Celebrating Women - International Woman's Day

What started as a way to recover and escape from horrific abuse has, in the past ten years, blossomed into a career I could never have imagined. 

I spent the first two years learning how to properly work a camera, how to really develop film professionally, and training "my eye". Where I was, at the time, hosted a sporting event almost every week - so from late 2007 to 2008 I focused my camera on soccer and tennis teams, the cheer squad and dance performances. It's where I learned to focus on movement and train myself to click for "the right shot". In my free time I'd wander out to focus on the nature around me. It taught me how to quiet my mind enough to focus on the task at hand. Skills, I'd later learn, that would be immensily helpful for the work I do now.

In my freshman year of college (2010), I decided that perhaps it was time to focus on people. Nature was beautiful - but too still, sports bored me and I wanted something more. Something that would give me more connection to those around me, and perhaps even, give me a purpose. I began the slow, yet official, transfer to portrait and fashion photography.

In the past eight years, with the explosion of social media, I have been able to reach out and work with some INCREDIBLE people. I never got to tell my story in the way I needed to in 2007, so I have worked really hard to be able to tell other people's stories; to capture their souls and passion and to really see them the way I'd hope someone would eventually see me. 

Those featured here today are not nearly all the women I know, nor have photographed, but everyone I've worked with has a profound story to tell and goal to achieve. I've been incredibly honored to work with all of them and even more touched to be able to call some of them friends.


 Copyright © Josefina Photography 2012-2018

Copyright © Josefina Photography 2012-2018

Dr. Carla Johnson

I "met" Dr. Carla Johnson through the art website known as DeviantArt, right when I started photography in 2010.

At the time, she was a well known figure model with photos in several galleries throughout the world. My favorite work with her, was that by AJ Kahn (an absolutely fabulous figure photographer) and we ended up co-moderating one of the art groups on that site. That lead to a strong working relationship and in 2012, I ventured out to Michigan to photograph her. This image, was from our very first shoot (updated in 2015) and still is one that I go to when I think of "Carla". Something about her look matches her great wisdom that comes from years of her years of teaching, writing and immersion within art.

She has been a longtime mentor, friend, and supporter of my career as a whole. I would not be be where I am today, photography wise, without her guidance and support. She was one of the first to give me a real shot with portraits, fashion and art nude model photography.


 Copyright © Josefina Photography 2015-2018

Copyright © Josefina Photography 2015-2018

Diane Gaidry

I was fortunate enough to meet Diane in the very end of 2013, and once again, thanks to social media, that connection was made possible. Over the past 5.5 years she has been my life-coach, a major support throughout my academic career, and the reason I came out of another (unfortunate) abusive situation - alive. She has gone above and beyond for me in so many ways, and I'm incredibly fortunate to have had her in my world for so long. The portraits that I got to take of Diane, were incredibly special because they captured who she is to a T. She is a beautiful soul and the living definition of "love and light".

To the outside world, you may recognize her name, as Diane has been an actress for most of her life - have starred both in big films and on the stage. Her attention to detail and the human emotion has been incredibly powerful, both onscreen and in person, as a coach. She understands the human connection in ways that many don't.

Probably best known for her role as Simone Bradley in the 2006 film, Loving Annabelle, she has also starred with the hit TV series, Medium, in the film, The Dogwalker which won Best First Feature at Cinequest, and in the film "America So Beautiful" which was [theatrically] released in Paris.

Today Diane does most of her acting with the theatre company, Torn Space Theatre - in Buffalo, New York, with which I have seen several performances. I'm forever grateful for her connection, for her support, and the incredible impact that she's had on my life. 

In January of this year she was diagnosed with breast cancer and while recovering, still needs active treatment. It would mean the world to me if you could help support her in this fight. Thank you. 


 Copyright © Josefina Photography 2017-2018

Copyright © Josefina Photography 2017-2018

Dr. Bonnie Cutsforth-Huber

A brilliant contralto, with a well-known Professional Classical Singing career, and an unbelievably wonderful professor, Dr. Bonnie Cutsforth-Huber is an absolute life-force.

When I returned to the East Coast in the beginning of 2013, from a half-a-year stay in Los Angeles, I had finally decided what I wanted to get degrees in. I would return to Psychology, which is how I started school in 2010, but I also wanted to add something with music. I reached out to the vocal instructor on campus and shortly after, my second major of Integrative Arts - focus in Vocal Performance - was added to my academic schedule. Since 2013, Dr. Bonnie Cutsforth-Huber has helped train my voice in operatic, classical, and musical theatre styles, with our most recent focus in Jazz. (I'll be performing "My Funny Valentine" and "Fly Me To the Moon", as well as a musical theatre duet with her in May). I also took the opportunity and joined her Chamber Singer's Choir, Ivyside Pride.

She, herself though, is a living legend. Dr. Cutsforth-Huber, fondly known to her students as, Doc, is a Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia survivor. Having that illness has been something she's bravely fought through and has very worked hard to overcome. Throughout her battles and in rebuilding her voice and the very way her body moves and reacts to what's around her, she has managed to take her students to Vienna, Austria in 2013 for a Christmas performance of The Birth of Christ - at the St. Stephen's Cathedral; and twice to New York City, once to Avery Fisher Hall - Lincoln Center for Maurice Durufle's Requiem in 2014, and again in 2017 to Carnegie Hall for Mozart's Requiem - both with New York City Chamber Orchestra. And right in the thick of it all, a 2015 home-based performance of Carmina Burana. Every semester she seems to find a way to out-do herself, all while being a mother, a wife, a professor and keeping up with her world-travel based performances. She goes above and beyond for all her students and I've been beyond blessed to learn from her and meet with her weekly, for lessons, for the past 5 years. She is a treasure. 

"Like many people who suffer from Chiari, it took many years for my condition to be diagnosed; in fact, by the time I was diagnosed, my life was in peril. My journey to reclaim my life has been full of twists and turns. I have endured two brain surgeries and several other surgeries on my spine. I have endured countless hours of physical therapy. I have had to rebuild my voice from square one. But despite all of the obstacles, I have won back my life, I have won back my voice, and the fact that I am on this earth doing what I was born to do is a testament to the fact that the power of the human spirit in all of us should never be underestimated." ~ Dr. Bonnie Cutsforth-Huber

 Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016-2018

Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016-2018

Nina Hartley

Many of you might recognize the name Nina from her decades-long career in Adult Entertainment, which is fair, but to me she is so much more than that identity. She's a powerful woman whose wisdom and words have helped me find even more purpose in my work/career. 

In the summer of 2015, someone sent me a photo of Nina, claiming that she looked just like one of the models I had previously worked with. While that part was true, it wasn't the case as I had I only ever heard of Nina maybe twice prior (I lived under a rock until high school 😂). I was, however, intrigued. There was something about her that I wanted to capture through a lens and I felt like she'd be someone interesting to know. So, when the opportunity presented itself via Twitter (thank you, again, social media), I took the risk and called her. That, in turn, lead to meeting her on the Gettysburg College Campus for a speech that she was giving there, two and half months later, and a full shoot for her birthday in March of 2016. (You can read the full story about that shoot here.)

Since then, I've seen and worked with her a few more times, each time more wonderful than the last. Her infinite wisdom and beautiful outlook on life has helped me re-define some of my portrait work - which you can really see take shape between 2016 and current work now. While I have always worked towards telling stories and capturing someone's very essence, the concept didn't totally click into my work, completely, until our 2016 shoot. Every shoot that I've been on, since, has been more magical and has lead to better images, better stories and beautiful friendships. Nina has been an incredible friend, a wonderful supporter of my career and has gone out of her way to put me in touch with other incredible people, who I'm also proud to call friends.  

Nina, while probably best known for her career within Adult Entertainment, was also one of the first actresses to cross-over into mainstream film, having a role in Boogie Nights as "Little" Bill's wife, and was featured in Tupak's music video How Do U Want It? If you Google her now, you can also find the tremendous number of sex-positive interviews that she's done, including a recent-ish one with As/Is. [Link is SFW].


 Copyright © Josefina Photography 2018

Copyright © Josefina Photography 2018

Honorable Judge, Rosemarie Aquilina

Hon. Rosemarie Aquilina is a one-of-a-kind powerful woman and a new person in my life. But in a very short time, she has already done so much. 

Though I've had instances of abuse all throughout my teenage years and well into my early twenties, I was never really given the chance to be believed by someone "in power." Those who had been in power had either done nothing, or chose to do what they had too to "shut me up." I, for the longest time, didn't feel like I had a voice that could be heard. I still used it, I still tried, and especially in the past two years have really been fighting, vocally, for a change in how women are believed. When the god-awful Nassar case went global, and I saw someone, at the top of the justice system, listening, truly listening, to the stories of the survivors and encouraging them to speak, giving them space to be heard and to start healing, I realized that perhaps too, healing for me could be possible. 

I found her on Twitter, followed her, and went to bed, thinking nothing more than "thank god, for this woman and what she's just done for women everywhere." I woke up half-way through the night (unusual for me), to see that she had followed me back. I damn near fell off my bed. I sent a message of thanks, first. Just thanking her for the goodness that she had just provided the world, how wonderful it was to see someone of her stature be able to speak so kindly to the survivors and the genuine support she seemed to have for all those in a similar situation. One message lead to another, which turned into a conversation, which in a short time, lead to one of the most touching photoshoots I've ever been on.

Meeting Rosemarie in person, was further validation that somehow things were going to be alright. She asked how I got started in photography, and as painful as it has been for me to accept, I told her the truth - my career began as a coping mechanism for rape. How I didn't break down in a total flood of tears, I will never know. But she listened to my story with patience and genuine kindness. And for once, in my decade long recovery, I felt truly seen and heard. Rosemarie has an absolute heart of gold and is just as beautiful on the inside as she is out. I took time to listen to her stories and get to know her a little bit, so that I could create portraits that reflected everything wonderful about her. In the few months that we've known of/known each other, she's been incredibly supportive and I cannot thank her enough for creating the time and the opportunity for me to work with her. 

For those who don't know her yet, Rosemarie is a real-life Wonder Woman. She teaches as an adjunct professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, as well as at Michigan State University School of Law. She was Michigan's first female JAG Officer, she's a mother, a fierce advocate for women being heard, and an author! She's recently published her second novel, Triple Cross Killer, which is the start to a new Crime Series. Her talent as a story teller is remarkable, both in person and on paper. And if you're interested, you can pick up a copy of the book here


Other Beautiful Women In My Life:

Molly - A definite best friend for life, she came at a time in abuse where I wasn't really "allowed to have friends". She helped keep me grounded, when I didn't think that was possible, and has encouraged almost every artist endeavor I've ever desired. She's been an absolute blessing of person, and I cannot wait to see her succeed in her own law career. 

Marina - My best friend of 20 years - an absolutely beautiful soul who has your back no matter what. When we first met, in Brownie Scouts, I don't think either our parents truly believed the friendship would last this long, but here we are. Always supportive of my career, and I her's, here's to 60+ more years of friendship! *raises toast glass*

Samantha - My best friend of 8 years, and one of my first photography assistants, is a talented writer and gifted crafter. Watching her blossom into the beautiful person she is today, has been an honor and I'm forever thankful that we were placed in the same dorm hall. A fierce advocate for women's rights and freedom, she's everything you could ever want in a best friend. She's watched my portrait career from the start and has been the person to hold my life together whenever I'm away. Forever grateful.

Jess - Another best friend of 8 years, has truly been there through thick and thin and I'm so thankful for her friendship and her willingness to go on adventures with me. I'm so proud of the woman you've become.

Annette - My best friend of almost 6 years, is a super gifted pianist and talented singer (think Amy Winehouse emotive). She, along with most mentioned here has been a prominent help in my healing. Her kindness, support, and fierce friendship will forever be appreciated. 

Ashley - Another definite best friend for life, is a fantastic actress with an incredible memory that can recite lines from damn near every movie she's ever seen. Her humor and support have also been prominent in my healing and I'm forever thankful to have friends like her, who have my back. 

Dr. Sandra LaMorgese - A recent friend who has been an incredible life-force. She has brought me a lot of good, both to my career and in my personal life and I'm forever thankful for the career surprises that have been coming my way. To learn more about her journey, you can read her brand new, Women's Day Interview

Caroline - (not pictured) - My best friend of 18 years, is a super talented screen-writer and forever friend. She met me shortly before my mother died and, we became fast friends. Through we've both traveled extensively, and have never remained in the same place for long, we've always found a way to communicate and see one another. From little girls who grew up playing "princess" to us both having careers in entertainment has been quite the change to watch, laugh and I'm sure - in the future - write about. 

I'm so thankful for everyone's friendships, both new and old. I love learning and being friends with those who I am friends with, have taught me a lot of lessons over the years. You are all wonderful. 


To all the other beautiful women that I have worked with, know, sing with, attend classes with, etc., I'm truly grateful for your support, your words, your laughter, your friendships, you guidance and your teachings. It is so, so, so, important that women support one another, because that's how change is made. You are all blessings. 

Happy International Women's Day! 


***

Please note that all images on this website and within this blog are copyrighted by me unless otherwise stated. Please do not edit, crop, manipulate, attempt to remove my watermark, transmit, copy, sell or reproduce any of these photos in any form. Sharing these images without proper credit and using them without permission is punishable by law

Please respect the artists involved. Thank you. 

The Magic of NYC, New Beginnings and Words from Vogue's Pierre Scherman

The entirety of this year was one big WTF. Overall, 2017 has been an absolute shit-show for almost everyone I know, and just when one thought things couldn't get any worse, they somehow did. For me, that cycle repeated from March to November without any real sign of letting up. 2017 has, in many ways, left me completely exhausted, but what has taken the brunt of it all, was my work. 

In a given calendar year, I will normally shoot somewhere between 20-30 shoots, big and small - even while school is in session. This year, with all mini-sessions included, I have only shot twelve. Of those twelve, only four have been completed enough to have seen the light of day, which is incredibly rare. Especially for me.

I have been the definition of uninspired.  

Which is why, when I found out that a friend of mine was going to be making her Broadway debut, I knew that I needed to run away to New York City. 

 New York is, and will always be a magical city. The view from my hotel room. December 2017. 

New York is, and will always be a magical city. The view from my hotel room. December 2017. 

New York is one of those places that has always made me happy, no matter the circumstance. It might have something to do with the way people interact with one another, or the fact that everyone is following their own hustle, trying to reach for their big dream. I have never once left the city feeling uninspired - every trip has always brought me something wonderful. And this trip was no different. 

I arrived in New York on the 16th to an overwhelmingly large amount of traffic...which really shouldn't have been a surprise to me, but yet was. When I finally got parked and checked in, I had very little time to race around to look a little more human, before my first shoot. I met with Danica Dane, who Nina e-introduced me to, two years ago. We shot some glamour/boudoir work with a bodysuit from Trashy Lingerie that she hadn't used yet. 

 Preview Shot. Danica Dane. Trashy Lingerie. New York City - December 2017.

Preview Shot. Danica Dane. Trashy Lingerie. New York City - December 2017.

After we finished shooting, we headed out for dinner at Empanada Mama (which, if you haven't been there - you should go. It's good), and I got to hang out with her until it was time for me to run off to see my show. 

I headed over to the August Wilson Theatre and for the first time, this whole season, I started to feel like the holidays were upon us. Bianca Ryan, Candice Glover, Josh Kaufman, Peter Hollens, Evynne Hollens, Kaitlyn Bristowe and Danny Aiello all put on such a magical show. And their happiness and their music squashed whatever negativity 2017 had brought me. It was wonderful to see my friend, Bianca, on stage and immersed in her element, surrounded by tremendous talent. (And if you are in NYC, you have until the 30th to see the show! The code GIFTSONG gives you 30% off tickets!

 Danica, Bianca, Kaitlyn and I + a signed Playbill! :) 

Danica, Bianca, Kaitlyn and I + a signed Playbill! :) 

I went back to my hotel feeling a lot happier and lighter even. As though the crud of 2017 was beginning to wash away and NYC was starting to work its magic on me. 

The next morning I was up bright and early for a shoot with Dr. Sandra LaMorgese - who Nina accidentally introduced me too, after Sandra interviewed Nina back in March and Nina sent over one of my images to be included with said interview

The shoot that day, which had taken a few weeks to plan, lasted 5.5 hours - which was the longest shoot of 2017 - and resulted in five wardrobe changes, lots of laughter, some fantastic shots and a publication with the HuffPost

 My image of Dr. Sandra LaMorgese, "Power" was published with the HuffPost Dec. 21st, 2017

My image of Dr. Sandra LaMorgese, "Power" was published with the HuffPost Dec. 21st, 2017

On my last day in NYC, at a friend's urging, I stopped by B&H to see if I could score a holiday deal on a new camera. My trusty Canon 5D Mark II has been with me since the portrait side of my career started - seven and half years ago. Now the shutter is dying, which makes shooting slow and causes some of the images to not be as in focus as they should be. So it was time to look for something new. 

I walked in and wandered up to the second floor - marveling at the sheer number of electronics being housed in one building. I made my way over to the Canon table and the person I was matched with, to help me, was none other than Pierre Scherman. 

Pierre Scherman the Vogue photographer...the so-called "King of New York" from the late 1970's to the late 90's - and a man who has worked in all kinds of fashion for an incredible twenty-five-year long career. 

He's retired from photography now and works at B&H so that he can "appreciate all the new talent" - he says. He marvels at the constantly changing and improving technology that surrounds photography these days. We talked for over an hour. He told me about his time working with Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta, his shoots in Uruguay, and how he's been around the world "at least fifteen times by now" - and how what you could do then - in the 70's/80's for a shoot, you couldn't do now thanks to changing laws and near-nonexistent access to the places that made a shoot magical. He also talked about his time at Vogue - French, Italian and English. 

  Courtesy of W Magazine

Courtesy of W Magazine

I showed him some of my more recent work - headshots with actress Ashley Mary Nunes in downtown LA, my latest promotional video which features Roarie Yum, London Lovless, Lara Jade and more. He told me that he sees real potential and that it's clear that I have a passion for photos; that I go for the emotion and the authenticity of a person. 

*tears up* That's all I really want people to take away from my work - knowing that what they are seeing, even for a split-second, is someone real and authentic. 

He told me to keep at it because he could see me "being big" one day. I was stunned. 

When I started photography, nine years ago, I never, ever, thought it would last this long. I never thought that it would turn into what it has become. Initially, I was given a camera as a distraction from some significant trauma that I had endured and that I was to use it to focus my energy into something postive - give me something to do. What it has turned into has become a healing journey. A way for me to get to know other people's life stories and make something beautiful with each individual that I meet. It's a way for me to tell their story and make sure that people are both seen and heard.

And there...right in front of me, was a man who has worked with everyone you could think of, verbally affirming my dream. If he thinks all this work has potentional, then perhaps I really need to stop doubting myself and just go after the things I want.

This new camera, the one that Pierre, himself, sold me, now represents a new journey and will carry the words of wisdom from someone who has seen and done it all.  

  Said new camera when it arrived, safely, at my home. 

Said new camera when it arrived, safely, at my home. 

And all of this...because I decided to go to NYC, and ended up walking into the B&H on 9th.

When I tell you that that city has always been magic for me, the above is exactly why. I no longer feel the weight of the misery that 2017 brought me, and I've been reawakened and once again inspired to create. I've met incredible people while in those city limits - and this time was no different. 

Thank you to everyone who stopped to chat with me, for those who came to work with me, and to all of those who support everything I do; from the very beginning - to right now. You all make it possible for me to continue this hustle.

Love. Gratitude. Appreciation. I'm filled with all those things. 

Have a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays and a wonderful, much more positive start to your brand new 2018, year. 

Bless, 

Josefina

***

Please note that all images on this website and within this blog are copyrighted by me unless otherwise stated. Please do not edit, crop, manipulate, attempt to remove my watermark, transmit, copy, sell or reproduce any of these photos in any form. Sharing these images without proper credit and using them without permission is punishable by law. 

Please respect the artists involved. Thank you. 

 

Treasures

A few favorites. 

 M: Nina Hartley | Glasses: Cutler & Gross | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M: Nina Hartley | Glasses: Cutler & Gross | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

Thank you, everyone for your patience with this last little collection! Also, thank you for your support - your shares, likes, retweets, kind comments, etc. I love connecting with you guys, and all the love is very much appreciated by all parties involved. 

This shoot was a dream project and I'm glad I got to experience these moments and watch as this project came to life. I'm also glad that you all get to see pieces of it!

 This is a first of many shoots to come, I'm sure. 

This particular collection contains a few of my favorites from the last look we did and a few extra images that did not make it into the previous blogs. I think these ones speak to me more because they are their own individual image and moment. 

There are times, much like this, where I simply cannot edit everything all at once, I listen to different music every time I sit down to edit, each day is different etc., and I edit images one image at a time.  

 M: Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M: Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

For me, that allows total concentration. I can focus on the music playing in the background, the various expressions, the colors, and really take the time to see each image as their own little story.  I've never been a fan of mass edits (doing things all in one sitting) though of course, I've done it before - it's just not my favorite method. Props to those who live for mass edits. Seriously.  

In most of these Nina is wearing the same thing, but every pose and look says something different. Which I love. 

 Side note: I love black heels. | M: Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

Side note: I love black heels. | M: Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

I hope that when you view these, after your initial scroll through, you can slow down and appreciate each one. I titled this blog, Treasures, for that very reason. 

Nina is a beautiful soul and I was very honored to share her space and work with her on her birthday. 

 

 M: Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M: Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

Previously unreleased: 

 Color Version | M: Nina Hartley | Glasses: Cutler & Gross | Bodysuit: WinterFetish.com | Bra: Wolford Fashion | Gloves: Bergdorfs | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

Color Version | M: Nina Hartley | Glasses: Cutler & Gross | Bodysuit: WinterFetish.com | Bra: Wolford Fashion | Gloves: Bergdorfs | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

 M: Nina Hartley | Glasses: Cutler & Gross | Bodysuit: WinterFetish.com | Bra: Wolford Fashion | Gloves: Bergdorfs | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M: Nina Hartley | Glasses: Cutler & Gross | Bodysuit: WinterFetish.com | Bra: Wolford Fashion | Gloves: Bergdorfs | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

 Another black and white favorite!  | M: Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

Another black and white favorite!  | M: Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

After your look through, feel free to share with us what stories you've come up with for your favorite image. You can Tweet us using, @ItsJosefina_ and @ninaland, or you can leave a comment below. 

I'd love to know your thoughts! 

xo,

J. 

 

 

***

Please note that all images on this website and within this blog are copyrighted. Please do not edit, crop, manipulate, attempt to remove my watermark, transmit, copy or reproduce any of these photos in any form. Sharing these images without proper credit and using them without permission is punishable by law. 

Please respect the artists involved. Thank you. 

 

 

Photographed.

The Final Set Part 1.

 M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

I have spent the past week sick and at home. Which has given me plenty of time to edit. Therefore, you guys are getting this last set in two parts - because there's plenty to share, but I want you all to take the time to enjoy these, too! 

 M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

In the past (almost) two weeks since the first photos from our shoot started to appear, all of my social media accounts have been flooded with beautiful comments regarding our work. I want to take a minute and thank you all for such lovely words. It really means a lot to me that you enjoy my work enough to comment, follow, like and share, tweet and retweet links and that you want to see more of my work, (even if it doesn't always feature Nina). Validation that I'm in the right field of work. So thank you. 

 M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

I've been asked why I wanted to photograph Nina and how I captured her like I did, as "they aren't like any other photographs of Nina I've ever seen!" Well, my dears, that would be the point. When I first discovered who Nina was, it was actually an accident, someone mistook her for a model that I had previously worked with and when I discovered who Nina was, I took immediate interest in finding out more.

 M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

With my photos of Nina I wanted to capture the entire person, not just a piece of her life. Yes, she's a fabulous adult entertainer and I'm sure most of the planet has seen at least one video of her in their lives (or if not, has seen the movie "Boogie Nights"). But she is also an educator, a speaker, a mentor, and an artist who really does admires all kinds of art - and took a chance in creating art with me. She is as intelligent as she is beautiful. 

 This is a personal favorite.  M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

This is a personal favorite.  M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

Those who know me well know that how I view the world and how I view the people in it/around me, tends to differs greatly from what other people see. To me, it's important to highlight the beauty and the individual for everything they are. This life is our book, its a canvas, something that we work on to create ourselves and to share what we've learned with the people we care about.

What I look for in these photo sessions are the people's stories - their entire essence. I want to learn about what they do, how they've gotten there, etc., as life stories fascinate me, but knowing these things allows me capture them in a light and in a manner that is uncommon. 

It was the very same for Nina's shoot. I got to learn more about her and her life and used that to create the portraits and other images that you've seen in the past three blogs.

 M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

So. This is Nina Hartley as I see her. 

xo,

J. 

 

***

Please note that all images on this website and within this blog are copyrighted. Please do not edit, crop, manipulate, attempt to remove my watermark, transmit, copy or reproduce any of these photos in any form. Sharing these images without proper credit and using them without permission is punishable by law. 

Please respect the artists involved. Thank you. 

 

From The Window

a mix of color & monochrome. 

 M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

There is nothing that delights me more than being able to work with natural light. It's my favorite as it highlights the beauty in each person better than any studio light can.

 M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

When Nina told me that she had these beautiful 8ft windows that faced the northern light, I'm pretty sure that inner me, fainted. It meant that I could capture Nina, how I saw her. 

 M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

That's the thing with taking photographs of people, you get portray them how you see them, no matter how many times they've been seen by the public eye. This has always been incredibly important to me. 

 M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

And I have found, particularly within recent years, that I'm drawn to women of beauty, grace, intelligence and who have incredible amounts of sass and quick whit. Nina falls into all of these categories, perfectly

 M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

I wanted to capture Nina as a whole, not just various pieces of her life. She's a beautiful woman for sure - not just on the outside - inside too. She's intelligent, an educator, a great speaker, and a beauty queen - with a great artistic sense, which allowed me to get some of the more artsier shots of her. 

 M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

I hope you all enjoy these, as much as I do.

 M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

xo,

J. 

 

***

Please note that all images on this website and within this blog are copyrighted. Please do not edit, crop, manipulate, attempt to remove my watermark, transmit, copy or reproduce any of these photos in any form. Sharing these images without proper credit and using them without permission is punishable by law. 

Please respect the artists involved. Thank you. 

 

Different Perspectives

The Black & White Set.

 M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

When I first started working with cameras, in the pursuit of my own interest with memories, I began with film. Darkroom film. At the time, I had been sent to a summer school, and this was my only artistic outlet. I remember begging my teachers to let me stay just "a little bit longer" because watching the film develop was my favorite thing - I'd cut meals - and sometimes, I'd cut study time, simply because I wanted to capture the memory of something. 

 Reflection | M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

Reflection | M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

I was thirteen when I participated in a massive demolition and reconstruction project at the school that I was attending. We tore out walls just to put up thicker ones - we (the student body) had created plans for our very first darkroom. I spent years in and out of that darkroom developing photos from my time deep within the blue ridge mountains. I spent time hiking on the Appalachian Trail, canoeing on some of the East Coasts longest rivers, and biking through incredible places - all apart of the school experience. It was moments like those that I wanted to capture: the happiness of the strangers we met, the beauty of the world around me, and of course, the memories. 

 M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

I fell in love with the idea of capturing people's stories, long before I actually became a portrait photographer. During my last year at that school, I went on an 18 day field trip that took us up and down the East Coast and to major food banks, homeless shelters and soup kitchens - where we volunteered our time and services. I learned very quickly that there isn't a soul alive who doesn't have some kind of story to tell. 

 M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

I would, however, remain a hobbyist/nature photographer until my senior year of high school. I don't know if it was because I liked to keep my darkroom work hidden as that was just for me, or if I was scared of living a dream I knew I wanted. Regardless of whatever fear that was holding me back, I launched my photography business a few months shy of my high school graduation and now here we are. 

 M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

I've spent a lot of time learning what I wanted to capture in a photo and how to do so. I've attended some great workshops, both online and in person, taught by great photographers like Jaime IbarraAlex Manfredini, LUCIMA, and Lara Jade; I study current fashion magazines, and most importantly, I work on connections. To create an image that is eye-catching, storytelling and that perfectly captures the essence of a person/their energy - one must get to know who they're working with. Despite my introverted personality and general shyness - when I'm working, I do by best to find a way to bring light, laughter and comfortability into a room, quickly. 

 Vintage Boots. | M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

Vintage Boots. | M / Nina Hartley | Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

Though a lot of my strength as a photographer lies within colored photographs, I have always loved the drama, the mood and the different perspectives that black and white brings into a picture. For that very reason, I thought it would be fun to showcase Nina in a light that many of you may not have necessarily seen her in. 

xo,

J. 

 

***

Please note that all images on this website and within this blog are copyrighted. Please do not edit, crop, manipulate, attempt to remove my watermark, transmit, copy or reproduce any of these photos in any form. Sharing these images without proper credit and using them without permission is punishable by law. 

Please respect the artists involved. Thank you. 

Meeting Nina.

I often get asked how I "land" certain shoots - why I travel so much - do I really love working as photographer, etc. - so as part of my first blog for my website, I'd thought I'd share this story. 

Last June, I was out in Los Angeles for a three-day LUCIMA workshop. After putting in two full 14-hour days, my worst nightmare happened. I was pick-pocketed while on Hollywood Blvd, which consequently caused me to lose 5 full shoots - an afternoon & evening's worth of work - and $280 worth of compact flash (memory) cards. I'm lucky I didn't lose more gear. I promised the models that I would be back to LA before the end of the summer to replace what I could. 

In August, I flew back to do just that. (Coincidently, I found out, the very same day that Nina had flown to my coast - and literally one town over from where I grew up to attend the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit). 

 M / Nina Hartley || Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley || Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

At the very end of my trip back to LA, I took some time to just observe the city. I've always loved the energy there - and having lived right outside of Hollywood for six months in 2012 - it felt good to be back. I stood on a patio in Burbank, breathing in the summer air and listening to the hum of the distant traffic. I quietly asked the universe for a connection to Nina and I promised myself that sometime within the next 365 days, I'd work with her. 

I flew home and got ready to start my sixth year at Penn State. (Working toward two degrees and a minor is no joke!) A week later I was at a friend's house watching movies and just happened to check Twitter at the right time. I saw that Nina had just posted about her VerifiedCall account and I decided to take a risk. I asked my friend for a piece of paper and began drafting different ways of approaching the subject of a shoot without sounding like a crazed fan. (Not a cute look for anyone.)

I got home around 2am, my time, and made the call.  

 M / Nina Hartley || Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley || Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

Twenty minutes later, my phone rang. 

In the following fifteen minutes, I told her that I was a photographer, that I launched my own business at 17, that I had worked with Tila Tequila, and that I was interested in doing an art shoot with her.

Never in my life did I think this was actually going to work. Except it did. 

Two months later, a friend and I were on our way to Gettysburg, for a speaker series event being held at the college there. The speaker was Nina. We met (briefly) after the talk and later that evening, began locking in the details for the shoot that you see now. 

Coordinating travel with my holiday schedule was hard - but we finally settled on March - her birthday month - and even more special, her birthday. 

 M / Nina Hartley || Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley || Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

I flew out to LA the night before (nervous as fuck), but happy that I got to continue doing what I love, in another adventure. After an 11 hour travel day, I arrived at my beautiful hotel to fantastic live jazz music and a delicious dinner. 

The next afternoon I went to Nina. It was raining in LA - the first rain that I've seen there in person since 2012 - which made Nina dance around her studio with pure happiness. As I found out, she loves the rain as much as I do. 

 Appreciating the birthday rain. || M / Nina Hartley || Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

Appreciating the birthday rain. || M / Nina Hartley || Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

The shoot was beautiful. We spent time getting to know one another and we shot three different looks, part of Set 1 is what you see here - and there are other's still to come.

This is easily in my Top Five favorite shoots of my career and it definitely won't be the last shoot that I do with her. As Nina tweeted out to her fans, this is the start of a beautiful relationship. Nina will always be Nina and I will always be an artist - forever creating - and working towards capturing a person's essence in every photo. 

 M / Nina Hartley || Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley || Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

I can't say that I just "landed" the shoot. Yes, I put it out in the universe that I wanted a connection and that working with her was indeed a final goal - but the shoot did not just fall out of the sky and land in my lap. There was still work involved. Selling yourself and your talent to people - as an artist - is particularly hard, in general. Doing it over the phone is much harder

I have been shooting for close to thirteen years, but only seven - professionally. I'm ballsy to a degree, but not in a let's-call-a-famous-person-and-ask-for-a-shoot kind of ballsy. That was definitely new. But if there's anything I've learned in the past thirteen years taking pictures, and in the past twenty as a singer - you have to take risks in order get what you want.

 The sass. 🙊 M / Nina Hartley || Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

The sass. 🙊 M / Nina Hartley || Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

 M / Nina Hartley || Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

M / Nina Hartley || Copyright © Josefina Photography 2016

I do, very much love what I do. Art has been apart of my life since early childhood. I take pictures, I sing, I make jewelry, I've designed tattoos, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't do something artsy. The traveling - that's just a bonus. 

I'm certainly grateful for everyone that I've worked with over the past seven years, the amount of hours people have spent with me working on website design, social media promotion, and everything leading up to this week; from my very first model, Miss Mischief, to Nina's willingness to set up this shoot. It's been a wonderful ride - and I can't wait to see where the next 20+ years takes me.

Hard work, dedication and passion - those are the ingredients to a successful shoot, successful life and plenty of adventure. 

Work hard. Play hard.

xo, J.

***

Please note that all images on this website and within this blog are copyrighted. Please do not edit, crop, manipulate, attempt to remove my watermark, transmit, copy or reproduce any of these photos in any form. Sharing these images without proper credit and using them without permission is punishable by law. 

Please respect the artists involved. Thank you.