Wonder South

Surplus & Sight

Dispatch 17: Without Losing the Butterfly

Words and Photography ROBYN WALSH

Self portrait by Robyn Walsh.

Self portrait by Robyn Walsh.

We are in constant wonder at the power of well made portrait photographs...

The human face and form is a splendid thing! And especially when captured outdoors in natural light. Robyn Walsh is an intrepid and inspired photographer who is based in Boston but has traveled throughout the South and the world. Her work is filled with childlike wonder, rich and daring and never lost to the tides of time, but suspended, sustained, and beautiful. Here she shares with Wonder South some of her favorite images and a peek inside her creative process. More of her adventure and portrait work can be seen on The Royal Division and on her personal Instagram Pony Girl. Walsh's wedding photography can be seen at TMRW Photo~ Jeffrey Roedel

Model: Jennarose Nichols ( @thedirewvlf ) Jenna was one of the first people I took a lot photos with and we learned a lot from one another. This was taken on a frigid night in February on the beach, but the light was so perfect that we had to go shoot just before the sunset.

"Nantucket, every time I take the ferry over I experience at least one overwhelmingly beautiful day that I remember forever."

This was taken the day before the full super moonin November of 2016 on the island of Nantucket off of Massachusetts. There's something really special about Nantucket, every time I take the ferry over I experience at least one overwhelmingly beautiful day that I remember forever. To make this photo, I combined a few photos together, in attempt to capture the moon rising. I love the way it came out.

"All extreme weather conditions make for the best photos."

Model: Livy Poulin ( @livypoulin ) This was the very first time I ever met and shot with Livy. We clicked right away. Livy is a genuinely great person. I love shooting portraitsin the pouring rain, it adds so much depth and emotion. All extreme weather conditions make for the best photos whether it be a blizzard, a windstorm, or day covered in dense fog. Whiskey always helps ya stay warm, too.

Model: Carley Hayes ( @carleyhayes ) I had the idea of this photo in my mind for years. It wasn't until this past summer that I actually executed it. To capture it, I kayaked out to these cliffs with my camera where the model met me. Getting the kayak to float into the right position for me to shoot Carley beautifully diving off the cliff wasn't easy, but eventually we did it. It's safe to say that she had the harder job that day.

"I managed to swim all the way back to shore without losing the butterfly."

Model: Sarah Perry ( @hxneyblood ) Sarah is one of my favorite people to shoot. She's not afraid to get weird, which always makes a photo shoot so much more interesting. On this day we had plans to go see some old abandoned houses she knew of. I was swimming way out in the ocean earlier in the day and found this dead butterfly floating on top of the water. I knew it would be perfect for Sarah to model with, so I managed to swim all the way back to shore without losing the butterfly. I love this portrait very much.

This photo was taken at sunrise in Höfn, Iceland. This morning was like nothing I've ever seen before, the birds were everywhere and the fog and storm clouds were sprinting across the sky.

Models: Miette Hope & Kirsten Elizabeth ( @mountainsandsun ) Miette and Kirsten are part of a trio of girls that have a joint Instagram. Working with them was a pleasure because they want to create just as much as the photographer. I took this on a dune in Cape Cod and used a shiny curtain from the party store to add some visual interest. Pro tip: The party store has the best props for photo shoots.

To Gaze upon Robyn's photographs is to be swept out to sea — a sea of dreams.

Here are a few more of our favorites from her archive...