model work: stephanie ayoub // makeup & hair: mclaino // photography: valerie petralia // wardrobe: photographer & models own // location: wynwood/downtown miami, florida
Fortunately, I’ve been absent from this blog because I’ve been making literal moves in my life. From Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Miami’s gorgeous art neighborhood, Wynwood – from shooting tests to assisting NYC photographers on BIG production jobs – it’s all been quite wonderful. Although all things are not perfect in my life, I’m taking the negative and making it positive – sometimes that’s the only thing you can do. Having friends around you to remind you that you’re not completely crazy, or maybe you are (in a good way), is a blessing. And in this chaos, I’ve found some sort of peace and motivation to move forward and strive to make my dreams come true, instead of fighting what I can’t change.
In this journey, I’m starting to focus on personal projects. Personal projects, to an artist, can sometimes be more crucial than any paid gig. It gives you a chance to really dig deep and find out what you love, what you want to say, what you want to discover. There’s no false motivation. Just the desire to make something that makes YOU feel good. I believe that the purest forms of art are not commissioned by clients, but by your heart.
Without even trying, I proved this to myself last week. I was digging through a cardboard box full of old film prints. Some were really, really, really bad. But some really surprised me. Those photos were a product of a 15 year old girl, with her first camera, 36 exposures, and nothing to lose but her time. No nightmares of student loans, no parents telling you to get a “real” job – just my Nikon and I, in a small town, all alone. I’ve learned that whether you’re a photographer, writer, sculptor, or surgeon – find something that inspires you and do it for yourself, not for the money, not for the recognition, or the school credit. Do it for yourself, and in that experience you will always find something even more valuable.
Pure inspiration in the form of a human being is quite priceless. The best friend sent over this cute little photo of us (at Avant Gallery, Miami Beach) + added a photo of our baby doppelgängers. This is what we would have looked like had we met 15 years earlier. Can’t even express how much I love this girl!