When I first moved to Los Angeles it struck me, what people considered, “beautiful”. Everyone wanting to take away their own uniqueness, to become some universal sense of “beauty”. Always younger, bigger lips, bigger eyes, bigger breasts, smaller nose, straighter hair, thinner build, but these attributes that didn’t necessarily fit their own body; like playing Mr. Potato Head for adults. How odd it seemed, that in a town of dreams (that you’d be the one to stand out in millions of dreamers) you’d want to strip yourself of your unique look, gift, perspective and become someone else, conformed, to fit into a category. What is this really all about? Beauty to me lies in how pure your spirit is, how much you own your journey, who you are, all of it. We judge and fix with age, when we should embrace and become the best version of the potential of who we can be, with our own unique life story, put in this body, at this time in history, with the experiences that have shaped our perspective.
Life lessons to learn from youth and animals: there’s a true artist in every human, the ability to be truly present, unbridled emotion, uninhibited imagination and endless energy. There’s an art to the state of being present in the here and now, owning each moment and who you are- the good, the bad, and the ugly. Being grounded comes from embracing everything. There’s a universal connection to the humanity that is shown in tiny humans and mammals: why do people get plastic surgery, read books, watch movies; why does a youtube video of a cat hugging another cat get 44 million hits? It touches something so raw and universal; it recaptures the state of mind of when we were “young” and just inherently believed in the good in humanity and having not yet learned the concept of being accepted.
This shoot made my inner child want to dance. Always forewarned, almost comically, its been said ”Never work with children or animals”. How about both? Nothing can be more honest than the purity of spirit I got to soak up on this shoot. Welcome to Narnia, where magically, animals talk, beauty is effortless, joy is endless and imagination can run rampant. Aren’t they just a little vessel bottling in an explosion of possibility, love, curiosity and experience? Children at play are in a constant state of “yes”, an investment in observing with all of their senses. People go to acting school to reteach themselves to be that free again, be that honest and be truly in their own body. Here’s how I feel about the lessons learned from the timeless Joann, Lily, Ever, and Monty.