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A Neighborhood Story: Photoshoot with Elayna and Priscilla

It was 5:00 pm and the sun wasn’t even close to setting, but we were determined to make the Tucson photoshoot as successful and non-sweaty as we could.

Usually, the Golden Hour is the best time for shoots according to… photographers and the owner of Sigfus, Lauren. We laughed, nervously, when she parked the car and stepped outside because it was close to 110 degrees, although it felt like 200. We had photos that needed to be shot, and shot quick! We were on a time crunch and Lauren wanted to shoot at least five styles of her statement earrings. 

I wasn’t prepared to sweat that much, but that’s not the point of today’s story. I met Elayna, the model for today’s shoot and Priscilla, the photographer. 

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Meeting Elayna, a mother of one and a personal trainer, had made enough time to squeeze us in her schedule and the first two things I noticed were her smile and tattoos. I have a couple of tattoos myself, but her arms were covered, and I immediately felt comfortable.

In this day in age, mother’s and women in general are STILL bashed for having ink on their skin and we are still getting comments like “what is your child going to think of you?” or “you know that when you’re old your tatts are not gonna look the same right?” YES. WE. KNOW. I admired Elayna for going out of the norm and being her true self.

To be clear, you can be yourself with or without ink. But, don’t fall for the stereotypical nonsense that you have to follow these “rules” society has tried to embed into our brains. And making us think we’re not good enough for not looking or talking a specific way.

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Priscilla, the photographer introduced herself to me and smiled with such beautiful straight teeth. That’s not what had me staring at her though. Her bright pink hair was even brighter due to the sun and I’ve got to admit, I was jealous that her hair looked so good on her.

Meeting the model and photographer - I knew it was going to be one ‘hell’ of a good time. Get it? ‘Cause hell is hot and it was 110+ degrees? Kay.

We walked around the authentic Mexican neighborhood, chosen by Elayna, in downtown Tucson looking for beautiful walls to be the backdrop for the pictures. As unique as we all were, the neighborhood itself had another story to tell.

There were houses of all colors with brick walls, fences and small tiny chihuahua dogs barking at us like the tough “bears” they are. We met a couple of the residents and exchanged smiles. At the same time, we also had many staring at us wondering what the hell we were doing outside.

Elayna chose this neighborhood because she wanted a location for her style of photography that was different from the usual norm aesthetic-looking pictures. She wanted to showcase the beauty and authenticity of this neighborhood and Lauren knew that choosing Priscilla as the photographer could capture exactly that.

Throughout the 45 minutes we were there, we found a couple of cool spots, like a church with stunning doors and a massive mural painted along the freeway.

It was a quick photoshoot, but we all had a great time sweating and laughing together. I felt a sense of bond between all of us with our own unique attributes whether they were physical or mental. Since the sun was scorching our souls into ash, we didn’t quit.

Afterwards, everyone said their goodbyes and went their separate ways. That is the neighborhood story behind the stunning pictures that were taken that day. I’d like to thank Lauren and Breanna for allowing me to come along this adventure and connect with talented like-minded women.

Check out a few of the photos below and to see more of Priscillas work go to- @priscillamateiphotography on Instagram. 

-Joanna

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