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  • Writer's pictureAshley Tyler Tolisano

thirty four the photoshoot

Updated: Aug 1, 2020

How my husband sabotaged my bday photoshoot and the crazy hard poses I failed at.

It's LEO season!!!! So for my birthday this year I really wanted to create some unique, engaging images to refresh the essence of online vibes. I wanted to divert some of that focused energy back into our minds, outside of our serious reality. Obviously you know things nowadays are a bit limited, making quarantine birthday's extra boring. So naturally, why not spend my time creating marketable content for my social networks. Here's how I created these compelling images from my backyard.

Usually I have assistants or fellow photogs that can help me, when I want to get back in front of the camera. But making my visions come to life here in SWFL is not only significantly restricted, but my connections are quite limited too. So I convinced Joey, my husband to help me accomplish this photoshoot.

2020 has been a year of distressing existence. Although I wanted an image to change focuses', I also didn't want something completely unrelatable or insensitive. I regularly read and follow trending art and photography and I fell in love with some black and white weighty images in water. Most likely many of these photos were done at a lake, featuring dark water with high reflection. This is what I had in mind for my "thirty four" photoshoot.

But here's the kicker... my husband was the photographer.

I'm sure he sees me as an artist' but he didn't do the photos like I guided him to. The images he captured, represented more. They gave me genuine insight to the way he perceives me. He had the image guide to the right to duplicate, but instead he unknowingly created a series

that was sexy, provocative,& raw.

nothing like I envisioned, ha ha.

He did a great job though. This was one of the 5 times he's picked up my camera. No experience just guidance. Below are my top 3 favorites from my bday photoshoot.

I love makeup, but I wanted this photoshoot to be more simple. No eyeliner, eyelashes, or lipstick. Just a natural look, intended to be bare and a bit visceral. I went with a layered necklace to represent worldly respect, with the Cross, Om, Hamsa and Celestial Moon & Star. I love religion and culture, so this little conscious touch was very 'me'. I went with a lace button down to add texture and some coverage, being that my pool probably wasn't going to shoot black like my objective board.

I've been taking some online photography masterclass courses with Enlight Photography. One of the latest lessons I learned was to try and incorporate more movement into photoshoots. Normally my subjects aren't very experienced, so attempting that makes me a bit weary as my past encounters directing movement and flow weren't a success.

I find the best way to teach something is to fully understand it.

So here are my movement shots. As the model I tried to create emotional movements with depth of field in perspective.

Check out my failed attempt at this magical photo inspo.

I was in love with this image to the left. I have experience modeling, and I was a competitive swimmer at one point in my life, so I figured this water shoot would be a piece of cake. I was so wrong. While trying to get this shot I was excitedly filled with pure astonishment! I couldn't even grasp how the model executed this tranquil pose with such grace. After struggling with multiple attempts, i'm now assuming that the model most likely is laying on something below that water. I'm guessing either a rock or a floating board, and it was darkened or photoshopped out. Because relaxing float laying is not a thing, and almost impossible to look ethereal and chill. In retrospect I clearly have came to a better understanding.

I tried a body board but with the contrasting water color...this is what we got. However you can ever so slightly see it near my elbow. But this wasn't the only photo that I couldn't successfully recreate.

As many of you know, I had an injury to my jaw about two years ago and have been on the mend since.

For those of you that dont know my battle with this ongoing chronic pain and trauma, I had a routine wisdom teeth extraction that damaged my jaw and left me with large nodules that swell and radiate to my neck and shoulders. It affects the quality of my life almost daily, where pain management and myofascial therapy are now apart of my essential regular routine. Some days my swelling is so bad, I look in the mirror and don't recognize who I see. Luckily these repercussions haven't dampered my ego too much, and I continue my hope to get back to an active, pain free life. Until then, i'll continue my journey to complete self love and acceptance.

The photo on the left is my jaw un-photoshopped. The photo on the right is my hope.

I want my symmetry back. I want the swelling and pain to go away. I don't want a jowl or jowls at 34. My face changes almost every day. Some days my nodules are minimal and others, like this day, make me feel like I don't even know the person on the left. I also couldn't duplicate the 'head stretched back/ neck focused' photo due to my inability to evenly extend my head backward. This women on the left is so foreign to me, but the women on the right is familiar. Either way i'm inspired, strong and determined to overcome this fight. My healing journey is still a chapter in my life i'm so eagerly awaiting to close.

There's more photos if you want to see the entire series.

Click the link below


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