When I first saw the images from the first The Traveling Dress Collective, I felt something stir deep within my soul. I wanted to be a part of something beautiful with other artists, to create just for me and develop a story through imagery. I wanted something to get lost in before the 'busy season' hit. With this strong desire in mind, I started putting together a team of artists who also had this need. We collectively decided on a dress only to receive it and it was not at all what was pictured online. However, we decided to keep that one and ordered another, very different dress to make the journey (and threw in the other just for kicks). Our dress traveled across the country and all the way to New Zealand, passing through the hands very different artists. The thing that I love the most about this project is that we all have such unique voices and shooting styles, and even though we all photographed the same garment, the stories we told were all unique to us. - Summer Hughes
I'll be honest, I had a concept and location before we even chose the dress. I wanted to shoot in the forest along the coast and I knew I wanted to create an air mystery and use the raw beauty of nature as my backdrop. I wanted something slightly witchy and fierce but I still wanted femininity and grace no matter what our chosen dress was. As my vision evolved, I enlisted the help of a local hair stylist, makeup artist and also collaborated with a designer who creates one of a kind headpieces and crowns - they all made my vision come to life. I photographed Devin, the first woman wearing the dress, on her wedding day and I knew she was the perfect choice for this look. She met me in the forest in Arch Cape where I asked her to channel her inner forest spirit and become one with the moss covered trees, a place and vibe that I feel deeply drawn to. As we came out of the woods, a thick fog rolled in and it created the perfect atmosphere coupled with harsh light. She was the epitome of my vision - strong, slightly spooky and striking. As I said, I had a vision and part of it was using the beach at sunset. Devin couldn't stay so I enlisted another friend to wear the dress for the second half of the day. My vision shifted away from the mystery and darkness of the forest and focused on the beach at golden hour - the textures, light, colors - I knew if I was going to photograph two different girls wearing the dress, I needed to do two very different yet similar vibes. There is a softness and ethereal feeling with Chelsea in the dress. She had long billowing hair and iridescent makeup- I let her look and vibe guide the rest of the shoot. She was a bit more timid and there was a vulnerability that I felt and wanted to bring out of her. What I ended up with was two separate stories of two very different women in the same dress on the same day, in the same place. I wouldn't have had it any other way. I poured everything into that day of shooting and was completely elated with the end result. This was my first personal project that wasn't centered around my kids. It completely fed my soul and tapped into this part of me that has always existed but I've never been able to bring it to life through my art. I'm so grateful for the people who trusted my ideas and just went with them without questioning.
When I first received this traveling dress in the mail, I was in over my head with all kinds of work obligations. On top of that, I was going through a strange transition, because my daughter was turning 5 and I was about to celebrate my own 43rd birthday. I had so many feelings and thoughts running through my brain and wasn't quite sure what to do with it all. I didn't have the drive within me to go out and create in a gorgeous outdoor scene...so I stayed in my living room and tried to get honest with myself instead. It ended up turning into two different shoots in order to achieve these 3 photos. I tried one solo shoot and wasn't feeling it (black and white shot), and then tried again a day later, with music (Ashes by Celine Dion) for another solo. When I knew I'd captured what I wanted, I brought my daughter in at the end in order to sum up everything I was working through in my mind. This whole process was cathartic and allowed me to connect with how far I've come in this journey through life. So much beauty can come out of the ashes when you rebuild yourself and set your mind on the path toward growth. That's what these photos mean to me. I couldn't see what I was doing while I was shooting these, but now it's all so clear.
This traveling dress, traveled from West Palm Beach, FL to Portland OR. That’s roughly 3200 miles in my possession alone. From the very moment I decided to bring it along, I knew I wanted to photograph Leanna Azzolini in it. I was teaching a workshop that weekend and on our down time, we got haunted in the bath tub. I knew I wanted dark and moody and full of feeling. She absolutely gave me all of that, forever indebted to her and her beauty.
When the dress arrived at my house in Eugene I was in somewhat of a creative slump. I had no vision for the project and was really unmotivated. I spoke with my friend and fellow photographer, April Christopher. She had previously participated in a traveling dress project of her own and volunteered to be photographed. I told her that I wasn’t motivated or inspired and she suggested that I just use my time with the dress to practice new techniques and try out new locations. I had always wanted to photograph someone at the top of Spencer’s Butte and she agreed to make the hike with me. She brought along her two sweet girls Hazel and Juniper. Juniper had recently been having trouble with asthma and April hiked two straight miles up to the top of the butte with her 4 year old on her back. When we got to the top April changed into the dress. She was gorgeous and when I looked at my beautiful friend who had encouraged and supported me, who had hiked for miles with a small child strapped to her back just to help me with a project I felt a rush of inspiration. She and her girls have so much love for each other and they were such a pleasure to photograph. I tried out harsh light and practiced free-lensing and just generally pushed myself creatively. I ended up with a set of images that I loved and that I know she cherishes. I love that this project pushed me out of my funk and helped me to grow.
The Traveling Dress project is such an exciting opportunity to be creative and think outside the box. So glad to collaborate with so talented artists from all over the world and create a beauty.
I received this dress in such a busy for me time when I been running my Breakout with Clickin Moms. Lucky I got the opportunity to ask my friend Juliette to participate in this collaboration.
We get out of Auckland to beautiful Karekare Falls on the West Coast, it was such a fun time in so stunning location. It was exciting to pack the dress and send from New Zealand to the USA to the next photographer who will have an opportunity to play with the same dress.
I think it’s important to pursue personal projects to keep the passion of photography alive. When I heard about The Traveling Dress Collective, I was immediately interested in the idea; and when I was invited into the most amazingly talented group of women, I knew this was a project I would really love! Social media is a wonderful networking tool and a way that I continue to connect with not only other photographers and clients, but also with models for personal projects. I met Ausharea through Instagram. She has such an interesting presence in photos that I was automatically drawn to her and knew I wanted to photograph her. I love saturation so I was really intrigued by her practice of painting a streak of color across her eyes and bridge of her nose. I knew I wanted to incorporate it in our photos; and in keeping with my affection for a wonderfully moody scene, we visited one location that offered dramatic lighting inside a natural nook in a rock formation. I love the results of our time together.
I am always stoked to be apart of the Traveling Dress Collective. This is my 3rd round with another amazing team and let’s just say each female artist is all nothing short of UH-MAZING. I feel total female empowerment from this group of ladies!! When I had my turn with the dress, I chose a private bayside area in a remote part of San Diego. I remember having a gnarly head cold that week but still woke up super early that day to hike out to take photographs. There was a large cut of wood lying on the ground which felt like a great spot to shoot. Unlike past Traveling Dress projects that I participated in, I procrastinated to the last minute to plan this. I was worried I was going to be an epic fail and to my luck everything just came together. The sun rose beautifully overhead, kissing me with her warmth and hugging me with her light. In some wild, imaginative space in my head, it felt as if the sun rising that morning was a metaphor for something greater. As if in that moment, Mother Earth was hugging & embracing me in her maternal manner. As the early light touched my face, a burst of self-love coursed thru my body. I suddenly had an empowering feeling come over me and its then that I realize why these projects are so special to me, I find myself constantly blooming and growing with each new experience and eagerly looking forward to the newfound friendships that come along with them.
Graphic Designer since 2005 and natural light photographer producing mostly black and white images, some color, with a fine art style, located in Vancouver, WA, USA.
I love creating. I love finding beauty in the mundane and seemingly trivial. I love being a part of creating beautiful things.
I tend to be an over-sharer. So here goes. Music, movies, and imagery are God's gifts to me. I'm convinced these are the tools He chooses to communicate with me. I make mistakes everyday, try to clean up the mess alone, make it worse, then finally, as a last resort call on the One I should have in the first place. I'm desperately searching to fill the hole that only He can fill and everyday I become more convinced that it won't be filled here... and I can't wait to meet Him face to face. To finally meet who I was created for. To finally understand.