Allison Gray. Adventurous, an avid runner and Hash House Harrier, a dog lover, as good natured as they get, and super freakin' talented. I worked with Allison for the first time in 2017. When we met to get acquainted and talk about our approaching session, she humbly and simply told me that she was an artist. Weeks later, after that session, we went out for lunch and I got to know a bit more about her and what exactly she creates. "I paint pictures of peoples' pets," she told me. She started doing it as a side gig and opened an Etsy shop, but she hadn't anticipated just how much of a demand there would be for the kind of art she was making. Business boomed and her artwork became her full time gig. For an artist that's a huge accomplishment, and totally one she deserves.
This time around I approached Allison in hopes that she would let me come and observe/photograph her process as she works. This is not typically the kind of sessions I photograph, but that was the whole point. Sometimes, as an artist, you find the kind of inspiration you're craving by looking outside of the box. I typically do photograph people more than anything else, but usually my focus is on relationships between people. Relationships between parents and their children, among siblings, and womens' relationships with themselves and their bodies. I often find inspiration not by looking at photography magazines, but instead by looking at Vogue, magazines like Parenting, or even just watching movies. One of my best friends, Jamie Bannon of www.JamieBannon.com, is also a fellow photographer and we take our babes on walks together often. On our walks we do a lot of talking about photography and where our businesses are headed. Jamie and I are both very much inspired by real life and real events, much less by posed and completely controlled portrait sessions, and we talk about our love for documentary style sessions often. I feel like our walks are filled with very productive rants about what we love and hate about running a photography business and what is expected/demanded of us as photographers. I always come away from our walks with a reinforced appreciation for being able to run my own business; for getting to decide exactly what projects are worth time away from my family, and for only getting to do work that inspires me. Blogging is not one of those things that I would say I enjoy spending time on. I don't hate it, but not every session I photograph makes me want to run to the computer and sit there for hours writing about it. I did come to notice though that when I pick up extra projects for myself, those tend to be the ones that excite me the most and end up on my blog. I mostly pick these projects up only when time allows for it or if I feel like my photography could help heal someone going through a hardship. I decided that, regardless, I need to make more time for photography that inspires me and maybe even others. So now I will be picking one up once a month and you'll likely be reading all about each one on here.
This project in particular is my first monthly extracurricular and one that I really, really enjoyed photographing. Allison is an insanely talented artist and a pleasure to spend time with. Her dog Banjo, an adorable boxer who keeps her company around the clock, was the cherry on top!
You can find out a bit more about Allison here.
You can purchase her artwork on Etsy at GoGrayArtwork and on her website at www.gograyartwork.com
Her artwork has been swooped up by Wayfair and Homegoods too!
Here are a few images from our session. Enjoy!