This shoot was truly one for the books. In 2018 Alberta was devastated by wildfires and for weeks heavy smoke filled the air. It made for many limited days do to the lack of air quality. Both Alexi and I were however "chomping at the bit" to work together and everything was lining up for this shoot to happen. This was also the year that marked the first summer on our new acreage, which meant many days, and hours fencing and doing initial yard work and landscaping. Now I don't know if you all remember (man did I just have the urge to go full American and say "Ya'll"), but in 2018 in the dry heat, the wasps were bad. Along with the high temperatures, lack of moisture and smokey skies, there were little flying, burrowing devils.
The day before our shoot was set to happen I was at my In-laws (no I am not married, however this is how I refer to them), helping fence. As I mentioned before, and incase you don't know, wasps, are jerks, and they don't just build nests in trees, and buzz about their business peacefully. Quite the contrary.... They dig, they burrow, they lurk and they plot. And they set their victims up for ultimate failure. So there I was, minding my own business plugging along already scorched from the heat, when IT happens. I somehow stepped on the epitome of hell, let the games begin. As though I am trying out for the Olympics (ok maybe beer olympics, because there was definitely some hand flailing going on), I begin to run. Like my life depends on it (and in ways it does) I dash, swinging my arms in such a way that I resemble one of those inflatable waving/flapping tube men. And then IT happens. I feel it. The sting, as the little flying demons meet their target. Game over. The back/inside of my left thigh and lower right tricep begin to pulse.
This was not my first encounter of the season, nor was it the last. And with each one I reacted progressively worse. The day of the shoot I awoke with a leg that was now three sizes larger above my knee then it should be, and an elbow the size of a large red melon. Not only could I not get my pants on due to the size of my one leg but I couldn't bend my arm, at least not without some serious pain. So there I was, with three options, I could send in my application for the elephant woman in the circus, I could cancel or with the support of Benadryl, Advil, and Ice I could carry on with the shoot. I chose the third, since despite everything, this shoot was something I had been looking forward to.
In the almost 40 degree smokey weather, I put on the only thing I could get over my leg, an old hippie skirt that I have, my runners, because I mean I have to monkey around, and a t-shirt. Looking like I am about to head to a 70's rally I pack my equipment and get ready to go. But then there is the paint, and the immense burning coming from the two swollen areas on my body, so I grab my horses ice wraps and get on my way. Sitting with the ice pack up my skirt, and my elbow to the AC I make my way to one of he most incredible photoshoots I have ever had the pleasure of being apart of. To this day I can only imagine what I looked like, hobbling, in pain and swollen as we created magic. But in many ways it's OK.
When I see this pictures I am definitely reminded of the pain, but I am also reminded of my perseverance and how in the thick of being one literal hot mess, I created some of my absolute favourite photos. I also need to give Alexi a lot of credit, because obviously this would have not been possible with out her, and because her patience, grace and beauty go beyond words.