Durham NC Model Photography: Back to Where It Started

2019.9.8 Darbi Marie by StanChambersJr Photography 3 small.jpg

Just about every photographer has their favorite spots to shoot.

For me, it’s West Point On The Eno Park.

What’s distinctive about this park is the Eno River and the dam that controls the river flow.

It’s simplistic nature at its best. And it’s a beautiful spot at sunset.

I came across this park for one of my first client shoots. But I always wanted to come out here at sunset.

Thankfully, Darbi was up for the adventure.

2019.9.8 Darbi Marie by StanChambersJr Photography 1 small.jpg

Every once in a while (like 1-2 times a year), I’ll come across someone while out and about who I think would look great in front of the camera. Yes, I get the creepiness of it all - a random guy approaches a woman and wants to take pictures of her. Typically I keep this sort of interaction short and I quickly hand them my card to show that I’m a real photographer.

On this particular encounter, it so happened that Darbi is also a photographer, which meant a random encounter turned into an hour conversation about a variety of things, including how she’s never had a real model shoot before.

Fast forward a few weeks, and we were both in waist-deep water as the sun was going down.

Raleigh NC Modeling Session - A nomad in corporate america

Across the street from my office is a pile of rocks.

They look like ordinary rocks - or so I thought.

Up close, they look like something that reminds me of the mountains of Afghanistan. And it didn’t hurt that Mecca dressed the part.

2019.6.23 Mecca by StanChambersJr Photography 10 small.jpg

Photographers are always looking for cool spaces to shoot, especially those that don’t require special access or come with the risk of arrest. And especially those that can make it seem you’re in another country.

But who knew that one would find such a cool space that’s surrounded by corporate buildings?

As we most things in western Wake County these days, I’m sure this space will be another corporate building in a year or two. But for now, I’m enjoying the space, and the imagination it has given us.



Model Shoot - The Beauty of the moment

2018.11.18 Marissa Williams 4 small by StanChambersJr Photography.jpg

Returning to North Carolina has afforded me the luxury of familiarity while simultaneously seeing how people and places have evolved.

But not all change is for the better.

Along my daily commute is a home that didn’t burn to the ground, but burned beyond habitation.

The dwelling isn’t easy to miss, but is easy to ignore - unless you see the beauty in just about anything.

Which meant I wanted to use this home for a shoot.

And I wanted Marissa for that shoot.

I’ve worked with many models during my previous 12 years in North Carolina, but for some reason, Marissa and I never linked up for a shoot. Such bothered me because as artists, collaboration is mostly based off of being attracted to one’s aura, and Marissa seemed like someone I would work well with.

So even before I was fully settled upon returning to Durham, I put her on notice that I wanted to shoot with her.

Creating art is also very intimate. As a creative, you’re expressing yourself through your work. Which means it’s key for anyone involved in an artistic project to be one with your vision.

And there’s nothing wrong with bringing a little silliness as well, even on a cold Sunday morning.

2018.11.18 Marissa Williams 3 small by StanChambersJr Photography.jpg

I converted the photos in front of the home to black and white because eliminating color can really isolate a moment. Pictures are inherently frozen moments, but I wanted to draw the viewer even further into the moment.

And the flowers emphasized the beauty of that moment, even in front of a burned-out home.

Photographers are not only trained to capture moments, but they also have the power to redefine how we see things.

I no longer see the house an an eyesore, but another canvas in which to create moments of beauty.

Here's why you don't want boring senior photos

2018.11.10 Tai'na Ortiz by StanChambersJr Photography 8 small.jpg

There’s nothing wrong with railroad tracks, water fountains, fields of green and country bridges, but who looks back at those senior pictures and says that’s who they were at that point in their lives?

Senior photography should reflect one’s personality, but they should also be creative. After all, you’re only a high school senior once, right?

Tai'na, a senior at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School, has a lot of aspirations, including modeling. So I wanted to turn her senior session into a mini modeling session.

And I knew just the spot.

This was my first photoshoot since returning to North Carolina, and plenty has changed in the three years I was gone - especially Raleigh’s Warehouse District.

The area was already popular for photoshoots, but with the building of Raleigh Union Station and The Dillion Raleigh, both of where we took pictures, I’ve seen multiple photographers the few times I’ve been in the area.

And I don’t blame them.

As for Tai’na, we were able to capture some pretty cool pictures despite the early Saturday morning wind and cold.

Want to do a creative senior session? Let’s talk about it!

One last Florida shoot

2018.8.19 Kayla 20 small.jpg

Of course my final Florida shoot would be on a beach.

But while the beach shoot was planned, the fact that it was my final Florida shoot was not.

Kayla and I decided to spend a morning at Clearwater Beach, which is one of the country’s best beaches. And as such, we were up nice and early.

Despite not being able to use my lights (a Clearwater PD officer nicely said I needed a permit to do flash photography), we still had an awesome time.

And I’m so glad that we did.

I’m writing this post from Durham, N.C., where I’ve since returned to where it all began. It was in Durham back when I was a reporter for the News & Observer (2005 - 2010) that I really started taking photography seriously.

So while I’ll miss some things about Florida - including Kayla, who became a great friend and one of my go-to models - I’m one who definitely prefers seasons.