photographer feature: laura makabresku

It's been quite a while since I've done a photographer feature so I'm excited to post this one.  I have loved Laura's work from afar for a while now so I was extremely thrilled when she agreed to answer my questions and allow me to feature her work on Penny Laine!  I feel a little bad because I have held on to this interview for a few weeks, but I have been a very bad blogger.  Thank you so much Laura for this interview, I love your work!

Laura Makabresku



What sparked your interest in photography?
I think that it is darkness in me, that needs to get out, needs to express - this darkness makes the pain which needs to be healed with art. it is a vicious circle. without beginning and ending.

Who are some of your favorite photographers?

Do you have any formal education in photography or are you self taught?
No, I've learnt everything by myself.

Is photography your career?
I don't know if it would be right to tell that it is my career. I treat it completely different. Though, I'm happy and proud for every distinction, publication, interview, many of my recent photos ends up not published anywhere, I don't show them to anyone, I even tend to avoid them.

Are you currently working on any photography projects?
I have lots of ideas, but recently there is lots of sadness and passivity in me that I can't break and which block me in realizing any of them. I try to make a video - I have a script, all I need is to get out of home to take first scenes, but... it can't be done. I can't. and it hurts most now.

What is your favorite thing to photograph and why?
every symptoms of sensitivity and darkness. aspecially, I like to take photos of silence hidden in dead animals - these which can be met in forests, on a snow, or stuffed. they hide many of untold tales, which I try to evoke, evolve and tell with my photos. I like to take pictures of my Lad with me - it helps to see yourself from a distance, cut off from a real world - make different, fairy world, only ours.

Where do you find and how do you instruct your models?
Usually it is me and my Lad. but there were few times when I took photos of some people - usually it was people who were close to me in some way, and who now about my "weird things" so they weren't suprised when I told them to make a wound on their body for me. I always tell them a fairy tale which I would like to express in photos. we often drink wine or somehting like that. it's easier this way. darkness and instincts must be set free.

Do you listen to music while you shoot? If so, what is on your photo shoot play list?
I sometimes listen to music when I'm take photos at home. it depends on the mood, but it is rather new wave music, sometimes progressive, psychedelic rock, sometimes jazz. I like music that I know really well, music which means something to me. Examples of more known artists: Doors, Joy Division, Cure, Stranglers, King Crimson, Out of Focus, Gaa, Miles Davis, Horace Silver, Paul Desmond, Glenn Gould, and many, many more.

What is in your camera bag?
Lots of analog cameras - zenits, canons, kiev, etc.

What is your favorite lens and why?
I like prime lenses because they give best blurs and very good sharpness. I aspecially like helios lenses - these are fine piece of work which can be find on ebay at reasonable prices.

Where do you find inspiration?
my imagination sends me many of pictures which ispires me - when sleeping, when in mania time (which, in contrary to depression time, brings really amazing feelings and lets to create without end). beside that.. i'm of course inspired by other photographers and painters, and movie directors. i'm a visual kind of person, so visual things affects me strongest.

What are your future photography goals?
my goal is to make a short movie - photography started to be painful - in the same way as writing poems, that it started to limitate me. imagination is still evolving, wants more and stronger - this is why i seek for new tools. i hope that movie will be that tool.

Three interesting facts about yourself?
my private life is strongly controversial and i try not to talk about it "in public". and i usually say, that i don't have anything in common with me.

What, if anything, do you do to promote your photography?
i think that publishing photos on such websites like flickr, deviantart, tumblr, blogspot or facebook fan page gives a really good chance to promote your art. besides, there are always some kind people, like you, who draw up blogs with art of many people and it does promote.


christmas spirit, christmas wish list

a reminder to everyone... just breathe, try to stay sane during the holiday seasons xoxo
here's most of what is on my amazon.com wishlist right now:

i'm hesitant to even give the link out to family members because most of the stuff that i've had on there in the past has been my ultimate photo gear bookmark with ridiculously expensive items on it, but i have rounded out the list now that it's too close to christmas to ask for things haha.

oh yeah and the rest of my wishlist is for my entire house to be refurnished with ikea things... why can't we have one less than 4 hours away from my house?!  i drool [and cry a little] every time i get a catalog.

what did you ask santa for this year?

tilt | things i love thursday

  • christmas things...  cookies, hot chocolate, snuggling under warm blankets with my baby, having amazing christmas photos taken by my good friend katie estes, time off from work, everything about christmas [other than the stress of trying to find perfect presents for everyone without spending my life savings]
  • my good friend katie estes moving back to town so i finally have someone to make art and amazing photography with...  her stuff is in her new place, but she won't be living here for over a week and the anticipating is killing me.
  • my photography being shown in places [floyd tattoo and arts gallery in my old hometown floyd, va and the photocopy club exhibit in brighton, uk] and a couple of my photos were featured in the recent food issue of apricot magazine [pg 46-49]
  • the updated version of blogger.  i was using the old version forever and karly and i have a blog together called chaque-semaine and every time i touched it i ruined the whole thing, switched to new blogger and no more issues.
i've been focusing on trying to earn some income on photography lately so sorry i have been absent here..  i have been updating my photography blog but lately it's been mostly family holiday photos.  i'm going to try to be a better blogger i promise!  i have a really amazing photographer feature queued up for next wednesday [december 14].  and now that it's cold i don't want to go outside which means less pictures and more time in front of my computer screen.  christmasy posts coming up soon.

and yes, my boyfriend is more than a foot taller than me and my baby's hair is made out of cotton candy.


merry christmas card

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

remember a couple months ago when i had the shutterfly holiday card giveaway?  well i finally placed my order and here's my christmas card for this year yay!  the photo was taken by my good friend katie estes who will be my photography business partner soon!

i went with the initial wreath card even though we don't have the same last name... oh the joys of being an unmarried happy little family at the holidays :)


print sale!

just added some new photos to the print store and lowered the prices down so as of right now the holiday sale is good to go!

  • 5x7: were $15 now $3.50
  • 8x10: were $25 now $5
  • 11x14: were $35 now $10
  • 16x20: were $45 now $25
there are discounts on the canvas wraps too, but not quite as drastic as these. prints make great gifts folks so stock up now!

sorry for being so absent by the way... next week there is going to be a truly amazing photographer feature so make sure you check back!



are camera tattoos too cliche?  i really like this one because of the fancy pants design around it
i've been a bad, bad blogger lately!  sorry, i'm having a blog-dentity crisis and i have no idea what i want the "purpose" of this blog to be... maybe it doesn't need one.  but joli from actin' up with books reminded me that today was tuesday and it's been a very long time since i did a tat-tuesday post [which i know lots of you love] so here ya go!

also, please leave me a comment and let me know what you guys would like to see here, i feel like it has been all over the place lately!  special requests welcome!

and winners of the holiday card giveaway have been notified, i sent out the codes this morning.



Oh hey you guys... Just taking a break from writing. I'm participating in NaNoWriMo this year. National Novel Writing Month takes place every November where the goal is to write 1,667 words (or more) per day with no editing. At the end of the month you have a novel, it's just a rough copy, but you did the hard part already and busted out a novel that is around 200 pages.

Anyways, yesterday was rough for me and I thought about quitting. Then when I went to bed last night it hit me that I need to change the story a little bit and things started rolling along quite nicely again today... So yay for that.

So if you are counting I've committed the following to myself:
  • project 365 [taking a photo every day for a year, you can see the pictures on my flickr]
  • chaque semaine [my 52 week project with karly]
  • nanowrimo [thank god only for the month of november]
  • plus the regular stuff that mamas with a full time job and photography side hustle do.
If you are wondering where I've disappeared to, probably one of those places. But I like to procrastinate so I'm sure I'll keep blogging (in fact I *think* I have a really amazing photographer feature/interview in the works).

P.S. Why the hell have only two people entered my Christmas card giveaway? It's November now, you need the cards, enter the giveaway. And if by some small chance you are living in southwestern Virginia (Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Radford, Floyd) I am giving away an senior portrait session and an engagement session on my photography blog.

Ok, back to writing now loves!


shutterfly holiday card giveaway

Last year I got Shutterfly Christmas cards and madly loved them, the printing was amazing as was the quality of the card stock. I was thrilled last week when I was invited to participate in their 2011 promotion where I will get to host a giveaway where three readers will win 25 free holiday cards! The card shown in the beginning of this post is the Initial Wreath Christmas Card which I added a photo of Auden to [but not the one we'll be using on our real cards]. Here are a couple of my other favorites from their new Christmas card lineup:

My favorite designs are the photo Christmas cards with a strong focus on the photograph so I'm leaning really hard towards the Initial Wreath Christmas Card, hopefully Trey can agree with me on a design again this year. Since our Christmas card experience was so positive last year, we have ordered multiple photo books as gifts for other holidays and probably will do the same for Christmas.

Anyway, I'm sure you are more excited about the giveaway than what I would do with the free card credits...

  • US only
  • One entry per person [please be fair, after all there will be 3 winners!]
  • Fill out the form below
  • Contest ends November 6, winners will be notified via e-mail with the code to collect your free cards!

And if you have any desire to see our Christmas card from last year, you can view last year's post here, we choose the first design!


black and white

[oops this post has been sitting in my drafts section for almost 5 months now, i guess it's time i publish it!]


bout of books readathon | book giveaway

witch craft: wicked accessories, creepy-cute toys, magical treats, and more!

this is a ONE DAY ONLY giveaway so don't procrastinate! i'm a particihosting with joli from actin' up with books [so go check out her page, she is doing a giveaway too!]

  • you must be signed up for the read-a-thon [it isn't too late, you can sign up here]
  • shipping to the US only
how to enter:
  • leave a comment with your e-mail address or some other form of contact information
winner will be notified via e-mail on thursday, ideally i will get your address back from you immediately so the book will reach you in time for halloween so keep your eyes peeled!


halloween party prep | bloody brain cupcakes

basically all you need to make some awesome bloody brain cupcakes is:
yes, i do things the easy way and make cupcakes from boxed mixes. there is a great recipe for those of you who like to do things the hard way on food network!

[image and idea via xsomnis]


bout of books starting line

i am participating in the bout of books read-a-thon that started today... stay tuned because wednesday i am hosting a giveaway along with co-host actin' up with books where i will be giving away a copy of witch craft which is full of all kinds of halloween diy projects [you have to sign up for the read-a-thon to enter so go ahead and do that here if you are interested]

my goals:
  • read the girl's guide to starting your own business which has been sitting in my hoarder room for a few years untouched to try to get some motivation for the business side of my photography
  • read through and pick out favorite ideas from the pocket muse to help me prepare for NaNoWriMo... i thought i had so many ideas for a book and now that i'm actually going to try it i'm drawing a complete blank, one week to prepare myself before i have to get started!
  • i'll update you guys tomorrow on my status here when i put up the official giveaway post
p.s. the above photo is from my first installment of "bookish" go check out the full post on my photo blog

halloween party prep | bloody brain shooters

Bloody Brain Shooters

Channel your inner mad scientist with this Bloody Brain Shooter. Add chilled vodka and lime juice to a shot glass, then use a straw to drip Irish cream into the glass. The acidic lime juice will cause the Irish cream to curdle, creating realistic strands of “brain.”


1 1/4 oz. strawberry vodka such as Stoli
1/8 oz. Rose’s lime juice
3/4 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream
Splash of grenadine


Chill vodka for better smoothness. Add vodka and lime juice to a shaker, shake and strain into a shot glass. Using a straw, dip some Bailey’s Irish Cream into the shot. Once you submerge the straw into the Bailey’s put your finger on top of the straw to hold the Bailey’s in the straw. Dip the straw tip into the vodka and slowly release your top finger. The Bailey’s will curdle a little bit due to the lime juice and you should be able to make strands of Bailey’s.

Repeat the straw/Bailey’s process to build a “brain” in the shot glass. Add a splash of grenadine to the concoction to add the ‘blood’ to the mix. Down the hatch as a shot.

Recipe courtesy Dan Goss, Downtown Grill and Brewery, Knoxville, Tenn.

[image and recipe found here]


tilt | things i love thursday

negative nancy gotta check herself and do a things i love thursday blog post... things that rock:
  • friends: standing up for me, motivating me artistically, and telling me to stop acting like i'm still in high school... and coming over to play with my baby
  • talking to strangers i want to take pictures of [this one is thanks to friends too], joli wouldn't take no for an answer when i said i liked this girls shoes and style. i gave her my card, she added me on facebook, liked my page, and said she'd model for me sometime
  • people like chaque semaine already, or maybe those people are just me and karly that are totally digging it, but it took me a while to build up the kind of traffic we have gotten over there with only two posts so thank you guys for checking it out
  • thursday is mcdonalds day and i got a monopoly piece for free coffee burning a hole in my pocket
  • occupy wall street. i wasn't even paying attention, yeah it's been going on for a month, i'm so out of the loop, but it's moving to see people taking a stand at a point where we are all feeling hopeless. and seeing other countries follow gives a different perspective because you feel like they aren't dealing with the same issues, but everyone is.
  • taking pictures for me > taking pictures for other people [there are some exceptions like the engagement photos over the weekend, that was the BEST couple ever]
  • freckles... on faces, shoulders, clavicles, and fingernails like above... need to try that asap
i need your help folks... what's a good spooky dessert for a halloween party that isn't the graveyard dessert [that one is already taken]? it's a work place emergency, it needs to be amazing, my reputation depends on it!


halloween party prep | dirty pirate popsicles

Dirty Pirate Popsicle

  • 2 1/2 cups Coke
  • 1/3 cup Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
  • 1/3 cup Kahlua
i saw this idea on pinterest and had to do some further investigation... and it looks like a winner in my book. full on instructions on how to make the dirty pirate popsicle can be found over at endless simmer!


chaque semaine: welcome!

alright, not sure if i mentioned this before or not, but karly and i have started a 52(+) week project. each week there will be a theme that we shoot for and then we will post them to the blog we just created:
chaque semaine: welcome!: Welcome to chaque semaine , a weekly photoblog by Holly and Karly. Inspired by the work over at Words to Shoot By and other theme projects,...
right now we just have the intro post done because like a genius i decided to shoot film so even though we started taking photos back on october 1 i don't have my film back yet for the first week... make sure you bookmark it/start following it on bloglovin if you use their site!

the header image is not my photo of the week [even though the theme of the week is party], but is actually day 3 of my 365. hopefully i'll stick with it this time, i won't bore you all and post all the photos here, but to the right there's a little flickr widget so you can keep an eye on that if you are interested.


photographers market

i have the 2008 version of this book and now i'm debating whether or not to buy the new edition. after talking more to allison dandrea i want to try to submit my photography to publications, websites, and blogs, but i just don't even know where to start. i feel like this book is a good start, but honestly there aren't many publications listed in the 2008 edition that i thought fit my style, i'm not trying to be a stock photographer and it seems like there are very strong niches that you need to shoot within to submit to those magazines.

anybody have any advice? know of any magazines, websites, or blogs that i could submit my photos to?


photographer feature | allison dandrea

Allison Dandrea


Lady Lake, FL

Who or what sparked your interest in photography?
I was a fashion major at art school and decided to take a beginner photography class. I fell in love instantly and changed my major as soon as I could.

Who are some of your favorite photographers?
Ellen von Unwerth, Paolo Roversi, Alexei Hay, Idha Lindhag

Do you have any formal education in photography or are you self taught?
I went to Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography & Art History :)

Is photography your career?

How long did it take you to turn photography from a hobby into a career?
I was a fashion design major at art school when I discovered how much I loved photography. I took a beginning photography class and instantly fell in love. That following summer, I decided to go pro and here I am today.

Do you currently do portrait work as part of your career or does your income primarily come from print sales and publications?
When I first started out, I made money based off portraits, mainly shooting for fashion model's portfolios. Now my income is primarily based off my print sales and publications.

Are you currently working on any photography projects?
24/7. I always have personal projects I'm working on, along with trying to get my work published (and self published)/in galleries. In the future I would love to shoot for Anthropologie & Elle Decor.

Where have you been published thus far?
F-Stop Magazine, Method Press Magazine and I am currently shooting the Spring/Summer 2012 Catalog for Lilly & Kate (Vintage inspired clothes & jewelry, handmade soaps and home decor).

What is your favorite thing to photograph and why?
I was originally known for my fashion and portraiture but I needed a break from the familiar so I started to shoot stills. I feel like I cheated on my fashion work because I'm getting even more recognition for my stills than anything else. People were so easy to photograph, well anything fashion came easy to me. Objects were more of a challenge for me and still are to this day. So my favorite thing to photograph would have to be a 50/50 tie between people and objects. They both have their challenges and rewards.

Where do you find and how do you instruct your models?
My models are mostly people I know. But I have shot people I really don't know and that can always be interesting. I shoot with a plan in mind, always. I bring photo references of the poses I would want (sometimes I even show the model). Mood music also plays a huge role.

So you listen to music while you shoot... What is on your photo shoot play list?
Absolutely. The music I play depends on the shoot, or the mood. I'm a huge pandora fan. I don't want to have to make mixes all the time so I queue up pandora instead. My stations range from Ambient to JPop to The Roots.

What is in your camera bag?
Canon 50D, Lensbaby Composer, 100mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.8 & 85mm f/1.8 lenses and Skittles (models can get cranky sometimes).

What is your favorite lens and why?
85mm f/1.8. The 100mm is great for portraiture, fashion and whatever else but you can get within a normal range with the 85mm. I use this lens on a daily basis and it's totally worth it.

Where do you find inspiration?
Absolutely everywhere. Lately it's been fruit, maybe it will be hair next week.

Future photography goals?
Shoot editorials for Anthropologie & Elle Decor. Also I would love to have my work in the Gagosian Gallery in NY.

Describe a day in your life that includes photography:
I bring my laptop with me that has a folder of references or I'll just bring physical sketches with me. I use a lot of natural light so depending on the situation I will bend the light to my liking (which would take about 5 minutes- half an hour sometimes). The shoot will last about 3 hours (for models, they get 2 10 minute breaks). Tear down will take about half an hour and then I go home and sift through the photos in lightroom.

What does your work flow consist of?
About 1,000-1,700 images per shoot, then sifting through them to about 10 images total (in lightroom).

Three interesting facts about yourself?
I love reading sci-fi novels, I'm currently learning Haitian Creole, and I love taking night walks in the city.

What, if anything, do you do to promote your photography?
500px, flickr, facebook page, twitter, tumblr, artlimited, blucanvas, arrtflakes, etsy, blogger, society6, and I send my work to galleries/magazines.

It sounds like you have a great system for sharing your work, approximately how much time do you spend per day/week on promoting your work?
I'd have to say that I spend about 3-5 hours every couple of days. It's alot of time out of my day, but in the end it's worth it (although an intern would be nice).

Check out more of Allison and her photography around the web:
blog | facebook | website | twitter | tumblr


appreciate your photographer

if your house was on fire, what would be the first [non-living] thing that you saved? probably pictures, right? so why do people not place more emphasis on the importance of what photographers do? [you may want to stop here, this will be a bit of a rant]

a few months ago i did some really cheap baby photos for a friend of a friend and even threw in the disk for free. a few weeks later a co-worker of my mothers informed me that she saw photos that looked like my style online. indeed it was my photography used to promote that woman's business without any credit at all or even asking permission. not wanting to burn bridges, i said nothing and let it slide hoping that she would at least be a return customer in the future.

fast forward to last week, this woman contacts me and asks me to give her the same price [$30] for 2+ hours of photography and another free disk... 2 locations, one of which i would have to pay to get in. i told her that she could have the same $30 fee, but would need to pay for prints this time... and she said no! now i am not heartbroken to lose the business especially with someone who has no photo etiquette, but it is sad to me that someone who knows that i am a mother and have to find childcare for the time that i have to do this work expects me to do it for practically free. would you ask a friend of a friend to comp your meal at a fancy restaurant? no, so why would you not show that kind of respect to someone who spent 3 hours photographing you and your family previously and has since helped you with questions that you have had about parenting? obviously you liked my work since you used it as promotional pieces.

it's just one of those discouraging things that makes me think why am i even trying to do this? why am i trying to get into a market saturated with people who suck and are willing do it for less? i focus so much time and energy trying to become a full time professional photographer to turn around and feel like people see me as a traveling sears portrait studio who owes them freebies. and i let it all slide off my back for the past few months, but i'm sinking thousands of dollars into it and not seeing much of a return so it is hard to keep a smile on my face. it has become apparent to me that i need to start focusing more on my day job, keep this as a hobby and start point my camera at my personal projects than the faces of strangers who don't value what i do.

end rant.


thankfully my sickness is 95% gone. started my project 365 over on friday, hopefully i'll stick with it this time.

i'll post again real soon and it will be positive, i promise ;) there are even one or two photographer features submitted that i haven't had a chance to post yet.



i'm sick, been sick since last week, boo on that. the baby is sick too but since he can't really talk he can't tell me what's wrong so i can't do much to help him.

my friend sarah lives out of town, today she popped in unexpectedly after i had left work early [for being sick]. she's always a willing model so i got started on a little 35mm project based around books.

anyways oh shiz, the baby is finally taking a nap so i'm going to seize the opportunity to do the same.


tilt | things i love thursday

  • good gifting... my boyfriend's birthday is next saturday. once upon a time i had a bunny named charlotte and she liked to chew cords. she chewed through two of my boyfriend's lava lamp cords [he was just my roommate at that time]. so i've decided for his birthday he is getting a replacement. also he was obsessing over the coffee mugs a few months ago, i like to give him a while to forget that he wanted something then buy it for him as a gift :]
Lava Lite 2116-4002 Classic Lava Lamp, 14-1/2-Inch, Black/Clear

Bodum Bistro Double-Wall Insulated 10-Ounce Glass Mug, Set of 2

  • that floaty feeling you get right before a bad cold [but not the cold that i know will be here shortly since i've been floating and rambling and not knowing what's going on like a crazy person for 2-3 days already]