Two days into my Yellowknife Vacation and I have felt so much love and support. There have been deep conversations with friends, laughter, and moments of intense creativity.
Last year I worked with Erykah on two creative portraiture projects, one was regarding Mother Earth and the second was a Levitation portrait.
Erykah is a true creative, she is an exceptional nail tech, Jagua designer, dancer, and model. Not only was it a joy to photograph her in the heart of Yellowknife overlooking Frame Lake, but it was refreshing to reconnect and spend some quality time together.
I brought my bolt of tule and lace with me in my carry on and I fashioned a dress from a white bed sheet and used the tule to create shape and an ethereal movement to the fabric as well. It’s creative sessions like these that revive me as an artist.
Have you ever been so in love, and had to say goodbye?
In January of 2014 I was a newly wed making the long move North from the West coast of BC to the frigid NWT. I had visited before during the winter months so I was emotionally prepared for the drop in temperature, what I wasn’t prepared for was the isolation I would feel being so far from my friends and family. With interesting jobs that never panned out I found a silver lining in each situation. I made sincere friendships with my coworkers. From Joel and Samantha (Saturday nights ordering takeout and playing games or watching cult classics or amine) to Paul and Nigit Stil (Our super mellow hangouts and inspired photoshoots) to the most random group of pop culture nerds and karaoke power houses, you know who you are. I was introduced to such an amazing circle of friends!
It wasn’t just the close friendships I made, but the incredible uniqueness of the city of Yellowknife and it’s amazing residents and causal traveler passing through. Each time I ventured from my doors I found new reasons to fall in love with this place.
I felt the comraderee of the arts community I was involved in. I have never come across a group of creative people so eager to pass on knowledge and lend a hand to another photographer as I did in Yellowknife.
Getting involved with Folk on the Rocks last year was the highlight of my summer. Photographing the events, musicians, and festival goers put me in the heat of the essence of what Yellowknife is to all those who find home here, it is family! Everyone is individual and unique, but together we weaved a diverse tapestry of beauty.
Having to move away last fall grieved my heart, I still long to be living in a place that saw me as I see myself, that grieved when I left too, I remember Nigit Stil clinging to me sniffling into my shoulder as she hugged me goodbye, I don’t think I have ever had such an emotional move as I did when we left. I left a piece of my heart North of 60.
Needless to say, I am over the moon about visiting this July from July 13th to 22nd. I am coming home, I can’t wait to see you!
The photography below was taken by me on my last Helicopter ride at GSH, I hope you enjoy the view from above!
In the summer of 2014 Yellowknife was ravaged by forest fires, claiming more than 893,000 hectares of forest. As a resident I breathed in the heavy smoke that permeated throughout our city. Whole weeks went by with low visibility and highway closures. With only one way in and one way out residents braved the scorched highway when it permitted and saw first hand the fires blaze like a natural disaster sweeping across the terrain, sometimes even leaping across the highway itself.
There were moments of sheer confusion when, in a city of constant summer sun, the clouds turned the city pitch black and thunder and lightning bellowed as rain mixed with ash stained peoples shirts a grey hue. In a matter of an hour the pitch black darkness lifted and the sky was an eerie orange.
I didn’t get to see first hand the affects the fire had on our landscape until Ian and I had to move back to BC. We drove down the highway and it had a post apocalyptic look, as underground heat remaining from the fire’s long put out, still smoldered up from the ground and small flames flickered every kilometer or so.
I knew in September that I wanted to do a fine art photography piece that showed the resilience of nature, her strength and tenacity to regrow after devastation.
In the Northwest Territories there was talk about the sadness of such a great loss of forest life, but there were also great encouragements that “fire sometimes burns away the bad and the weak, leaving temporary desolation, but then the Fireweed grows. A beautiful plant that through destruction blooms.”
I wanted this piece to be about Rebirth out of Desolation. An encouragement that in all things there is a greater plan.
I often find myself online looking for inspiration. Today I came back to two photographers that I love, Miss Aniela and Aaron Nace of Phlearn. Their work in levitation photography sparked my creativity.
Erykah Tam, my most recent model for my “regrowth” series ( which I will be featuring on the blog this next month) had the perfect dancer like posture that levitation photography requires.
This Photograph is titled “Mind over Matter” and I want to keep adding to this levitation series. If you are interested in learning the technique both in shooting and surreal editing I am considering hosting a “Levitation Photography Workshop” in Chilliwack BC this fall.
If you like this image, please share and leave a comment!
Michael and Arielle have been close friends of my husband from long before I even met Ian. While Michael and Ian have followed very similar career paths, their differences are what make for such a strong friendship.
Today we decided (since both of our husbands are in town, Ian and Mike are usually on opposite camp rotations) that today would be the perfect time to do their photo session. On this golden afternoon we wanted to thank Mike and Arielle for all their hard work in our wedding this january, with Mike being Ian’s best man, and Arielle being responsible for our yummy reception cupcakes.
Thank You Mike and Arielle!
If you like my photos, please feel free to share, leave a comment, or contact me about booking your own session. Don’t forget to like my page if you want to see more photos like this!
Zoey is a breathtaking dog, she is a Blue Heeler/Border Collie Cross. The perfect mixture of good behaviour, steadfast adoration of her owners, and a very smart canine overall.
“They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31
This verse has been a favourite of mine for countless years and a source of inspiration for my photo-shoot with Gwich’in model, Nigit’Stil. I had bought the feathers many months ago in hopes to bring my dream to life; when Nigit’Stil echoed my idea in creative conversation I knew she had to be my face for the series.
The night before our session I planned out lighting, make-up, and composition. I have a deep passion for photography, but not many people know my love for makeup artistry which I do like to stretch my muscles in these creative situations. I really love how it translated so fluidly with my vision to include feathers in lieu of her eyebrows. It is truly a blessing to have a fellow artist like Nigit’Stil have full faith in my creative direction.
I hope you enjoy the creative vision for my series of images entitled “The weight of my wings”.
After our indoor portraits Nigit Stil and I ventured out into the brush of Yellowknife. I specifically wanted to have two very different styles within this photo-shoot. The first being a cascading entanglement of feathers and hair, and the second to be a magnificent nest of brown curls and feathers. I was very happy with the conversion that took no less than 5 minutes to pin up.
Is Nigit Stil not the most elegant example of Northern Beauty you seen? Her warm compassionate soul echoes through into each portrait I captured.
There is nothing greater than the last image of a session taking your breath away completely. This last portrait below was taken as I was disassembling my studio lighting, I saw this pose and took what is one of my most favourite creative portraits to date!
Being a wedding photographer, sometimes it feels like I have the priviledge of making lifelong friends with just the click of a shutter. From the first moment a bride contacts me with her heart a flutter; ideas pouring from her fingertips onto ourContact Usform, to the interactions back and forth by email which always remind me of giddy schoolgirls passing notes in class about a boy they liked.
I get to go on coffee dates, have a fun filled evening of appetizers and drinks, chat about “the details” and reminise on how our men proposed. It warms my heart every time a bride first contacts me to the moment I deliver her images; we become kindred friends.
Denika contacted me the winter of 2013 after viewing my work with her uncle, a fellow photographer and friend. While I was busily planning my own wedding and knee deep in preparation to move to Yellowknife, Denika knew I was going to be living in her home town and it made her decision a simple “Yes!”
I was truly honoured to be asked to be a part of this magical moment in Denika’s life, and have her as my first Yellowknife bride.
Shawn and Denika have been together for 5 years; what an amazing journey they have made thus far: Denika told me that she had started planning her wedding a year previous to this date when they found out they were expecting their beautiful baby girl. On July the 26th 2013, she went into labour and on the 27th little baby Kaiyer was born into this world.
Denika went on to say “July 26th of this year  I went into labour, so we felt a life event was fitting for next year as well.”
So, on the very day her life changed one year previous, Denika woke again with joy and anticipation. Today, she would marry the man whom her soul loves deeply.
This is their wedding story:
This is Kaiyer, who just a day after their wedding would turn 1. With a wedding and a birthday planned all on the same weekend; Kaiyer, mommy, and daddy had one BIG weekend planned.
Shawn stood tall as he waited for Denika at the site of their “first look” photos. Shawn radiated pure happiness!
Their first look kiss was so sweet. So many moments in their relationship had lead to this kiss.
Shawn and Denika bought one another gifts, and as Denika opened a small box she made a giddy sound. Shawn had bought her a beautiful double strand pearl bracelet. Shawn was equally impressed by his wife’s gift to him, a stunning Bulova watch.
Shawn had a custom ring made with Yellowknife Gold, it was a stunning ring that complimented her diamonds.
Denika wanted her bouquet to hold something old, a memento. The lace wound around her bouqeut was from her mothers original wedding dress. I absolutely adore when brides incorporate their past into their future!
Shawn’s grooms-men were a riot, and the reception definitely confirmed their grade ‘A’ humor.
Denika kept her side of the bridal party tight knit. With her sisters as bridesmaids and her brother as her “man of honour”.
As the bridal party waited for the geusts to arrive, Denika and her bridesmaid (and man of honour) sat in the sheer tent that stood at the top of the aisle. A little mummy and me time with Kaiyer was needed, and snuggles followed.
Their officiant was none other than the Mayor of Yellowknife, Mark Heyck.
Have you had a chance to check out our Folk on the Rocks photo galleries? We have 2 days worth of photo’s ready for purchase. Go check them out and share your photos with your friends by following the picture below to our on-line galleries!
I had the immense pleasure of photographing the faces of our fine city at yesterday’s festivities. From the parade to the farmers market and live music I met new people, joined in the laughter, and introduced myself to my community.
On behalf of my business I’d like to introduce myself. My names is Stephanie Lauren Wills and I am the owner and photographer of Stephanie Lauren Photography. Originally from Chilliwack BC, I have 6+ years photography experience. I hope that in the future you remember my name and face when you plan your next family portrait, wedding, graduation pictures, or any other need you may have. Feel free to drop me a line via the CONTACT US page.
I love people, and I definitely fell further in love with you yesterday! Thank you for visiting my site, and if you would like to view the images I have for purchase simply click the image below and it will take you to the gallery of images for purchase.
I absolutely love when photographers get together and create. This evening, and I say evening when it was really 9pm (Yes at 9pm it is still sunny and stunning out) a group of photographers and myself went out on a photo walk. Thanks to our Zumba Model Joan, we were all graced with a vivacious personality that shone through each image. Thank you to Samantha Stuart Photography who set it all up, there is nothing I love more than a group of people who share the same passion getting together.
LETS START PLANNING!
Like what you see? Want to book your next session? leave us a message below and let’s get to planning!
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