Its been a while since these shoots but last night I found a ton of youtube clips from Ibiza, Spain for the TV show “Get Out’ and figured I’d go ahead and post em and share my long-winded behind the scenes adventure…
So traveling abroad is a little intimidating, not to mention traveling abroad ALONE… with luggage (I don’t pack lightly), and with camera gear (which cannot be checked… hello overhead bin). I figured I was well prepared with all the right equipment- battery chargers, outlet converters, an apple travel kit for my computer, a bag full of camera gear, backup gear, hard-drives and roaming set up on my iPhone, etc, etc. You can never be too prepared!
So I arrived in Barcelona from DFW, exhausted, a red eye flight mind you… to make my connection to Ibiza, which is a tiny lil island off of Spain. I turn on my iPhone and try to make a call home and all I get is this message “Out of Service area” flashing. Crap, I’m in a foreign country, no cell phone, knowing not a soul, and knowing not a lick of spanish. At this moment I was thinking to myself, “stay calm Dixie, this is an adventure, think positive”… So my first thought was to find a pay phone but there were none.. so next thought- maybe I could buy a cheap cell phone here?
I walked the airport for quite a while asking around like a stupid tourist- but I was in luck- there was an electronics store in the airport that sold $20 cell phones. I purchased one on the spot and asked the lady if it was easy to set up and she said it was so I went to my gate to catch my connecting flight. As I sit there waiting to board, I open my new cell and start to set it up. However… I begin to notice that the text is all in spanish… “Eeek, are you kidding me?” I try to dial a few numbers but it won’t let me because I have to add minutes to it. Frustrated, I put it in my bag and board the plane.
To my surprise and relief, I sat next to a man who was fluent in English… I politely asked him if he could set up my phone and he was able to change the language to english. Whew! The flight was only about an hour so I arrived in Ibiza after over 12 hours of traveling. I was beat. It was mid-day there so I was supposed to catch a cab to the Villa where we were to be shooting. I caught a cab and all I remember is this crazy loud pumping club music and my head was throbbing… I must have been dehydrated. But come to find out, luckily everything in Ibiza is “Fluid”- there are no stop lights or stop signs, their music has no start or end points, and the alcohol is always flowing, ha. Its quite the experience.
I arrived at the villa and headed up to my room to freshen up… found my handy outlet converter and plugged in my straightening iron and went to grab a beverage. Good thing I wasn’t gone long… my straightening iron was Smoking when I returned. Apparently the converter didn’t do its job properly and I was out a $100 Chi iron. Boo! Being the hair fanatic that I am.. and thinking of having terrible frizzy yucky hair while on tv (even though they usually only show the back of my head), I left the villa on a mission to find a straightener and to put minutes on my phone.
I asked the clerk in the lobby where I could add minutes to my cell and he said there was a tobacco store about 1/2 a mile down the road. I did find the store, but the cashier didn’t speak english so explaining to her that I needed to add money to my phone was a bit tricky… though after about 15 minutes of explaining, she finally understood, so I had her add $50 to the phone, but having no idea how much minutes cost or anything. It lasted me a couple days.
Next stop- a straightening iron. I took a taxi into the town of Ibiza and asked the cabbie if he knew of a place to buy hair appliances and he pointed me in the direction and said some spanish store name and drove off. So there I was roaming the streets of Ibiza for a good hour or so and finally stumbled upon a random hair salon. I went in and asked the hairstylist if I could purchase an iron and hesitantly she said yes, but the only one she had was the one she was currently using on a client. So she told me to come back in an hour and pick it up after she was done. Ha… in my desperation, I agreed. I came back after having lunch at Subway, which by the way is exactly the same as in the U.S. (yum, turkey sandwich), and returned to purchase the used iron from hairstylist. Hoooray!!! All is well.. I have my phone, I have my straightening iron!
On my way back to the cab line, I walked past THE store he was talking about, a little too late mind you, they had all kinds of appliances including NEW straightening irons. Ah well, I told myself at least I knew mine worked. It was about sundown by then and I headed back to the hotel to crash. I had to be up at 5am in the morning to be ready to start shooting at sunrise. Lol, all of that work and I hadn’t even made one picture.
To my surprise, the rest of the trip was a DREAM. We shot 12 gorgeous models for the show. Each day, I would cab it to the location at 6am and gaze out the window to see all the party-goers just leaving the clubs. People in Ibiza know how to party, just saying… and this was the peak of spring break season. Most of the people who live there wake up around noon and then go to work. Pretty cool if you ask me. So we’d shoot Sunrise and break during the mid-day light and then shoot sunset. The light there is incredible- warm, glowy, and super soft. By the end of the shoots, I had around 12,000 pictures and 2 entire full hard-drives. Seriously, is that even possible? I won’t even go into having to spend weeks going through all these, which I must say was COMPLETELY worth it. We ended up with some AMAZING images and footage… the crew was STELLAR to say the least!!!
This very long-winded post just reiterates how life is such an adventure… sometimes it is very challenging to just live in the present and enjoy the crazy detours along the way, but if you can learn to enjoy those moments, you are bound for some fun. And my fun is in making beautiful pictures, working with amazingly passionate people, and visiting beautiful places. Life is lived in the detours my friend ;). If you actually took the time to read this, I think you deserve a cocktail or a ribbon or medal or something. ;) Cheers! ~
January 01, 2012 — They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and in the case of Dixie Dixon, this holds true. This Texas born and bred fashion photographer is living a big life. Just a few years out of college, the 20-something is jet-setting her way onto the short list of elite fashion photographers, with a nose to the grindstone approach and a can’t-get-me-down sunny attitude.
Oh, and her name is Dixie Dixon. Try forgetting that one. Fashion editors, designers and blue chip clients who’ve worked with Dixon like Ford Models, Inside Edition and Kodak won’t soon forget it, either. Though the moniker was christened by a childhood friend years ago (Dixie’s given name is Lyndsay), it has stuck, and has been an asset in the world of fashion photography where creating fantasy is part of the game—one that she is passionate about to the nth degree.
“Photography is my life,” says Dixon, who has traveled the globe in the last three years on fashion assignments. “Honestly, I’m an incurable dreamer with a wild imagination. That’s what I truly love about fashion photography—there are no rules, no boundaries, just pure self-expression. Anything your mind can imagine, you have the power to create.”
I’m not sure Dixon could have imagined where she’d be in just three short years after graduating from Texas Christian University [TCU], where she majored in entrepreneurship in the Neeley School of Business (she minored in art). She decided to go in that direction after a pivotal moment in high school, when her photograph was chosen as the front cover image for the yearbook.
“I realized then how much I truly enjoyed making pictures,” Dixon recalls. “I knew I wanted to make a business out of photography, which is why I went to TCU—to learn the business side of things.”
During college, Dixon assisted photographers on the weekends, and took portraits of anyone who would sit still. During her senior year, she applied for a photography study abroad program through Syracuse University. She was accepted, and went to London to study with renowned photographer Jeff Licata and well-respected educator Doc Mason.
“Jeff taught me how to see the world differently… how to create beauty with the lens,” says Dixon. “This [time in London] is when I really fell in love with fashion photography.”
Licata, whom Dixon describes as “wonderful” and “down to earth,” taught Dixon how to photograph models—how to highlight certain aspects of the face and figure, and how to capture the clothes. He also taught her the practicals of setting up a shoot, and how to work with other creatives like art directors and make-up artists. He was generous in his teachings—and pushed his eager student outside of her comfort zone on a shoot in Prague.
Dixon remembers, “I got to direct the model on the shoot—I was so nervous— and I remember I was trying to put the camera on the tripod while I was shaking like crazy,” she says with a laugh. Though she was green then, and in many ways still is, Dixon contends that what she lacks in knowledge, she makes up for with enthusiasm. She continually challenges herself, and doesn’t back down from a situation, which has allowed her to push through barriers at warp speed, resulting in a talent far more mature than her years.
“I’ve always been positive, because I think the mind controls a lot of what happens to you… your thoughts become your actions,” Dixon says. “When something comes up on a shoot, I just try to problem solve and keep that positive attitude.”
Dixon’s strong sense of self is rooted in her upbringing, where she lived what she describes as a grounded life growing up in Houston and Dallas as an only child. Her parents have strongly supported her career, and now live close to Dixon’s home in Dallas.
“My dad was always interested in photography, but he was of the generation that if he had told his parents he wanted to do photography for a living… I don’t think that would have happened,” Dixon says.
Her dad became an engineer instead, and taught Dixon how to use her first camera. Her mom loves fashion. “She’s been great at helping me generate ideas and come up with cool concepts,” Dixon says. “My parents are excited that I’m pursuing what I’m passionate about.”
Though her parents are a short drive away from her home, she doesn’t spend much time there. During the tail end of 2011, she was in Vancouver, Miami, Costa Rica, Ibiza, Barcelona and Los Angeles. Though rattling off the list of places she’s been has her racking her brain, she’s quick to say, “It’s been a blast.”
A lot of the travel she’s been doing is related to her work on a TV show called Get Out for HDNet, which follows bikini models as they travel to different locations.
Her work on Get Out is an example of the marquee jobs she’s landed since hiring an agent a year and a half ago; another is a campaign she shot for Florsheim shoes.
“I flew out to LA, and we shot models at Union Station, which was this really cool, old train station and we shot on a train car. There were about 20 people on set… it was a really fun opportunity,” she says.
Dixon will be talking in depth about her experiences on these and other shoots at this year’s WPPI conference, in her tongue-in-cheek program called “Get Lit.”
“I’m going to talk about a no-rules approach to lighting—simple lighting setups that you can do on the fly,” she says. The talk will cover everything from using natural light to strobe light setups, as well as pointers on setting up a fashion-type shoot.
“This is valuable for portrait and wedding photographers, because their clients are looking at fashion magazines and want that fashion edge,” she says. “These stylized shoots can attract bigger clients… it’s something to offer that’s different.”
While this is Dixon’s first Platform Class, she has spoken at the WPPI Road Show and she’s been attending WPPI for the last four years. She remembers her first WPPI in 2008, seeing Matthew Jordan Smith, a seasoned fashion photographer, speak. The bold and friendly Dixon approached him after his talk and asked if she could shadow him. On her next trip to LA, she was assisting the America’s Next Top Model veteran on one of his book projects.
“It makes me so happy to be able to work with such beautiful, creative people inside and out,” Dixon muses. Don’t let the blonde ponytail and shiny personality fool you. Behind this pretty exterior and exciting talent is true grit. To see more of Dixie Dixon’s work, visit her Web site at www.dixiedixon.com.
Dixie Dixon will be teaching the Platform Class, “Get Lit”, at WPPI 2012 on Sunday, February 19, from 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Christy Rippel is a freelance writer near Hershey, PA. She writes profiles, essays and reported features for trade, local and national media, and consults for corporate clients. Reach her firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just arrived home from an insanely rad workshop taught by commercial photographer, Jeremy Cowart. If you are unfamiliar with his name, you’ve definitely seen his rockin work on various album covers, movie posters, and coffeetable books around the world. I’ve been following Jeremy’s work for a quite a while so meeting the guy in person was truly a cool experience. I’ve always made it a point to attend photo seminars like this one because honestly they have jumpstarted my career, allowed me to “nerd-out” with other creatives, and push me to keep sharpening my craft. ;)
To give you a quick rundown- it was an information packed day spent learning about his humble beginnings as a photographer, go-to lighting gear/setups, photoshop/raw processing techniques, the importance of the hustle, channeling creativity, and ended with his Help Portrait movement and other motivational projects he’s working on.
Ultimately I think Jeremy just reinforced the point that your greatest creative advantage in this industry is not your lighting, your technique, or even your knowledge… your greatest asset, one that nobody can duplicate, is the unique way You see the world- your Vision. The workshop definitely reignited my passion for making pictures and for sharing my voice with the world no matter what the medium.
I haven’t had time to actually sit down and write a post recently but as the holidays and winter weather steadily approach, I look forward to spending some much needed downtime reflecting and planning. This has been a whirlwind of year and I feel as though I am finally seeing some clarity within my life. I’ve started reading… yes… not magazines but reading an actual book- its called “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho… love it so far! Call me nerd, but I am definitely one of those folks who gets all choked up when I read inspiring books or even just listen to Oprah or one of my mentors talk about dreams and life experiences… I’m such a sap… this book is def one of those.
Only a few pages in, this is what I understand-
Coelho mentions that to realize one’s destiny is a person’s only real obligation in life… and whenever we do something that fills ours hearts with enthusiasm, we are following that destiny.
So we must find the courage to confront our own dreams, despite knowing that by following our dreams we may actually suffer more than other people. Once we have overcome the defeats along the way, we are then filled with a greater sense of euphoria and confidence.
The secret to life is to fall seven times and get up eight. So whenever our minds are filled with inadequacy and doubt… so much that we think we can’t go on, that is the time to take one step further.
In the silence of our hearts, we know that we are proving ourselves worthy of the miracle of life. Fight the good fight. Dream BIG!