*It’s a Leoparty, the catty side of conceptual collaboration.

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Months ago, I sat down with my fellow ELK Collective cohort, Ms Erin Cry, to whom I’m also somewhat of a life coach for reasons unknown, and we discussed fun concepts with which to entertain ourselves.  As conversation continued, and as concepts began to amalgamate, we found ourselves diving deeper and deeper into morbid, soul scaring territory.  I blame the drinking.

Luckily for us, earlier on in the evening, we discussed ideas centered around obsessive tendencies.  If I remember correctly (and largely going off of what I assume my chicken scratches/”notes” translate to), crazy cat lady,  secret identity and leopard rocker turned into what you see before you.  C’mon in to see more.

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*Project Runway season 13, Congrats to Korina Emmerich! #designerkorina

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As a normal, male human being (arguably anyway), my relationship to reality TV has been close to nonexistent over the years.  Sure I watched a couple early seasons of Real World when I was a kid, but I feel it was as much to do with the lack of choices back in the day (I didn’t have the internet to keep me company) as it was with an actual interest in watching people spurred into arguments or uncomfortable boundary pushing for the purpose of entertainment.

As a photographer, I will admit that I enjoy shows like Project Runway (and Next Top Model) because I do enjoy watching creative people actually create. Having dabbled in fashion photography myself a little bit, I’m always interested to see the industry from the inside out, plus Mrs Squeeze loves this stuff, so it’s much easier to get her to watch TV with me.

Enter season 13 of Project Runway.  Okay wait, let me take a couple steps back.  Years ago, I met Korina at an annual Portland Fashion Show founded and run by Erin Cry (now a cohort of mine at the ELK Collective) and her friend Elizabeth Mollo, called Doom Town.  Korina was going to school at the time, involved in the show, and I’d been asked to photograph said show.  A little while later, Korina asked me to shoot her senior collection.  Being that I’d just started to wade into photography in a serious way, it was an awesome collaboration and experience (hopefully for the both of us and the awesome ladies who modeled).  Korina moved from Portland to Brooklyn to pursue her fashion career, and wouldn’t you know it, while shooting with our friend Erin this last week (more on this shoot coming to a blog near you soon), she told me that Korina was a contestant this season!  Pretty awesome, and may I say that those of us back in Portland are very excited for her.  Get it girl.

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*Welcome to the ELK Collective, creative collaboration realized.

The dream of many hard working creative professionals is one born of independence, creative control, self direction, recognition and collaboration with artistic minds enabling a motivating force to push you forward in your craft.  There is something to be said about being your own boss, setting your own hours and managing your own business, but this requires you to be a tireless jack of all trades.  You must master the business side and all that goes along with it all while maintaining a creative drive, not to mention drumming up business.  It is easy to burn out, or fall into a rut, ultimately sacrificing something along the way.  What if you could gather great friends, all working in various creative fields with complimentary skill sets to collaborate on projects which benefit greatly from each individual part, making a much stronger whole?  I would like to introduce you to the ELK Collective… C’mon in.

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