Standing in the cold waters of Puget Sound was only one of the tasks required in modeling for Seattle photographer Dawndra Budd. Budd uses physical props, effects and more to create images that reflect something about her subjects as well as her own inner workings.

Amanda's View: Photographing Women: Taking the plunge Part 2

By Amanda Knox
 
In my limited modeling experience, the most difficult thing has always been the face. So much can be conveyed through a facial expression. It’s not as simple as deciding to smile. Minute muscles may compose all kinds of smiles—ecstatic, ironic, indulgent, concerned, condescending, embarrassed, communicative—the difference between them so subtle and yet so legible. Usually I don’t think about what my face looks like while I’m emotionally responding to a context which might make me smile. When modeling, suddenly I am made aware of not just one, but two simultaneous expressions: 1) my face in context, self-conscious about the act of playing pretend in front of a camera; and 2) my intended face, conveying the character of the composed image. If I’m not careful, the self-consciousness of the first will eek its way into the second, compromising my expression entirely.
 

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Amanda's View: The Stanford rape case: redirecting focus

By Amanda Knox

There has been a lot of discussion and shaming surrounding the Stanford rape case—of the defendant Brock Allen Turner, presiding Judge Persky, and the criminal justice system as a whole. It’s the digital world equivalent of a lot of loud yelling, fist shaking, and rotten fruit throwing. There has, however, been fewer discussions—or lesser, quieter sentiments perhaps—about reparations for the victim. It’s like we consider punishment and shaming as society’s first responsibility, greatest strength, and ultimately effective means of seeking justice. As important as the prosecution and sentencing process is in the defense of sexual assault victims, we shouldn’t rely so heavily on the perpetrator’s punishment to right their wrong, especially when many, if not most, cases of sexual assault can’t lead to prosecution, a guilty verdict, and sentencing at all.

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Copyright © Dawndra Budd. Used with permission
One of the remarkable photographs by West Seattle's Dawndra Budd. What kind of image will she make? The process reveals something about her subject and herself every time.

Amanda's View: Photographing Women: Breaking the Ice

By Amanda Knox

Dawndra Budd’s photography is like a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. She captures dark, whimsical scenes that are rich with symbolism, and within those scenes, ethereal protagonists: Ophelia drowned in a bird’s nest brimming with milk; Pandora curled up sleeping in a suitcase; a pensive debutante looking out over the sea; the White Lady obliterated by smoke, haunting a farmhouse.

What will Dawndra make of me?

I felt a twinge of nervousness at the prospect of entrusting my physical form to the vision of a stranger. But I also felt a twinge of nostalgia. My friend Madison often used to use me as a model in her photography projects. She also tended to have something elaborate in mind, involving costumes, props and, occasionally, some yoga prowess. Madison photographed me playing musical instruments on the roof of her apartment building, contorted into the crannies of a neighboring apartment undergoing renovation, asleep over a game of Scrabble in a deserted intersection in the middle of the night, to name just a few.

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