Sherese French » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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Apr 272013

Photograph copyright Sherese French

Over spring break my friend, Kristine and I had the urge to do just a simple portrait session since it was so beautiful outside. I used my Nikon D5100 at an ISO of 100 and 1/200 for shutter speed since it was sunny outside. I took many pictures of her and most of the pictures came out great. This picture in particular, though, was almost like an experiment when editing. I loved the way her body, face, and eyes are all directly facing the camera. I created the split photo just to see how it would turn out. I thought it looked extremely interesting and Kristine thought it was amazing.

After editing I looked at the photo and just thought how much it reminded me of dreams that could never be fully put together. This image is like a shattered memory, different personalities, details being forgotten, and much more. This photo has so many different meanings to me. Because of the dream-like state the photo represented I named it “Stay Awake.” I feel that the title suits the picture perfectly. The filter I used to create the split image was available on The filter worked for this photo because Kristine is faced toward the camera and is centered. Any of the other photos of her where she is not centered or facing the camera would not have worked. Her eyes really draw the picture together too. It was not just the way her body is positioned and the filter, it was also how intense her eyes are looking at the camera. Having all these factors put into one photo is such an accomplishment for me.

As a photographer your subject is what draws people in. I could just have a really cool filter over a so-so photo and that’s alright but having a subject or model and knowing how to work with that person or object can create an amazing photo. I feel as though I was lucky to have a great model and a unique filter for the photograph. It’s not just who you are as a photographer that takes amazing photos; it’s what you take pictures of and how you do it. I find these words immensely true when shooting inanimate objects or human models.

About the Photographer:
I started out my artistic career in high school by taking three art classes. It was not until my senior year of high school that I took a photography class. I had my first solo photography show because my teacher thought I found my medium. My teacher inspired me to take photography classes in college. In college I found that I really enjoy studio portraits. There’s just something about the human body and face that I find beautiful.

I have been taking pictures for about four years now and I am still finding my niche. I love taking pictures of more macabre things. Most of my photography imitates my older artwork which stems from a darker genre. My inspiration for such artwork and photography comes from an artist named Alex Pardee. His work is so unique and that is how I picture the artwork I produce.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction on our April 15 post at