I've recently started shooting editorial assignments for ImagesAZ magazine. One of my first assignments with them was to photograph an amazing jewelry artist, Donna Armstrong. I was lucky enough to be awarded the cover of the Grayhawk/ North Scottsdale edition.
I loved getting to talk with Donna and learn about the extensive process behind each piece. One of the biggest differences with her work compared to someone else's might be her decision to make the majority of her rings square as opposed to the standard circle band. It's become part of her branding, just as a photographer might specialize in a particular genre. She told me she had 2 reasons for doing this. One being its unique (her branding), and the other being more practical. A square ring is less likely to fall to one side or the other with a heavy stone on the top if you have smaller fingers, and for people with larger knuckles or arthritic fingers, a square ring is more comfortable. Another amazing thing about Donna's work is each piece is a one of a kind. She very rarely creates a replica design.
I wanted to focus a lot of the shoot on the process of making a piece. Every day we see thousands of beautiful pieces of jewelry, and never give any thought to who designed/crafted them. Luckily Donna was able to show me a little bit from each step in the process.
The process is an important part of each piece, but even more important is the person behind the tools. Just like it takes more than an expensive camera to create a beautiful photo, Donna is the real reason for such enchanting designs. A true master of her craft. At first I thought of taking some portraits of her in her workspace which you can see below. But, I wanted to run further with the idea that it's her mind that makes the jewelry special not the tools. I wanted less distraction and luckily brought along some seamless which we set up and took some portraits in front of.
Lastly, since so many of the materials she uses in her art are from the earth, I wanted a nice portrait of her outside. Lucky for me, there was a nice glow from the sun in the background. I knew there would be from my location scout the day before ;) This ended up being the image chosen for the cover.