Haus of Elle – 5 Days of Full Fashion Panic

Photo by Drayke Larson -

Photo by Drayke Larson –

Day 5 of 5: Haus of Elle collection.

Haus of Elle is a clothing and accessories line inspired by a dark aesthetic with a modern edge.

The new collection from Haus of Elle celebrates a strong independent style conscious individual’s sultry moods realized using superior craftsmanship and materials with bespoke artisan hand finishing techniques. All pieces are individually designed and carefully handcrafted by Lauren Roberts in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


See Haus of Elle’s entire collection on my Flickr page!


Salem’s Scissor’s – 5 Days of Full Fashion Panic

Photo by Drayke Larson -

Photo by Drayke Larson –

Day 3 of 5: Salem’s Scissors’ collection “Circo”

“Circo” is all about the fun and discovery that one feels while attending a circus event as a child. It’s about all that magic, color and movement that one should never forget about as an adult. It tries to bring back that childish way of dressing fun yet staying stylish while expressing through our similar silhouette, with new patterns and elements.


You can check out Salem’s Scissors’ full collection here.

Kayley Johnson – 5 Days of Full Fashion Panic

Photo by Drayke Larson -

Photo by Drayke Larson –

Day 2 of 5: Kayley Johnson’s line, “Singularity”

Kayley Johnson attended MCTC where she acquired a certificate in Apparel Technology. She transferred to Stout and studied in London through their apparel program. “Singularity” is a take on futuristic fashion, inspired by mecha armor and the neon city lights.

You can see images from “Singularity” at Full Fashion Panic here, and you can also see images from the shoot I did with Kayley taken in April here.

Xee Vang – 5 Days of Full Fashion Panic

This last Sunday was the annual Full Fashion Panic show, one of my absolute favourite fashion events of the year! Every year it highlights the incredible work of designers who are up-and-coming as well as the established artists, all under the supervision of designer Samantha Rei and Dr. Frenchy Lunning.

Photo by Drayke Larson -

Photo by Drayke Larson –

The 2015 show featured 5 talented designers so I will be posting images from the collections of 1 each day this week. At the end of the week, I’ll be posting many of the images to my Facebook page but to see them all, you’ll need to go to PhotoSynthetique on Flickr.

First up is Xee Vang, whose work is inspired by Asian street fashion. The bright and beautiful colours create a cohesive collection that is fun and stylish.

You can check out the entire set of images here on my Flickr account.

Portrait Special plus Kay and Carla

These are some images from the super fun photoshoot that I did with Carla and Kay last week, two of my absolute favourite people in the world. Special thanks to Theresa and her hubby for the use of their amazingly cute farm!

As many of you know, I’ve been spending a lot of time lately working in the world of video and audio editing so I’ve been a bit quiet on the photography front. I’m hoping to fix that this summer with lots of equally exciting shoots, and I’m hoping to do so with YOU! To that end, I’m running an on-location portrait special for anyone in the Minneapolis/St Paul area. Just $125 for a standard 2 hour session at a location of your choosing! We’ll get together and make some beautiful images! To book your slot during this special, just send me an email at or call 612-424-9760 (if I don’t answer, make sure to leave voicemail!) before July 1st! I can’t wait to hear from you!


Additional Credits for this shoot:
Carla’s Dress: Samantha Rei
Kay’s Crop Top: Megan Maude
Kay’s Skirt: KMK Designs


Emily at the Beach


Although it’s a bit unusual to be doing a model shoot on Easter, the timing just happened to be right and I had a seriously fantastic shoot with Emily Z. yesterday near Schaper Park in Golden Valley, MN. It was a blast and was reminded why she is such a joy to work with; she knows her angles, she knows what works with her physique and she can hold a pose extremely well!


Check out some of these preview images! Click on any one for the larger size. If you want to see more, follow photoSynthetique on Facebook! That’s where I post all of my newest work and links to everything else. 🙂


Along the Tracks

I can't believe she didn't freeze! It was cold!

Crouching Hair, Hidden Face

Can we drop the phrase “real women” already?

I’ve been working in the fashion, portrait and wedding photography industry for several years now and there is a phrase that I absolutely hate. Based on the above title, I’m sure you’ve already guessed that it is “real women”.

I hear it all the time, from colleagues, friends and recently even a teacher in the photography program at school. The idea is that the women we always see in fashion, artistic nude or swimsuit photography are too

Copyright belongs to The CW Network

Plus-sized, "real", and incredibly beautiful

skinny. “Real” women don’t look like that, goes the thinking. “Real” women have curves. Even in a recent season of America’s Next Top Model, there was a curvy model who referred to herself as “real-sized” to counter the more common plus-size label. While I understand what she was thinking, (and she was certainly very curvy and beautiful) no one likes to be called plus-size which is often felt to be a synonym for “fat”, I don’t think she realizes the damage she’s inflicting on the other side of things.

You see, by referring to curvy women as “real”, what are you saying about smaller women? Are they not real? The idea is that all of those twiggy models that we see on TV and in magazines are unhealthy and clearly starving themselves to achieve an ideal that is unnatural. I don’t doubt that there are plenty in the industry who fit this stereotype (and don’t even get me started on the “thinspiration” crowd, those who think anorexia is a perfectly normal way of life), but what about all of those women who are

Skinny women, and just as "real" as any.

simply naturally skinny? Not all of them asked to be as small as they are, but that is just the way nature made them and they are making the best of it. If you think that skinny people of either gender are free of self-image issues, you’re sadly misinformed about human behaviour. The movement to classify only curvy women as “real” implies that skinnier women are not normal, the outsiders and to be pitied or hated.

As anyone who has followed my career is aware, I have always worked hard to strike a balance and show people from all walks of life. Skinny, curvy and everything in between. I think beauty is far more in the confidence and personality of an individual than in their body shape. I know that sounds like a trite cliche, but I have found over the years that you can put a model in front of the camera who has the absolute magazine “perfect” form and end up with crap pictures, while models who have very little experience and a few more curves but a lot of bubbly enthusiasm and a great attitude have turned out FAR superior images.

Someone who follows my tumblr recently asked me the following:

“When I look at (your) tumblr I get depressed. Please post more reblogs of fat girls (or just less of the over photoshopped sticks I keep seeing)…. I don’t want to butt into your tumblr but I like you and I’d rather just straight up tell you. Being an image maker (photographer) you can make a difference, what do you think?”

I completely agree with her sentiment here, it’s true that my Tumblr does have a lot of very skinny women on it, and I can see how that would be disheartening to a larger woman. This is not intentional on my part. I use my Tumblr as a general inspiration blog. I see images that I admire, or perhaps that I would like to try to recreate someday, so I reblog them there to share with everyone the kind of images that I find really cool and would like to see more of. The problem is that while I endeavour to show women of all sizes in my own work, not all photographers are the same. Many do not have images of larger ladies in their portfolios, either because they haven’t worked with any or because they feel pressure to adhere to the bullshit standard in print and TV that all women have to be flat-stomached and fit enough to be a yoga instructor. Those who do have plus-sized models in their portfolio, they rarely have them doing anything edgy or inspiring, they are generally just there to say “See, I shoot bigger girls too!”, leaving their concept shoots to only feature traditional swimsuit models. Thus, when I happen upon their work, the images with the skinny model with the awesome lighting, fantastic posing and dynamic shadows jumps out at me, while the totally boring portrait of the plus-sized model just standing there doesn’t. I’m only interested in the craft brought to the image, it’s rare that the model alone catches my eye. It’s an unfortunate part of the industry that generally only a certain type of model gets the creative shoots, I would really like to see it changed someday and all I can do is contribute as much as I can.

All women are “real”, and all women are beautiful in their own way. Next time you feel compelled to hate on someone because they’re the size you want to be or don’t want to be, remember that it’s very likely that they hate their own size as much as you do and making them feel shitty about it isn’t going to help anyone.

Image 1 “Kasia Pilewicz” is copyright ©2011 The CW Network. Image 2 “Parseltongue” is copyright ©2011 Drayke Larson.