Emily Darling

Emily Darling

Emily Darling

Kansas City, Missouri. A year ago I did a photo shoot for my friend (almost a niece*) Emily Darling who owns, runs and teaches at Darling Yoga.

Emily is the real deal: a spectacular yoga teacher and practitioner with an open, warm heart and gentle touch. She really is a special person.

What’s interesting about Emily is that it’s almost impossible to tease apart how beautiful she is from how beautiful she is. That’s how beautiful she is.

I took hundreds of images of the various teachers and classes at Darling Yoga and I’m still working on processing them. I posted about the shoot here.

*Emily is my wife’s first husband David Darling’s niece and I knew her mother Pam professionally before I met my own wife. Small world.

Darling Yoga photo shoot

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Kansas City, Missouri. Back in May I was asked by Emily Darling, a well known yogi and yoga teacher (and Anne’s niece from her first marriage) to come to her new studio and do some photography for their web site and for print. We were not after studio shots of poses; we were after "art shots" that channeled something about the experience of doing yoga.

I took thousands of RAW images (1000s) and in the process learned how much I didn’t know about event photography (yes, a class is more like an event than a studio setup). Still, I was able to give them hundreds of interesting images that they have used since then in their email newsletters and in print. I’m not finished processing these images yet (sigh).

It’s quite a challenge to be a photographer inside a large, intense yoga class. I was on guard against making people feel self-conscious (teachers as well as students) and it was tough to shoot in the space without catching odd light from one of the walls that is a floor to ceiling window or catching things hanging from the walls.

If I could do it again I’d have a second 5D body, an 85mm f/1.2 lens to kill backgrounds, a 70-200 f/2.8 IS lens to better frame mid-range shots, and a wider prime (24mm L) as well as larger CF cards. My 300mm f/4 ended up being extremely useful for shooting across the room and compressing and so isolating subjects.

The room has a mirror and after I realized I couldn’t get rid of it I learned to make use of it as in this image of Kori leading a class. Yes, I realize I cut her feet off (mistake) but I like the shot anyway as it was my first good use of the mirror.

I’ll be posting many more of these images over time as I’d like to show off the incredible women yoga teachers and the wonderful students at Darling Yoga, their energy and enthusiasm was contagious and I hope they enjoyed working with me as much as I enjoyed working with them.

Kori at the mirror

I caught Kori with her back to the mirror warming up before teaching a class. I don’t know the name of this pose or even if it is a pose (she may have been on the way to a pose) but I think I captured her intense energy, concentration, and strength. The mirror, which I thought might be a problem initially turned into something interesting to make use of.

Kori teaching and in the zone

It was a challenge to isolate people and blur the various elements in the studio. Once you let go of capturing whole poses and just concentrate on pieces of bodies showing smaller details things get a bit easier. Here I caught the concentration in Kori’s face as she demonstrates a side angle pose. Cutting her hands off (ouch) was a mistake but the shot captured what I wanted so I kept it.

Anne and Emily doing yoga

Anne and Emily doing yoga

My wife Anne and Emily Darling doing an intense session of yoga in our dining room (which we cleared of furniture lest you think it’s big enough for yoga and eating).

Anne's hands and foot

Anne’s hands and foot.

Emily's foot and hand

Emily’s foot and hand.

Anne's hand

Anne’s hand.

Emily's foot (again)

Emily’s foot.

Call me a foot fetishist but there’s something about these yoga toes and feet that I like. The toe ring, the spread toes, and even the force producing the ripple and shadow in the mat. I like this one.

Emily's hand

Emily’s hand.

Emily helps Anne

Emily helps Anne.

Emily is an incredible yoga teacher and it was inspiring to watch her work with my wife Anne. Anne has known Emily since she was born so this was a nice reversal of historic roles.

Anne's hands

Anne’s hands.

My wife Anne is a gentle, caring person and these hands not only held Emily when she was a wee baby but have also held countless babies, canned countless pickles, and rubbed my feet. They are good hands.

Emily and Anne do yoga

Emily and Anne do yoga

My wife Anne (right) and Emily Darling had an amazing yoga session in our dining room and I got to be the hot-shot fashion photographer and walk around taking pictures. It was a blast to work with two beautiful women (even better to know I’m married to one of them).

Anne's feet and hands

Emily was taking Anne through a long sequence and I popped in and out from time to time and caught the action. Well, the still action.

Emily and Anne do yoga

It’s a very tight space so there was little possibility to get them both in each shot so I had to think of ways to show that they were working together without being able to step back and give them much spatial context. I learned a lot about ways to do this in a confined space but I’d have liked a wider lens for most of this.

Anne's hand

Anne’s hand gesture sums up my feelings about these images: I’m pleased.

Emily doing yoga

Emily doing yoga

I was helping my friend Emily Darling do a preliminary shoot for an album cover for a yoga CD she’s producing with her uncle David. We shot over a hundred images of her in various yoga positions as well as close-ups of parts of her that were interesting illustrations of aspects of yoga.

She’s a beautiful woman so I figured I’d take a few shots of her face while shooting the yoga-related stuff. I’m glad I did.