A Beautiful Little Fool

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What do you do when you stay in a gorgeous historic hotel that makes any 1800s-lover’s dreams come true? Why you set up a photoshoot! There was no question about that when my husband and I recently stayed in the historic Linden Row Inn in Richmond, VA. This exquisite piece of history possessed all the Victorian beauty our hearts desired. We were pretty much convinced this could easily be our home. Below are a few photos taken during our stay. I wish we had time to take more of the room and around the hotel but we were always on the go while we were in Richmond. The majority were taken in the majestic window with me standing on the window seat. That window tugged at my heart strings 🙂

Check out the few photos of the boudoir. When I saw the final product of the photos, they stirred my affection for many lines from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. 🙂

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“And in the end, we were all just humans.. drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness.” 

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“Why didn’t you tell me that if the girl had been worth having she’d have waited for you? No sir, the girl really worth having won’t wait for anybody” 

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“Life is much more successfully looked at from a single window.” 

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“You see I usually find myself among strangers because I drift here and there trying to forget the sad things that happened to me.” 

 

Bonus photo:
Here is a photo I snapped and posted on my Instagram. You can get an idea on why I was so drunk on love with this place. 🙂

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The Victorian with an X-Factor

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When it comes to style in today’s world, there’s not too much that shocks us to our core that we’d banish anyone from our sight. Just recall how we’ve reacted to celebrities and entertainers and their choice of garments in just the last 20 years. Sure we are sometimes in awe (good and bad) by the choice of style that someone may wear but it’s not too often an outfit sends us into a tailspin.

Unfortunately, this non-nonchalant attitude towards fashion wasn’t the same during the Victorian Era. This was put to the test when John Singer Sargent, an American Artist, decided to capture the beauty of socialite, Virginie Avegno Gautreau, in 1800s Paris, France.

You may have seen this painting before in an art or history class:

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The famous painting received it’s notoriety because of the brazen way the artist painted his subject by showing so much skin (something we’re definitely not shocked by in today’s age). Both the artist and the model did not receive the reception they were hoping. The painting was debuted in 1884 under the title Portrait de Mme *** at the Paris Salon.  Viewers were shocked by the “distastefulness” this portrait portrayed of a beautiful married socialite. Sargent was asked by her mother to withdraw the exhibition but he refused by saying he painted her, “exactly as she was dressed, that nothing could be said of the canvas worse than had been said in print of her appearance.”  He later altered the painting by raising the shoulder strap up to make it seem more securely fastened as opposed to practically falling off her body; which apparently must have sent many people into fainting spells. He also changed the title from Portrait de Mme *** to what it is known as today, Madame X.

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The model and muse, Gautreau, was humiliated by the ordeal and Sargent permanently moved to London. Sargent remained proud of his work as he displayed it in his studio and later sold it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gautreau did not allow the humiliation to linger too many years as she posed for another artist,  Gustave Courtois, in another setting in a similar dress that revealed a bit more skin. She rounded out her modeling career by posing for Antonio de la Gandara in the late 1800s.

So as you can see, art and fashion have come a long way throughout the 20th century and “Madame X” may have started it all with her Victorian x-factor.

An Enchantment with the Edwardian Era

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You may have heard the term, “Old Soul.” Typically it’s used to describe a person that is wise beyond their years, has one foot in the past or celebrates history in some kind of way. Buzzfeed has a great checklist for signs you’re an old soul which you can read here (I said yes to some of these; can’t say I didn’t partake in a party phase in my twenties 😉 ).

If you’ve perused my blog you may have gathered that I’m kind of an old soul. I love history and feverishly can’t get enough of anything between the late 1800s up until the 1940s. It’s who I am and I’ve had a love for all things historical for a long time.

I bought an Edwardian blouse from Wildfell Hall Vintage a few months ago. She is delicate and I knew she deserved another spot in the limelight. So what better way to give her this than a photo shoot?! So I talked to my friends of And How! Imaging and we made some Edwardian magic.

Check out the photos from our recent photo shoot where we channeled my inner-Gibson girl. 🙂

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A precious, mouldering pleasure ‘t is
To meet an antique book,
In just the dress his century wore;
A privilege, I think

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Because I could not stop for Death–
He kindly stopped for me– 
The Carriage held but just Ourselves– 
And Immortality

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Nightly, from their azure towers,
To keep watch above the flowers,
In the midst of which all day
The red sun-light lazily lay

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By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright

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“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
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Replicating a Replicant

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I’ve always been a fan of Science Fiction (sci-fi). I was an avid X-Files watcher in the 1990s and the Alien movies starring Sigourney Weaver are some of my all-time favorite movies. I liked the prequal to Alien, Prometheus, even though I read it didn’t live up to it’s hype but I still enjoyed it.

So when my friends of Uvudu? Imaging brought up the idea to me to do a Rachael/Blade Runner-inspired photo shoot, I couldn’t get “hell yes,” out of my mouth quick enough. Blade Runner is the king of the sci-fi world and Rachael is a queen of sci-fi icons. This movie is classic, timeless and brilliant. I wrote about my love of this film and Rachael in an earlier blog here.

Rachael has such a specific look; the hair, makeup and suits she wears. We went with the infamous black suit since it is the one she is most known for. I will confess, I was a little afraid her hair would be a challenge. Which it was but I was up for seeing what I could do. I have a vintage 1940s black suit which wasn’t hers to a “T” but her look in the movie is modeled after the 1940s. I found a great youtube tutorial on how to do her makeup and voila! I transformed myself into Rachael.

We shot the photos at the photographer’s home. Below are the photos of the final product:

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(Deckard) “You’re reading a magazine. You come across a full page of nude photos of a girl.”
(Rachael) “Is this testing whether I’m a Replicant or a lesbian, Mr Deckard?”
(Deckard) “Just answer the questions please.”

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(Rachael) “You think I’m a Replicant, don’t you? (silence) Look. It’s me with my mother.” (Rachael holds out a photo but Deckard ignores it)

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(Rachael) May I ask you a personal question?
(Deckard) Sure.
(Rachael) Have you ever retired a human by mistake?
(Deckard) No.
(Rachael) But in your position, that is a risk.

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Photo Series: Heart Shaped Box

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“Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.”
~ Ansel Adams

Photography has always been a creative outlet for me. In the journalism world, I discovered quickly how this and photography are like peanut butter and jelly. Photos and articles go hand-in-hand. I always had to be two-in-one when I freelanced because it wasn’t always feasible for me to a) pay a photographer when I was doing a freelance job or b) find one that was available when I needed photos. So I just picked up my camera and became my own.

I decided to dive more deep into the world of photography. I just have way too many ideas and I’d like to be more of the “Captain of the ship” and bring these ideas to life myself. I’ll be doing photo series and sharing them on my blog. The photo series are inspired by everything: emotions, colors, seasons, places, things…the list goes on. Basically, anything that stirs my heart. 🙂

I had fun with my first series! It was a one-woman show, as in, I set up the camera, set the camera settings, tried to work with what lighting I had that day (I currently don’t have lighting equipment so natural light is my friend right now), styled myself including hair and makeup, pulled in a few props for some extra fun and did the photo post-production work.*I do want to give my hubby credit for helping find something to prop up the tripod a little more.

So without further ado, here are photos from my first series called “Heart Shaped Box.”

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“Many people who excel are self-taught.” ~ Herb Ritts

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 “Birth certificates show that you were born. Death certificates show that you died. Photographs show that you have lived.” -Unknown

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