Heading West

22nd April, 2013

HeadingWest1I started this year in such a beautiful way, and I’m so thrilled to finally be able to share that experience with you. I’d spent all of last year working very, very hard to get to this place, and actually kicking off 2013 with the realization of so many goals and dreams was a feeling I’ll never forget. HeadingWest2It began with a journey way out west, with a crew of collaborators and a big idea: to seek, create, and capture the essence of the American Exotic.HeadingWest3 HeadingWest4We landed in Palm Springs, California, then loaded into an RV to trek deep into Joshua Tree National Park.HeadingWest5 HeadingWest6 HeadingWest7We were on assignment for Rachel Roy, shooting her current Spring 2013 campaign. HeadingWest8 HeadingWest9We’d chosen this location for many reasons. Rachel Roy is an American designer of Indian heritage, two influences that greatly shape her perspective on fashion, and her clothes are all about an effortless, exotic elegance, so we’d been asking ourselves: what is the American version of exoticism? The answer seemed to lie in the colors and shapes of the great Southwest, a land that has inspired so many artists before us. HeadingWest10We looked especially toward the works of the painter Georgia O’Keeffe, and her brave representations of the American landscape ~ which pulsate with a jarring closeness and a carnally vivid palette. HeadingWest14We wanted to know what drew O’Keeffe to this place initially, as her career as an artist ~ like so many others ~ had begun in New York City. In asking this question, we uncovered a story about her romance and eventual marriage to Alfred Stieglitz. There existed so much adoration and creative collaboration between the two (indeed, Stieglitz’s portraits of O’Keeffe are among the most arresting I’ve ever seen), and yet part of her creative soul felt trapped by this love. Something was dying inside her. And so, with her husband’s total understanding and respect, in 1929 she accepted the invitation of a friend and journeyed out west ~ a decision that led to the creation of some of the most iconic works in the history of American art. HeadingWest11 HeadingWest12We decided we wanted to tell the story ~ in a very loosely referential, totally visual way ~ of her first morning of this new life. We saw it as the saga of a girl who heads into the desert, an arid place she senses will quench her thirst for creative and spiritual rebirth. She’s not sure exactly what her heart and soul are searching for, but immediately the color, curves, and grandiosity of this landscape fill a void inside her, an emptiness brought on by the grey, concrete, linear routine of city living. She has found an emotional and artistic release, a long-needed freedom.HeadingWest13I suppose, in some way, we wanted to experience this journey for ourselves. And so, with Quixote the RV as our trusty steed, we set off on a creative adventure.HeadingWest15 HeadingWest18I was in the company of Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg, the most usual suspects in my imaginative meanderings. Every project we do as a team builds off the body of work we’ve already made together, and it’s an archive that has very quickly become quite vast in references and experiences. We bring a lot of shared history into the work, which I believe makes it richer each and every time. It’s a collaborative chemistry I’m beyond grateful to have found. HeadingWest20 HeadingWest17 HeadingWest19 HeadingWest21 HeadingWest23Part of the beauty of this project lay in our personal celebration of how far we’ve come together, though it was also a benchmark in a long road we still hope to traverse. There are so many stories waiting to be told, so many mediums in which to experiment, so much work to be made. And yet, for this time, we were able to truly live in the moment, to create together as our way of ringing in a new year: a visual rebirth and an allegorical baptism. HeadingWest24 HeadingWest25Like our predecessors, we found immense inspiration in this environment, which we soaked up like thirsty desert cacti, and tried ardently to bottle into pictures. HeadingWest32We shot each day until the sun sank low behind the mountains, then edited the work on the long nighttime drives back to Palm Springs, making new dreams for the next day. We were abuzz with ideas. HeadingWest26 HeadingWest33 HeadingWest27 HeadingWest29 HeadingWest28 HeadingWest34 HeadingWest30 HeadingWest31I’m so thankful to have lived this experience, this memory, this story, and I’m so proud of the work that was created in this moment. I’m itching to share it with you all, so please tune in again tomorrow for the unveiling! HeadingWest35|PHOTOS| by Ann Street Studio

  • Beautiful photos of the desert. The perfect images for a monday afternoon day dream 🙂


  • These photos are breathtaking. I went to Palm Springs at the end of February and didn’t get the chance to go to Joshua Tree. These images are so stunning, it makes me sad that I didn’t get a chance to go. Hopefully my next visit to the desert I will be able to go. I’m so excited to see what you have in store tomorrow!

    xo Quinn

    Quinn Cooper Style

  • rhodawong
  • Nico

    What cool post! Love these shots!


  • Denisa

    So many nice pics. Have a great day.


  • Great captures, you have a great job.


  • Stunning landscapes ! The b&w pictures are amazing !

    XX Luba

    D&G style inspired look, today on


  • Wow that is some serious equipment! These are goregous pictures. I’ve always wanted to go on an RV and just explore.

  • Cory Scott

    I mean… California is so damn beautiful! I have to go back soon!
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    Xoxo Cory

  • monkeyshines
  • brunetteletters

    The pictures are beautiful!!!

    Brunette Letters Blog

  • Kristina Wilde

    I am loving these photos!

  • Ela

    Haha it is so funny to me, for this landscape to be described as exotic! My grandparents live very near Palm Springs, and the Redwood Forest, Big Sur, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and L.A. seems so much more California than Palm Springs does!!! Palm Springs is just where all the old Hollywood stars used to vacay and where you can still find old diners that have not changed since. When I think of exotic western landscapes, I think of Yosemite, or Mesa Verde in CO, or Zion National Park… Also, is that the John Wayne Airport?? If so, again, very funny. I know that airport so well! Love your fashion posts, I hope you are able to take photos on a more extensive road trip someday.

  • erica jensen

    Cool pictures and you would die if you saw what Utah looked like 🙂


  • As a woman who hasn’t been out west since she was a little girl, I can say you have already done well to capture the beauty of such a massive and beautiful place. It’s hard to see the beauty in something so dry and desolate, but I think that part of why you guys captured it so well IS the fact that you’re not living in it, or taking it for granted. I’m guessing that’s also why O’Keefe was able to do that too – coming from somewhere so visually different, you see things others may overlook.

    Can’t wait to see how the rest of it all turned out. I’m sure it’s great!

  • Oh this story is so inspiring Kelly! I can’t wait to see the images that you came up with. Knowing the history and the starting point from where you saw it, I’m sure, will make the photos even better.

  • moon

    amaziing pictures !!!!!


  • The pictures are breathtaking! Loved this post and can’t wait for the other one 🙂
    You do an amazing job!


  • Thank you Kelly, Jaime and Kevin for transporting us to magical places in our heads! You have made me feel so peaceful and in love with this earth for the beauty it has given us. Loved this post and look forward to tomorrow, so excited!

    You guys inspire me every time.


  • LOVE the B & W photos of the two of you! SO refreshing and stunning xxx


  • patriciabrand

    Amazing reportage, love palm spring!

  • What a wonderful story and the photographs were absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing this with us and look forward to the unveiling tomorrow.

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  • Leah S.

    Looks like a great shoot. I hope to be able to be as accomplished as you one day!

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TheGlamourai is a webzine produced by Kelly Framel, a multi-media creative director based in downtown New York (but constantly bouncing around the world). Part fashion blog, part glossy mag, part fantasy travel portal, it's your ultimate online destination for stylish daydreams. Tune in for inspirational editorials, beauty tutorials, outfit ideas, DIYs, jet-set travel tips and more!
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