“Spark of inspiration,
Light my spirit’s fire,
Let the joy of creation
Be my heart’s desire.
Let me flow with the music,
Let me dance my dreams alive,
Let me sing my deepest feelings,
Until the whole world thrives.
Exploding into expression,
My joy takes many forms,
Leaving the tears and sadness
For the warmth of tender arms.

-Mystic Mamma

A few months back Bianka and I met briefly at Quixote Studios. Despite her bold style, it was her gentle character that I remember most. I instantly took a liking to her taste in fashion and humility. Little did I know she would soon again grace me with her presence.

This past weekend I wove in and out of Venice Beach with photographer, Sabrina Hill. We kept it casual as we bounced from one location to the next, changing looks in the car. This “on the whim” style of shooting has been my method ever since I could remember. I love the degree of uncertainty and innovation it creates and how it forces me to be resourceful. It opens me up to the opportunity to express my DIY spirit, while keeping me grounded in expression.

● ◎ ●



Turban, Chic, Urban, Beauty, Fashionista

1. Flip your head to let your hair hang towards the ground

2. Place the scarf at the nape of your neck

3. With your hair gathered inside, begin twisting the scarf until it’s entirely twisted in one tight strand (Ex. twisting your hair up in towel after showering)

4. Allow the tension to coil the scarf naturally as you wrap each coil around the next until you have only the end of the scarf

5. Tuck the end up the base of a coil and pull through until tightly secured

Venice, Coffee, Flowers, Fashion● ◎ ●

Menotti's, Coffee, Venice, M, I use the car window for my mirror as I wrap my hair into a silk scarf, securing it into a top knot. I look up from the window to observe my surroundings. In the opposite direction of the boardwalk I notice a wooden sign embossed with a cursive M. Starry-eyed, I point to it as if I’m Captain Morgan and I’d just discovered some uncharted territory. Clearly this was a fully established location but this didn’t stop me from seeing it as today’s treasure.

|| ON THE M A P || #XMarksTheSpot || (Better yet, #MMarksTheSpot) 

Location: Menotti’s.

Smile, Menotti's, Venice Beach,

Menotti's, Coffee, Venice Beach, DIY, House of Harlow, Succulent As we head towards the quaint coffee stop, I notice a tall, well-dressed woman meticulously placing floral arrangements on a wooden barrel outside. As I draw nearer. she turns around and I am greeted by a familiar face. I’ll admit it, I’ll admit it. I am horrible with names, but when it comes to a face, I always remember. We re-introduce ourselves and catch up for a few moments. Curious about the flowers, I ask her what they’re for. Come to find out they’re her newest creation, Bianka Blooms, an artistic platform to spread love and positivity. Quite simple and true, however she forgot the most obvious aspect of her work, beauty. Without second thought I ask if I could incorporate them into the shot.Rosie The Riveter, Tough, Strong, Beauty, Denim Jacket,

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What I love most about my craft is how I see the world. I’m just a young adult with the spirit of a child. With eyes of wonder, I see the world as as one big playground. I joyfully smile as I step into today’s pre-determined scene and begin interacting with the energy. As Sabrina tests the light, I take a few moments to talk the girls leisurely sipping on their lattes across the way. As people begin to pass by, I can’t help but engage with my them. Bianka snaps some behind the scenes shots with her iPhone and slips in some words of encouragement like “Your killin’ it Morgan.” A young boy then passes by with his family, he looks back again saying “That’s gonna be a good shot!” Then an older gentleman comes up from the street, greeting us with a smile. I send him one back and he demands more people should make me smile so my dimples show.

In that moment it was as if time didn’t exist. In slow motion, I watched these people from different walks of life as they passed by me. Despite their differences they were all doing one thing in common. They were smiling. I realized the images we originally set out to capture were not nearly as important as the real deal, the present moment. What struck with me most was how my desire to live authentically somehow created this catalyst for human interaction, connection and collaboration. We all shared a connection in that moment by adding our own unique energy to the space. Without a doubt the tangible can evoke feeling. However it can never truly re-create that energy ever again. I will never forget the warmth and love I experienced this past weekend and how my intuition brought me face to face with fate.

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Love breeds love

Smashbox Photo Assist Show

“It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning –So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
 – The Great Gatsby 

One day I was searching for contact information on the Smashbox Studios website where I happened to stumbled upon a landing page banner that read:

Twenty Thirteen

The Original SMASHBOX

Photo Assists Show

-Since 1995-

On a whim, I applied with about 4 photos from my Semester at Sea experience, of which were previously exhibited at Chapman University. To my complete surprise, 2 were selected to be featured in Smashbox’s Annual Photo Assist Show. As one of the youngest artists recognized at the show that night, it hadn’t registered in my mind just how significant this was or the magnitude of this acknowledgement until a good friend, Clinton Wallace, put it in perspective.

I had just met Clinton for the first time that night, a night that marked an encounter with a soon to be mentor as well as many new friendships and surprises. He and I took a picture together which is the fourth photo featured below. Clinton, along with another photographer at the event had asked me how it felt to have been chosen out of thousands of submissions? I noticed that in that moment, I became self aware of my tendency to downplay my accomplishments or recognitions. I’m not certain why, but I feel it may be because I refuse to become too attached to those moments as a means to refrain from slowing down my progress. I never wanted to become comfortable as a child, and now it is represented by my continuous inner drive t0 grasp, accomplish and reach my full potential as a storyteller and artist. Just like a shark who needs to constantly swim and roam in order to stay alive, we must similarly remain in motion, for that is where creativity lies.

Never the less, it was truly was one of the most amazing nights within my senior year at college. The night was garnished with artistically clad individuals ranging from laid back street wear styles to mysterious faces shielded by interesting hats. There was a tribute band to the Beastie Boys who performed in halfway throughout the night, changing up the energy of the event, creating some up beat excitement. The Beastie Boys theme was cohesively reflected as well in the photo shoot set, which encouraged the partakers to openly masquerade the bedroom scene. My friends, Ashley, Austin, Christian and I decided to take a domestic stance posing as a future newage family portraiture on a Sunday afternoon. My cousin Jake Ross, spun that night, continuing to supply the event with his funky, electro-disco infused set. Just hours before heading out the door for the event, my Mom called me telling me that Jake works for Smashbox and would be there all night spinning a live set. I probably hadn’t seen him for 8 years. It was a night where I entered with no expectations and left thinking:

Expect the unexpected. 

Random coincidences never were part of my vocabulary

      .  .  .