When I first decided to take on the "Artists at Work" series, I knew I wanted to find artists who were breaking stereotypes. After meeting and photographing Adlai - the Blacksmith, he recommended Rachel, who also works within the Columbus Idea Foundry.
Rachel Schutt is a welder - and a graduate of CCAD. She started out as a painter, and then took a welding course out of curiosity. Welding runs in her blood; her grandfather was a welder, and she felt like learning this art made her connection to him that much stronger.
Rachel teaches women-only classes (as well as co-ed classes) in welding to encourage women to step into her lab and feel empowered by doing something that is traditionally a man's trade. She is proof that you can do whatever you are willing to work at.
For the other two works in this series (so far), I only used natural & available light. However, Rachel's lab only has artificial light, and I didn't like the look of adding extra flashes... so I felt the need to add a few extra layers of grunge, and play with light to create more than just a snapshot.
She was working on a commissioned project and needed to make sure the corners were perfectly squared.
To take an all women's class with Rachel Schutt: Go to the Columbus Idea Foundry
Visit The Columbus Idea Foundry (and notice the front picture ;) )
See all of the photographs in the Artists at Work series so far - Gallery
I have started a series of photographs based on my wild imagination. I typically keep my imagination locked away, only for my amusement... because I feel like it's too outrageous for the typical adult. (My imagination rivals that of a 5 year old - because they are fearless in how big they allow themselves to dream.) However, I decided that I wanted, no - needed, to pursue this outlet for the seek of my sanity. So I found a hair & make-up business owner who shared my love for fairytales - Kat Epneris, owner of Always Elegant, LLC. Kat was more than eager to help me achieve my crazy ideas of changing the traditional fairytale characters into lady bosses. Thus the collaboration began.
We figured if we are going to do this... let's really do this!! So instead of doing just one or two, we are taking on 9 or 10. And instead of finding career models, I am selecting everyday girls, because diversity is very important to me. I want these characters to represent REAL girls - short hair, long hair, short girls, tall girls, dark skin, light skin, curvy girls, thin girls. All girls can be lady bosses!
So I went to my FB friend list and picked out girls that I thought would represent the characters well; and those that had big enough personalities and imaginations to keep up (or better yet - get lost) in my world that I was creating. In my Wonderland, I don't believe in the average damsel in distress.
I often get the question as to "Why"... why am I doing this project? What's it's final purpose? But I'd rather say "Why Not?" I've been dreaming of doing a series like this for years. People often forget that photography is a fine art. And fine art doesn't have to a have a purpose. As a fine artist, I create just to get it out of my head. I create to challenge myself and my skills. And those are my "whys".
We decided to start with the Mad Hatter (MH) and the White Rabbit (WR). We planned out MH first, but we happened to shoot WR first. So posting them at the same time seems appropriate. I've debated as to whether of not, I'm going to share the stories that I created to get these girls into the characters that I wanted to portray. At first I didn't want to, because I wanted you to create your own stories... but then I've gone so far off of the traditional path - while maintaining motifs - that I guess I'll give snippets. It's up to you to fill in the blanks (yes, this requires your imagination... I believe you are capable of handling this task if you really want to!!).
White Rabbit - The Grandfather Clock Shop
So what do we know about the White Rabbit? In the story Alice in Wonderful, the White Rabbit is a "he"... but all of my characters are female. We also know the WR to be very skittish and nervous about what the Queen of Hearts will do. Well, I want all of my characters to be fearless and bold!! So, I decided to change her story, and thus made the White Rabbit the Creator of Time.
When a friend and I stumbled upon the Grandfather Clock Shop in Uptown Westerville, it made perfect sense that this was where my White Rabbit would work.
Kat and I both wanted to find a way to incorporate cogs into WR's outfit... we thought about adding it to her face, but we felt that would cheapen the overall aesthetic. I had white gloves for her, but they didn't look right with the outfit - thus the idea was born of creating white gloves with the cogs.
Of course she takes breaks for tea, while remaining studious of her trade.
She was but a lass when she inherited the responsibility of time... though the masses clock in and out, and their days drone on, she remains timeless.
"There shall be no more beheadings on my watch... You must not think of me as a mere white rabbit, for my destiny is to be the diligent hands that create the one thing you take for granted until your hourglass runs low."
I was the stylist for this shoot. I dressed her in all black and white because that's how she sees life - that's how time exists. It either is, or it isn't.
H&MU: Kat Epneris - Always Elegant LLC
Location: Grandfather Clock Shop, Uptown Westerville
Photography & Stylist: Sarah Elizabeth Photography
Mad Hatter: The Pub at Polaris
I reached out to a group of photographers when looking for a bar for the Mad Hatter. I wanted a very distinct bar with old world characteristics... when the Pub at Polaris was recommend and I saw this chair (below) in one of their photos, I knew this was my place!!
The new Mad Hatter - she is part of the long legacy of royal hatters - 17th generation and a direct decedent of THE Mad Hatter to be exact. This lovely Hatter didn't have a hearts for hats like her family, so much to everyone's disappointment, she left the family hatting business to start her own business.
She opened a bar, so she could mix drinks and listen to the woes of those drowning their sorrows into the bottom of a glass - hoping to save them one by one. But she's entered a "man's world" - where business is cut-throat... and although she was trying to escape her maddening family, she is learning that owning a business still makes you crazy.
Her family, seeing her struggle but proud of her efforts, tries to help by sending her hats. They fear that she will not have time to make a hat for every occasion, event or the random Tuesday that may happen upon her. So they take it upon themselves to send her plenty of choices. She knows of their mental limitations, and remains grateful for their well-intended gifts.
She is the original Lady Boss... learning to thrive and survive, just as any good hatter would.
A girl with a camera, trying to be creative out loud. I keep my clients as friends; and believe in endless possibilities.