Wow, if Carlsberg made photographers, they’d come in the shape of Chicago-based Billy Sheahan. I appreciate and enjoy all of my shoots and often forge friendships with photographers when things have gone particularly well and repeat bookings are made often, but there was something about this shoot that was really special for me.
Billy picked me up from the airport in Mexico after I’d flown west from Mexico City (a place I can’t wait to visit again), and drove me towards a week of intense creativity. Billy was the first photographer who’d booked me for a shoot, and we found the most sublime beach, early in the morning, totally empty. We had to walk through various exotic trees and cacti to find it and when we first glimpsed it, we couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. So perfect and serene. It was so quiet, too, and the whole thing felt like such a privilege.
Billy is one of my favourite photographers ever. He is such a kind, jolly, positive person that is so much fun to be around. He was, as he called himself, the ‘model taxi’; carting us around to grocery stores and to and from meet-ups in his hired car. He even drove us and waited patiently while some of us browsed (slowly) a Mexican charity shop (I think ‘thrift store’ was the correct term; I bought some particularly eccentric black and white geometric-patterned trousers), looking for Halloween costumes. He crashed his car (well, ‘crashed’ is unfair; it was a tiny tiny bump) and got over it in half a second. He is always smiling and incredibly open to the moment, which was why this, Billy’s first real outdoor-location model shoot as I think he told me, was so successful and such a joy.
I know I sound like I’m gushing, but I just felt so incredibly FREE during this shoot. Billy just left me to prance about along the shore line, in and out of waves, jumping off rocks and strolling around in front of his camera. He was a fair distance away for a lot of the shots, and took millions of frames, hoping to catch the ‘moment’ of whatever I was about to do at any given time, since we couldn’t really communicate well in the conditions. So in some ways I felt, for a lot of the shoot, like I was alone in nature, just experiencing the place in all its head-knocking beauty. I’m so grateful for Billy for allowing me to feel that way, and for framing so much open space in many of the shots that reflect that state of mind. Looking at these shots makes me feel so happy.
Billy has written very eloquently about our shoot here and here. Please do read what he’s written – it’s so nice and really sets things in context!
Yes, there will be some monochrome/colour indecision. I love the blues in the ones looking out to sea!
Click to view them large (you’ll need to; I’m kinda tiny in some of them), and please let me know your favourites!
…And some in colour: