Behind the Scenes Modern Portrait - Ges Lorraine | Emily McGonigle Photography

Happy Thursday everyone!

For the past few weeks my friend and fellow photographer Matthew Simmons have been collaborating on an idea together, and on Sunday we finally got to photograph it!

A few weeks ago, I was sharing with Matthew about how I was feeling restless (as what usually happens after coming out of the slow winter seasons), and wanting to make another dress for a personal project. As we were chatting, he described an idea of a skirt made of separate pieces of fabric, and I ran with it.

I set off to several thrift stores and picked up a bunch of different shirts, skirts, and even a night gown... slip... thingy. I also tried to find a corset top that would match the colors of the different materials I had picked up at the thrift store, but that search wasn't as successful. I ended up ordering a vintage one off of Etsy.

After I had everything I needed, I took a pair of scissors and started cutting strips of fabric. There wasn't any real rhyme or reason as to what I was doing and why. I was totally making it up as I went along, haha. All I knew is that I wanted the greenish floral shirt to serve as the waistband, and I only wanted a few pieces of the brown, mesh sweater to serve as an accent.

I cut a few strips of the greenish shirt and sewed a few of them back together to create a waistband. I pinned that to my mannequin and then started pinning the other pieces of fabric to the waistband until I was satisfied.

Once I was finished with that, I fought with the sewing machine for two hours, before realizing that the reason it was jamming up was because I had missed a step when threading the machine (Whoops). My mother would be proud of me. I'm so domestic. BUT... I finally got the machine working and then unceremoniously stitched all the pieces to the waistband, before folding the waistband in half to hide all the ends of all the strips of fabric that made up the rag skirt.

So now that our dress was done, we had a model, a hair and makeup artist, and the studio was booked, it was time to shoot!

I woke up on Sunday in a fabulous mood! The sun was shining, I was getting an early start to the day, and I had my coffee. What could go wrong? Everything was on schedule. Then I opened the window behind my desk that looked out onto the driveway and my heart dropped.

My husband's driver's side window was shattered. And by shattered... I mean basically gone, with a few pieces of shattered glass still hanging on. My husband was out of town for a gig, so I had to pause everything I was doing and go outside to investigate.

It turns out someone, probably bored high school deviants, shot his car several times with a high-powered BB gun of some sort.


Matthew and I were basically doing a 2-for-one shoot that day, with Ges. I was supposed to go first, starting with hair and makeup, but now that I had to deal with calling the cops, cleanup, and somehow securing the car, I knew I was going to be late (Thanks hooligans. You're super awesome). So the first thing I did was call my husband to relay what happened. After I got off the phone with him, I called the police. After I got off the phone with *them*... I called Matthew to let him know what happened, that I was going to be late, and asked him to get Ges started with hair and makeup when Ashely, our hair and makeup artist, arrived.

[Photo: Matthew Simmons]

[Photo: Matthew Simmons]

[Photo: Matthew Simmons]

[Photo: Matthew Simmons]

[Photo  : Matthew Simmons]

[Photo: Matthew Simmons]

Finally, I was able to get everything taken care of at home, and I finally made it to the studio. There, I met the delightful Ashley Stevens for the first time. Not only is she a great hair & makeup artist, but she has personality for DAAAAAAAAAYS. Immediately when I arrived, it was like we were friends already. I can't wait to work with her again! She was a blast on set!


Once hair and makeup was done, we went straight into shooting. Ges was amazing. She was super comfortable in front of the camera and the dress looked so awesome on her. We were on a strict timetable, because Matthew was going to shoot with Ges right after I was done with her, and his project was slightly more involved. He was doing another installment in his "Hull" personal series, which involved coating Ges in clay... and that takes some time to apply and then dry.

[Photo: Ashley Stevens]

[Photo: Ashley Stevens]


Ges and I did two different settings together, in the two hours that we had. We got some great images that I can't wait to show you, but in the meantime, here is a preview of what's to come. :)


Special thanks to Matthew Simmons for getting things started for me while I was cleaning up the mess at home, for having coffee ready for me when I finally got to the studio (because he knows I need my coffee), and being all around awesome. Make sure to check out his blog at, where he's already posted 2 segments of his project, Hull, and will be posting Ges's segment soon.

Also thank you to Ashley Stevens for working with us on this project and doing such a fabulous job on Ges's hair and makeup! If you are in need of a fun, talented, hair and makeup artist, check out Ashley's page here: Ashley Stevens: Cosmetologist


Emily McGonigle Photography is a Nashville Portrait Photographer, and can be contacted for booking inquiries here.