Every Tuesday, savor Catherine’s evocative joie de vivre and mysterious lightness of being through subjects as diverse as Appalachian inhabitants, Tasmanian farmers, tribal people and celebrities.
Photo of the Week
This image is part of a 1940s “Woman of War” period piece I shot at San Francisco’s historic Julia Morgan Ballroom, which is nestled downtown right along the cable car lines and is one of the city’s architectural crown jewels. With this sumptuous and storied environment as my backdrop, I coordinated a 10-person team of Bay Area creatives to collaborate on this project. While my first passion is fine art wedding photography, I am also an avid practitioner of portraiture. I value beauty for the sake of beauty, and this particular project unifies my aesthetic vision with the delicate whimsy of fashion and the magnetism of femininity. The enchanting models made it easy to manifest my aesthetic vision: the elegance, femininity, grace, and class of San Francisco’s 1940s women. They might have been married, but they were educated and empowered, with the freedom to join one another in a luxurious environment, content with the enveloping company of other women.
They called it the Blizzard of ’06 – it had been a humdrum winter in New York City for 2 months, with snowy rooftops and white-coated trees that were a shadow of their summer selves everywhere you turned. That early February morning, I awoke to a sudden thunderous uproar, like an electric shock through my heart. I looked out the window and saw a misty fog and milk-white rains – it was like something out of a storybook. I heard on the radio that it was the biggest winter storm in the history of this city, which was then my home. This is a great opportunity to document a phenomenal historical event, I thought to myself. I packed my camera, went down to Central Park and caught a rare moment of peace and quiet in the heart of the bustling, magnificent city.
At the nascence of my photographic journey, various mentors encouraged me to get my work in front of the right people and that contests have helped launch the careers of many of the top pros in the industry. I took their advice to heart and have worked vigorously ever since to submit my work to renowned contests. This image, created in the Nevada desert, is one of the award winners of the 17th Annual Photo Contest of National Geographic Traveler. See the feature here and read the accompanying description below:
“Catherine Hall was traveling in the Nevada desert when she met a man who was doing yoga in a tent. ‘His white, sand-covered feet had an amazing contrast against his dark skin.’ Hall, an assistant for professional photographers, says everyone in the tent thought she was crazy when she lay down to get the shot.”
It was getting dark, and I was looking for a motel around the area to stay for the night. The streets were empty, stripped of the footsteps and chatter just an hour earlier – you look around and see shut doors and are almost overcome with stark silence. An uncomfortable, tickling breeze slips through my rolled-down windshield, and my hair lightly brushes my cheeks and eyes. I caught sight of a neon sign that screamed “vacancy” against the foggy blue and purple sky, and heave a sigh of relief – I can finally kick off my shoes, take a warm shower and catch some rest. As I pulled into the motel, I saw this girl – something about her energy, a slight adolescent awkwardness that belied her maturity – drew me to her. I got out of the car, walked up to her, and through a rather bungled exchange of courtesies, I found out that it was her sixteenth birthday and asked if I could take a photograph of her. She mustered a casual “sure,” but I could see in her eyes that she was glad to be the subject of attention.
Last week was Burning Man and this is the first year I’ve missed it after having been there for several consecutive years. In honor of the desert festival, I’m happy to share an image representing the eclectic and bohemian environment. This was created during my first time at Black Rock City.