Through the Window

Since I was a young boy, I have always had a vision of a world that few others could see. There was always a place for heroes from ages of old slaying dragons and saving the kingdom as I played outside. As I grew older, the dragons became depression and anxiety, which were not as easily slain. The mighty heroes gave way to just trying to make it through the days and the kingdom shrunk and withered away. For so many years, the thoughts and dreams of another world and life were locked away. Then, as luck would have it, I started a journey into photography, and my camera became a way for me to see into the world I thought was lost years before.

It took several years of classes and learning before I felt confident enough to share my ideas with others. You see, I have an entire world inside my mind that I want to get out of my head and be able to physically see it. There were definitely challenges, such as understanding lighting, that hindered me on the journey, and I still don’t understand a lot of the lighting. I know enough to get the images I want so even if only for a short time, this wonderful world comes alive in front of me, and the camera is the window to do that.

Each image is meant to capture the strength, bravery, and beliefs that I believed in as a child. It was a fantasy world that could not truly exist in today’s world, but it can exist for a short span of time during the planning and the photo-session. The camera and lens open a small portal into a vision of many colorful and inspiring stories. Characters from mythology and fantasy can come alive for a brief moment. There is always a feeling of disappointment when the sessions are done because the end had to come. As does everything, it ended too soon, but there will always be a new story to tell. There will always be that secret world some of us yearn to be a part of. A world that is rife with heroes and devils, where a person’s character was defined to others by their valor and integrity.

My camera allows me to see into that world once in a while, and for a short time I can be a part of that.

Fun With A Camera: Teaching Kids Photography

In today’s world, our kids are preoccupied with television and video games, finding things that can hold their interest may be a challenge. Something as complicated as the art of photography seems like a daunting task to begin teaching them, but there are ways to make it fun and entertaining. Forget explaining the technical aspects otherwise they will get bored and not pursue it further. It must be fun for them, so here are a few ideas to get started with it.

Break out some of their toys and work with some forced perspective ideas. This will show them how to use angles and focusing to achieve various effects and illusions. It will make them slow down and think more in depth about each shot they take in addition to showing them what the aperture part of exposure is for.

My daughter learning about Depth of Field

Taken by my wife

A photo scavenger hunt is a great way to teach creative thinking and seeing things more like a camera does. Pick a color or a letter of the alphabet for them, then send them out to find items that match the color or letter you chose for them. There are a lot of possibilities with this and it can be done in a park or in your own home.

A trip to the zoo could be the perfect foundation to start teaching how to hold the camera, composition, and subject matter. Ask them to write a short article about their trip to the zoo and add the images they took to it. Kids will be more observant of more details if it is for a purpose they can understand and enjoy.

Open a dictionary and pick out several words for them to build a visual. This can be fun as well as educational, teaching creative thinking and to use their imagination to see things in different ways. Kids will learn to look at things around them in ways they never have before.

While doing all of the above, you can use different settings on the camera and give them a simplified explanation on what they do. No kid cares or wants to listen to a bunch of technical jargon, so keep it simple for now. There is plenty of time for that once they have a good foundation to build on.

If you know of more ideas, please share them in the comments.

Model Interview: Ari



• How did you decide that you wanted to get into modeling?

Modeling was actually an accidental passion for me. I originally stood on the other side of the camera, doing fashion design and hair/make up. My senior year of high school, our fashion design class was required to organize, design, promote, and walk in a runway show in front of the whole school, as well as recruiters from local agencies. After the show, I was approached by a representative for Hoffman International who simply wouldn’t take no for an answer. And from that moment on, I made modeling the focus of my fashion career.

• How would you describe your modeling style?

I REALLY despise this terminology, but I guess most would consider me an “alternative” model. However, I like to think I’m just “me”. I don’t think I really fit into a single specified category.

• What is it about modeling that you find fun and rewarding?

Modeling, for me, is a chance to escape the stress of day to day life. It’s a reason to get all dolled up, wear things you normally wouldn’t, and get lost in the moment. It’s like when you were a little girl playing dress up, only the photographic evidence isn’t something embarrassing that you hid in a box somewhere in hopes that it’d never resurface. It’s a confidence boost; something you can be proud of. And if you can use that to send a positive message or spark inspiration, than it’s just that much better.

• Do you have any advice for other aspiring models?

Screw mainstream media. You are beautiful, and you are REAL. Who says “fat” is synonymous with ugly? Or skinny with beauty? Be you. Be healthy. And NEVER let the fun slip away.

• Is there anything you would like to add?

I’d just like to say how SUPREMELY lucky I am to be a part of such an amazing group of men and women. I’ve never in my life met such strong, confident, KIND people as I have with Cross N Clove. Those I’ve been lucky enough to get to know, have only continued to surprise me. We’ve all been through some really tough things, but these models, designers, MUA/FX have overcome their pasts, harnessed their tribulations in their art, and managed to remain unhardened and optimistic. Seriously, best tog group ever!

Tanja Lippert – Photographer of the Week

Definitely a photographer to admire

Photofocus (old site)

TanjaLippertHaving been a model for ten years, she carries a talent and useful connection with her fashion and bridal subjects that many other photographers don’t necessarily possess.  When watching her shoot in person, she is animated, energetic, emotive and passionate which evokes beautiful emotions out of her portraits.  And through our ever changing industry, she’s been loyal to her analog process the entirety of her career.  Meet all-film fashion, commercial and wedding photographer, Tanja Lippert.   

Starting out in 2001 and residing in Bay Area, Tanja is a 100% film photographer.  When watching Tanja shoot in person, there is no doubt she has a passion and deep commitment to her craft.  She not only is a talent behind the camera but many of her brides and commercial shoots are styled by her as well.  Her creativity and world travel is usually filled with spontaneity and as she says it…

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Words Hurt: Chelsea

Chelsea’s “Words Hurt” was one I know was very personal for her. We’ve talked some before about the challenges she has faced. As for my thoughts, she has proven herself quite tough, creative, and willing to do what she needs to. She’s a survivor as are all of the women in this project.

Idea and director: Breezy Hunt

MUA & Writing:
Mary Anderson Armstrong
Beverly Cadue
Angie Hall

Model: Chelsea

Photographer: Cross & Clove Photography


“Words can hurt, because, unlike physical wounds, words attack a person’s mind and heart. Growing up as a lesbian at a conservative Christian high school, I have learned the power of words. Whether words are said directly, or indirectly, words can be just as deadly as a gun, or a knife. So, be careful what you say.” -Chelsea



For Better Images, Follow the Light

Nature's Best :: Don Smith Photography

One of the earliest guiding principles I have adhered to over the years is “find the light.!”

Sounds simple enough, but every now and then I have to remind myself. I rarely go out with my camera thinking subject. I’m always chasing light. My “subject” becomes whatever is nearby once I find my light.

Galen Rowell talked often about this guiding principle. Wish I could say I made it up but definitely not the case; however, I do follow it everytime I am out with my camera.

This image that accompanies this blog was created on an afternoon where I was just driving around the beautiful countryside where I live and following the light.

It was late-afternoon and the green hills contrasted nicely with the storm clouds. I decided to drive to an area where there are lots of vineyards.

Shortly after arriving, these beautiful crepuscular rays started emanating from…

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