The Artists | Malibu, California

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” – Dr. Brené Brown

On this Friday afternoon, I was fortunate enough to be invited into this lovely couple’s home. Full disclosure: This is one of my favorite photo sessions, so get ready for an extraordinarily higher number of photos than usual from this shoot. I love capturing authentic imagery, and these two made this shoot effortless. The moment I stepped into their dwelling, I knew that they were honest people and that everything they had was, simply, enough. From their wooden toothbrush to their jar of actual tooth “paste” and their laundering methods, these two are, to me, the epitome of ‘wholehearted living’. Their home, nestled in the hills, is surrounded by beautiful light throughout the day – a perfect space for an artist. She was raised to be an artist at a very young age. He was a hockey player who also dabbled in art here and there, but these days he enjoys spending his time writing.

For this photo session, I wanted to create something that was more real and authentic – ‘unposed’. To achieve this, I conducted a simple interview and asked them, “If I wasn’t here, what would you guys be doing?” They began describing their typical Fridays to me and told me that they like to keep their Fridays open so they can spend time exploring their creativity. Every Friday, they spend their day in a relaxing environment and work on the creative aspects of their lives – art, writing, acting, etc… She starts her day with a ritual by doing some Yoga stretches, burning sage for good aura, lighting a subtly fragrant candle for ambiance, and beginning to paint. Meanwhile, he works on his screenwriting. To prevent creative block, somewhere in the middle of the day, they take a small break and rehearse their lines for their acting roles. They then switch places with each other, and he starts painting while she plays the guitar. They have a small jam session together. When the weather is nice, she goes out to the balcony for some fresh air and continues her artwork. As it gets closer to sunset, they both finish their quiet afternoon on the balcony with a beverage and enjoy the rest of the day in each other’s company. After hearing their Friday’s agenda, I asked them to just do exactly that. I started preparing my gear and quietly captured their story as it unfolded throughout the day. I absolutely love how these turned out, and I hope you all enjoy the story, because I know I sure did!

Viet Le

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