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July 28, 2017

Women Behind The Lens

oiselle running hannah calvert

A core component of our brand identity is being by women, for women. We consistently find ourselves starting brainstorming by asking, "how can we better serve women?" Ideas at the Nest often pass between desks through creative conversation that evolves into excitement, and then into a tangible idea. That very process is what led us to realize the obvious: we needed to have an all women photography team shoot our fall concept. We needed the female perspective to capture both the emotional and technical qualities we saw in the Eclipse collection.

Just like that, we sent off emails and by the next month we were crammed into vans, bags of products pressing the ceiling, spilling onto laps, and on our way to Friday Harbor. All female photgraphers, all female models, and an all female operational team. Here are the photographers who took the themes of the Eclipse Collection and brought them to life. 


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Talia Green: "My imagery is typically very warm and features predominately women. I talk a lot about the female gaze and the reclamation of our space both in front of and behind the camera. I’m inspired by the beautiful complexities of women and the opportunity to capture those complexities from a fellow female perspective. My goal is always to explore themes of strength and intimacy – qualities I find to be both formidable and abundant amongst women. Aesthetically, I describe my imagery as a meeting point between analog aesthetics and digital execution. Although I do shoot on film, the majority of my work is digital – and I love pulling those film-like qualities across mediums."

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Heather McWhirter: "I’d like to think of my style of photography as authentic. Capturing the moment so my photo "tells the story in itself." I enjoy reproducing the unanticipated stories of physicality and raw emotion. I try to find the in-between moments that go beyond the obvious that will have a stirring impact. I feel my most successful photographs are when the moment is recaptured as natural and uninhibited, as if my camera isn't there. I’m inspired by the moments we lose to memory." 

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Jess Barnard: "I want to create what I cannot find. I don't care much for the shot of the perfect stride or the power pose or the staged calf stretch. I want the intimate moments - the pinning of the race bib, the last still moment before the gun goes off, the down on your hands and knees after a gut-wrenching effort. There is so much beauty + grit in those moments. As a new photographer, my work is constantly evolving as I discover my own truth as an artist. Inspiration is everywhere and I find it easily in the strong women around me."

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The Eclipse Collection was designed to inspire women to run outside despite the various conditions of Fall and Winter. We want women to embrace the wild outside, and the wild within. Was there any idea or emotion in particular that you wanted to capture?

TG: Often, as women, we are forced into binaries. We’re labeled quickly, and categorized as either this or that. The beauty of this campaign’s concept, was that it embraced our complexities. This project provided the space to be vulnerable yet strong, to be tender and still powerful, and to find beauty in endurance and exhaustion. I think what resonated the most for me was the trust each of us offered and the space to be more than one version of ourselves. I walked away inspired by the environment of support and openness we created – not to mention we got to run around a gorgeous island filled with tall grasses and beautiful beaches. It was wild, for sure.

HM: My goal was to capture the raw beauty of each scene and appreciate the land we live in and around. I strive to capture those moments in such a way that the viewer of the photograph could imagine they were there, taking it all in and feeling the emotion. My goal was to create photographs that united both the emotional and physical demands, presented in nature, for the perfect point in time to capture unique and lasting memories.

JB: I had the pleasure and unique experience of documenting the experience as a whole. I was able to capture the connection, collarboation and creativity that stemmed  from this group of talented women. The emotion I strived for the most? Passion. Talia and Heather's passion to seize the light + darkness. Megan's passion to create + lead. Our models' passion for running + life.

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Was being part of an all women photography team a unique experience for you? And if so, how did it influence your photography?

TG: Women supporting women. So much yes! I can honestly say that this was the first entirely female photography team I have ever worked with. And it was a dream. I’ve never left a shoot feeling more empowered by a community of women that I got to work with. I felt taken care of by my team, and I know they felt cared for behind my lens. It’s hard to be photographed – I think everyone can relate to that – and a huge part of what I do is to create a space where my subjects can open up to me in a way that feels safe and supportive. Beyond the incredible women in front of the camera, being one of three female photographers on this team felt like I was working alongside close friends and allies. There was no sense of competition, only support. We’d share images with each other after sessions, swapped gear when needed, and talked through shots and set ups that would elevate each of our imagery. 

HM: Being part of an all women photography team was a unique and wonderful experience! I left feeling inspired to take risks. I learned it's ok to go beyond the boundaries. I found myself even more passionate about supporting programs that grow female empowerment. I left this experience knowing that absolutely anything in this world is possible. Anything. 

JB: This was my first time working with a team of photographers and I wouldn't have it any other way! I was constantly learning - both Talia and Heather so freely offered help, advice, and anything else I needed. As a new-ish photographer, imposter syndrome set in quick, but was immediately diminished the second we all began collaborating. Heather let me borrow her Canon 5D Mark III + lens (I squealed), Talia leant me a memory card when mine suddenly went on the fritz mid session. Working along side them was a dream. 

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From 4am mornings, to afternoon runs, and about five cups of coffee per day, we packed a lot of action into one weekend. What was your most memorable moment from the photoshoot?

TG: First things first, we did wake up at 4AM the entire weekend – and waking up before the sun on a regular basis is not my normal. But waking up to a creative director having prepared a full breakfast for a dozen people, is rare to say the least. We were all in it together and the excitement energized everyone. It was that sense of comaradery and general care for each other that got us all hyped for the long days of shooting.

In general, the highlight of the trip was the constant exchange of stories between women. For example, when we started our drive to the island, I had just been introduced to the six ladies riding in the car with me. After about two hours and a couple road trip games, we started exchanging stories that got personal very quickly. One of the women started talking about two runs in which she experienced hypothermia. Before I knew it, 30 minutes had gone by and I was playing back scenes from her story in amazement. She shared with all of us an experience more intense than I think most people know in their lives. Stories of endurance, sisterhood, and dedication framed the whole trip and made it more than memorable.  

HM: All the moments of laughter… those deep belly laughs! Being surrounded with an awesome team the whole weekend. The beautiful light we had during our photoshoots. It made the early mornings totally worth it! 

JB: Going off of Talia, it's pretty amazing how quickly the group bonded. The jokes, the stories, the why-the-hell-am-I-up-at-four, the car rides, the countless bags of Juanitas Tortilla Chips, the nicknames... For me, the most memorable moment was our last group photo together before we all took off. "I can't believe it's over!" "What's your Instagram?" "You better tag me in that!" "Call me if you need any adivce on your first ultra!". 

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And last but not least, what’s the one Fall 17' item you can’t stop thinking about?

TG: The Flyout Shorts definitely made a lasting impression. As someone who does not identify as a runner, seeing the ladies fly through fields of grass and up mountains of sand made me want to run just so I could feel as strong as they looked in these shorts. 

HM: Aero Tights in Big Blue!

JB: Mile One Pullover in Black. Wearing it with my mom jeans as we speak!

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