Extraordinary; a Free People photo essay. // New York Bohemian Editorial Photography

I was born an overachiever. In high school, I tried to make it cool by wearing a $40 t shirt from Abercrombie and Fitch that said, in bright blue, sparkly letters “OVERACHIEVER.” It still wasn’t cool. But now that I’m 27 (eek!), I’m beginning to think being an overachiever is somewhat cool. Or, at least stuff gets done. Life lessons are learned.

March began as my “off month” in a string of 24 months filled with weddings, portraits, fashion, and other photography projects. At some point, around March 2nd, I happened across a Free People instagram post essentially communicating that they were searching for a photographer, model, and stylist to collaborate on their June catalog. If you aren’t familiar with Free People, then just take a look through my work and my style and you get the gist. Or, check out their completely beautifully bohemian website for yourself.

Anyway. Back to the part about being an overachiever. All I really had to do to enter this open call was to submit 10 of my own images that describe what Free People is about. Now, what I actually did, was spend my off month pulling together an editorial catalog shoot that showcases what I believe the bohemian Free People lifestyle to be about.

I didn’t win. In fact, I didn’t even come close to winning. But as my life gurus Julia and Emilia like to tell me, I win life, so it doesn’t matter. I learned so much from pulling together this shoot. Losing gave me a few growing pains, but the thing about growing pains is that when they are over- you have grown, you have moved forward. And you’re stronger. You win life.

This shoot, titled “Extraordinary,” truly did extraordinary things for me personally. It taught me about directing and planning an editorial shoot. It taught me to stick to my guns about what I want and who I am as a photographer.  It taught me that I don’t want to spend my career (and my life) taking pictures that are trying to sell things to people.  I saw the bitterness in my heart (not just from losing), but that I can have towards other, seemingly successful photographers. I want to champion my friends, my colleagues, and even the photographers I follow that aren’t my friends or colleagues. The only person that anger and bitterness hurts is me.

A few days before I found out that I didn’t make finalist for the competition, I was sitting in a small business breakfast, where artist Borbay said “I wear rejection as a badge of honor.” Sure enough, that was the first thing that came to my mind when I felt the rejection. Anger followed. But in the end, I can say that I’m thankful for the rejection and the leagues I feel like it brought me forward. This project is so aptly named.

I recommend clicking below to view the catalog in it’s finished form (full screen) before scrolling down through the images below. But you know, do what you want. ; )


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