It's too hot to go outside in the daytime. It's breezy at dusk though. In a week I will be in Paris. I'm so excited for adventures with my love. I miss him a lot. I'm excited about a lot of things. Starting UCLA, living with Ian. We have to find a place to live. But I'm trying not to think about all that and just enjoy my last week at home and then Europe!
Well friendos I went on a big adventure this past week. My love Annie works at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, so my brother and his friend Eric and I piled in my little car and drove off to Utah. I am beginning to realize that deserts have a strange magic to them that I will probably never fully grasp but will always be in awe of. My family used to drive to the Mojave Desert twice a year to see my grandpa. Although I always complained about it, I think a part of me loved seeing the huge expanses of land and such strange life forms I didn't get to see in Northern California. My trip to Joshua Tree in April stirred up these feelings and now I have got desert on my mind. I am lusting for Antelope Canyon in Arizona and White Sands National Monument in New Mexico next. But for now allow me to share the magic of Utah.
Day One: Driving Eleven and One Half Hours
The road from California to Utah is not a short one. I stared at my Google Maps the whole time and I still would have no idea how to get back to Utah. We had to go up to Tahoe and then across Nevada on what seemed like 20 different highways. Maybe I am just really used to getting to LA on one very long freeway so I was surprised there wasn't a special road paved just for me from Placerville to Bryce Canyon. Anyways, I am happy to report that the cows in Utah are much happier than the cows on Interstate 5. And we saw a lot of them. I love cows. So after 11 hours we reached Red Rock Canyon, which you pass through to get to Bryce. We stopped and took some photos and got to Annie's little house in the forest of Bryce Canyon.
Day Two and Three: Zion National Park
While Annie was at work on Thursday (off tracking some endangered owls she tells me are DEFINITELY going to be found in the park soon) Curtis, Eric, and I drove off to Zion. Zion was a very strange thing because it just felt MASSIVE. Like there was absolutely no way that I felt I could capture it with my camera. You just enter the park and you are surrounded by these huge mountains. But it doesn't feel like being in the Sierras like at home because in Zion the rocks are just right there for you to touch but they shoot up 1000 feet over you. So on Thursday we drove around the park and did a few of the smaller hikes. We saw the Emerald Pools and Weeping Rock. Both were incredible. The Upper Emerald Pool had these massive walls enveloping a little pool. There were bird flying around above it and I swear that's where pterodactyls used to fly around in just the same way. Weeping Rock is a small waterfall that forces itself out of an overhanging rock so that you can sit behind it and watch the water sprinkle down in front of an amazing view of the canyon. That view was definitely something that just didn't look real. It was just way too much to stare at and comprehend.
Friday brought us back to Zion, with Annie this time. I didn't bring my camera because we were going to be hiking up the Virgin River in the very popular hike called The Narrows. I wish I had brought my camera because it was definitely my favorite part of Zion, but I fell over and splashed around too much to feel safe with my camera, so no regrets there I suppose. One day I will buy a waterproof point-and-shoot or something. But woweeee, The Narrows. Annie remarked that we had probably been to the wettest and lushest places in Utah and I am so thankful for that. The river cuts through these huge mountain walls so that you are just surrounded by rock and water. It makes you feel so tiny. I have come to realize I love being down low when I hike. I'm not really huge on hiking up big things, I would rather hike along a river or a canyon for miles and miles. Not because I am lazy and don't want to deal with elevation--although hiking thousands of feet up into the sun didn't sound very appealing--but because I love how getting to the lowest points allows you to look up at everything around you. You feel so small and insignificant and it is a wonderful feeling.
Day Four: Bryce Canyon
While Zion was huge and inconceivable, Bryce felt a little more intimate--but probably just as inconceivable. I dunno what it is about Utah looking so unreal, but it sure does. It just doesn't make sense that anything can look this beautiful. Even as we hiked through Bryce Canyon with Annie as our fearless leader, I still couldn't comprehend where I was. The hoodoos are so awesome and so mysterious. Annie took us through the canyon to the popular spot called Wall Street, where the park is at its slot-canyon-iest. It was very cool. And then Annie took us to a seeeeecret place that was definitely my favorite part--back to a river! Did I mention I love rivers? I love the way they cut through rock and make the coolest formations, ugh I love them. So we played around in the river a bit and then found a hoodoo that other people had clearly walked on, so we figured we would too. (Don't tell.) But it made for some awesome photos. After that, we headed back to Annie's for some food and to play darts. And the next day bright and early we were off back to California.
I have put a lot of these images on my website as part of a new series that I would like to continue working on called Just Passing Through. Especially as I get ready for a big trip to Europe and, shortly after that, my move back to Los Angeles, I want to record the places I go. I am working more on my landscape and travel photography. I really enjoyed shooting these pictures. The bulk of my photographic work is portraiture and weird fantasy/fashion shoots. I love working on those sorts of photos, and I am excited to develop my style more in that regard as well. But the thing that I loved about shooting these photos is that what I was taking pictures would have been there without me. I love creating something that wouldn't exist otherwise--that is why I create my portraits. But to take on a project like this is so humbling because I really had no part in the way the actual subject looks. In my photos I hope to capture the awe and excitement I feel when I found these places. It's like I was saying in my bit about the river: I like being places that make me feel small. It's so comforting and humbling to know that all this will still go on and there is this much to see in the world. The title "Just Passing Through" comes from the album art of a movie soundtrack very important to me when I was 14, Across the Universe. That phrase always stuck with me because I think it's very nice to know that I am just passing through wherever I go and all I can take with me are my memories and--if I'm lucky--some nice photos.
For the Fourth, Hanna and I drove all over my town, hitting up the best river sites. Then we made amazing pasta and a glorious cheesecake, drank beer, and took pictures with sparklers (which, whoops, resulted in us being not so clothed for more dramatic photos).
I've been thinking as usual about how to make myself more satisfied with the things I create. I'm thinking the key phrase is "lived-in". I like to take pictures that look like I was actually there, like I actually connected with the person I took a picture of (or the person who took a picture of me). As I've said in a few posts about my outfit photos, I'm bored of glossy fashion. Fashion and personal style are supposed to feel personal. That's why I like it so much, because it is something I feel very close to, and always have. In the same way, that's how I gauge how successful a photo is. Does the person being photographed look like they are actually comfortable? Are they actually present in the photo? It's always been a big priority of mine to give my models agency and make sure they are presented in a way that they give consent to.
Anyways, maybe these aren't the photos to accompany this speech. They are just silly photos of me and my friends at a local show. I wore my new culotte jumpsuit and we saw an amazing girl named Madi Sipes play. But I like these photos because we look like individuals in them. They aren't just interchangeable photos for any other girl who likes fashion: they are me and my friends. They are special because they come from a life well-lived.
Today I was very bored and I decided to go shopping for the first time in a very long time. Should I be shopping after buying a ticket to Paris? No, no I should not. But alas here I am. I found this weird cover-up/dress/long shirt/? thing. At first I was mad that it wasn't a dress and then I was like IM TAKIN THIS TO THE RIVER. And so I did. Arianna was nice enough to take my picture at one of my favorite places in the world.
Dress - F21
Swimsuit - H&M
I liked the light in my bathroom today... these photos are about the only productive thing I've done today. Whoops. I really liked the way my new turquoise jewelry looked with my magenta nails so I paired it with my beloved Band of Outsiders skirt.
Skirt - Band of Outsiders
Necklace - House of Harlow via Rocksbox / Ear Climbers - Gorjana via Rocksbox / Bangle - Kendra Scott via Rocksbox
All other jewelry - H&M
I just returned from a week in Southern California for Ian's graduation. We went to Disneyland and ate a lot of food throughout the week and it was great. We aaaaaalsooooo solidified plans that I will be joining him this summer in Paris when he goes for research through UCLA. We are going to hang in Paris for a bit and then do some traveling after--I am hoping for Spain and Greece.
In thinking about vacationing, I start to think of what to wear. So naturally, for Spain, I jump to Vicky Cristina Barcelona. In general I hate Woody Allen but I can never get over how much I love this movie. It's just so beautiful and Penelope Cruz's Maria Elena is such an inspiration for summer looks. Maria Elena is everything I want to embody for summer: wearing lingerie and sleepwear for sexy breezy looks, big wild hair, paint splatters all over, starting an affair with my ex-husband's new lover. The usual.
Also, guys, if you have any recommendations for things to do in Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, or anywhere in Greece or anywhere in general, I would love to hear. We are trying to map out our travels and ideas would be great.