I’ve had plenty of shoots where I had to dramatically adapt- the weather turned out all wrong, the location cancelled without warning us, equipment failed, some vital prop didn’t arrive on time. We’ve done some of our best work under those circumstances; I’ve always felt the best art exists on the edge of a chaotic abyss, somehow making sense of it all.

That said, with two tiny children running around, my whole life has become a tightrope over an abyss more chaotic that I ever could have imagined, and as wonderful as that is, I haven’t had any desire to add to it. That makes planning photoshoots particularly difficult, because I do want so much to throw myself entirely into them that the prospect can be overly daunting. My house would be so much cleaner if right now I wasn’t spending nights sewing rows of beads onto a dress, mornings endlessly color editing, and afternoons designing dresses. But then, I’d be a kind of bored mess and start another food blog, and I have no intention of repeating last Spring.

Which brings me to this shoot with Grace. Something simple. Something that was planned one way, but turned out another. Something that teetered on disaster for a good chunk of prep time, but turned out more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. Because that edge, if you can find it, is where photos turn into art.

There were a few issues going into our shoot- one was that I’d decided I wanted hair neither my trusted makeup artist Phiphi nor I had any experience in being able to do, we just sort of hoped it would work itself out. Second was that my original plan for wardrobe felt all wrong for such a young model, and the gloves that pulled the whole vibe together didn’t fit anyway. So Phiphi worked with a microcrimper, I improvised styling, Grace’s mom turned out to be an experienced hair braider, and suddenly we were creating portraits that had an Edwardian, John Singer Sargent vibe that just got better and better as we went along. The photos may not be exactly perfect (now that I’ve stared at them a good while I’m quite sure of that) but we’ve never come closer to perfection.

And now, back to mopping the kitchen floor. At least, until tomorrow. I have a few boas that need to be sewn together before Sunday.

***** Kayt


  • Date: February 24th, 2024
  • Location: Worcester, MA
  • Photography: Kayt Silvers and TJ Bynes
  • Makeup, hair: Phiphi Liang
  • Hair assistant: Kristen Pekar
  • Wardrobe: Kayt Silvers
  • Model: Grace Pekar @ Maggie Inc.