sasha & i out on the open road… cityscape gives way to grapevine and tumbleweeds collect on orchard gateposts. a spontaneous detour off the highway, scraping gravel and chasing birds. mindful of time but just barely… and the trees, like spring soldiers, line up thrusting into bloom. sasha dances on the highway, i poke barbed wire, each spinning our own jig and then pile into the car laughing.
c-stands and sandbags, apples and threats of p,b&j. we hold out for anderson’s pea soup, a staple of this familiar journey up the 5 North to san francisco. cow-shwitz made us sad but the mountains made us bounce and we shouted ‘MOO COWS!’ to the happy ones. we celebrated the clouds, the baby sheep and lone trees in meadows.
we rolled into san fran and i put her to bed in the victorian mansion as i set up downstairs. quiet dark, quiet eerie… a twist of an antique dial behind the heavy wood door and the room comes to life. i closed the tall doors and breathed into the open space. tall ornate ceilings, velvet couches. i set to work quickly and built my playground, twisted back down the lights with stern warnings for ghosts (the ones that would later make my lights fall and keep things turned on even though they were unplugged! eeek!) i woke sasha up for a stop at our next mansion and we were off!
michael baxter was waiting outside. we have danced in the same circles as bellydance photographers for years and have never met. our friendship has been long overdue! 🙂 a small impromptu party formed with rockstars, performers and photographer friends, people i always wanted to play with in san fran but was always caught up in the mayhem of shoots. a few hours together in a house overlooking the city against torrential rain and purring cats was a purrrfect way to start my san francisco week. east bay ray from the dead kennedys showed up, aradia, juan carlos, neil (the blight), sharlene stephens and others stirred me up in such a giddy way that all i could do was skim the edges of sleep all night. 5am and i give up, bolt out of bed like a cheshire cat on fire and charge up batteries, waiting for dawn to begin the shoots.
hoopgirl allstars, venus in velvet, families, lawyers, actors, dancers and other performers… it was non-stop exhilaration and inevitable exhaustion. tristan, one of my rockstar assistants was a dream… helpful and aware, reminding me of things, seemingly reading my mind. frenzies upon frenzies! superhero bellows and quick decisions.
Lauren Rose, Venus in Velvet
two extremes were alive within me… one of brightly lit white-on-white and the other dark-moody-sultry… i existed in both but seemed to thrive more in the dark, where all is stripped away and threatening to fade, bringing shadows where once there were none… poppies and pearls of tuesday blue was a highlight… we were both privately challenging ourselves, withholding just enough to surprise each other. “live in your story…” “use the space” and a whisper to tristan about key lights and intensity.
i fall in love with most all of my models…
we create something that was not there before…
moments, light, energy…
there is a trust we meet within each other
and that gratitude feels like love.
at the end of it all, sequins and feathers lie all across the antique floor, rugs are unfurled, furniture replaced…and me, a giddy demon with secrets of plans with images tucked away for the journey home…