Redthreaded | Worth Gown in the Clocktower, Denver

Sometimes work really does just feel like play. As in, giddy, crazy fun, can’t-believe-I-get-to-do-this, PLAYTIME. Which is probably why it took so long for me to blog this session. This was too much fun to be considered work, wasn't it? Well regardless of where this falls on the work/play spectrum, I’m really proud of this session and it’s high time to share it here!

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It all started when Boulder-based seamstress and costume designer Cindy Settje, founder of the incredibly successful corset shop, Redthreaded, painstakingly recreated this fashion masterpiece by hand. Originally designed in the 1890s by the House of Worth, it is known as the Ironwork gown, and is legendary in design and historical costuming circles.

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I’ve known Cindy for a few years now, and it is my observation that this incredibly talented woman never stops creating. Ever. Watching her process, from deciding to take on this huge historic undertaking, to actually painstakingly recreating this sensational gown was extraordinary. She hand appliquéd every stitch of the black “ironwork” on the white fabric, every piece needing to ultimately line up perfectly. This was nothing short of a Herculean task. Her level of dedication, craftsmanship and the integrity she puts into every stitch inspires me to no end.

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I’ve been wanting to photograph a session in the Daniels & Fisher Clocktower here in Denver for years, and the pairing of this gown in this location could not possibly have been more perfect! Even in challenging backlight, this fabric soaked up light like a dream.

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SEE ALSO: my first collaboration with Redthreaded, with our dreamy Styled Corset Session (teaser images shown, right).

To learn more about the creator of this historical recreation Cynthia Settje, please visit Redthreaded.

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER: Jennifer Koskinen is an award winning Denver based portrait & theatre production photographer. Comprehensive personal branding packages and couture fashion shoots are custom styled around each client’s specific needs, and sessions are designed to be enjoyable and empowering.

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The Artist Studio | Redthreaded Editorial Photos

For quite some time now I’ve been dreaming of a series of editorial / documentary style photos essays on Artists in their Studios...

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... a photo from our editorial STYLED SESSION at Blanc, Denver

Seamstress and costume designer Cynthia Settje opened Redthreaded in 2009, and recently moved her workshop and studio to its new home outside of Boulder, CO. Her historically inspired costume work is of the highest caliber, and has earned her clients from university stages to television to Broadway.

I have been loving collaborations with this talented woman ever since photographing her work this past summer for Colorado Shakespeare Festival.

In case you missed it, THIS styled session featuring a new line of her corset designs was an opportunity to create pure collaborative magic.

Naturally, I jumped at the chance to photograph Cindy’s headshots in the space she has designed for her incredibly successful costume shop.

Since Cindy invited me to come to her studio for headshots, I couldn't resist the opportunity to turn the photoshoot it into a bit more of a story than just taking "headshots."

I’d like to think of this session as the first in a series that I’ve long dreamed of photographing... artists at work in the spaces they've designed as their creative homes.

Perhaps it's the former Art Major in me... perhaps its the former architectural designer, but whatever the origin, I’m drawn to the idea of documenting the magic of a creative soul in his or her environment.

How artists design and work in their spaces to best foster productivity -- both from a functional perspective, and to keep themselves inspired -- is a fascinating study in personality, creativity, light and design.

I invite you to visit Redthreaded online, as well as Cindy’s etsy shop for more information and to see more of her extraordinary work. Her instagram feed is also amazing… and it all happens right in here!

Thanks also to the amazing Sara Duffey for beautiful hair & makeup!

And if YOU are an artist with a studio or unique creative space, or if you know someone who might be a good subject for this fun artist's studio series, please let me know!!

I’m a Denver based portrait and editorial photographer specializing in bringing out connection, personality and story for my clients and their stories. I love to create empowering photo session experiences, custom tailored around the personality and interests of each individual client. I would love to chat with you about documenting your creativity or story!

Dream Fashion Editorial Photo Shoot | Redthreaded at Blanc Denver

There’s a question often posed to photographers: “which photo is your favorite? Photographer Imogen Cunningham is credited for having coined my idea of the most perfect answer, “the one I’ll take tomorrow.

Given my own enthusiastic desire to remain a"student of life," with a genuine thirst to keep learning, growing, experimenting and creating new work, this notion of each new session producing my new favorite -- until the one I shoot tomorrow -- resonates deeply.

But let’s be honest -- certain experiences do stand out and have the power to shape you as an artist...

... and I’ve got a feeling this session will hold a special place in my list of favorites for quite some time. This fashion editorial photo session pushed me into new creative spaces and invited an artistic freedom that I'm excited to keep stretching as a photographer and creative.

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After photographing her work on the stage for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, the uber talented seamstress / costume corset designer and fellow entrepreneur Cindy Settje of Redthreaded approached me with a commission to photograph her corset designs.

Drawing inspiration from imagery she shared with me, a collection of images marked by a moody, painterly light and historic-meets-contemporary feel, we designed the details of this editorial session with a full dose of enthusiastic, collaborative creative energy.

I knew immediately that Sarah (perhaps you saw THIS incredible session??) would be the perfect model for the look Cindy wanted. Having photographed her twice before, I am very familiar with just how much the camera loves her incredibly strong and striking features. But it was her theatrical experience that excited me for this shoot in particular -- I absolutely love working with this gorgeous and talented young woman, and was excited to explore some more fashion editorial poses with her. Not surprisingly, she ROCKED the session.

Inviting hair and makeup artist Sara Duffey to get to explore her creativity with a more avant garde look than we typically get to explore together was also super satisfying. Cindy threaded a gold theme throughout the session, so we got to play with gold leaf, gold lashes, glitter and an exciting modern-meets-historic look was born.

Then there were our dream team of fashion collaborators (links below)... OMG. In Sarah’s hair were creative and eye catching pieces, hand crafted and spectacularly designed by Frontier Millinery. And those shoes?!  SPECTACULAR designs (some of which were originally designed for Whoopi Goldberg), hand crafted by American Duchess. Perfectly appointed historical jewelry sparkled and completed the look, by Dames a la Mode.

And the corsets… the artful centerpieces around which this whole editorial photo shoot was styled...

Well, Cindy’s work is just breathtakingly incredible, as evidenced by her collaborations with regional theatres all the way to Broadway, Television shows, film and her own successful Etsy shop (also, her Instagram feed is awesome!) The exquisite fabrics, colors, combinations, details, designs and quality are stunning to behold.

And to photograph her incredible work: What. An. Honor.

Perhaps most satisfying of all is how much I enjoyed working with these PEOPLE -- such a wonderful collaborative team. SO grateful to have been asked to photograph this project. It left me at once deeply creatively inspired, and hungry to photograph more fashion editorial… something admittedly new to my body of work.

Finally, turn up your speakers, and enjoy this behind the scenes VIDEO (below) that I made to say thank you to the team!  Watching the looks come together in these creative people's hands is magical. Truly, I LOVE this work.

Seriously... PRESS PLAY!

BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO: Join us for a glimpse into the making of this fashion editorial photo session at Blanc in Denver for Cynthia Settje of Redthreaded.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE | PHOTO SESSION CREDITS :

Model: Sarah Doerner

Corsets + Styling: Cynthia Settje | Redthreaded

Shoes: American Duchess

Millinery: Frontier Millinery

Jewelry: Dames a la Mode

Hair + Makeup: Sara Duffey

Location: Blanc Denver

Photographer: Jennifer Koskinen | Merritt Portrait Studio

Photographer's assistant: Gabe Koskinen-Sansone

Sneak Peek | Styled High Fashion Session in Denver with Corset Designer Redthreaded

There will be more. I mean LOTS more. From this incredible, collaborative styled session I was honored and humbled to photograph yesterday in Denver. (seriously, I'm so excited I couldn't sleep last night!) But for now... here's a preview of what's to come! It was an extraordinarily wonderful way to spend the day -- surrounded by talent, beauty, lovely light, wonderful people and passion for great design.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you & yours!!

Photography | Merritt Design Photo
Model | Sarah Doerner
Hair & Makeup | Sara Duffey
Fashion & Corsetry | Redthreaded
Footwear | American Duchess
Jewelry | Dames a la Mode
Millinery | Frontier Millinery
Location | Blanc Denver

Stay tuned for LOTS more from this session!!

Meet Heidi | Designer Personal Branding Session in Denver

I'll begin this post with one of my favorite shots of the year... a little "in between setups" whimsy! (when an adorable young girl spontaneously picks up a backdrop and snuggles in it, you go with it!!)

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Some of you may know that my first career was designing architecture. And that I came to portrait photography after several years as an internationally published architectural photographer (something I still love -- if you’re curious, check out my architectural portfolio and HOUZZ pages).

In fact, one of my most widely published photographs was an architectural photo I did for a show home in the Highlands area (just north of downtown Denver) on which Heidi Mendoza, owner of Re.Dezine, was one of the interior designers. The exterior is bold and eye-catching (and especially spectacular and dramatic in Colorado light!), and the interior is fresh and exquisite. The combination resulted in a set of photos which was widely featured in design magazines, blogs, trade publications and books around the world (a few images below).

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So I was really excited when the opportunity arose to photograph this absolutely gorgeous woman (a fellow Finnish designer and mom!) -- and her ridiculously adorable daughter -- in a combined personal branding / mother daughter session.

These personal branding portrait sessions are the real deal, full experience, so we started with one of my wonderful makeup artists, Ashleigh Franke (Beauty by Ashleigh) treating Heidi to a luxurious hair & makeup session. Even for clients who are perfectly comfortable doing their own makeup, it can be an incredibly fun and relaxing thing to have this as the first part of photo session day.

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And then we were ready to jump in! Heidi had told me (as far back as her consultation) that she was nervous and hated having her photo taken... but I'll be honest, after just a few frames she seemed to relax and we had an incredibly fun time! I couldn't wait to photograph her, and as I anticipated, it was an absolute joy photographing her combination of stunning blue eyes with that incredible and voluminous, curly brunette hair!! Such striking contrast!

The session was two-fold in intention. One of the purposes here was to create professional images for Heidi to use in promoting her design business. Styling her session around her chosen wardrobe was a blast. Can you believe this gorgeous woman was nervous for this session?? I mean… I’ve learned several ways to help my clients feel relax and look their best… but just look at that brilliant smile of hers!! Drawing out natural eye contact with a sense of approach-ability, confidence and professionalism is at the heart of a great professional branding portrait, and we got great images here for her to use in her business. And then of course, a bunch of FUN ones with that crazy gorgeous daughter of hers!

As you can see, her daughter is simply divine -- bubbling over with personality and adorable joy!! These mother daughter photos were pretty much effortless -- these ladies are beyond cute together, and so my job was simply to capture what they were already doing!

If you're in the market for a designer, or to read more about Heidi’s beautiful interior design work, please wander over and take a look at her gorgeous portfolio and HOUZZ site!

I’m a Denver based portrait photographer specializing in bringing out connection, personality in the EYES by giving my clients far more than ordinary headshots. Couture personal branding sessions are custom styled around YOU and your brand, and in the process I strive to create an immersive and empowering experience. I would love to chat with you about designing a couture professional branding session for you!