WOMAN 2020: What to Expect

WOMAN 2020 is portrait essay to document the firsthand experience of women right now and what needs to be done as a society to propel the next generation forward.

Share Your Experience.
Images tell a story, but words matter just as much. I put together a list of questions to go with your portrait in the exhibition. They are based on what I would have asked women 50 years ago but they are especially relevant now.

My goal as a photographer with WOMAN2020 is to take the words you write in your Q+A and create a visual match those words. I want readers and of this project to find solace and inspiration in the words you write. I appreciate your honesty, frankness an elaboration about why you feel the way you do. You never know who will be inspired to act based upon your words. Visit the blog if you would like to read the interviews of the women photographed in this project so far.

Choose A Location. After photographing quite a few of these portraits, I’ve found the best way to approach these is to find a place you are energetically charged by so you can feel comfortable expressing yourself.

Are you inspired by a particular room in your house, office/studio or outside? Do you like bright spaces or dark spaces? Do you have a piece of furniture or clothing you love we should build around? What’s your passion? Is there a place where you feel women don’t have equality? Any of these questions can lead to finding a location.

If we’re shooting outside, it’s my preference to shoot early in the morning or at dusk. I know these times are often pain but the results are always worth the effort. If we’re shooting inside, I can bring lights and take advantage of the available light. I’m pretty flexible and can shoot during the week or weekends to accommodate your schedule.

Need some help choosing a location? Let’s find time to talk on the phone or meet for coffee or ice cream.

Prep for Your Shoot. To get a feel for what we’re doing, it’s always great to go into your chosen location and try different postures out. Stand, sit, lean to get a feel for how you feel most like yourself. I know this sound ridiculous, but it’ll helpful and make you more comfortable when we begin shooting. It’s also great thing to figure out what do with your hands. As a society we’ve become so used to holding a cell phone, we almost don’t know what to do with our hands.

What to Wear. Wear something that makes you feel grounded, beautiful, strong and/or empowered. The most important thing is for you to BE YOU. Bold and dark colors photograph well. Colors that compliment your skin are great. How did you know what that color is? It’s usually the one total strangers comment on.

Anything from an evening dress to jeans and a t-shirt, dress, robe, or favorite bra and panty set. Pants or a dress with pockets, jewelry, glasses, scarf or sweater give you something to do with your hands while we're shooting. Please make sure whatever garment you choose it's free of lint. The camera picks up every rogue lint on dark fabrics. Bring 2-3 options so you can change mid-session. If you need help choosing clothes, I’m happy to help.

Makeup. For makeup, choose MATTE products. Products that sparkle accentuate lines. If you're not a makeup person, moisturizer, mascara and chapstick are great. If you get your makeup done at a Sephora or with a makeup professional, make sure to tell your stylist it is for a photoshoot. The camera also picks up every stray hair so make sure to apply pomade or hairspray.

I will be photographing you from head to toe so you will be able to see your toes and fingernails in case you'd like to get a manicure/pedicure beforehand. I prefer to photograph in *bare-feet*. People feel more grounded literally when they can touch the earth. And it’s just easier to move around.

Please arrive ready to shoot. 

During Your Shoot. At the beginning of our session I’ll start out by giving you some direction about how to stand in the space we’ve chosen. I know it can be a little nerve-wrecking at first (every single person I’ve photographed is) but the best way to lose those nerves is to start moving. Moving makes you more comfortable, so shake it off, lean on things, pull out old dance background or yoga moves, put your hands in your hair, cross your arms and do whatever you're feeling. This will put you in a natural posture and you can’t help but be yourself when you’re comfortable. Because photographing who you are is what we’re after. I promise you will forget about the camera after about 5 minutes.

If you think you’ll be nervous, bring something to do if that makes you more comfortable. Click a pen, blow some big pink bubbles, drink a cup of tea, read a book, knit, paint, draw, dance or do yoga.

It will just be you, me, a camera and some music (feel free to tell me what you like). My goal is to capture the best of YOU and since this is digital, please go for it! I’m here to facilitate your greatness.

If you're looking for inspiration, I like to look at classic paintings or google photographs of old film stars on Wikipedia. They’re especially good at hand movements. No cell phones back then.

Know Someone Who’d Be Great for this Project? Please share this link.

The Exhibition. I will be exhibiting one portrait per person and your Q+A at a gallery in early 2020.

Release: Images from your session will be printed and sold at the exhibition and will be displayed via my social media, website and possibly printed in a book. Therefore, I need all participants to fill out a model release. I will bring a copy with me for you to sign.

Files: I will send you a digital copy of your three favorite images in the weeks leading up to the exhibition. When you post these, I would appreciate being credited @jennheflin with the hashtag #WOMAN2020.

Is this free? Yes. This is not a scam. I’m an artist and I’m trying to answer the question: What do we need to do as a society to make it better for the next generation? Some people paint, my medium is photography.

About Me. I grew up in the wilds of the vast Arizona desert. My parents owned a small trucking company so I grew up on the road during summers and school vacations watching the world blur by. I took pictures as a kid but never thought I could make a living doing it, so I shelved my passion. After college I worked for nonprofits doing marketing and fundraising from CO to SF and used my camera skills to create marketing materials for my organizations where there’s no budget for stock images. I decided to make a run at being a full-time photography six years ago. My day job is shooting business and branding images but at night and in between gigs, I like to shoot portrait projects. My first project, 52Portraits was a portrait a week for a year and exhibited at the South Shore Center in Alameda for a month after they saw my work on Instagram. I have been working on WOMA2020 since January of 2018 and will exhibit the collection in the Spring of 2020.

Anything else? Please email me with questions at jennheflinphoto@gmail.com or call or text at 4153127789.