Hello Pretty is Pretty Smart

Hello Pretty is a handmade marketplace for South African designers and artisans filled with amazing stuff I wish I could buy. The site is the brainchild of Scott Hadfield and Sam Marx, who recognized a need for an Etsy-style web site catering specifically to the South African market.

The site has grown by leaps and bounds in a short amount of time, and they’ve been getting terrific exposure from local press. The latest is this short interview with Sam (click image for a larger view).

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 2.11.37 PM

The pretty in pink photo featured in the article is a portrait I took of Sam a few years ago when she was in Vancouver for a visit. You can view the original version on Flickr.

New Imaginary Girl Postcard Designs

Just in time for the Eastside Culture Crawl and Got Craft, I have a new set of postcards available for sale. I selected six images from the Imaginary Girl series of portraits I felt went well together as a small set and threw in one of my self portraits. It’s wonderful to see more of the images from this series in print.

Imaginary Girl postcards-2

There were more Imaginary Girl portraits I wanted to have as postcards but many of the photos didn’t crop well into the required dimensions, and it would’ve meant quite a bit of reworking to make them fit.

Imaginary Girl postcards

Imaginary Girl postcards-3

The set of six postcards will be available for sale at my studio next weekend during the Eastside Culture Crawl, and then at Got Craft on Sunday December 4th. I’ll also be listing them in my Etsy shop soon.

A Touch of Spring

These are the remaining portraits taken during the same photo shoot as the pink ones in my previous blog post. From the colourful wall of La Casa Gelato Sam and I wandered over to the nearby Strathcona Community garden. This was where I’d hope to shoot all along but I’m glad for the interesting sidetrack by the colour pink.

Awaiting Spring

I’m not sure what purpose is served by the round cement pool I found in one of the garden plots, but I’m guessing it’s a reflecting pool. I’m really glad I found it because it’s a great location. I shot this scene specifically with photo manipulation in mind. I wanted to create something magical and try a slightly different way of processing the image. Along the way I managed to create something that nicely references Alice in Wonderland, which was something Sam and I had talked about ages ago and I’d forgotten.

The final two shots were taken in a different part of the community garden. There wasn’t much else growing at the time because it’s been too cold, but this forsythia bush was happily putting forth it’s first flowers.

A Touch of Spring
A Touch of Spring

At the moment I don’t have anything specific in mind, but I can hardly wait to do another shoot with someone.

Pretty In Pink

When I started the Imaginary Girl series back in September 2009 I’d had in mind to shoot at least twenty-five different women for the project. But over the summer I was side-tracked by other work and the whole thing lost momentum. Only now, a good six months after the previous shoot, have I managed to photograph my twenty-fifth person.

Pretty in Pink

The subject of this portrait is Sam. She recently got married in Vegas and the vintage dress, faux fur shrug, shoes, and crinoline, make up most of the fantastic outfit she wore.

Pretty in Pink
Pretty in Pink

We did this shoot outside on a very cold day and I was really concerned about Sam freezing to death while she posed. Lucky for us the weather was saving the really harsh cold and wind until after we were done, and we just had a long-suffering walk back to my place.

This part of the photo shoot was done against the magnificent pink walls of La Casa Gelato on Venables. We were walking past and I decided to do some “warm up” shots here, because when your model is wearing a pink dress, why not add more pink? The rest of the shoot was at a more subdued location and those photos have a completely different feel. I’ll be sharing them in a separate blog post.

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink

I really found this shoot very invigorating to do. I’d been feeling insecure about my photographic work because I haven’t been doing much of it lately. Now I feel inspired again and hope to continue doing more fun and exciting portraiture in the coming months.

Yuletide Christmas Gif

I wanted to shoot a fun portrait of Boris and myself to send out as a digital Christmas card. We finally got around to doing this the other evening but I wasn’t quite happy with the results. The portrait wasn’t creative or fun enough to suit me so I decided to take seven photos from the series and make them into an animated gif. I’ve never done this before but It was really fun figuring out how to put it together in photoshop. It was relatively simple too. And now you can watch Boris and I kiss over and over and over…

The tutorial I used is for Photoshop CS3, if you want to make your own animated gif.

Two Women: Work by Kelly Haydon & Rachael Ashe

In November (which is NEXT WEEK!!!!!) I have a two person show at the Firehall Arts Centre with print maker Kelly Haydon. The show is simply called “Two Women” because it features two female artists both exploring imagery of women but in different mediums.

Underneath an imaginary sea

I am showing a selection of ten portraits from the Imaginary Girl series, and am excited to finally have more of this work in print. If you would like to attend the opening on Friday November 5th please RSVP on facebook. I would love to see you there, especially if you happen to be a subject of one of the portraits.

Two Women
–> Opening: November 5th, 6 to 8pm
Dates: November 4th to December 15th, 2010.
Firehall Arts Centre
280 East Cordova Street
Vancouver BC V6A 1L3
Viewing Hours: Wed – Sat, 1 to 5pm

Ebb and Flow of the Calm Blue Ocean

The Imaginary Girl series rises from the creative depths once again, this time with a lovely unposed portrait of Leah. When planning a photo shoot around the ocean I should’ve kept in mind how unpredictable water can be depending on the weather. Leah and I arrived at Jericho Beach to find the waves crashing against the shore and I immediately had to throw my original ideas out the window.

Ebb and Flow

What I came away with from the shoot is so much better than what I’d had in mind. Leah led the way on this one, and most of the shots I love the most are the ones that aren’t posed. She waded around in the water with very little direction from me, and I captured what I could with the camera.

Ebb and Flow

Calm Blue Ocean

This is the twenty-fourth portrait in the series, and I’m considering moving onto something else after the twenty-fifth. I want to continue working on portraiture in some way, either as a weekly goal or maybe a series featuring men instead of women. I’ve been working on the Imaginary Girl series for a full year now and it’s time to switch things up.

Paper Lanterns

Paper Lanterns

It felt difficult to return to the portraits after a month long break, but I love these shots of Krista and the paper lanterns. They make me happy because they’re so wonderful and colourful.

Paper Lanterns

I decided to experiment with processing the series in different ways and played around with a set of Photoshop actions I found on the internet. I’ve never really used Actions before because they lend themselves more to batch processing and I don’t really do much of that. I still had to do a considerable amount of tweaking.


I added a texture to the final shot I worked on last week. In some ways it suits the photo but I think the texture isn’t subtle enough and distracts from the shot. I may redo this one a bit.


This is the twenty-third portrait in the Imaginary Girl series. My original goal was the create twenty-five of them but I may keep going past that number.



I shot this portrait of Stephanie at the beginning of June and as of the beginning of July it will be in a group show at Gallery Gachet along with the portrait I took of Jess. (How’s that for putting new work to work.) This was taken on Granville Island with the giant leaves of a Gunera plant as the backdrop, and Alice in Wonderland as the inspiration.


June has not been a productive month for working on the portrait series because I’ve had other projects I’ve needed to concentrate on. There are numerous artists calls with summer deadlines coming up and it’ll mean more shows in the future if my work gets accepted. (Fingers crossed!)

The Red Balloons

I have used balloons once before in a photo shoot, with Siobhan in the studio back in November. I decided I wanted to use balloons again as a prop, this time with Eagranie as the model and with balloons of a different colour. Oh how I do love red!

Eagranie and the red balloons

From this shoot I learned that photographing balloons outside when it’s windy is like trying to photograph an uncooperative monkey that can’t stay still. Other than the tricky breezes, the weather was perfect with a lovely blue sky and fluffy clouds as a backdrop. I count these portraits among my favorites of the whole series (so far).