I’ve mentioned here and there that I have a group of friends from an online photography community. It’s one of the best groups I’ve ever been a part of; it’s supportive, authentic, and a place where I feel safe. Sadly, there aren’t too many places like that in this industry. :/
One of my friends from that group is Robin Spalding. She’s a fine art photographer currently based in San Diego. When I headed out west for the Seniors Ignite conference, I knew I’d have to go a day or so early so I could spend some time with her and get in that brilliant head of hers.
Here’s what I learned about my friend Robin in the time we spent together:
1. She doesn’t like stickers. Stickers. Like the ones little kids like to get as a reward.
2. She was once a math major. Yeah, I know, right!?
3. She is a texture hunter. If she saw a rock on the ground that she thought had an interesting feel/texture, she took a photo so she could use it later.
4. She doesn’t usually have faces in her photos. You see the hair and just a hint of the chin or nose.
5. She almost made me fall off a cliff. Well, I may have had a hand in that. ;)
I snagged this portrait of her on the Sunset Cliffs as we prepped for a concept shoot featuring yours truly (you’ll see this from her later on, so be sure to follow her so as not to miss it!). It’s a contrast to her style, which is consistent, neutral, and full of texture and grit. But I think it suits her so well.
Much of her work (some samples and a link below) is dark, and deals with themes like depression, infertility, and self image. She uses her conceptual self portraits as therapy, working through the moments that she may not be feeling 100% herself. If you met her and talked to her for any time, you’d have a hard time believing she has struggles with doubt and fear. The truth is – we all do. Facing the doubt and fear and using it to create something that has deep symbolic meaning, to me, is incredibly brave.
Though we took this portrait at the Sunset Cliffs, where the sun sets, I keep thinking of a sunrise. If you know me, you know I’m a fan of musicals and musical theater. I come back to the line in Les Miserables, “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”