Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley

I downed an extra allergy tablet this morning as I nervously prepared for my trek into unfiltered, untouched nature with Lily. We were heading into hills that were quite literally glowing as sunlight sifted through long grass and wildflowers. The pastures carpeting the hills were nearly fluorescent, a dramatic change from the brown of a few weeks prior. Driving from peak to valley, we were submerged first in dappled light and then blue shade. Among the shafts of light filtering through the trees, I could see a haze of pollen patiently waiting to suffocate me once we emerged from our car’s filtered air.

A few deep breaths to acquaint myself with the dewy air. Silk, pleated chiffon, and sheer blouses in hand, we entered nature’s territory.

Lily is an enigmatic person. She speaks softly, her words tangling together like poetry. These delicate tangles cascade from her orange hair, woven through with strands of blonde. I see a child of nature in her, naked and transparent in her movements. We climbed trees, found our reflections in a lake teeming with tadpoles and frogs, and explored—both through our senses and my lens.

Our shoot embodied something more tender and intimate than what I normally experience. As I shot her, I wasn’t looking for angles that accentuated her bone structure or transformed her into some epitomized character. Instead, I was looking to capture the emotion that she let flow unrestrained between herself, nature, and my lens. We resulted in photos that unashamedly celebrate her beauty—in this case a natural and imperfect one, something seldom portrayed in my regular practice. I'm a bit confused by the result of our adventure but very content in the direction we took. We'll see where this takes me.