My Favorite Dress Right Now

You guys, I’m obsessed with Reformation right now. They have a way of draping perfectly for a woman’s curves. The dress I wore for this shoot is my absolute favorite and I’ll be wearing it for years. I love that this piece stands out on it’s own and doesn’t need much accessorizing. You can find a similar style here.

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Photo of the Day: Angeles National Forest

I love the excitement and anticipation that comes with every outdoor adventure, whether it’s hiking, kayaking, zip lining, running or whatever—I just love being surrounded by beauty and chance. The chance that anything can happen, especially if you’re willing to push yourself. That’s what this picture reminds me of—the possibility of anything that lives in everything. Continue reading “Photo of the Day: Angeles National Forest”

LAweekly’s Artopia

LAWeekly hosted what I hope becomes an annual art, music, food, photography and pretty much everything else festival in downtown Los Angeles recently. Guys, if you get a chance, you should go next time. It was pretty awesome, with artists creating on large canvases, live music (love The Record Company), a XXX peep show and all kinds of food—pretty much anything you could dream up. Continue reading “LAweekly’s Artopia”

LA Marathon Post-Race Post-Mortem: The Good, The Bad and The Really, Really Ugly

Wow, guys. Wow. That was…wow. There are so many feelings that run through you (and I mean that in the both a metaphorical and extremely literal sense) during a marathon, and you just hope that heat stroke is not one of them. Luckily, I didn’t have a catastrophic run like many people I saw, laying low in the medical tents and waiting for a sports drink. But let’s think positive. First, let’s talk about:

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The Good

The Spectators: You guys are so many kinds of awesome. I’ve run a marathon with few to no spectators, and without anyone there to cheer you on, it’s gets rough. I’m so lucky to have amazing friends who came out to cheer on myself and my running partner! Their support at mile 12 energized us, and we definitely needed it, even so early in the race. And I can’t forget the people who brought out their hoses from their houses along the course to cool us down. More on that below, but for now we can say that they were lifesavers. Also, thank you to my friend, Colin, for a post-race macaroon, my favorite! It was so, so delicious.

The Stadium: Have you ever seen the sunrise at Dodger Stadium? Like, from really good seats? Because we have, and it’s beautiful.

The Bathrooms: I was impressed when, at mile 20, there was still toilet paper in the Porta-Potties.

The Course: We ran through many major Los Angeles landmarks, and it was pretty neat. There was entertainment along the way and plenty to see and take in. It was a beautiful run.

The Running Buddy: I can’t say enough about my amazing my friend and running partner, Stacey. She’s a talented athlete and always comes prepared with an excited attitude (and great stories) that make running in circles for hours lots of fun. I could not have done this marathon without her help and encouragement.

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A delicious congrats macaroon from my friend after the marathon!

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The Bad

The Hour: They scheduled a marathon for the day after daylight savings time—when we lost an hour of sleep. Precious, precious pre-race sleep.

The Open Corrals: This was our mistake. We should have signed up for a seeded corral so we could start with runners who were at the same pace as us. But we didn’t, so we started in the open corral. Which meant that, from the time the race started, it took us 20 minutes to cross the start line. And then we had to weave in and out of the crowd to find a pace group that worked for us, which can take a few miles. Not great.

The Extra Tight Security: This wasn’t actually bad, and it put our minds at ease when it came to race safety. But it wasn’t effectively coordinated. To ensure that each runner was who they said they were, you had to pick up your bib number and race packet at the expo. This was instead of the usual getting your bib mailed to you or asking another runner to pick it up for you. I understand the reasoning behind this—it’s the execution that didn’t pan out. Many runners waited in line at least 45 minutes just to pick up their bibs! Have you ever stood on concrete for more than an hour? Your feet start to hurt a bit, so you shift your weight back and forth. Another hour goes by, and then they start to burn. Yeah, that’s what happens in a marathon. Except once they start to burn, you still have another few hours to pound pavement with burning soles. So the day before your race, the last thing you want to do is stand on concrete for an hour (and for some people, two), just to get your bib and then have to go in search of your race packet and stand in yet another line.

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The Ugly

The Gatorade: And by “the Gatorade,” I mean there was none. They ran out. THEY RAN OUT of Gatorade, which is pretty essential for balancing electrolytes and preventing runners from passing out, getting heat stroke, vomiting and other super fun long-distance-running-in-severe-heat ailments. And not long after, they started running out of cups for water. Volunteers were just holding out gallon jugs of Arrowhead, asking which runners wanted a “free shower!” Nope. No thank you. I’d like some water. And Gatorade. Which I actually ran off the course for once I spotted a semi-nearby gas station. P.S.—A word of advice: ALWAYS carry five dollars on you during a race. You never know when you’ll need it.

The Heat: Temps were reaching into the mid-80s by the middle of the race, if not earlier. So without Gatorade or cooling stations—something else a race will usually provide on hot race days, which are basically buses with hoses to spray the runners—people were feeling the heat and the medical tents started to fill up. And then they were overflowing, as people couldn’t all find room in the medical tents to lie down, so they took to the grass. It just sucked. There’s no better way to put it. To give you an idea of how much it affected us, we spent the last five months training at a 10-10:15 minute pace. We finished our longest training run, a 22 miler, at our goal pace. But on race day? We were running 11:30 and 12:30 miles. Some of that had to do with the intense hills in the first half of the race, but a lot of it had to do with the heat.

The Sickness: I saw more than a few sick runners after the finish line, with nothing to do but bend over and vomit it all up. That can happen with or without the heat, but I have a feeling that the poor planning for hydration on the part of the race had something to do with it.

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But Don’t Forget…

We ran a freaking MARATHON, people! At whatever time we finished, we were champs and pulled through. Training for and running a marathon teaches you a lot that has nothing to do with running (another post on that later), and that includes how far you can push yourself when you set your mind to it. If you’re thinking about doing a 5k, 10k, half or full marathon—do it! Because you might think you can’t, but you definitely can (unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Please check with your doc if you have health concerns). You’ll be surprised just what you can accomplish when you’re willing to push past your comfort zone.

We finished!
We finished!
Done! And proudly wearing my medal.
Done! And proudly wearing my medal.
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Stacey (left) and me!

Road Trip Across (Half of) America

I can hardly believe it’s been seven years since I packed up my car and drove halfway across the country to California. I spent about a year in New York after college and then decided to try San Diego (before L.A….it’s been busy), so I went back to Oklahoma for a month, visited some friends and then drove to sunny Southern Cali.

Along the way, I took a few pictures. But the film got mixed up in the move once I finally arrived, so I didn’t see these photos until today! My husband found the rolls of film around the time we were getting the disposable cameras from our wedding developed, and the developed pictures have been sitting in our filing cabinet for a year and a half, waiting patiently to be looked at. So glad I went searching for something else and stumbled across these. There were even some pics from college in there! (Definitely more on that later.)

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Fashion Photographer Hannah Ross

Fashion Photographer Hannah Ross

On the hunt for shutterbug’s gold, Photographer Hannah Ross slowly explored the cramped crawl space beneath her subject’s house. With only her cell phone as a light source, she searched for the perfect prop that might complete her photo shoot. Instead, she stumbled across a surprising find: bloody mannequins. At least, they were mannequins painted to look bloody. “[It] was quite creepy and unexpected,” she recounts of the unusual discovery. But for some photographers, unusual tends to be the norm in this business. “I have loads of stories about equipment failures and being stranded in over 100-degree heat, or a model having an allergic reaction and needing a medevac,” Hannah adds. But that’s just another day at the office for someone so dedicated to her craft: No adventure is too outside the box when it comes to getting the perfect shot.

Raised mainly in Virginia, with five years of her childhood spent in Japan and Panama, Hannah decided to head west to work in television and commercials after getting her film degree from New York University. Between the vastly different coasts, she noted disparate aesthetics between each major city.

“When I first moved to L.A., I met with several prominent photographers to learn the ‘rules’ for west coast photography, which are: The market is primarily lifestyle and catalog, and things are very casual. For instance, a bathing suit shot in New York would require heels on the model (high fashion), and in L.A. it would be barefoot. Working with L.A. designers, the styles are also more street/casual with a lot of influence coming from graffiti artists. There isn’t much high fashion found, so I did have to bend a bit to suit the clients,” Hannah explains, revealing how living in Los Angeles influenced her work at the time.

Once she nailed the aesthetic, Hannah focused on crafting a team to work with in L.A.: “It took years, but finding the perfect stylist and makeup artist is essential to any production. The philosophy comes down to — if you have a crew that you truly trust, then you’ll have a natural groove going, and the photos will follow.”

That’s no joke; with the perfect team in place and valuable advice on her side — not to mention raw talent — Hannah has built a successful career, evidenced by a well-stocked and well-deserved trophy case. She was named the 2011 New Master Artist in the New Masters Competition (Netherlands);  was commended at the 2011 Sony World Photography Awards; had her work displayed for the Moscow Biennale at the Moscow Modern Art Museum; was appointed the Arte Creative Residency at ARTE G.E.I.E. (France); served as the artist in residence at the Cyprus College of Art (Larnaca, Cyprus) and Taide & Design (Finland); and has been touted as the Leading Contemporary Photographer at the Fashion and Textile Museum (London). And then there are the celebrities who have relied on her skills to bring them to life in front of the lens, the likes of which include LMFAO, Amanda Lepore, Perez Hilton and the cast of NCIS.

Hannah has gained worldwide recognition for her photography, fashion being one of the key focuses of her work. She names House of Infinite Radness as her favorite Los Angeles-based designer, among other fashion influences. “In general, I love Martin Margiela, his work, but I also adore the mystique surrounding the identity of the designer. He has never been photographed, interviewed, and only replies to press via fax.”

After years spent immersed in Los Angeles and its fashion talents, calling medevacs for models and stumbling across creepy horror-film-like mannequins, Hannah now has her own advice to dispense to any future L.A. photographers:

“Don’t wait to be discovered; be proactive in finding work for yourself. Work for free to get ins, and then paid work will follow. Assist for photographers to learn their methods. The bottom line is that having a career in fashion photography requires primarily independent pursuit. If you’re driven, work hard and are persistent, it’s just a matter of building your book and paying your dues.”

Discover more of Hannah’s work in the slideshow below, while we also blow your mind with some additional Hannah Ross Q&A.

Q: What inspired you to be a photographer to begin with? Was it a specific photograph, or a specific photographer? How has that work or photographer influenced your work?

A: My uncle was a concert/band photographer, so growing up I was introduced to loads of gadgets and taught all sorts of film cameras. In middle school I started going to my community center to use the darkrooms, and by high school I had set up a darkroom in my bathroom. I always had seen it to be a very competitive and small industry (especially with the rise of new media) so I was initially discouraged from pursuing it as a viable career path. The only other work I sought out would have to be National Geographic. I didn’t have a subscription so I would buy the year prior at library sales, and as a kid I thought it would be the dream job to travel the world shooting photos.

Q: As a multimedia artist, what other media do you work with? And what excites you about other media?

A: I really work with anything that I can get my hands on. I research a great deal into new media sources and devices because technology has become so much more accessible and inexpensive. Experimentation is key to inspiring new methods of visuals. The new Lytro camera, for example, is a brand new technology where you can capture photographs in 3D, so in RAW conversion you can select which field is in focus. [It is] very exciting to be on the cusp of breaking new ground in the field.

Q: What is the most difficult aspect of being a photographer? On that note, what is your favorite aspect of this career?

A: The benefit of having inexpensive technology is obvious, but the downside is that the competition has now increased as well. It’s a tiny and tough field to stay active in and maintain ongoing clients. The upside is that the work I’m producing is creating imagery, which is immensely gratifying. I can’t imagine having another type of profession.

Q: Who is your favorite photographer?

A: Some of my favorites are Gregory Crewdson, Loretta Lux, Erwin Olaf and Gilbert Garcin.