This month, we had the pleasure of outfitting our friends Morgan Pansing, Andrea Hawken, Sophie Assa, and Melissa Sonico for a stunning, lush spring photo project. We (Abigail) interviewed Morgan about the process, motivation, and inspiration behind this gorgeous shoot. Read through her thoughts below and treat yourself to a sloooooww scroll through the resulting imagery.
Thank you so much for including us in this beautiful project! Organic cotton base-layers on lovely friends out in nature feels like a perfect fit. How did this concept/group of collaborators come about?
I was so thrilled to collaborate with such a perfect team for this shoot. We had a ton of rain this Winter in California, and I had a feeling that we were going to have some amazing blooms, (the poppies are my favorite). I knew that I wanted to create a beautiful cohesive piece that told a story of the power of women and community, and ARQ was the perfect brand to help tell that story. I approached creative director Andrea Hawken about it and she and Sophie Assa helped inspire the whole shoot and I knew that Melissa Sonico and her babes were the perfect addition.
You always have such a beautiful smile on your face, and your work conveys a lot of that joyful vitality. We know that you also dig into tough and painful issues as part of your personal ethos and through your work. (Check out Morgan’s @voteyourchange project and her work with @thisisabouthumanity.) What’s your secret and what drives you?
Thank you so much Abigail! I think I am most inspired by female driven narrative. I see myself as a story teller, and I want to create images that tell a story of truth. I want to shed light on topics that I believe are important to address such as the humanitarian crisis at our borders. And I am endlessly inspired by other female creatives, and our community of strong women who are making their voices heard, and are supporting one another, and building each other up.
You play with scale and perspective a lot in this photo series. It brings to mind the physicality of the work you do, the immediateness of the physical relationship between female friends and mothers and children, and the relationship between all of you and the gorgeous setting that was so temporary and fragile. Can you tell us a bit about how you worked through all of those elements so successfully?
I wanted the images to feel as though we were just getting a glimpse of a fleeting moment in time, in an attempt to capture that fleeting essence of motherhood. We found a little spot of the beaten path, and we were very careful not to harm any of the poppies during this shoot. We took great care to be incredibly respectful of mother nature, and that definitely became a priority during the shoot.
These images also brought to mind '60s and '70s nostalgia–and you KNOW we love all that stuff around here. Were there any particular references?
Andrea, Sophie and I knew that ARQ was the perfect brand to collaborate on this project with for that very reason. I am endlessly inspired by the women’s movement of the 60's and drawing current parallels is a theme that I have been exploring more in my work. Andrea put together the most beautiful mood board inspired by Eric Rohmer’s “La Collectionneuse”, and Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom”. And we knew that we wanted to tell a story of motherhood, of Spring, of love, freedom, connection, community and the power of the female energy. Thank you so much for being such a dream to work with!
Photography: Morgan Pansing