A Barefoot Girl in a Misty Wood

May 2021

I have always loved moody days: being inside during an intense rainstorm with plenty of thunder and lightening, being in the mountains or hills as gusts of wind whip your hair this way and that, or going on a walk through atmospheric fog. Something about these kinds of days feels uniquely melancholy, and induce within me some mood of reflective thoughtfulness.  For quite some time I had wanted to do a photo session to try and convey this beautiful state of being.

When Xabine originally reached out to me saying she would love to model for me, I was thrilled at the prospect of doing photos with someone new. She contacted me in early Spring, and I immediately knew I wanted to try shooting at a hiking trail near house that runs along a ridge-line is is frequently shrouded with fog.  

After devising a plan for the shoot, and sending on some of my thoughts to Xabine, almost a month went by waiting for a day when it seemed like it would be foggy on the ridge and we were both available. Just as I began thinking this shoot idea might be better suited to the Autumn, we had a Spring cool spell come and I sent a message to Xabine asking if she was available to meet up the following late afternoon. Things finally aligned, and the next day we were meeting at the trail ready to set off on the deliciously foggy path through the forest.

Xabine was a true joy to be working with and taking photos of. In the foggy forest, her deep brown hair, fair skin, and gentle curves in this silky green dress (which was a wonderful thrift store find) all felt like they fell perfectly into place. Xabine was immediately ready to take off her shoes and embrace being a forest-child. We quickly found a rhythm of me giving directions for Xabine to follow, but her also moving in ways that felt natural. This was also the first shoot where I used props directly in the photos––I brought with me from home a wooden chair, some flowers, and some old poetry books. Some worked better than others (as you can tell from the lack of photos here incorporating books!), but it was a fun new learning curve, and I am very happy in particular with how the chair gave some new opportunities for form in the photos.

“Lost in the forest, I broke off a dark twig
and lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips:
maybe it was the voice of the rain crying,
a cracked bell, or a torn heart.

Something from far off it seemed
deep and secret to me, hidden by the earth,
a shout muffled by huge autumns,
by the moist half-open darkness of the leaves.

Wakening from the dreaming forest there, the hazel-sprig
sang under my tongue, its drifting fragrance
climbed up through my conscious mind

as if suddenly the roots I had left behind
cried out to me, the land I had lost with my childhood—
and I stopped, wounded by the wandering scent.”

Pablo Neruda