Most of the images I will post on this page were taken by a great friend of mine, Stacy. Stacy operates under the name Candy Drop Photography- or she did. This morning, Stacy was killed in a car accident. I believe it was a quick death, and I hope she wasn't too scared. I spent most of the day on a roller coaster between silent shock and reflection, and uncontrollable sobbing. In the interim, I thought of all the ways Stacy has changed my life, and probably the lives of those around her. I guess this is how I deal with the loss of such a beautiful person.
Things I learned from Candy Drop/Stacy Florence:
1. Burritos are best when you put butter on them and cook them in a toaster oven. Seriously. Try it.
2. Natural light is best if possible. The best images have the least interference from lights and special effects and were outside in the sunlight. This made special effects make up more of a challenge, and more fun.
3. There is beauty in the ugly. I don’t know how many times we have collaborated on a shoot meant to be dark and gory and it turned out being beautiful and poetic.
4. My Kids are ok. True friends will deal with the fact that I have kids. And also, they will stick up for you if someone else questions your kids’ place in your life. That is just what Stacy did when someone suggested my kids weren’t my top priority. She and another friend jumped to my defense within moments. Stacy and Lexi have both been okay with my kids being around if we were hanging out. My kids can get to be a bit much, but she never let on if she was annoyed, and she still invited me to hang out.
5. Friends are still friends even if life gets in the way. There have been times where it would be months before we’d see each other again. We always kept up on facebook, but between our hobbies, jobs, and my kids, there wasn’t always time to get together. Stacy was okay with that, and every time I saw her it was like we had just hung out the day before. Stacy also included me by inviting me to hang out with her awesome group of friends.
6. All women are beautiful and deserve to feel that way. Stacy was known for photographing non- traditional models, such as myself. Those who are older, bigger, shorter, or whatever. Stacy could photograph anyone and return beautifully crafted images to them. In my first shoot with her, I was just coming off of a very rough time in my life. My self-esteem was slim to none. We scheduled to do a black and white shoot in my wedding gown. We ended up in melting snow- and using color. That was the beginning of the return of my confidence. I can’t thank her enough for that.
7. All art is worthwhile. Stacy was constantly respectful of all of the artists we worked with. She inspired me to expand my makeup skills and use them for art purposes, rather than just goring someone up to be scary at a haunted house. She encouraged me. I was not so great when we started, but she inspired me with images she selected, and encouraged me to try some of my own ideas. She also recognized that models were bringing more to the table than just being props. That was art to her as well. Stacy was constantly respectful of the time and commitment of others.
8. There is always good to be found- Emphasize the good. When we were working together, Stacy would always comment on something that was ‘working’. Even if I created a makeup look that I knew was going south, she would find one good thing about it. When the image would come out, it always looked incredible.
9. I should write. I once told Stacy I wanted to be a writer, but I never had time, or I didn’t have enough good ideas. I also mentioned that I wrote best at night, when everyone was asleep. For Christmas that year, she gave me a book called the 3am epiphany. The book has a ton of prompts for short stories to get a writer writing. She encouraged me even before I ever took my own writing seriously. Then she published me in her first magazine. I will never forget how awesome it felt to see my story in print.
10. Working for your passion is always worth the time and effort. I may not have always put all of myself into my art, but Stacy lived and breathed hers. She would use every free moment to take pictures, edit pictures, put together a magazine, create new concepts… She was truly passionate, and that shows in her work. It shows in the number of my friends who have gotten in touch with me today to tell me how much they loved her work and would miss seeing it.
She is gone way too soon. I remember her telling me once that she thought she would die young. I don't think either of us took it too seriously, but she based it on the loss of her friend Paul, who I never met, and another death in the family. I don't know how she came to that conclusion, but she did have a gift, and perhaps she really did sense that she would go young. I can't begin to say how much I wish she had been wrong. I am not sure of her exact age, but I know she was a few years younger than me (30).
To Stacy, I feel like you are still here. I don't feel like you are gone at all, but that you've become part of the universe. I hope you find peace there. If I know you, you'll be getting some pretty cool pictures on the other side as well.
You will always be in my thoughts as a very important catalyst in my life. You have changed me for the better. You have changed many people for the better. Your mark on the world has definitely been a good one, and it will definitely resonate for years.