The Photographic Journal


Essay 458 • Aug 3rd 2020

For the most part, I haven’t felt inspired in the last five months. Not inspired to go out and shoot, anyway. Moments vanish before you can process the amount of data you’ve inputted for the day. And then it starts again. Most days, I am just so lost in my own eyesight, it’s hard to focus outside of that. Everything is slow but everything also feels urgent. Surreal doesn’t quite do it justice.

But when Chyna reached out to discuss a shoot, I started to get excited to go out and make something. We picked a night and a location. She showed up with a floral dress that perfectly matched the colors of the flowers I had brought, unintentionally, and we went from there.

The whole night felt like a reacquaintance. With nature, roots, beauty, peace, and togetherness. With the feeling of magic made because of working with others and collaborating on the spot and showing up with the same colors after not planning a thing. Time slowed down, I could exist in the Now, again.

I had worried that taking portraits right now would be a challenge in capturing any other emotion besides fear and uncertainty. But as Chyna lay on the Earth, surrounded by flowers, she assured me that these are the kinds of images we should be making, especially now.


Kate Sweeney (b. 1987) is TPJ’s Staff Photographer. Kate is a self-taught photographer whose work has been featured in Dazed, Refinery29, The Huffington Post, and Glamour Magazine. She currently lives and works in Columbus, Ohio, where she continues to make work that focuses on the human form, color, and our connection to nature.
Website | Instagram

Model: Chyna Tené
Photo Assistant: Ethan Benavidez


Check out all of Kate’s TPJ photo essays:

Alayna at the Farm

Frances in the Field

Pink Ladies



A Sunday in Ridgewood

Kate x Vans Vision Walk

A Butterfly Underwater

A Night in Nashville





A Day at the Inn

In This Place

Kelsey x The Impossible Project

Butch & Femme

Color Therapy

24 Hours in Catalina, Part Two

24 Hours in Catalina, Part One





Kelsey x The Impossible Project

We Took the Cake