Portraits of Magic Frigren at Stenkullen Hotel

Here are two of my portraits of my friend and writer/illustrator Magic Frigren in the childhood room of the owner of Stenkullen Hotel, cluttered and crammed with toys and things. When I first met Magic, I fell in love with her warm aura and the pinkish glow she brings into the world, so I tried to capture it in these portraits.

This talented, strong and intelligent woman has the future in her hands and I can’t wait to see what she will do it it.

© 2017 MIA MAKILA
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Preparations

Tonight, I am making preparations for the photo shoot at the old hotel this weekend. I have made up a little story about two sisters who live in a run down hotel, I sent the girls I will use in the shoot (Karin and Tuva) these photos as inspiration for their characters:

Tuva’s character (Amanda):


And Karin’s character (Laura):

Two pictures of the hotel (and the owner who also lives there all by herself):

Photo by PonyHans

Photo by PonyHans

I am really excited about the weekend. I am looking forward to everything about it. To visit a haunted hotel. To meet my friends. To work as a photographer again – and to capture magic with my camera. I can’t wait. I so need this adventure!

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Me shooting Karin at a local theater. Photo by Andreas Lundholm

Karin and I are connecting even deeper as we are exploring concepts and ideas for future photo shoots.  I love how she is always triggering my creativity by sending me photos of herself in various moods. “I got in the mood” she wrote earlier this week and took a selfie with a lot of attitude, standing on the WC in a small train passenger toilet. She really is a muse. I love her dearly. “I believe in you so much Karin. If you master the art of demanding space without feeling apologetic, nothing can stop you from reaching the stars. I want to help get there.” I wrote. “I knew it from the second I first saw you.”

I have so many ideas for new projects with Karin, hopefully we’ll meet up soon to discuss them. I miss her. I miss my muse. However, somewhere in my heart, I can’t help feeling a little guilty for moving on from the times I shared with Domenique. She will always be missed. But new times, new visions – new muses. My artist-heart is in love.

Me shooting Karin at a local theater. Photo by Andreas Lundholm

Goodbye coach, hello friend

photography by Mia Makila © 2017

Narcissa, today – photography by Mia Makila

I have been resting all week, trying to collect new energy since I am starting my new job next Thursday. I am saying goodbye to an old lifestyle – both to the good and the bad that comes with being a free artist (but totally and utterly broke). Earlier today I met up with my job coach, who’s become a dear friend along the journey. I felt a little sad when I realized it would be the last time I’d see her like this on every Wednesday afternoon. She shared my feelings. “I think it’s sad that I won’t see you every week”, she said, “but now I don’t have to be your coach, now I am simply your friend.” It brought tears to my eyes.

Sitting across from her at the table, at times behind my camera, I couldn’t stop studying her face. There is so much life in Narcissa’s face. Her eyes are filled with sparkles but also with sudden hints of sorrow at times. She can look serious and playful at the same time. I love that about her. There is an intelligent depth and creativity to all her thoughts – always with various degrees of mischievous and witty undertones.

photography by Mia Makila © 2017

When I first started to see Narcissa once a week, to get consultation and support in my quest of finding a ‘real’ daytime job, I was in a pretty bad place. I had gone through many difficult processes in my therapy work – and my physical health was a mess. On our first session she said: “I see how much weight that other people have put on you, you carry so much that isn’t even yours to carry. I will help you unload the weight – and if you should fall, I am here to catch you.” She was like an angel. And she did not lie. She picked me up a few times until I was strong enough to stand on my own two feet.

A few months later, I started making art again, after my long hiatus (due to the awful creativity blockage). She had given me so much strength and confidence and it shows in my work too. There is a new focus in everything I do. Narcissa has taught me the importance of taking things step by step. That way, the focus is uncluttered and steady, instead of being directed at the wrong things, things that used to drain me of all energy.

“You are an inspiration to me.” She said. “What you have achieved in a short amount of time, is very hard and almost impossible, not all people can do what you’ve done. To have you as my client has been a true honor.”

photography by Mia Makila © 2017

photography by Mia Makila © 2017

Suddenly, Narcissa is bursting out in a big laugh. I try to get my camera ready for a shot, but I’m too slow. I get a picture of her smile. I love her laugh. It’s pure and real and comes all the way from her toes. It makes me feel happy.

It is now time for us to say goodbye. She gets up from her chair, fetches her jacket and her sunglasses. This is it. This is the moment when I lose a wonderful job coach – but also when I win a new friend. I am so grateful for everything she’s done for me. I can’t wait to be there for her, like she’s been there for me. She gives me a warm hug and wishes me luck with my new job. Then I watch her go. She takes an old chapter of my life with her and disappears around the corner.

Goodbye coach, hello friend. ♥

photography by Mia Makila © 2017

© 2017 MIA MAKILA

A new photography portfolio at miamakila.com

To make room for all the new photo projects, I have been creating a photography portfolio on the website. You can find it in the menu at the top of this page. I will keep adding new and old projects to the portfolio so it’s not really completed yet, but at least now I have a place for my photography. I am slowly getting all my creative projects together in one single place. This website is my private little Universe and holds all my artistic expressions – painting, digital art, photography and writing.

My Laura Palmer photo shoot with Domenique (2009)

While watching the old episodes of Twin Peaks, I was reminded of the time I did my own take on Laura Palmer with Domenique in a photo shoot (2009), inspired by the famous photo where she’s wrapped in plastic. I had to recreate a wet and rocky beach in my studio. Here is a short documentary I made with video footage from the shoot:

The editing process

The preparations for my Laura Palmer shoot with Domenique in 2009 (collecting pebbles, rocks, sand and other things you can find on a beach to recreate the scene in my studio)

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Domenique (wrapped in plastic) and the homemade beach

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Original photo (untouched)

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The end result – “Laura”, 2009 (edited in 2013)

I’ve spent so many years editing the photographs of my collaboration with Domenique from 2009. In only one summer, we created almost 20 different characters together. The camera was our love child. We were like lovers in the creativity process – using intuition and instincts as our langunge, we did’t need to speak, we knew exactly what was needed in order to bring the characters to life. I loved working with Domenique but sadly her life started to fall apart at the time and rapidly slipped into a destructive lifestyle of drugs and drama. So I ended it and moved to Stockholm, stopped working with photography – and sold my camera. I am still without a professional camera. But when I have more money I will buy a Canon instead of going back to Nikon. I am a Canon kind of gal.

Me and my old Nikon, 2011

I have evolved immensely as an artist since that summer. I know more about photography editing now, my PhotoShop skills are more advanced and I collected new knowledge about retouch and portrait editing during the two months I spent as an intern at a photo studio last fall. So I can go back to my photo projects and make totally new pictures now just because I am so much better at the editing process.

But what does it mean to edit photographs? It’s so much more than to adjust light and shadow or cropping. It’s about bringing the photo to life  – and to create harmony and a balance in the colors.

Here are two versions of the same photo, first the original picture and the newly edited version where I have played around with both colors and expression. The original photo is softer, more stylish – but I wanted to say more than that – and I wanted the expression to be more powerful and direct.

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Sometimes, I see new potential in already edited photos, I go back and start over, like this:

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Original photo from 2009, edited version from 2009 and my latest version from 2016

Other times, I use the projects with Domenique as a base for my digital art – like I did in “The Crash” (2012):

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