a creative collaboration: the red dress project // act one: lost love

the red dress project

act one: a love lost

she had been waiting for hours before it happened, that mid-summer's eve. she had been caught unaware. it happened so suddenly, yet there it was, impossible to ignore and plain to see. everything had changed in an instant. her future would be unmistakable now. her path, forever changed.

she stepped onto the sandy beach. her long, red dress draped closely against her frame as it flowed in the night’s cool breeze. she stood there, expectantly, while the ocean mist kissed her lips, with bare feet and red balloons, waiting for her love to come home, for the aim of her longing to finally arrive. oh how she yearned for her dreams to finally come true, to finally feel wanted, to feel loved, to finally feel like she had been found.

she waited. and with a string tied to a red bunch of balloons held tightly in her hand, she waited some more. she waited, as the skies grew dark and the air became chill. she waited. and as time passed slowly by she questioned her desire, her assumptions waned, and she waited some more.

she waited, with back turned and while gales of wind whipped the scraggly cliffs behind her. she waited, while the sun dipped and the dusk turned into night. she waited, while waves rushed the shores and crashed against the jagged rocks. she waited, as the sea swelled and the tide raced towards her, washing over her cold, bare feet. she waited, as the night turned pitch and while the sea soaked the fringes of her gown. 

she waited. cold, wet, shivering, afraid and alone. 

refusing to give in, refusing to say no, she searched the shore. she climbed the rocks and peered into caves. she searched until she could search no more, and still she waited even more. yet no one ever came. 

it took all her strength and it sucked all her will. this was all she had. this love for which she yearned, for which she searched, it’s all she’d ever known. it was the only thing that had ever given her soul its flame.

and that’s when it struck. 

as the moonlight pierced the luminous clouds, its flicker caught the only remaining sliver of a glimmer that remained in her eye. it was then that the tyranny of time revealed itself. it was then when she saw things as they truly were. it was then when she saw herself in its reflected light, standing there all alone, with all of infinity laying at her feet.

the truth, exposed on a desperate and dark, stormy night, when all hope seemed lost. 

blinded by fear, her truth could never be seen. but once she let go, once she accepted the reality of her moment for the truth of what it actually was, she was redeemed. her eyes opened and she could finally see.

all along, her forlorn, unrequited love, was herself. it was she who had to be found. she was the one who had been lost, spinning in a sea of her own confusion, entangled by her own distractions.

is this not what we all fear? that we already have all we’ll ever need, that we are already enough, as is, that we are complete? 

if we search for infinity in every moment, how much more might we be able to see? 

when we open our eyes and look within we find that we need nothing more than our actions to define ourselves by; not by our wants, nor our needs or desires, nor by placing the power of our love in something surreal, false, or unreal which we could never control.

if we look inside ourselves to find the answers we seek, rather than grasping endlessly for something to latch onto, how much good might we be able to see? how much good in the world might we then be able to find?

only when you stop searching will you ever be finally found.

the end // act one

This is the first instalment of The Red Dress Project, a creative collaboration between Jennifer Picard and Brian Thompson.

Our original concept for this project was quite loose. It began with an idea to just take some fun photos using the same red dress wherever we find ourselves. We envisioned a series of photos that followed us throughout our travels, each united by this one common theme, a red dress. With flights to Iceland already booked, we knew this would be an artistic way to explore the environments we found ourselves in. We wanted to weave a unifying thread throughout all of our journeys, uniting them using the contrasting beauty of the natural landscapes with that of our own humanity and humility.

We had no story yet, just a desire to take some pretty photos in some cool places.

But when we returned home after our first shoot on the Oregon Coast and looked at the photos, they revealed a much deeper story, one we hadn’t yet considered, one that ached to be told. The images were powerful. We knew their story needed to be explored further. It needed to be shared.

So while Jennifer took to the job of selecting and editing the photos, Brian began to write some poetic prose to accompany them, tell the story the images themselves only teased at.

And so, we happily present Act One: Lost Love. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did putting it together.

Once The Red Dress Project is complete and the remaining parts of the story have been told all of the images and words will be bound together into a beautiful, hand crafted book which we'll be selling right here on this website.

If you’d like to buy a framed fine art print on archival paper of any of the images in this series, please email Jennifer here.


Photos and Words by Brian Thompson 



Modelling, Hair, Makeup, Props, and Photo Editing by Jennifer Picard