Beauty Is ... / Inspiration

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect Play

10.19.14

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My old tennis coach used to say, “Practice doesn’t make perfect, but perfect practice makes perfect play”.

As a 14 year old it wasn’t necessarily what I wanted to hear, but hindsight is always 20/20 right?  I can go out and take a thousand photos, yet if they are not grounded in excellence, vision, well-crafted composition, beautiful lighting, etc. then I’ll either stay the same or actually get worse.  (Ummm…no thank you).

One of the best ways I have come to grow as an artist is to copy some of my favorite photographers.  They say (whoever they may be) that copying is the ultimate form of flattery, and I truly believe that.

A while back a few of my photographer friends, Fred and Sara, and I rented some lighting and were intent on recreating Yu Tsai’s famous 16 expression series.  At a first glance these images just look like shots taken at a photo booth, anyone can take those right?  No…wrong.  Each image is precise, with specific emotion, and takes time to capture.

So what did we do?  Well, we set up the lighting against a white wall in Sara’s apartment, and studied the heck out of Yu Tsai’s images.  What were we looking for:

  • Where the light source was coming from
  • What was the exposure
  • The amount of different poses
  • The composition (how much head space, do we cut off the elbows)…
  • Where were the shadows in the shot
  • How was he evoking his subject to give him what he wanted?

Then we blasted Taylor Swift + Beyonce (because ummm…that’s what you do when you are with your friends), and danced, and sang, and shot for about 4 hours each taking turns until we felt we had the lighting set-up down, and got shots of each other that we were happy with.

The cool thing about replication is that once you learn how to replicate you can learn how to make it your own.  Don’t merely stop once you’ve gotten the copied shot, figure out ways that you can make it Y-O-U.  The best thing any of us have going for us is that no one else can be Kat Harris.  I offer something that no one else in the universe can offer, and so do you.  Your eye, your style, your attention to detail, while it may be similar to others, is altogether separately yours.  Own that, and have fun with it!

I’m grateful to be surrounded by some amazing artists who want to challenge and evoke me to become the best I can be, and also that just want to rent a bunch of lights, blast Beyonce, and take a whole bunch of pictures.

Here are some of my favorites that I shot, and I have Fred + Sara to thank for capturing these of me!

Moral of the story: don’t just practice just to practice.  Surround yourself with excellence.  Fill your vision and creativity with excellence, with art that inspires you, allow yourself to be molded by impeccable work, train your eye to see beautiful composition.

Be purposeful, intentional, precise, and have LOTS of fun while doing so!

XO,
Kat

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Photos by:  F.E. Castleberry + Tutti del Monte Photography

Style

OUTFIT | White on White

09.30.14

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This summer has been go-go-go.  I truly cannot complain about all the amazing trips I’ve been able to go on this summer, and I will tell you one thing I’ve come to really learn is to keep it simple.  (I mean I’m not a huge jazzy dresser in the first place, but especially when I’m in and out of town every few days I need some good go-to classic staples.

This basic white tee white denim shorts have been my summer staples.  Whether in NY or LA I can throw this outfit on + feel put together while still being comfortable (and you know Em + I are all about those outfits that look “put together”, but feel like pajamas! 

You can’t go wrong with white in my opinion; it’s one of my favorite colors to wear + today you can my Summer How to on White on White color palettes on Darling Magazine!  Check them out + leave them some Refined Woman love!

XO,

Kat

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Photos by Lindsey Shea

News

Beauty Is…Accepting Flaws

09.29.14

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Nikia of Model Liberation is a force to be reckoned with.  She embodies femininity and balance, and her love for people and heart for those around her is so lovely to experience.  A few months ago we met before sunrise with my sweet hair + make-up friend Amy Clarke + we brought in the day with laughter, singing, and getting to know each other…oh ya + taking pictures!

Enjoy getting to know this lovely woman’s heart + soul!

XO,

Kat

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A few weeks ago, I celebrated a birthday. Whenever this momentous time rolls around, I get a little sad. Not because I’m slowly losing my youth. That part doesn’t bother me. I’m looking forward to growing older and wiser, at least I hope that’s what happens. I think I get melancholy on my birthday because I’m still not where I want to be in accepting myself.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me. I love that freckled reflection I see in the mirror. I love the spirit I exude. What I don’t adore are the ugly insecurities I’m still battling from yesteryear. They never go away. Even now, my eyes are puffy from some horrible moments I had just last night. So I’m avoiding looking at myself because I won’t feel beautiful when I see the sad reality that is my swollen, red face.
I go through rough patches every now and then. There are times when I look the same as the day before but my soul isn’t strong enough to convince me that I am just as beautiful as ever. It’s not like I have a huge zit or I’ve gained weight, but somehow no outfit looks right and no color of lipstick will brighten up my day.  You know what I mean, right? I feel like so many women experience this same thing and we can’t figure out exactly what’s the problem.
For me, I guess I’m still hearing those voices that I did as a kid that said “you’re ugly” or “you look weird.” Growing up in the South didn’t make things easy for me. In that place, people are either black or white. I’m African American, but my skin is pretty fair and I have tons of freckles. I didn’t fit into whatever cookie-cutter definition others had of what it means to be black, so I was picked on because of it. Some of my peers treated me like I was an alien. No matter how much my mom told me I was pretty, I didn’t feel that way. I would curl up in her lap and cry whenever I had a bad day at school. Now that I’m an adult, I can’t run home to mommy. I’ve got to deal with things myself.
I know that there’s probably a good reason I was born with the features I have.  My spiritual upbringing tells me that God doesn’t make mistakes. If He created us in his image, then God has a face full of freckles. He already knows what I’ve been through and what’s in store for me. I hope it’s good. Scratch that… I know it’s awesome! I just have to make it through those birthdays and bad days. I’m only human, so of course things won’t always be rosy.  Appearing to be have all my ducks in a row is a burden I placed on myself. I have to learn to accept both the stronger me and the weaker me. By no means am I perfect, and I don’t have to be. I’ve got to learn to love me even when I’m flawed. I must find the beauty in my imperfections. That time is coming soon… I just got to have faith.
XO,
Nikia

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All Photos by Me:  Kat Harris | Hair + Make-up:  Amy Clarke