My mid-life awaking in the south of France

 This is a view from my bedroom window in my home in Goult, France. This photo was taken in March shortly after I moved here.

This is a view from my bedroom window in my home in Goult, France. This photo was taken in March shortly after I moved here.

It has been a long time since I last blogged. I have been going through a huge transition in my life over the past 2 years.  To keep it short, I ended my marriage,  cleared out of most of my belongings,  left my 34 year career as a nurse, and in February, 2018, I moved to the south of France to begin my full-time career as a professional photographer.  This past year has been the most fulfilling year of my life.

To back track a bit, the first time I came to France was in 2014. My first night there I was brought to tears, and I had an overwhelming feeling that I had found my home. I felt very strongly that France was where I needed to be to follow my dreams, and change my career path, but I had no idea how I could possibly make that happen. Well, with perseverance and strong determination, 4 years later, I made it happen.

Since 2010, I had been working on transitioning out of my nursing career to follow my dreams of becoming a professional photographer, but I was held back by my fears.  Over time, I realised that I had to let go of my fears of leaving my safe and successful career as a nurse.  My heart was not fully in it anymore, and my entire being craved to be free from within the box I was living. 

I could no longer live a life that was not feeding my soul, and it became quite clear to me, that life was way to short to not follow my dreams. I knew in my soul, that I had to dramatically change my life, and let go of my fear of leaving, what I perceived at the time, as a "safe and secure" lifestyle.  As a result, on December. 8th 2017,  I retired from my nursing job.  On January 9th, I left for a 1 month trip to Ecuador, and on February 15th, I left the United States and moved to the Luberon Valley in the south of France.

Taking this leap of faith has been an amazing experience.  I have experienced nothing but an incredible amount of support.  I am 58 years old, and I am living my dreams. I have changed my life path, and I am the happiest I have been in years. I dreamed of being a professional photographer when I was 18 years old, but I chose a different career path, which I don’t regret for a moment. But, I feel quite happy that I was able to follow my dreams at 58 years old. I worked hard to get where I am. It has not always been easy, but I believe in perseverance, and to never let go of ones dreams. You never know when it will be your time to soar. I believe that one is never too old to follow their dreams!

Since moving here, I have made many wonderful friends, and had many amazing adventures. I am learning to speak french, learning about the french culture and their way of life in the countryside. It is quite humbling to be a foreigner. I am learning many things about what to do, and what not to do to survive here. I butcher the French language on a daily basis, and pray one day I will be fluent in french. Along the way, I am learning how to trust myself, how to be quiet and listen more closely to my inner voice, how to nourish my body, heart and soul, how to love myself, how to live life in the moment, and allow good things to happen.

If you would like to follow my journey here in France, and beyond, subscribe to my email list, and you will be sent updates. I will be posting what I have been up to since moving here, so there will be lots of fun stories and photos to catch up on from the past 9 months.

 My new home in the dead of winter when I first moved here..

My new home in the dead of winter when I first moved here..

 In April, I brought this beautiful sweet puppy home and I named her Zoé. She is now 9 months old and has her own instagram account, Princess Zoé of Provence. Check out her site. I have a lot of fun photographing her.

In April, I brought this beautiful sweet puppy home and I named her Zoé. She is now 9 months old and has her own instagram account, Princess Zoé of Provence. Check out her site. I have a lot of fun photographing her.

 One of the first sunsets I experienced from the property I live on.

One of the first sunsets I experienced from the property I live on.





 

Interiors Exhibition, at Jadite Gallery in Manhattan, NY, April 2016

I am very honored to have had my photo, "Ryder", selected by juror Stephen Perloff, to be included in the New York Center For Photographic Arts "Interiors" exhibition.  25 photographs, out of 750 submissions, were chosen for the exhibition, which will be held at the Jadite Gallery, in midtown Manhattan, on April 19-30th, 2016.  I am thrilled to be part of this show!

This photo is part of a series, on which I am working, that involves classic cars and 50's fashion, both of for which I have an obsession.  The model in the photo, Sara Kelsay, is the owner of this beautiful, 1961 Plymouth Fury, and the adorable little guy is her son, Ryder.  She restored this car on her own.  She is an inspiration!  I met her at a classic car show and instantly felt a connection to her.  Sara and her son Ryder were really a delight to work with.  

I learned from this shoot not to be afraid to ask people for use of their property in an artistic way.  I have found that most folks are very happy to be part of a creative process.  When I thought of this concept, I noticed a very cool old Craftsman style home, in Canby, Oregon, which I felt would be the perfect for the shoot.  So, I approached the homeowner bravely and she instantly gave me permission to photograph on her property.

Here is one more image that shows the full scene where I did the shoot.

Hair and make-up by the always amazing Michele Wade!

Featured artist at Alpaca Naturally for the McMinnville art and wine walk, Sept. 19th.

I am honored to be the featured artist at Alpaca Naturally, for the McMinnville art and wine walk this Saturday from 4 - 8 pm.  I will be featuring my Girls Just Wanna Have Fun series.  It's going to be loads of fun!  Greeting cards from the series and prints will be available for purchase.

Come out to check out the fun in McMinnville Sept. 19th 4-8pm!

Alpaca Naturally's address is 232 NE 3rd St.  McMinnville, OR.  My work will be on display at Alpaca Naturally from Sept 19th through Oct 18th.  Come see Alpaca Naturally's beautiful clothing, and accessories created from Alpaca Fibers.  I love this store!

 Here are a few images from my Girls Just Wanna Have Fun series.  If you want to see more images from my series,  click here.


Housewives Gone Mad: Featuring Carla Rossi

I had the great fortune of collaborating with Carla Rossi, aka, Anthony Hudson on this shoot.  I met Carla Rossi in August of 2011 during a photography workshop.  I was mesmerized her, and instantly knew I wanted to work with, and feature her in one of my, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" shoots.   After a few years, we were finally able to coordinate out schedules, and this is the result of a very long, but fun filled day of shooting.

A huge thanks to my amazing team of creatives;  Michele Wade: hairstylist, Carla Rossi: model, Malia Rodgers: model, Tyler Verigin: videographer, lighting and set design assistant, Justine Verigin: stylist, set design assistant, Candace Mc Beth: production assistant, Christy Hood, production assistant. 

This shoot took on a life of its own, which is what I hoped would happen.  Carla and Malia instantly began interacting with each other on the set to create a very funny set of images.  Everyone was in stitches laughing most of the time.  Carla and Malia were hysterical!

I hope you enjoy the satire, and also feel the deeper message contained within.

To see more of my, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun series, click here


Black Box Gallery--Portraiture: Pictures in Photography

I am pleased that two of my photographs were selected by, Juror: Kelli Pennington, for the Black Box Gallery Exhibition, Portraiture: Pictures in Photography.  My photo, "Suspect", which was recently created in Gordes, France, was chosen to be on exhibition in the gallery, and my photo, "Alluring", was chosen to be on exhibition in the on-line gallery.  Both will be published in the exhibition catalog.

The opening reception is this Friday, August 7th, 6-8pm, as part of the first Friday Portland's Eastside Artwalk. Come on out to check out the exhibition!

"Suspect"

Model: Cami Debosz  Hair and Makeup Artist:  Carol Ray Bonnet

"Alluring"

Model:  Kira Aszman  Hair and Makeup Artist:  Michele Wade

Alluring

Ad campaign for Alpaca Naturally

I was recently commissioned by Alpaca Naturally for their spring ad campaign.  The shoot was done at Easy Feelin' Alpacas farm, in Portland, Oregon.  I am officially in love with alpacas!  

My awesome team:  Stylist: Michele Wade at Hair by Michele,  Makeup Artist: Cam Tran at Confident, Alluring Makeup,  Model: Malia Rodgers, Production Assistant: Candice McBeth.

Les Filles de Provence

I had the great fortune of visiting Provence, France this fall as part of a 3 week trip to Spain and France.  While in France I had the pleasure of doing a photo shoot at Chateau de Bourgane, in Saint Saturnin Les Apt, France.  I worked closely with a very talented team, located in L'Isle-sur-la-Sourge, France.  

Hairstylist:  Carol Ray-Bonnet 

Makeup Artist:  Johanne Moon

Models:  Camille Debosz, Jessica Merckling, Chloe, Tess and Libby

This is the first photo shoot I have done overseas, and organizing the shoot was a great learning experience.  The number one aspect to making this shoot a success was having a French connection.  Carol,  a life long friend ,  was my key connection to France.  Carol moved to France 8 years ago, and has a very successful business as a hairstylist for high-end weddings in Provence.  She was instrumental to the organization of this production.  We communicated for several months discussing the concept and styling for the shoot.   Carol scouted out the models, and asked Johanne to join the team as our makeup artist.   Model and friend, Jessica worked hard to find the perfect location, and through her connections she was able to get permission for us to shoot at the beautiful location,  Chateau de Bourgane.   It was the perfect location for my concept, as you will see from the photos.  The peach and sea green dresses are vintage dresses from the 30's, which I found in Portland and shipped to France.  

I want to thank my dear friends in France, for all of the hard work they put into making this a successful shoot.  I am looking forward to collaborating on more projects in France, in the near future.  

Additionally, I want to thank Chateau de Bourgane for their generosity in allowing us to use their beautiful estate for our photo shoot.  The location was perfect!  

Dreams, Fantasies, and Illusions, PhotoPlace Gallery

It was such an honor to have my photograph, Dying for Love,  juried into the group exhibition, Dreams, Fantasies, and illusions, at PhotoPlace Gallery, Middleton, Vermont, October 21st through November 14th.  This show was juried by Richard Selesnick and Nicholas Kahn.  I am a huge fan of their work and was thrilled to have my work chosen to be in this exhibition.  

Hair and makeup artist: Michele Wade

Models: Malia Rodgers, and Abigail Van Horn

My photo was also published in the exhibition catalog.  If you are interested in looking at the catalog, click here

Dying For Love

 

2014 Prix de la Photographie Paris Competiton, Bronze and Honorable Mention Awards

I am thrilled to announce that I have just received two Bronze awards and one Honorable Mention, in the Prix de la Photographie Paris Competition.  "The Perfect Wife" won Bronze in the Fine Art category and "Feeling Groovy" won Bronze in the Portraiture category.   "Feeling Groovy" also received Honorable Mention, in the Fine Art category. The jury selected PX3 2014’s winners from thousands of photography entries from over 85 countries.

Px3 is juried by top international decision-makers in the photography industry: Carol Johnson, Curator of Photography of Library of Congress, Washington D.C.; Gilles Raynaldy, Director of Purpose, Paris; Viviene Esders, Expert près la Cour d'Appel de Paris; Mark Heflin, Director of American Illustration + American Photography, New York; Sara Rumens, Lifestyle Photo Editor of Grazia Magazine, London; Françoise Paviot, Director of Galerie Françoise Paviot, Paris; Chrisitine Ollier, Art Director of Filles du Calvaire, Paris; Natalie Johnson, Features Editor of Digital Photographer Magazine, London; Natalie Belayche, Director of Visual Delight, Paris; Kenan Aktulun, VP/Creative Director of Digitas, New York; Chiara Mariani, Photo Editor of Corriere della Sera Magazine, Italy; Arnaud Adida, Director of Acte 2 Gallery/Agency, Paris; Jeannette Mariani, Director of 13 Sévigné Gallery, Paris; Bernard Utudjian, Director of Galerie Polaris, Paris; Agnès Voltz, Director of Chambre Avec Vues, Paris; and Alice Gabriner, World Picture Editor of Time Magazine, New York.

The "Prix de la Photographie Paris" (Px3) strives to promote the appreciation of photography, to discover emerging talent, and introduce photographers from around the world to the artistic community of Paris. Winning photographs from this competition are exhibited in a high-profile gallery in Paris and published in the high-quality, full-color Px3 Annual Book. Visit http://px3.fr

Feeling Groovy

The Perfect Wife

©Raina Stinson Photography

Portrait: A Picture Show Exhibition, at Black Box Gallery

I am honored to announce that my photo,”The Perfect Wife”, has been curated into "Portrait: A Picture Show Exhibition", at the Black Box Gallery in Portland, Oregon, which was juried by Holly Andres, a Portland based fine art photographer. 24 photos have been selected for exhibition at the gallery, and 30 photos are to be included in the on-line gallery annex, as well as published in the full exhibition catalog. My photo was one of those 30 chosen for the on-line gallery annex and exhibition catalog. The exhibition dates are July 1 thru 20, 2014. 

The Perfect Wife
The Perfect Wife

60's Mod Shoot

Check out the photos, and video from my most recent shoot for my series, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun".  This was another fun family collaboration.  My son, Tyler Verigin, filmed and produced the video.  His partner, Sarah Q was my beautiful model.  My sister, Michele Wade, did an amazing job with the hair and makeup.  The music is from Portland band, Moon By You.  Tyler is the drummer and Sarah is lead singer and guitarist.  Our family friend, Ben Braden worked very hard as my assistant.  We had such a great time creating these images. Enjoy!

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Do you want to see what goes on behind the scenes?  Check out this video. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=659126190829792&set=vb.158442534231496&type=2&theater

Check out Moon By You's new CD, Vacuum Dream Machine, at  www.moonbyyou.bandcamp.com

To see more of Michele's work go to her FB page,  www.facebook.com/mwadehair4u

PDX Photo Month Exhibit

I am pleased to announce that my photo "Be Happy" was accepted into the PDX Photo Month Exhibit, at Lightbox Photographic Gallery in Astoria, curated by Chris Bennett.  This photo is  from  my series, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". Artist reception April 12th 6-9pm.  You won't want to miss this exhibit, April 12th through May 6th.

Hairstylist: Michele Wade Models: Malia Rodgers, and Abigail Van Horn Set Design Assistant:  Justine Verigin

If you want to see more photos from my "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" series, check out my website at www.rainastinsonphotography.com