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  • Natalie Ramirez

The Joy Found in Vintage Styling and Classic Portraits


I'd like to tell you a story about something that happened recently. I must start with this, I'm a vintage girl at heart. If you take a look at my Pinterest you will see many boards dedicated to vintage fashion, hair styles, makeup and Old Hollywood movies. Simply put, my heart loves old styles. If I could I would pin curl my hair every day. The reality is that I'm pretty busy (aren't we all!) and I just don't have the time or money to dedicate the entirety of my being to living in the past. So, I am always craving those moments when I get to submerse myself in past aesthetics and hold tight to it's beauty. But, as they say, beauty is fleeting and really, it's life that is fleeting. We get moments at best and isn't it true that those moments that we truly treasure seem to pass us by at the speed of light?

Much like my craving for vintage style and fashion, I never tire of taking people's portraits. The beauty in capturing another's image for them to hold onto and pass down is too good for me to resist. To record their style, their age, their relationships right at that moment in time, right before it passes by at the speed of light is...REMARKABLE. For a long time I've wanted to combine these two loves, vintage fashion and portraiture but I spend so much of my time taking client photos that I forget to get creative just for myself. Imagine my surprise when I happened upon the opportunity to photography a very vintage look with a woman I've long admired in what might perhaps have been the most fleeting moment I've every encountered, 3 minutes.

Recently I attended The Portrait Masters Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Among the many reasons to love this particular conference was that all attendees were given the opportunity to take advantage of shooting bays. There were Oliphant backdrops, strobes, models of all ages and sizes and the chance to take beautiful portraits. After three days of this I was pretty worn out. While I still had around 90 minutes to continue taking advantage of these shooting bays I was ready to take a break before it was time to enjoy the closing events with my friends. What happened next was truly a moment of chance. There was a crowd of people at the exit closest to where I was heading so I went the long way. On my walk around the show hall I just happened upon the lovely Tessa Marie Archer who just happened to be wearing a green velvet gown that looked like it came strait out of the 1930's while sporting some divine finger waves and curls. I nearly passed out. I hopped in the line for her shooting bay, which was a bit long, while doing my best to wait patiently for my quick 3 minutes to photograph a vintage dream.

I will tell you, up until this moment I was fine with the 3 minute limit. There were 500 photographer's attending the conference. All of us wanted a chance to photograph as much as possible. Suddenly, 3 minutes just wasn't enough. I started to panic which really isn't good when you are facing a model who is expecting you to direct her and pose her. I did a quick mental admonishment, "pull yourself together Natalie!" and stepped up to the plate. I'm not athletic but this must be how a base ball player feels, just hit that home run! I'm pretty proud of my three minute results.

Now that I've had a taste, I must stop neglecting my own style and aesthetic. I need to do some real shoots in vintage style. Ones that are classic and lovely. Photos that evoke my Great Grandmother's photo, the inspiration and the reason I encourage women to exist in photos. Alas, that is another story and I promiss tell it soon, but for now, who wants to evoke the past with me and combine vintage fashion with classic portraiture for a truly timeless look?

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