Featured Photographer – Tara Mapes
1. Tell us a bit about the image?
This set was shot at the heart of Autumn at sunset. I wanted to tell the bittersweet story of Mother Nature’s Fall farewell. I asked my sister Tia, The Head Mistress, to make a dramatic headpiece with birds and bird nests to match a gown made by Fairyshop, one of my favorite designers in Hungary. I added little birds to the gown to bring the piece together and focused on the blues and browns of Autumn knowing the complementary Autumn backdrop of oranges and yellows would tantalize the eyes.
2. What inspired you to take the shot?
Nature is my inspiration, always. From childhood, nature has been my teacher, my refuge, my love. Autumn is a beautiful serenade to life, transformation and hope. Autumn represents a time in our lives where we are experiencing change and loss. Like leaves on the arms of strong trees, we must have the courage to let go. It is bittersweet. Jenna, the model, captured the mysterious melancholy and the ethereal song of Autumn with her sorrowful gaze and delicate appearance. Combined with the glowing golden stage set by Mother Nature and the gown and headpiece, Autumn’s story is told.
3. What gear did you use for the shot including lighting?
I shot this set with my Nikon D850, 85mm lens, and Godox AD400 with a 47″ umbrella. I knew I would choose to backlight some of the shots and also allow a peek from the sun in some to create a warm haze. The Godox helps counter the darkness of a backlit shot and illuminates the face to give it a warm glow–setting myself up for a simpler editing process. Having proper lighting and knowing how to use it can completely transform results both outdoor and in studio. I am a huge OCF fan and love to experiment with different lights, techniques, angles and styles.
4. Tell us about the editing process?
Editing is cathartic to me. I really enjoy the process of taking the image and transforming it into a combination of what I saw in real life and what my mind sees. I edit in Photoshop by hand with a focus on a painterly + fine art finish that helps the subject pop, and the use of colors to create a harmonic visual. I use the healing brush to remove imperfections in both the subject and the scene to reduce distractions. I use curves layers to even tones and frequency separation for the skin. I often prefer true colors that are bold and reflect what our eyes see. I will accentuate certain colors and often go to color.adobe.com and slightly change the hue of certain tones to create that visual symphony.
5. How does this piece reflect you as an artist?
Much of my work is a reflection of my inner child. I chase the nostalgia of childhood, the way the grass felt between my toes, the sounds of the locusts serenading summer, the crunch of leaves beneath my bare feet, the trickles and swooshes of the creeks, the warm buttery sun on my skin, the smell of rain…. All of it influenced me in such a way that I want to recreate those feelings in images. I relive those moments in each shot and when they resonate with others, maybe …just maybe it will awaken the inner child of the viewer. Maybe they will remember, too. The beauty of unawareness, the innocence….and the time where we lived in the present, in awe, without distraction, and sought answers in the world around us. I want to marinate in it and when others appreciate it and see it, too. It’s a gift I am so grateful for.
Dress Designer: https://www.facebook.com/fairyshopbyszilvia
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