So… Why “The Impossible Dream?

We believe all of us have dreams! At the core of life we all want to have true love and live an authentic life.  And yet we also all have challenges or what seem to be impossible obstacles. How do we keep our lives fresh, moving and breathing with life? Are we happy?  As photographers in a competitive market place we are constantly seeking something “different” to keep our eyes open. It’s all too easy to become stagnant as habits kill our creative spirit. If we are to truly grow we must place ourselves in the unknown, surround ourselves with talent, and above all welcome critique. With this personal project our intention was to communicate the beauty of imagination and power of choice within our relationship to life… and give space to the realm of possibility…

“Are we dreaming our life, or living our dream?”

This “test shoot” was a creative collaboration of talented individuals working together to explore “the impossible dream.” We came together thinking to push the edges of our imaginations, learn, grow, and do something different… something more than one person could do by themselves. With great enthusiasm myself, Tree, and our friend RJ Kern who we spent time shooting with in New Orleans with David Beckstead gathered some of the best talent together we know in Portland. First on our list was Sonia Kasparian with Urchin Redesign (an exceptionally talented couture dress designer) who is always doing something different and jaw dropping! Together with an amazing team of talent we produced something different. Everyone brought their “A” game and no money was exchanged. The aim of this product was three fold:

1.  a fine-art gallery of images worthy of publication
2.  an educational behind-the-scenes video that highlights the value of all the contributors
3.  lots of fun with friends, both old and new

Project Scope

We explored duality, convention and tradition in an effort to produce photographic fine art. Smoke, mirrors, prisms, shadows were used in the creative process with eclectic Moroccan artifacts to couture finishes. We used the incredible PhaseOne medium format digital camera system. The quality of this camer gives you the best of both worlds – shutter speeds up to 1/4000s with the focal plane shutter and the ability to synchronize with flash as fast as 1/1600s with the leaf shutter. We also used Capture One Pro 7 Photo management software which is the world’s best raw converter, rendering precise colors and incredible detail with support for leading high-end cameras. It was particularly powerful to combine these tools with Pro Photo lighting, wireless triggering and tethering to both an iPhone and iPad. It was amazing because all of us could see immediate feedback and contribute to the creative vision. There nothing like triggering the shutter with the touch of an iPhone using Capture Pilot by Phaseone! This setup gave us such freedom. We could literally talk and interact with the couples and models shooting from a giant button from the face of the iPhone. // Enjoy a behind-the-scenes glimpse of our experience created by the very talented Skot Coatsworth.

A B O U T  T H E  I M A G E S

We love the symbolic narrative of allegories. The visual messages they say are powerful. We shot a handful of images that have multiple symbols that demand us to look further and make connections to messages. We are aiming to ask questions more than answers.


The image of the this woman captures a still and peaceful space for her imagination to breath. We poured subtle fog into the room to give a feeling of dreaming, put a gargoyle at her feet to protect her, and an owl to her left representing the freedom of a winged soul from the physical world into the realm of sacred knowledge.


The image of a man standing diagonal to a woman illustrates how his love “could” defy the challenging gravities of life and help the “dream” of a relationship endure against all impossible odds.


Here we wanted to simply capture the musical surrender between two lovers.


We are often standing at “the doorway” of opportunity with “choice” facing a frontier in a massive entrance. Here we have two lovers at the entrance and others in the distant shadows of the mind. Perhaps they are temptations or voices of fear that stop us from walking through the entrance.  Are we on guard with a sword and antlers?  Do we have a boar headed ego stopping us just when we arrive to pass through the entrance?  Yet does our other self want to walk beyond. Notice the duplicate image of the man to the right.



Here a woman stands in the shadows of a mans dream. Perhaps he’s challenged by the enigma (puzzle) of life’s temptations and distractions. Yet can he keep his focus… even in the shadows as he stands at the doorway choosing love/life?  Notice the painting of the woman on the wall, just around the corner.



Here we captured a commencement illustrating how all of us have dreams. Notice the vast wilderness in the back window. Also, notice how we put the other dreams from this shoot as paintings on the wall to reflect how all of us dream yet we live in a separate reality.

B E H I N D  T H E  S C E N E S

A few behind the scene snap shots taken of the models and team below.
JOS, RJ, Tree composing the first image.

Leonie North

Emily Mantel

Danyel Scott

Alexandria Scott … Voted Ms Oregon Petite 2013!

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Karim Alaeddine and Scotty Wilson

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Our fantastic couture dress designer below!  Sonia Kasparian – Urchin Redesign // urchinredesign.com

The incredibly generous people who own this magical estate.  Julie Olson and Ron – julesmorocco@yahoo.com

Enjoy RJ Kern’s perspective from this experience. See his blog post here.

A huge thanks to all the talent involved in this “test shoot.”

Photography, Lighting, Technicals: Jos Smith – JOS studios | RJ Kern – Kern-Photo
Cameras: PhaseOne medium format digital camera – Several Canon Cameras: 5D M3, M4
Estate/Venue: Julie Olson – julesmorocco@yahoo.com – available for events
Cinematography / Editing: Skot Coatsworth
Dress Design/Headpieces Jewelry Accessories: Sonia Kasparian – Urchin Redesign
Mens Suites: Michael Allen – Michael Allens Clothier 
Styling /Photo Assistance/Team Management: Tree Marie – Love and Sass
Hair & Makeup: Nicole Wagner – Powder, Inc
Graphic Artist / Post-production: Matt Steaffens – Mathieu Ryan Photographers
Boom Operator: Marie Baker | Music: “Recuerdo Infantil” by Bosques de mi Mente and “Red-Eye” by Helios
Boom Operator: Giovani Knox
Model Couples: Emily Mantel & Martin Wilson | Leonie North & Karim Alaeddine
Models: Alexandria Scott | Danyel Scott | Scotty Wilson

6 thoughts on “Impossible Dream

  1. Bravo to each one of the creative forces that came together to produce such a masterpiece! A feat of great vision……I was honored to be a witness to the days smooth and joyous culmination of joined talents, and proud to watch the magic unfold with my house lending itself perfectly to such a beautiful outcome.

  2. you did it again jos! what beautiful work… done with heart, depth, contemplation and super skill. thank you for involving us. thank you for staying true to your kick ass values. xo L.

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