“All that lives, dies”
August 9th, 2011
Yosemite National Park
It was two days before Thanksgiving, 2009 when I met Karina. It was a bittersweet return to San Francisco for me. My last time there was also during much happier times over Thanksgiving 2004.
I checked into The Greenwich Inn on Steiner St., just off Lombard Ave. in the early afternoon. It was planned for Karina to meet me at the hotel and then go do a shoot right away. I looked out my window as she pulled into the parking lot. I went down to meet her and she ran across the parking lot, jumped on me, gave me a hug and said “Welcome to San Francisco!”
The next two days we shot numerous times and each time generates a story worth writing about here. But I’m going to save those for another time.
A year and a half later, Wednesday July 20th, 2011 I’m in Las Vegas. I just arrived the day prior for what was supposed to be seven days in Vegas. I had not had a shoot since June 29th in Denver. I just wasn’t feeling it anymore. I was tired of being in the oppressive desert heat and eager to go to the ocean in hopes of finding that inspiration to shoot again. That’s when I got a call from Karina asking me when I was finally going to arrive in San Francisco. She told me she has barely shot, if at all, since the last time I was there, but she was in shape and ready for me. She even asked for a couple of days off of work and said she had two primary ideas. To shoot nudes on the streets in the middle of the day and that we could perhaps travel outside of San Francisco for some inspiration in locations.
It is spirited people like Karina who can match or exceed my ambitions that I am most drawn to collaborating with. The conversation I had with her that day was the deciding factor for me to get out of Las Vegas and get to California. Later that day I left for San Diego and up the west coast.
Finally, on August 8th, Karina moved into my car for a couple of days and we drove to Yosemite National Park. We arrived in Yosemite later that day only to discover that we had grossly underestimated the amount of tourists we would have to contend with and the lack of affordable accommodations. The cheapest motel room we could find was $150/night. One place even quoted me $230/night. Eventually around midnight we just gave up looking and I drove into a campgrounds. We found an empty site and I parked the car there.
With the risk of being found out that we were unofficially camping without a paying any fees or having any permits loomed while we say at the picnic table talking about this and that under the stars. We went back to the car after a bit and Karina had to go to the bathroom, but we had unsettled our nerves with the thoughts of bears so she was a little hesitant to get out of the car. It was about at that moment I heard a noise outside the car and turned the headlights on to see what was out there. We were both startled when at that very moment the headlights shone on a dog that was passing in front of the car.
We had a good laugh about that.
The next day we explored Yosemite, shot at the base of the second largest waterfall in the park and eventually made our way to the Giant Sequoia’s. We found a lot of great trees to shoot with, but each one was just to exposed to tourists. Had there been no children, we just might have taken the shots anyway, but…
We did find one tree that was large enough and at the right angle that allowed us to get some shots despite people being relatively close. Getting away with that I think boosted our confidence and nerves so that when we found the tipped over tree in this photograph, we were better prepared.
At 4’10”, Karina is the smallest person I��ve ever photographed. Quite possibly she also has more life in her than just about anyone I’ve ever met. I thought it an interesting dichotomy in this photograph that we have one of the oldest, largest trees on the planet, fallen over and rotting while from its roots hangs someone so small, so young and so alive. I imagine almost that the tree had just tipped over and when it did, there was Karina. She had been down there, hidden from the world all this time but now was finally set free.
“All that lives, dies”.