy faces to resemble the image of gorgeous women, they shared stories with me and bits of insight. “Photographing in drag is not like photographing outside of it. You have to know what time of day lighting-wise will accurately accentuate the look.” Lucia explained dutifully while Aiden shared a more lighter thought recalling the many times he’d made similar poses from his drag look in everyday look, only to be quoted as it being very silly. As I watched in awe, I couldn’t help but snap pictures of the two hour long makeup applying process. All around me were piles of SugarPill pallets, wigs, and a variety of the most intriguing outfits ever.
It was phenomenal seeing the faces that I’d seen become these elaborate canvases for such phenomenal talent.
After that, it was time for a few selfies before we were out and about shooting! It was extremely entertaining watching them prepare themselves for the selfies because each and every shot they took during the shoot, needing no extra frumping or readjusting. Hair stayed perfect, makeup remained flawless. There were expert commenced outfit changes and all in all, things were impressive! Yet when it came to the phone photos, there was always a quick seemingly unnecessaryadjustment to be made. It was adorable. I even jumped into a few.
Ironically, the location of this shoot was literally right outside their hotel! There were moments when other hotel attendants would come by and wave or stare, but they didn’t care. They strutted around nearly deserted hallway proudly and I was beyond impressed. Admittedly, I was extremely nervous. I had been warned about the complexity of angles when it came to “Drag Queen Photography” but, between Aiden and Lucia and the renowned confidence, in the term learning experience, this session made my first session with them, my favorite.
Afterwards, I had mentioned to Lucia that he had said something about dressing me up in drag when we spoke last. It was a joke, but it was also kind of like, “You know, why not?” The next thing you know, I’m getting my eyebrows glued down and standing face to face with an already perfected masterpiece. Honestly, it’s crazy. I’ve been in makeup artist chair’s plenty of times, but this was different. This was like the makeup brush was a paint brush and the pallets of makeup were everywhere and while I was getting “dragged up”, Aiden was wiping himself down of his fake lashes, makeup and eyeliner. It was amazing watching him do it because as he stripped down, and wiped his face… He did it in the most interesting way:
Half of his face first then the other half.
If I thought having no eyebrows was crazy, you could only imagine my surprise when fake eyebrows were involved! I was terrified but the finished product was gorgeous. I didn’t even recognize myself. Let’s not talk about how many SnapChats I sent out in drag just lipsyncing and smiling and making winking videos at everyone. It’s crazy, I knew that drag queens had to put a lot of effort into their look but I didn’t realize the amount of time, effort, focus and hard work it took to achieve some of the most amazing looks in history! I mean, for a few hours.. I could’ve sworn I was a different person!
The shoot itself with Aiden and Lucia was great! Check out their facebooks! They have albums and albums of beautiful photos of different looks! Rumor has it, they also have some really awesome stuff cooked up for their fans, so definitely check them out!!
What Have I Been Up To?
Well, specifically after this shoot, I photographed the lovely Victoria Churchill who is coincidentally also an author! Her book Dreams Of Crimson is everywhere! I heard it’s a vampire novel and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. She assured me personally that it is nothing like Twilight. (all the incentive I need!) Other than that, I started my first week of college and Jesus! Why didn’t anyone tell me it was that hard? Just kidding. Everyone told me it was that hard.
Stay tuned and subscribe for more juicy goodness.
My first engagement session of the year and this one probably the most special.
Damon and Reiko are my favorite couple for so many reasons. For one, Damon is in the service and somehow was blessed enough to be stationed just a mere three hours away from his beautiful girlfriend. Reiko is a professional model who is known for her provocative poses and proof that when it comes to “size”, the industry isn’t all about the size zeros. How did I meet this gorgeous couple? Reiko flew me down to Florida for her birthday and there we discussed their plans for Chicago and how they wanted to squeeze a shoot in with me before they left. Once I stood in the room with them both again, I realized what made them so special in my eyes. They were a power couple.
What do I mean when I say power couple.. Okay, do you remember “My Good Thang“, by Pretty Willie? I know, throwback right! This is that song personified. They are equal strength, equal hard work, equal independence. I can’t stress enough how over the time I’ve known them, I’ve been beyond impressed. To me, they are like king and queen. There’s no “president and first lady” because they’re both of equal hard work and devotion to both their crafts and one another.
Personally, I always try to refrain from saying things like this, but at this moment, I personally can’t help it. This is what every couple out there should be striving for. The kind of relationship where you can love one another just as much as you can love yourself is a remarkable, inspirational, beautiful phenomenon that radiated off of Damon and Reiko even long after they left the session. This is a couple that games together, gets decked out together, vacations together, cries together, wakes up to alarms together… You do it, they’re capable. They even have matching phones!
So when it came to shooting, we agreed that the style would be a unique one. It had to portray everything from their “Us against the world” attitude to their royal respect for one another. While Reiko was used to being in front of the camera, Damon had originally came off as a bit camera shy but after a few photos were taken, he was completely immersed in the passion of his girlfriend and had become more than comfortable in front of the camera. We even got him to laugh a lot!
It cannot go without saying that the lovely dress that Reiko is wearing is actually from one of my favorite Florida based stores Ravens And Rockers. (They have an online store that I spend far too much time on staring at.)
After the shoot, to show my appreciation for them being so amazing, I jumped into a few pictures and I don’t know.. I think they like me!
But what have you been up to Jasemine?!
Well, as this blog is being written, I’m on a bus to Lansing to shoot my first drag queen photoshoot with the fabulous St. Lucia and a photoshoot with my tattoo artist and her gorgeous son Javier. Lots and lots coming to JDcom in terms of content. Personally, after Anime Central, I thought I was done and dead for a while but while I haven’t been shooting too much, I’ve been working a lot on behind the scenes stuff!
Make sure to check back for that, and to subscribe to the weekly email so you can get the scoop and see more beautiful pictures of beautiful people.
Until then, this photographing, mohawk-having, fashion-loving, woman is outtie!