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Lowell Photographer’s FaceTime Photoshoots Bring New Meaning to Digital Art

by Joey Phoenix
All photos by K.H. Photography

While scrolling through my newsfeed last week, like one does these days, I came across a stunning piece of work by Lowell-based photographer Kristen Higgins of K.H. Photography (recently published in VisualMag). She had created an ambient setting with fabric and light and nestled a small screen streaming a posed model in the middle.

I had to look closer. “Is that a phone?” I asked myself, squinting. It was. And it was beautiful.

FaceTime Photoshoots originated from New York-based photographer Sydney Claire, but Kristen has taken the concept and made a version of it distinctly her own.

“I had seen many of her FaceTime shoots as well as some others; she had kicked off the trend pretty quickly,” Kristen said. “So many of them have the likeness of film grain in beautiful muted, neutral tones, and I wasn’t really sure how I felt except that they seemed much more responsible than taking photos of people outside right now.”

Inspired, Kristen took to designing elaborate environments that would exist around the phone, relying on vibrant hues, brilliant textures, and some photoshop wizardry.

“During the editing process of my first couple, I really felt this cacophony of sensations; sadness, hope, intrigue, frustration, all of these things stirring around since the quarantine began,” she recalled.

For her, it was like waking up from a social-distancing necessitated blank state.

“Portraiture is what I do. It necessitates people, and contact with people, and communication, and brushing hands and bumping into one another to set up shots. All of those things seemed to return inward until these FaceTime photos.”

Inspired as well, I booked a shoot with her. It had been months since I’d shot with anyone, and I was looking forward to stretching my creative legs in this direction.

We had two goes at it, and while the first one didn’t quite work out because the concept wasn’t as fleshed out as we would’ve liked, it was magic when we tried again.

I picked a cosplay that I felt would be appropriate for the collective state of where we’re at. I chose Radical Edward “Ed” from the anime Cowboy Bebop, a space noir with themes of adult existential ennui, loneliness, and the difficulties of trying to escape one’s past.

Bailey, one of my “Quaranteam”‘s pets, joined me for the shoot.

“It kind of feels like finding an unexplored part of my brain, and it’s exciting, and sometimes infuriating, and confusing, but the response has been affirming,” Kristen said.

You can also book a shoot of your own with Kristen. At $20 for a fully processed hi-res digital image, there’s no reason not to do this.

Also, it’s just a lot of fun.



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