interview

Behind the Scenes: An Interview with b.fetching

People my not realize this but I'm not always working alone when I'm on set with a client. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to have help in the form of a stylist or creative director and one person I work with frequently is Keely Witkowski of b.fetching. I decided to sit down with her and have her answer some questions here on the blog so you can get a better idea of all that she does! Meet the lady behind the designer shades:

How did you get into styling and fashion? Gucci, haha! My aunt use to work in Boston and wear Gucci and when I was a little girl I always looked up to her. I think that's where my spark for fashion began. I went to school for architecture because I loved design. I was always dressing my friends and family. I had a coworker back in 2009 that needed help finding something to wear to one of our restaurant opening parties. I told her that if she needed help I could shop for her on my break. She ended up wearing a purple dress I pulled for her and from there she started harassing me about becoming a stylist. She sent me articles, blogs, and websites about current stylists and told me I'd be better at it than them. It helps to have PR people that believe in you.

I had never considered fashion as a path to take because I'm not a competitive person and the fashion industry is very competitive as well as judgmental. After being harassed for a year I decided what if I did fashion my way- help people see that it's fun, refreshing, inspiring and easy! That it's there to showcase how you feel about yourself on the inside. And if you don't feel great about yourself then I can come in and help turn that around.

What kinds of services do you offer clients? I offer multiple services; closet sessions, event shopping, shopping excursions, production for photo shoots, etc, to men and women. People on a budget and with no budget. Every different person has a different need so I try to fill the shoes of what my individual clients need.
What is your role when hired for a photo shoot? Before I step foot on set, I have a prep session with the client. I need to get to know them so I can make sure that the shots represent them and jump in to help them achieve their goals. I ask them questions they wouldn't think to ask themselves. I help them create a timeline of things they'll need to do before the shoot (that could include, diet, waxing, spray tan, manicure/pedicure, hair, makeup, props, etc). We go through inspirational photos and make a list of shots we want to create. I communicate with the photographer that the client’s needs work with what the photographer can do.

From there I go shopping and pick up items to have on set for the client. Depending on the shoot it could be fashion or fitness shopping. I try to always combine them both. You can never have enough options. I love shopping for clients because I get to be them for a moment. I love how people are different and I get to take on that person and put my spin on it. We need people to sometimes see the amazing version of ourselves we can be. We can get stuck and I like to wake people up and give them a new set of eyes to what they can try. And I try to do it in a way that's not scary. That's something I picked up from architectural school; it gave me a new way of looking at things.
On set I act as an organizer; keeping the shots rolling in order, making sure we get each one, keeping hair and makeup on point, keeping the outfits in order, and minimizing the amount of time that can be wasted. I want my client to get their money's worth. This is also where I put my production hat on. We'll start in a pose and I guide the client as to face, body, hair, position, location that works best. Sometimes the best shots are stopping them when they think they’re not doing anything! I try to communicate with the photographer to make sure we're all on the same page. I'll stop and make sure what we're shooting is the direction the client wanted by going through pics pulled up on the laptop. I also try to push my clients a little to give them something fresh and new. I think the body is a beautiful thing and I like for my clients to show as much as their comfortable with (and then I push a little more!). These people work so hard on themselves why not show it off! I only believe in tasteful, artistic pictures but in most cases less is more :)

It's weird because as I list what I do it's doesn't seem to really describe it... I try to harness all my energy, passion and focus on my client to make sure they get what they're putting themselves vulnerably in front of a camera for. Dressing them seems a very small percentage of job.

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Thanks Keely- for this and for all that you do! Ready to connect with this talented lady? Shoot her an email at b.fetching@gmail.com!

(All photos in this posted were used with permission and provided by Keely Witkowski)

#AskAwayFriday with Bev Feldman of Linkouture

Bev Feldman of Linkouture
Happy Friday! I'm participating here on the blog in #AskAwayFriday with my Boston Handmade buddy and jewelry designer, Bev Feldman of Linkouture (on Twitter @Linkouture). How it works is Bev asks me questions which I then answer and post here and I ask her questions which she posts on her blog. Kind of a nice way for our readers to get to know us a little better! Here are Bev's questions for me, be sure to check out my questions for her on her blog too:

1. What is the most interesting thing you have ever photographed?
I did a multimedia project on a farm in Dartmouth, MA called Silverbrook Farm. It was so interesting to me to hear the story behind the farm, their practices, and their commitment to keeping the future of farming in their community going. 

2. How did you get into fitness photography? What do you like most about this type of photography? 
It all started when I was still in school at BU's Center for Digital Imaging Arts back in 2011. I had asked a Pilates teacher I knew, Jenn Phelan, if she'd be willing to do some environmental portraiture at Castle Island. She agreed, we had an awesome summer sunset shoot, and the rest is history!

What I like most is working with athletes- I find their discipline, strength, and commitment to helping other achieve their own goals inspiring!

3. Would you consider yourself a fitness buff? Has doing fitness photography had any impact on your own exercise regimen? 
How about fitness enthusiast? I had no exercise regimen in place before I got into fitness photography and now I'm borderline obsessed. My work has definitely had an impact because I love frequenting the classes my clients teach especially. 

4. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you want to go?
I'd probably go back to southeast Asia (I was in Thailand in 2000). My parents loved Laos and I've heard great things about Bali too. I love the food, warm climates, and being somewhere totally different from where I live. Plus it's gorgeous!

5. When did you first join Boston Handmade and how did you get involved? 
I joined BH in 2008 when I had decided to start selling prints of my photography and really wanted to be a part of the creative community. It wasn't something my friends were into so I wanted to make a few new friends in creative fields. It was an extremely rewarding move!

6. What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
me with my life on my back in Belize; ziplining in Costa Rica
I did a bunch of traveling on my own when I was pretty young which in hindsight seems daring. When I was 18, I moved to Dublin for the summer- found a job, place to live, and traveled around the country by myself. When I was 22, I went to Central America starting in Mexico and winding my way down to Costa Rica for a few months. I made friends quickly but I set out initially on my own. It was the best time of my life!

7. What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas or Halloween. I love dressing up and creepy things so Halloween is up there but I love spending time with family and gift giving/receiving too. Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favorite movies- it combines both holidays!

8. I read this on a recent #AskAwayFriday, and thought it was especially appropriate for you as a photographer: share a recent photo and tell the story behind it. 
I've been working on a personal project photographing people running this year's Boston Marathon and finding out their running stories. Because the marathon is run in the spring, they train in some pretty awful conditions throughout the winter. I've been photographing them in these conditions too- it's rough! 

This photo was taken last week during a snow flurry at a completely snow-and-ice covered Jamaica Pond. My runner, Stephanie (also a BH member), was a good sport even through she kept stepping through layers of ice into the snow. I was pretty happy with this shot - her pose, the composition, the lighting despite the weather conditions - when my dog snuck up behind her and photobombed it. I still love it though.

9. As you know, St. Patrick's Day is huge in Boston. (I just read that Boston has the oldest parade in the States). Will you be doing anything to commemorate the day? Do you usually attend St. Patrick's Day Parade in South Boston? 
I do not, I'm a bad Bostonian in that way. I went to the parade once when I was 15. Otherwise I tried to avoid all the craziness since a lot of it takes place in my neighborhood. 

10. I don't know about you, but I'm just about done with winter. What are you looking forward to most this spring?
The Boston Marathon! It's such a huge deal in Boston and this year is going to be even more special. I'm still trying to figure out the best spot to camp out and enjoy the day. Want to join me?

Featured Designer: Jen Paulousky of Blue Alvarez Designs

1. Tell us a bit about yourself!

I am Jen Paulousky, AKA Blue Alvarez of Blue Alvarez Designs (bluealvarez.com), and I am totally going to cheat and pull a few lines from my OKC profile:

I'm a 28 year old, female, ENFP bike commuter with a thing for spicy vegan food, heavy metal, and techno. I also own a condo, love to travel, and am studying two languages (Mandarin and Italian).


I work for a knitwear company during the day and design my own clothing at night. I'm specifically aiming to finish my business plan this year so I can move forward with some kind of direction, as opposed to just spasming wildly between creative projects.


Through my business I'm trying to make a point to target a charity each year and donate a portion of my business earnings to that. For holidays 2008 it was Eve Ensler's work in the Congo (v-day.org). So it's even more important that I get my shit together and start making some money, because the more I make the more I can give!


I'm also getting back into writing my own knitting patterns again, and that's led me to hang out with more Boston knitters and join a new fiber guild (commoncod.com) on top of the other guild I'm already in (bostonhandmade.org), so that's great for getting me out of the house.

2. How long have you been doing your artwork/craft?
Well, I've been sewing since childhood. My mom's stepmom was a seamstress in Italy, and when she moved here with my grandfather, they had a flat in Needham for many years where I and my brother would often end up after school. I was bored and inquisitive, so she let me into the sewing room, presumably to keep me out of trouble

Knitting's more recent, circa 2004. But oddly enough as soon as my dad saw my knitting take off he was like "Hey, my mom used to knit whole suits for people, she was a master knitter" and I was like "How did I make it to 24 without you or her telling me this?"


That said, I'm still search for my aesthetic. I say this as a disclaimer to my answer to Q #3 because I think I struggled for a long time with the idea that in order to sell anything I had to make "grown up clothes" - you know, mainstream, fairly boring, maybe a zipper or two here or there for fun. So a lot of the stuff on my website or in previous collections has been a weird mash up of psudo-punk and Talbots. But I think no matter how hard I try force myself into that kind of mold, it's not going to happen. So I'm hoping by the end of this year I'll have a really solid "look" hammered out that I can represent for a long time.

3. Describe your work. What inspires you?
Darkness, depravity, electronica, all things urban. Well, okay maybe the second one is a bit tongue in cheek, but I've always been drawn to very dramatic, almost confrontational styles. I kind of always thought I would grow out of it, but I never did. And now I have people like Alexander McQueen, Gareth Pugh, and a host of others before them to point to for proof that at least if I'm crazy, I don't have to be crazy alone.

The only twist I'll add to that is that most designers I see who are really into gothic, over the top styles design exactly that. But I commute by bike, and still love bright colors, and am constantly travelling (when I can afford it!). So, I'm trying to take that desire for the romantic and dramatic and channel it into more streamlined styles, suitable for a life on the go. Like, what would Edgar Allen Poe wear today if he were on his way to London via Rome?

Or, to use a different example, I think my female muse is a cross between Amanda Palmer when she's on tour, but not on stage, and Aeon Flux with less hair and more pants. For male styles, I try to picture the new, buff, sober Trent Reznor on vacation. Damn getting old made that man hot. But of course somewhere in there I try to make it so that, sizing aside, a lot of the styles will actually be gender neutral, or at least transferable. It's tough in the gender binary that fashion still clings too, but I'm working on it.

4. What are your favorite materials to work with?


There's this yarn Berroco makes now called Comfort, and it is hands down the best synthetic (read: vegan) yarn on the market right now, in either worsted or DK weight (that's knitter speak for normal and slightly thinner than normal). So I buy a lot of that, but depressingly Berroco doesn't do wholesale so I am paying retail for it, which is ridiculous. I have to find something else!

For woven fabric, I love linen, especially in black, gray, and metallic finishes. But linen is cold comfort in the winter, pun intended. So I still use a lot of cotton, especially twills and heavier weights, and I'm an enormous fan of bamboo and soy-based products for drape and warmth.

5. What new items are you working on?

I'm part of a show at Vinalia (101 Arch St., Boston) on Saturday Feb 28th (8pm - 12 am) so right now I'm working on finishing those outfits, of which there'll be six. This is sort of a transitional show for me, because I'm building off of a lot of navy and blue pieces I had from last year, but trying to add a bit of an edge to them. So I re-designed a shrug I had designed a few years ago, and that came out great. I've also got a recycled jersey dress with a fun railroad denim panel I'm proud of, and a velvet jacket and some linen capris that point decidedly more toward the direction I'm ultimately headed in with my future lines.

Thanks Jen!

For more info on Blue Alvarez Designs, please go to:
Website: www.bluealvarez.com
Etsy Shop: bluealvarez.etsy.com

Featured Designer: Jackie Strycharz of Kissen Luxe

1. Tell us a bit about yourself!
Well currently I'm working full-time for a financial magazine and working part-time towards a MS in Library and Information Science. I spend my free time (what little I have) sewing and hanging out with my large, crazy dog.

2. How long have you been doing your artwork/craft?
I first started sewing when I was 9 or 10 but didn't do it often until I borrowed a sewing machine from my friend two summers ago to make some curtains for my apartment and just never gave it back (sorry Carrie!).

3. Describe your work. What inspires you?
I make throw pillows, pillow covers, placemats, table runners, cloth napkins and decorative trays. I was randomly given a gift subscription to Town & Country magazine a few years ago and am often inspired by the ads for luxury goods as well as their frequent articles on home decor. I'm drawn to clean lines and bold colors.

4. What are your favorite materials to work with?
I love luxurious fabrics- silk shantung is a personal favorite but I also like satin and suede. Aside from fabrics, I'm obsessed with hardware from Anthropologie. They have adorable, unusual knobs and drawer pulls that I use for my trays.

5. What holiday items are you working on?
I'd like to add a line of aprons, oven mitts and potholders in elegant holiday-themed patterns and colors. I'm thinking icy blues, silver and gold.

Thank you Jackie!

For more info on Kissen Luxe, please go to:
Website: www.KissenLuxe.com
Flickr page: www.flickr.com/photos/30435176@N08/

Featured Artist: Wendy Conrad
















1. Tell us a bit about yourself! My name is Wendy Conrad. I grew up in South Florida and now live in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains with my husband and 2 rescue dogs, Camille & Elsie. I am a novice wine lover & amateur karaoke singer.

2. How long have you been doing your art? I have been taking photographs since 1988, and consistently painting since the beginning of 2007. My creative spirit has recently led me to designing and creating handmade cards and recycled art.


3. Describe your work. What inspires you? The voices in my head give me ideas. Sometimes they all come at once, sometimes I'll go days without having an idea. I write them all down and when I have studio time I go through them and choose a few. I'm inspired by nature and the desire to create things out of materials that would otherwise be thrown away. My work seems to be always morphing as I go along in terms of subject matter and materials. My current original acrylic paintings are mostly farm animals and flowers. I love to paint cows, chickens, and sunflowers. I am now experimenting with more altered art and recycled materials. My recent addiction is handmade cards. My brain pulls me in so many directions, but I try and concentrate on a few at a time.

4. What are your favorite materials to work with? I love using recycled materials. I know a few people in the construction business, so I ask them to save scraps of wood for me. I'm always picking up sticks & rocks and saving things that most people would toss, and later an idea will come to me on how to incorporate those things into my work.

5. How long have you been selling your work? What advice would you give to new sellers? I have been selling my work for about 2 years now, and have been on etsy since May 2008. My best advice for new sellers is to learn how to market your work and WHO to market it to, be patient, and never stop creating. People may not get it at first, but if you are passionate about something that will come across in your work.
Thank you Wendy!

For more info on Wendy Conrad Art, please go to:
Website: www.WendyConradArt.com
Flickr page: flickr.com/photos/wendyconradart
Myspace: myspace.com/wendyconradart