A guide to claiming new selves 

Amber and I met in Deep Ellum, a Dallas neighborhood known for keeping fringe cultures alive in the heart of Texas.

She told me about how modeling became a creative outlet at a time in her life when she was struggling with depression, challenging herself to explore things she might otherwise never try. She went on to tell a story of finding a deep, confident self that was always there but maybe hidden away at first, unexplored.

Taking those first steps towards an unknown opened up for her a unseen world within the fashion scene, where she found a niche agency representing plus size models for commercial clients.

Now she’s one of the more confident models I’ve worked with, bringing not only her own ideas to the shoot but also the confidence to pull off any creative direction thrown her way. 

It’s a story that I relate to, and I think a lot of others do too: we grow up assuming that some creative realms are only appropriate for “others,” and that we’d be trespassing if we were to try and claim a our own personal selves there. I felt that way abut photography for a long time in my life; “only special photography people can become photographers,” is something I vaguely remember sitting in the back of my head for a long time. Only recently did I go through the same transformation as Amber, realizing that the world and all its many beautiful niches are more plentiful than we initially think. 🔮🙏 

Model / styling: Amber Stehlik