women in art

McKenzie Steele Foster // Production Headshots


I met McKenzie on a cold December morning as we drove west to Little Sahara. There were five of us and we had exactly 40 minutes on the cold swirling sand to make portraits that supported the in-progress production of The Little Prince. The turn around and asks were direct- we needed to communicate the character relationships that made Sackerson’s “The Little Prince” the lasting and memorable telling it is. Our time limit was significant, the cold biting and our collaboration new. And we did it. McKenzie and the entire Sackerson team were focused and talented inspired by what it means to collaborate creatively.

Now, two years later, with so many beautiful stories and characters explored, McKenzie hired me to make these portraits for her. We worked at Ultraviolet Studios using the cyclorama wall, mobile walls, and a piece of really wrinkly duck cloth I flopped over our clothing rack. I love the undone messiness of it. We played a playlist we both loved, we both sang, we both laughed a bunch and talked about mutual friends, and work.

I knew little about McKenzie aside from my admiration of her as a compelling actor who communicates the nuance, puzzling intersections of life and death, discovery and searching, love and loss. She has an ability to focus the nuance of a character’s story inviting the crowd to connect with the wonderful equalizing experiences of being human.

McKenzie invests in herself. She sees her own talent and she moves forward exploring it more, growing what she loves. She regularly invests in photography to document her evolution, her change, and her growth. It was my pleasure to document her, to see and spend time getting to know a woman who knows how to channel her infinite being into characters that communicate what it means to exist.

Check out McKenzie’s work and reel HERE.

Erika

I have been photographing Erika for seven years. I have images of her hunched over a table, fiddling with petals in her early 20’s with old-soul fashion. She wore a striking white lace top tucked into something perfect.

Erika Eddington by Ashley Thalman. Woman in sunflowers.

Once we images of her precariously teetering on a wooden ladder while wearing woven wedges. Sweaty and determined we set a scene in an overgrown field, both of us pushing away stalky sunflowers, hoping the ladder would hold. We needed her high, we needed her caught in the late fertile light of September. Like yesterday I see her straw hat angled in picturesque style on her curl-topped head, surrounded by sunflowers.

We made photos on her wedding day, standing on a carpet of summer grass with perfect Claudia Dell contrapposto. She wore a classic cream dress, a peach in hand, wearing a bemused smile.

I have behind the scenes images from my Provo studio where she arranged flowers to top my Dotter’s tiny head and later atop Carol Lambert’s elderly one.

Mrs Lambert’s granddaughter hired me to photograph her purple-obsessed grandmother and I hired Erika to make floral crowns. We worked together to make images that captured Carol in her aged glory; crone, mother, maiden, girl- all the parts of a woman there and gone, rising to old age in the white-haired woman who sat regal, in flowers. Carol died a few days after that session of royal purple and flowers. We caught that image just in time.

As women and creatives, Erika and I have seen things, life has intersected over us and we’ve witnessed it together and apart; a confluence of witnessing and documenting, sharing and showing.

Erika has allowed me to chronicle her majestic life unfolding; here a little, there a little while mine unfolded unseen behind the camera. Totally comfortable and trusting, our relationship has always been fed by apertures and flowers. Each time we’ve worked together we basked, created and remembered while I attempted to understand the ethereal spaciousness of the archetypal woman in myself, in her, in Carol, in us all.

And so it is.

Here are some images from last Spring when we celebrated Erika. I hope to make photos like this again.

And so it shall be.

Published // Distance of the Moon

The benefit of collaborations are that they bloom and steady the players, benefitting subjects, creatives and the goals of the individual artists that contribute to that collaboration. Matthew Peterson (my partner in life and love) and I created these images in support of Sackerson’s latest original work, “Distance of the Moon”. “Distance of the Moon” is an adaptation of Italo Calvino’s captivating short story about a long-ago time when the moon was close, pulled the earth’s tide water treasures to its skin and attracted the most eccentric characters to its scaly surface. The original short story was adapted and creatively interpreted for Sackerson’s stage by the brilliant Morag Shepherd. Directed by Dave Mortensen.

Playing at Wasatch Theater Company through December 22nd

To read reviews and see online publications of our images see:

Medium

Utah Review

ALICIA SANFORD- LINEN VISIONARY

In addition to booking her annual family portraits this year, Alicia Sanford added an extension to document her beautiful cranberry linen creation.

I love the happy humming vibration of handmade things. Handmade and uniquely designed clothing is so rare, a dying art. The contrast of factory-fast disposable clothing makes seeing the value of one-of-a-kind pieces very obvious. This dress carries the energy of Alicia’s learning and flow. It tells the story of cut fabric, folding and pinned, of broken needles and late night frustrations, of Liberty of London details and the perfect weight for October.

Artists and their art make the world go round.