I take this opportunity to interrupt the regular flow of life here on GoKateShoot. Last Friday, three students died in a tragic fire near Marist College, my alma mater. Two of those victims were my close friends and muses, Eva Block and Kerry Fitzsimons. I photographed them both extensively in the spring of 2011, and will be paying homage to their beauty, talents, and grace here for the next several days. Both were fashionable, stunning, and driven; that is why I was drawn to shoot them, but also why it is apt to say my final goodbyes to them here. They were dancers, musicians, future cancer researchers, and fashion designers. This is a perfect example how these are not just silly photographs; when I told Eva's mother about the photos at the service yesterday, she begged me to help her remember her daughter. And I will. After days of refusing to release photos to the press, I think I am ready to release them here, and later, in a book. It is selfish for me to hold onto these photos, when they can help the many, many others who are hurting from this loss. Link these photos to whoever you like; all I ask is that you do not remove the photos from the site without permission. I am happy to send copies of the photos near and far, all I ask is that you ask. Send inquiries or further questions to GoKateShoot@gmail.com.
Eva Block was beautiful. Physically beautiful, yes of course, but it was her effervescent spirit and raw creative talent that made her one of my photographic muses while I was finishing my senior photography work in New York. We had been friends for years; I met her only a few days into her freshman year. We connected early through a mutual love for the arts, dance, and style. At her funeral, Eva's mother spoke of how Eva expressed a desire to look different from everyone else, even at the tender age of 13. And she did; her beautiful curly hair, piled bracelets filled with meaning, and penchant for quirky bohemian styling singled her out as unique.
In the spring of 2011, I was deep in photographing a series of studio sessions for what I consider one of my life-long photography projects: Versions of Self. For the project, I worked with my subjects to visually investigate the different parts of their personas. It fascinates me that we are different people when we are alone, with our families, in the office, or working on our passion projects. I was curious about what those Versions looked like for others, and set out to investigate it.
Eva got it. She and Kerry, and the other girls of their house, came to my studio one spring afternoon armed with all manner of outfits and stories to share as we documented their Versions. Here, you will see what Eva chose to investigate.
She was a dancer. We began our session with these early, more traditional shots. They are a beautiful testament to her technical ability, all perfect form, lean muscle and poise.
Our conversation turned to the more emotional, visceral side of dance; we both felt deeply connected to using our bodies to communicate. We documented our mutual love for the quieter, more sensual forms found in dance. Do not misunderstand the purpose of these photos; while there is partial implied nudity, we both felt it was necessary to pay homage to the body as the medium used to express her art of movement. These photos are among my most favorite that I have ever taken.
She was a fashion designer, and it was in History of Couture that we became close. She was brilliant; her attention to detail and meticulous notes meant that she blew the other budding fashionistas out of the water. She was the first to raise her hand, and always had an intelligent, devil's advocate response that sparked class debate. I admired her work ethic and desire to instigate lively intellectual discussion about fashion. She taught me to ask all the right questions about couture.
She styled herself for these photos, channeling a perfectly "essential Eva" bohemian vibe as she posed with her mannequin. From the rings on nearly every finger, to the hand-drawn henna snaking across the plane of one hand, her style married personal details with modest forms.
The final Version that Eva chose to portray was the most simple. For those of you who did not know her, Eva was a homebody. She loved the creature comforts of home; a fresh pot of coffee, a book on the sun porch, and cozy dress reserved for laying low at home with her closest family and friends. We took very simple, very Eva, photos for this Version. In a comfortable, familiar flannel, she is just Eva. And she is beautiful.
Rest in peace, my beautiful friend. You are, and will be, missed.