Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Raven Le Faye, Friend, Model, California, States, October, 2010

During my time in California, the weather seems to be acting outside the routine. For consecutive days, clouds seem to be the normal and rain as well. With this in mind and the forecast as well, messages are sent to the remaining models both in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The idea is to switch the days because the weather pattern seems to favor San Francisco for the remainder of the week and Los Angeles for the weekend. All but one model are unable to change their schedules however and it seems prudent to cancel my visit to San Francisco while remaining in Los Angeles for the remainder of my time.

Then Raven sends a message to me, one that includes an honest request to include her in my photography. In this message, she takes the time to include images of her wardrobe labeled for my review, with her wearing many of the pieces providing a fuller idea of the presentation. The effort involved in doing so makes a deep impression on me.

My plane departs on Tuesday and our plan is to meet on Monday. A session is planned in Los Angeles on Sunday as well. With Raven's most genuine message in mind, a decision is made to photograph on Sunday, drive halfway up to San Francisco during the night and finish the drive in the morning on Monday. We agree and then plan to meet in a park recommended to me by some friends.

Sleeping on the side of the road for the sake of brevity, the morning's drive proceeds quickly. The path up the mountain is quite difficult making me feel a little sorry for having Raven do the same. She arrives on time and we both realize that the location is a poor one, both in terms of light and temperature. Instead of a negative reaction, she agrees to drive down the mountain for a better location.

She of course cannot read my mind and follows me on the highway once we reach the bottom of the mountain. Driving and looking for a place to photograph on California's highways might be a very poor combination of tasks but one that is finally accomplished. We find a building with perfect white walls and black asphalt pavement. The corporate building is filled with employees but the walls that interest us both face the sun and are at the back. With the exception of a security camera, nobody bothers us during our session.

We speak for a few minutes and get ready. After a few exposures, it seems to me that perhaps Raven will have a hard time keeping her eyes open with the strong sun. She tries quite hard but seemingly cannot do so. While this saddens me, it seems unreasonable to continue making images with strained facial features and an abrupt decision is made by me to end our session and perhaps head down to Los Angeles early for my flight tomorrow.

Seeing the quickness of my decision as perhaps unnecessary, Raven comes forward and with the most gentle of tones opens a conversation with me. She explains to me her reasons and asks for us to try again. This is deeply touching and we decide to try one more roll of film. Needless to write, she stands anew in front of the camera and shows me a side of her yet to be seen.

She is incredible and continues to be incredible for the next three hours. We expose roll after roll of film in the spirit of the moment and end the afternoon exhausted and exhilarated. Only in my overseas experiences has a last day proven to be so productive, so creative.

We bid each other farewell and I head down to Los Angeles for my flight the next day.

You may see more of Raven's work below.

Raven Le Faye

halim.ina@gmail.com
Halim Ina Photography