Stephanie West is the talent behind Blackbird Photography out of Salt Lake City, UT. She recently posted a storytelling session she created based on an emotional life experience of one of her very close friends. The images reflect heartbreak and deep loss. Her use of soft flat light with only a hint of sunshine peeking through a few, and the muted matte photo processing helps tell the emotive story. Below, Stephanie shares the Michelle Kane actions she used to process this photo series.
Here’s the backstory to this collection of images according to Stephanie:
“About 3 or so years ago one of my very, very best friends received news she had cancer. She recovered and celebrated when she had been clean from all cancer for a year. Then, something unspeakable happened about a year and a half later… Her husband died in a car crash. It was devastating. I flew out to be with her and was in awe of how she handled herself. She is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever known, always has been, and this just proved that even more.
A few months ago I asked my sister-in-law’s friend if she would model for me. I wanted to tell a story through photographs about how my friend might have been feeling and maybe still feels about it all. I spoke with her and she said the idea I had was pretty accurate, so I proceeded with the project.
My friend was always so calm, so positive, so faithful about the whole situation. I know that she wasn’t ALWAYS like that, but that’s how it seemed on the outside. I knew inside, she must have felt anger sometimes. That’s what I wanted to create in this project. I wanted to show the outside of this person (my friend, me, you, anyone going through something awful) acting calm, putting on a smile, contemplating about life, wondering when the pain will go away, but never asking out loud. And then showing what might actually be going on on the inside. Anger, frustration, defeat, hate, aching, hurt, abandonment… being scared.”
Photographer: Blackbird Photography
Website: Blackbird Photography
Facebook: Blackbird Photography
I am based out of Salt Lake City, UT. I have been in business for a little over 3 years and specialize in families, kids, and I’m trying to do more fashion shoots. I LOVE Michelle’s actions. Honestly, I have bought so many different actions and they were all such a waste of money! Michelle’s actions are so versatile and so unique. They’re perfect for any style of photographer. You can get really high contrast photos or very calm, natural photos. Twenty different people could use the exact same action and get 20 different looks. AMAZING. My main, go-to actions are Bamboo (I have 4 different revised versions I made for that particular action), Flawless Face, Angelica and my newest favorite, especially for babies, is Myrtle. I also love her Matte Haze in the HeART & Soul Collection. I used that a lot in these particular photos due to how emotional it was. See? I could go on and on. The more I write the more I remember how many more actions I love!”—Stephanie
If you enjoyed Stephanie’s feature, please leave her some encouragement in the comments below.
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