Usually, Graphite sessions are all about tradition and fulfilling the logical need for photos. You know, photos for your senior graduation invite, a wedding announcement, or for your grandmother's mantel. We named these types of sessions after graphite because of the purposeful uses of graphite, most often in writing utensils like pencils. In it's purposeful state, Graphite is dull and dark, but extremely useful. Necessary. If you had to choose between glitter or graphite, you'd probably choose graphite, because glitter is really just pretty, but with graphite at least you know your needs could be met, right?
But what about Graphite in it's original form? The rough, raw rock that is dark but shimmery. In it's raw form, it may not look like much. It may even look "just pretty", or maybe the opposite. Perhaps it's sharp edges would look dangerous, scaring you away. But for the brave ones, it's intriguing shimmery surface just may catch your eye, and only then would you be able to discover the beautiful purpose it can serve.
Ashley (Black hair) and Emily (blonde hair) are fashion+film students in New York where I used to attend. Every day I saw them on campus, covered in spikes and black make up. At first, they really intimidated me, but I was DYING to take their picture. Here I was in a hot pick dress with rainbow tights with a giant bow in my hair- the complete opposite of anything I'd seen them wear. For some reason I was sure that our stylistic differences meant that they wouldn't want to talk to me (so high school, I know). But somehow or another, they did, and we became friends. This is a classic story of "don't judge a book by it's cover." Once I got to know each of them, I was stunned by their talents and passion for their craft and how sweet they were to me. Ashley is so driven, taking every fashion internship she can- sometimes even three or four at once. Emily LOVES the film industry. Tim Burton is her hero. I love all of the films she has made. She never tires of what she loves to do.
I chose to call this a Graphite session because it represents the "other" side of graphite. The dangerous side. The side that may look totally unpurposeful, but if you look a little deeper, holds all the meaning in the world.
I've been staring at these photos for months. I keep trying to edit them, but every single time I did, Holy Spirit told me to wait. Ugh. I hate waiting. And Ash and Em did too, haha. But I'm glad I did, because as time went on, I began to understand why I shot this session. With normal clients, I have a fairly quick turnaround. But with fine art projects like this who are not client-oriented but are more out of my artistic expression, I sometimes have to wait for the revelation to come before I can finish.
Here's the revelation I caught: I won't always have the chance to get to know my clients (or models) the way I get to know friends, like these girls. If I hadn't gotten to know them, I never would have gotten the guts to ask to photograph them. I need to be brave. Because no matter what anyone looks like, acts like, talks like, etc, everyone deserves to be known and have their purposed discovered by others. And my way of doing that is by taking photographs of them :)
I'm glad that in 1796 German mineralogist Abraham Gottlob Werner discovered the purpose of a tiny black rock, Graphite, and changed our world forever. Remember that each day as you meet someone, you have the opportunity to discover who they are and what they believe their purpose is. These encounters can change our lives forever. Ashley & Emily, you've changed mine. Thank you.