Once Upon a Time There Was a Texas Photographer Who Saw Ordinary Women as Princesses…
Once Upon a time there was a portrait photographer in Texas that was given a magical gift. Lindsay Steele can transform ordinarily beautiful young women into fairy princesses.
Steele also happens to be a friend of mine. We met in high school, where we both played the clarinet in the White Oak High School marching band. Years later we reconnected on Facebook after I discovered her incredible portraits showing up in my News Feed.
She agreed to let me share her work, and her thoughts about it as you'll read below, and in the Q&A and alongside her whimsical portraits included in the gallery. I couldn't help but think of legendary Annie Leibovitz's "Once Upon a Time" series in Vogue when I first saw the images. Read below to learn more about Linsay's work, and flip through the gallery which includes ballerinas, heroes and princesses from Belle to Snow White.
MM: How did you become interested in photography?
LSP: I was always the friend that was running around documenting our lives in high school and college. I wasn’t in journalism though (Which I now regret), so I never thought much about it. I visited Austria while I was at ETBU with my college choir and photographed EVERYTHING with my sony cybershot. The country was so historic and beautiful that I was so afraid if I didn’t photograph it, I would forget it (which is true…I have a horrible memory). So, When I graduated from ETBU with a degree in Music Education, my dad bought me a Canon Rebel for my graduation present so I could have better quality pictures. I began taking pictures of friends babies and families and it soon grew into something that i absolutely loved. When clients started telling me how much they loved their images and referred me to people it made me feel like I was doing something good in the world. I know that sounds corny, but It is SO TRUE. This was now six years ago and I can’t believe all the people I have met and friends I have made because of Photography. It has turned my life into something I never knew it would be.
MM: What inspired you to do fairytale series?
LSP: I am a HUGE movie fan. I have always loved specific directors (especially Tim Burton for his beautiful mind). I started getting interested in styled shoots about 2 years ago. Styled shoots are when you have a concept and you bring it together with models (aka friends who weren’t afraid of being in front of the camera). So after I had a shoot with my other photographer friend (Alice in Wonderland), I realized how much fun they were and how much I loved directing scenes. They grew into something bigger when I met my amazing friend, Molly McWhorter, who is the most talented makeup artists I have ever seen. I messaged her one night on Facebook (Didn’t even know her), and asked if she would be interested in collaborating in another styled shoot. This is when we decided to do Red Riding Hood. After we finished the Little Red shoot, my life changed. I realized this was something bigger than I ever imagined. We collaborated together with more fairytales including Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, Pocahontas, Goldilocks, Secret Garden, Edward Scissorhands (not a fairytale, but probably my favorite shoot). We have some awesome shoots coming up this next month that I am SUPER excited about! Can’t wait to share those!
MM: Please tell me about your work that was selected in the recent LFMA show, and how you felt when it was shown, and at the opening?
LSP: I had never been so proud! I didn't win anything, but seeing "Little Red" and "Ballerina Circus" up in there was like watching my own children perform in a recital. I don't have children…so these are my children.
When I asked Lindsay about her work as whole she had this say:
I am inspired by movies and works of art. I feel like when you really want you visions to come to life, you gotta make it happen. Pour your heart and soul into it and it will come!