Safe with Me: Angela’s Edwardian-inspired photo shoot

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In July, I had the distinct pleasure of photographing someone whose work I’ve admired for many years. Angela Ryan is an international model; but her work doesn’t stop there. Along with a modeling career that spans from fetish to pinup, she is a performer, creative director and stylist. I’ve been familiar with her work through social media for years. So it was an absolute honor to work with her and create some photo magic!

Angela and I conversed before she made her trip to Nashville. We decided on an Edwardian-era theme to my delight. After we decided on the theme, I went to work to find the perfect Edwardian blouse. The vintage gods were in my favor as I found one quickly and she was a beauty. These articles of clothing are like pieces of art so I enjoy photographing anyone in them. I recruited my side-kick and personal muse, Lashon, to help with set design. Between the time I scheduled Angela’s photo shoot and when it took place, I brainstormed the direction we would take. I was feeling a little inspired by the green fairy so decided to have a bit of a darker element to the look.

Tarryn Feldman, a talented hair and makeup artist, completed Angela’s look. The set was designed by Lashon who is a master at making anything come together.

~ Credits ~
Model: Angela Ryan
Makeup/hair stylist: Tarryn Feldman
Set designer and assistant: Lashon Miller
Edwardian blouse: The One I Love Vintage
Corset from Angela’s personal wardrobe
Gloved cape: from Angela’s personal wardrobe; designer Louise Black

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“The world was to me a secret which I desired to devine.”

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“Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose- a point on which the soul can focus its intellectual eye”

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“How many things are we upon the brink of discovering if cowardice or carelessness did not restrain our inquiries”

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“But her’s was the misery of innocence, which, like a cloud that passes over the fair moon, for a while hides, but cannot tarnish its brightness.”

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“I desire the company of a man who could sympathize with me, whose eyes would reply to mine…”

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“I’m a creature of fine sensations”

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“I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”

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The devil that dances in my head
Is never, is never dressed in red!

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The Gypsy

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Muse: a woman, or a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist. Every creative artist needs a muse. Someone that captivates them and inspires them to create. Muses have been the fuel to artists’ engines for centuries.

If you’ve read previous posts from my blog, you’ve become acquainted with the fact I’m delving into photography. Taking classes, soaking up all the knowledge I can and practicing, practicing, practicing! I LOVE learning every piece of it.

It also tremendously helps that I have one of the most creative people on the planet on my team. My muse happens to be my BFF from the high school days, Lashon. I’ve pretty much christened her my Creative Director. 🙂

Our last portrait session was inspired by some vintage photos we’ve collected and had a bit of a darker vibe. All it took was just a spark of inspiration and we took it and ran with it. I recruited our friend, Rachel, for hair and makeup and she turned Lashon into a beautiful vamp. Rachel also assisted during the photo shoot by keeping an eagle eye out for any flaws and also keeping us in stitches from her wise cracks!

Ladies & gentlemen, I’m pleased to introduce to you the recent photo shoot with Lashon, The Gypsy.

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In a quaint caravan, there’s a lady they call The Gypsy.
She can look in the future and drive away all your fears.

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Everything will come right, if you only believe The Gypsy.

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She could tell at a glance, that my heart was so full of tears.

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She looked at my hand and told me, my lover was always true.
And yet in my heart I knew, dear, somebody else was kissing you.

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But I’ll go there again, ’cause I want to believe The Gypsy.

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That my lover is true and will come back to me some day.

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Black No. 1: Photo shoot with Lashon

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I am really enjoying the world of photography so far. Photography was something, sadly, I always put on the back burner. I thought about majoring it when I started thinking about college after high school. But I was discouraged and being 17, listened to the person. Over the years it kept coming up, but I kept putting it aside. When I decided to stop doing that, it was like a love that was always meant to be.

Right now, I’m relying on my girlfriends to be my models for me. It’s a win-win because I get to practice and I get to hang out with one of my pals! The lovely lady of this shoot is one that is near and dear to me. My very best friend since 9th grade, Lashon. Another plus is that she herself has always had her hand in photography. She is the person that taught me ALL about composition and pointing out any irrelevant negative space. We even signed up for a photography and Photoshop class together years ago just to learn together and really just to enjoy taking the class together.

So without further ado, I present to you Lashon’s photo shoot. This blog will be a two-part one as we took photos in different outfits. Here is our “black” series:

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“No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and dear to his heart and eye the morning can be.”

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“For the dead travel fast.”

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“No one but a woman can help a man when he is in trouble of the heart.”

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“Bleeding hearts, and dry bones of the churchyard, and tears that burn as they fall, all dance together to the music that he make with that smileless mouth of him.”

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“The last I saw of Count Dracula was his kissing his hand to me, with a red light of triumph in his eyes, and with a smile that Judas in hell might be proud of.”

 

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.

Take A Brow

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I started wearing makeup at an early age. When I was 13 I asked if I could and my request was granted. I was then taken to the nearest store in search of mascara and eyeliner because I had no idea the various types of makeup to wear. Those were the only two items I bought. It was a start and proof that I had a lot to learn about the cosmetic world.

There are times when I wish I could go back and tell my 14-year old self not to over-pluck my eyebrows. I present to you Exhibit A: my freshman high school picture.

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Here I am with my black, heavy-rimmed eyes and tons of black mascara. No foundation, no blush and no lip gloss or lipstick of any kind. It was the mid-90s and I was super gothic so there’s my explanation.

When I was 16 I bought Kevyn Aucoin‘s makeup book, Making Faces. I’m sure I saw it on MTV or some fashion show that featured it. I devoured that book when I got it. I read it cover to cover learning all about cosmetics and the different looks I could achieve. That book was, and still is to this day, like magic to me.

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So back to my over-plucked brows. I seriously wish I could tell the teenage girl me to knock it off with the over-tweasing. But since I can’t I time travel, I had to come up with another solution. Luckily, I’ve met some great professional makeup artists over the years that have shown me the way to be a makeup Jedi. I learned that I didn’t have to continue to be ashamed of my lack of eyebrows and I learned how important they are. So much that if it’s a day I’m not going to wear any makeup, I’ll fill in my brows at least. It’s amazing how much your eyebrows define your face.

I was recently given the most lovely gift from my sister from another mister, Johnnie Mae‘s brother, Ryan. He is a professional makeup artist in California. He gave me Too Faced‘s Brow Envy brow shaping & defining kit. I could not wait to try it! Below is some before and after and photos of the product.
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The case is so pretty and the kind you can nicely display on a vanity if you wanted to. It’ll also be vintage gold in about 50 years because of it’s timeless look. It came with a fold-out tutorial and three individual eyebrow stencils: So Sweet, Too Pretty and Super Sexy. The tutorial gives great and easy step-by-step instructions to create a classic Hollywood eyebrow. I LOVE the setting wax and highlighter. Makeup tip: the highlighter is a great way to shape up the eyebrow and basically make the lovely eyebrow you just created pop. 🙂
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