I often get asked about where I live because from my photos, surely I must reside in some quaint picturesque fairytale village lol! A village full of charming vintage homes, magnificent architecture and fields of florals as far as the eye can see…when in fact, it’s quite the opposite. What’s my secret? I changed my perspective and started finding beauty in the everyday.
Eliza J Dress c/o (currently 40% off!) | Eliza J Scarf c/o (similar here) | Castaner Espadrilles | Woven Bag (similar here) | Rocksbox Ring
I grew up in a very small town where everyone knew everyone (and everyone’s business lol!). It was endearing in a way but I never really felt like I belonged and always had dreams of living elsewhere (even if I didn’t know where elsewhere was). At 19, we moved to the city that I live in now and while I briefly lived elsewhere for a bit, the majority of my adult has been spent here… but I have never felt that this was my home and in a strange way, I also never felt like my hometown was truly my home either.
It’s a big city that feels like a small town and over the years, I began to resent living here. The air pollution is amongst the worst in the nation and as a result, I developed severe allergies that I need daily medication for, the summer is awful with temperatures over 100 degrees for nearly six months out of the year and honestly, it’s not “pretty” in the traditional sense. BUT the sunsets are out of this world beautiful, it’s close to a lot of places that we like to travel to making day trips a breeze and it has a rich history – it’s a city made famous by the career of Buck Owens, the birth place of Merle Haggard and is known as the country music capital of the west coast. And as one of the nation’s leading agricultural hubs, a lot of the produce, nuts and dairy that you eat likely comes from here (along with roses AND oil!).
It’s a city located in the middle of nowhere and it’s not fashion forward by any means (I definitely stick out with my “princess” wardrobe lol!). Finding locations to match my aesthetic and style has been quite the challenge. I’ve always dreamt of shooting my outfits in beautiful, extravagant locations and I always envied people that lived in places like LA and New York, where the photo ops are endless and fitting for any style. But then I started getting messages alllll the time from local (and non-local) followers asking where I find these dreamy locations? They are always so surprised to find that they are actually right here….in our desert town full of tumbleweeds.
The interesting thing is that most people see things for what they are. They see old buildings, dirt fields and tagged alleyways. On the contrary, I’ve always seen things for what they could be. Maybe it’s the artist in me, but I always see beauty, opportunity and a creative challenge in things that aren’t universally “beautiful.” It’s about changing your perception. I feel like in order to truly have an appreciation for something, you have to see it from a different perspective.
With this lightbulb moment came excitement, inspiration and a surge of newfound creativity. My husband and I started driving around to see what we could find that might work with my very specific feminine aesthetic. If it didn’t exist, we tried to create it. If it didn’t work, we tried from a different angle. If it wasn’t quite right, we walked around the corner to find a new hidden gem. In fact, the photos in this post were taken in a location that we found purely by accident.
We’ve been going for a lot of drives lately trying to soak every bit of spring and while on our drive last night, I headed toward the hills in search of wildflowers. We didn’t find what we were looking for but instead found a plethora of gorgeous green rolling hills. We were both astonished by how pretty it was (and only a short drive from town)! On the way back, the green hills started to fade and in a last minute effort to shoot my outfit, we stopped on the side of the road just as the sun set. At first I wasn’t so sure about the location. It wasn’t what I had envisioned and I didn’t think it was right for the outfit so I started doubting myself (like many of us do), but I’m happy to say that I was wrong.
I know that many of you feel the same way and that you share these same struggles when it comes to shooting. You might live in the middle of nowhere in a place that isn’t traditionally “beautiful” and think that just because you don’t live in a big city or well-known place or stunningly gorgeous location, that your photos are less than. It’s just not true. I think that a lot of it comes down to mindset. Sure, if you are in gorgeous location, you will have no problem getting stunning photos but I think that it takes much more skill, ingenuity and creativity to create beautiful imagery in a place that isn’t considered beautiful. When you change your mindset and start to see things in a different way, you can create magic. I know first hand that this is something a lot of you struggle with (myself included) and that you might feel “stuck” but I want to encourage you to explore your city from a completely different point of view, change your perspective on things and start finding beauty in the everyday. <3
Is this something you’ve struggled with? How are you finding beauty in the everyday?
Let me know your thoughts!
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