aimee jeane elizabeth breaking free

Friday Fashion - HSM Style Icon - Meet Aimee of Visual Stimulus

Friday, July 11, 2014 HALFSTACK MAGAZINE

Hey there Halfstackers!

I am so excited to share a new column with you all. As you may have noticed, we put out a call for bloggers, creatives and fashion professionals to showcase their style! We have a ton of entries and are so stoked to share our favorites with all of you each month throughout the rest of this year. If you are a blogger, designer, artist or creative of any sort and want to showcase your personal style or vision, please head over and read THIS POST for details on how to submit yourself to our round up.

Our first HSM Style Icon is Aimee of Visual Stimulus. Aimee is a photographer based  in the western burbs, but who has a passionate love affair with the beautiful city of Chicago. This is showcased quite evidently in her beautiful urban photography. Her work has an amazingly dark undercurrent that highlights Chicago's raw and gritty beauty. We were a fan immediately. While Chicago may be her first passion, fashion editorial is a close second. Take some time to meet Aimee below. Her wit, energy and creative passions seep through her words. She is an inspiration to those of you in the search for your passion, your direction and your place in this world. Her journey shows that if you just go for it, believe in yourself and work your ass off, you can truly make your dreams a reality. I hope you enjoy her as much as I have. Also, be on the lookout, Aimee is one of our new photo bloggers and will be sharing her insights and amazing style on our site in the coming weeks!

Salutations readers! I am new here so please bear with me while I make a desperate attempt to ‘write’ some things about myself and what I dig. Being a photographer, I do all of my literary works through my looking glass. In other words, if my photo cannot speak to you, I’m doing it wrong. 

I discovered my photography passion later in life. I kind of always knew I was a little eccentric, slightly off my rocker, filled with a fire that had yet to be fully ignited and that I viewed things a bit differently. When I was young my parents would have to tear me away from staring at a shard of broken glass on the ground shining like a diamond bouncing off light. ‘Aimee, don’t go near that… yuck!’ ‘Yuck…?’
While inside my curious artsy mind I thought to myself, ‘What do you mean yuck? That is so amazingly breathtaking.’ Was I the only one thinking this?

To this day I still ask myself the same question. 

I was handed a Nikon D50 by an old friend in 2009. He simply placed the camera in my hand and said ‘Here. Now go learn.’ Needless to say, the rest is written.. err.. photographed history. I never put it down and that was a defining moment. When I realized that this was not only what had been hollow my whole life, but that it was also my ‘free therapy.’ Whatever it may be that I am struggling with, personal, professional, life and its many quandaries…

I know that when I pick up my camera and go, it has this incredible therapeutic effect that cannot be ascertained with simple words. My work will have to speak to you on my behalf. There was another defining moment in my life when I realized that my states of emotions were being portrayed within my images. But that my dear readers, is for another time and another blog post.
Aside from raising three prodigious children, currently photography is my end all be all. I did the whole 9-5-er commuting like a madman many years ago. As much as I thought I loved my desk job, I lusted after something else even more. Something wasn’t quite fulfilling, and I am not one to just float through life just settling… even if it meant taking huge risks to pursue.

I am going out on a limb here, but I can take a gander and say that I am probably best known for on social media and the images I post that are most liked, are my dark, industrial Chicago street shots. Ironically that is my forte. That is my fuel. Excuse the pun, but to expose the unexposed. Reveal the hidden. Declare the unseen. Remind the forgotten. Another genre of photography that I absolutely found I have a bit of a knack for is editorial candid fashion and raw social realism (candid emotion street shots). If you are looking for stoically inside-the-box, safely posed photos, you may have a bit of a dilemma trying to find those in any of my albums. Putting the camera down for a moment I can tell you guys some other little tidbits you may be curious about. Or maybe not… But I am going to enlighten you regardless.

Fashion has no style in my book. I adore thrifting. I often look around other social media sites for ‘me’ type outfit ideas and then try to re-create a similar look from vintage finds. My styles range from Boho to Hippie to Skater Punk to Kawaii to Emo/Goth. And often times I may combine them all. I was once asked what my fashion ‘sense’ was by a friend and I simply explained that she imagine throwing a vintage boho hippie punk in a blender with Pikachu and then dumping the remains out all over me. There. Yes. That was my ‘fashion style.’

Music basically fits into the same category as photography for me. I cannot live without it. I take it everywhere I go and it enhances my feelings and my mood. One of my favourite quotes… ‘Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence.’ Indeed it is. My true addiction lies within the electronic culture, but more the sub-genres of electronic like Progressive, Chillstep, Downtempo, Trap, and Dubstep (crave that deep bass). Also really dig a lot of Indie and Alternative. I do not limit myself when it comes to music. Whatever the genre, if it hits a heartstring, if it hits anything inside of me, then I love it.

Reading, reading, and more reading. I don’t think there are enough hours in the day to do all the reading I would like to do. I am currently diving into two reads... ‘Hole in My Life’ by Jack Gantos, and ‘There are no Children Here’ by Alex Kotlowitz. Both are non-fiction, which I prefer. Both hit on topics that are valid, alive, and real. Seems to fit in with the way I like to shoot my photos.

TV… aka 75% rotting brain material (but yet we all love it). My youngest son and I have a weekly list of ‘our’ shows that we love to watch together. Some of this list includes: Impractical Jokers, South Beach Tow (Hey! Don’t judge me lol), Hardcore Pawn, River Monsters, pretty much anything on the History and H2 channels, Mysteries at the Museum, Avatar – The Last Airbender, and Outrageous Acts of Science. Of course we occasionally channel flop like all of us do… endlessly clicking the remote page up and page down as if something new will appear in the last five minutes you checked all 500 channels and nothing was on. Most excited for the upcoming Season 5 of ‘The Walking Dead’ in October! Zombies baby, Zombies.

Broken down: A devout lover of all things Vader that often likes to jump in a random Warcraft 3 battle in between editing photos on my longboard while listening to Deadmau5 on vinyl in between fleeting thoughts and ideas that I will scribble down in my journal. Phew.
So to close this out for you all, because I can see that it is starting to become a novel rather than a quick blog post, I have this question I was given about being granted three wishes and what would they be… I am going to unfairly answer this question and say that wish one has already come true and you are reading it, Wish two is the desire that my photos evoke emotion in the hearts of its viewers in their own right, and lastly, that I could someday be able to share my work with the world, desperately reaching out to people to show them something they have never seen, one little tiny baby step at a time. Taking photos is no longer a choice for me, but rather a demand. I must do it, every day if possible. If I can’t, I feel incomplete.

I know we all have a purpose, a meaning, a gift... to offer the world. Perhaps you haven’t quite tapped into that yet and are floundering around wondering what the heck you are supposed to be doing with your life (I have been there many times), do not despair. If you feel something, go with it. It’s never too late and you are never too old. Explore, follow, chase, and then grasp your dream.  When you finally catch it, hold on for dear life. Recognizing what you were put on this earth to do is the most beautiful gift you can give yourself and everyone around you. And then, you will be at peace. And peace, my dear friends, is priceless. <3

If you feel like it you can nose around my social media sites, say hi, check out some photos, have a cup of Chai, sit back, and relax!

Warmest Inspiring Thought-Provoking Regards,
Aimee Jeane Elizabeth aka #TheDerailedArtist

Check Aimee out on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn

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