Katya, In the Wild

I've been keeping these images to myself for a while and its about time I shared them. These past few weeks have been dedicated to healing from a back injury that reminded me just how important it is to take care of yourself. Thank you to my rock of a partner, Becca for making sure I didn't die during the whole process. 

Shortly before my disks decided to slip, we had a photoshoot with the incredible Katya Aksenuk. And I'm so glad we did because the images and the experience were unforgettable. The image was in my mind for the shoot before we arrived at our magical location, but what ensued after the first few clicks of the shutter was much better than I had anticipated. Katya was free and daring. She told me upon reviewing the images that she doesn't see a picture of herself, but rather notices the light, shadows, texture and quality of the photo. What some might see as un unflattering angle, she notices the lines and strength of her bone structure, or the power of the pose. I deeply admire this quality and sincerely wish to emulate it within myself while somehow imparting it on everyone I shoot. It would be so liberating to eliminate the critical feedback loop we all get stuck in sometimes, where we weigh our positive and negative attributes only to be left wanting for something unattainable. We are what we are, and theres no changing it. Sure we can kill ourselves at the gym, but often that only raises the bar rather than allowing us to meet it. The transformation is most satisfying when we learn to accept ourselves wholly. Radical self love, as some call it, is something I find to be a beautiful daily practice. Katya manages it while looking at these photos, I practice it every time I encounter my reflection. I implore everyone I shoot to start embracing themselves as they are, because once we recognize our limitations, we learn how to propel ourselves beyond them. 

Thank you Katya for sharing your wildness and for inspiring me to do the same. Oh yea, I was waist deep in the water for many of these photos, didn't see that coming. Becca, my darling, helped in all the ways, making this shoot possible. It was remarkably refreshing to tell my subject not to get the hair out of her face, but rather make it go everywhere, and to wade through the water as my subject became completely submerged. Its also a fantastic way to battle the heat.