Day 1 | Let’s start over


Image © Reylia Slaby. Image may not be used or revised without permission.

Let’s call this begin again December. There was a bump where I lost focus, and decided not to get on the train again. But I’ll get back on now. This time lets go.


The Red Era


Some time ago, about two years now, I was at a festival. This particular one I had looked forward to every year. It was here that I had discovered a part of myself that wasn’t scared or anxious. It was during this one day, my brain allowed myself to transform.

It wasn’t until the evening, that a man came up to me. He told me he was a friend of my mother’s. He was friendly, but looked at me intently. We chatted casually about the day, him a drink in hand, and me sober. A state to remember everything. “Oh Reylia.” he said, suddenly changing the topic. He cupped my face in his hand, and then briskly stroked my cheek. “You could be so beautiful…if your skin wasn’t like this.”

Pain and shock erupted in my gut, but left me speechless. Because of this man, the skin trouble I had been dealing with for years might have finally broken me. Every morning, the first thing I would do was to look in the mirror and to see if it was gone. Every night, I would check the mirror again to see if it leveled out through the day. It rarely did, if not get worse with the sun, air, and sweat. Despite all the things I used to try to heal it. And here at the festival where I felt the most confident, I had in front of me all my demons, all my insecurities, in the form of just one man.

In my daily life, once I stepped out of the house, I tried to never mind my skin too much, and to remind myself that there were worse things to worry about than how I looked. In that way, I was confident, and concerned myself with matters that involved my art or my education. Unfortunately makeup had the tendency to hurt my skin more, so it was always me naturally, bare skin to all.

After the words had come out of the man’s mouth and his hand had fallen back to his side, I realized that all my friends were walking ahead back to the station, so I had no time to react properly. I rushed to my group, and was quiet for a while, processing how his comment, his physical gesture, made me feel. I touched my skin gently as the train swayed back and forth, the texture rough to the tips of my fingers.

It was then I realized how much I didn’t care. But that I did want to turn it around and make something through this time of mine. The Red Era. Maybe that’s what it’ll be called. Whatever this time of mine is, I won’t let anyone take away my joy at just living, breathing, and being alive. Here, now, and in my skin.





Recent Studio Shoot, Recent Thoughts


Recently, I’ve been working with a team to create photography pieces in-studio. It is all-in-all a wonderful experience, though it can be conflicting. In the past, I had predominantly done Fine Art Photography, and lately it has been harder and harder to create within that realm. Almost as if I’m not quite ready for what that next step is. I am still preparing myself for what direction I want to go to. But I do know that I am starting to adore the sphere of fashion and beauty, and I am learning. Painfully so. I’ve spend so many hours staring at thousands of images in admiration, imagining the process of how it was completed, but only to have it like a skeleton in my brain, incomplete. I’ve been overwhelming myself with going over the processes, the possibilities. This dream, I’ve come to realize, has the capacity to destroy me. But when it doesn’t, I adore it. Creation is complex in that way, and in some respects contains elements of Stockholm syndrome. It takes you captive, gives you pain, but you stay. Perhaps that’s why I sometimes feel locked in, and unable to move.

In some ways, it’s a wonderful thing, to love something so much, that even when it hurts you, you choose not to leave. I’d like to think that that’s how you know when it’s real.

But admittedly I am fearful. I’m afraid of showing exactly how this field of mine controls me emotionally, and how it makes me feel. Its gut-retching to see everyone try to present themselves so confidently, whereas I quiver, so prone to honesty. When all I wanted was to just make beautiful things, and to not have to feel like I had to succeed online, have a stance, have a following. Popular on this social media, that social media, until it chokes you. It’s just so saturated that it’s painful.

But I hope that one day it can all come together and be beautiful. That even with all this excess, we can merge together and make sense of this all together. Can you imagine what a murmuration looks like? An enormous, overwhelmingly breathtaking flock of starling birds flying together in unison. Once you see it from afar, it makes sense and it’s awe inspiring. I hope that that’s what we look like as well, once you step away far enough. A flock of creatives, doing what they can, flying and soaring. Doing what they naturally do, with the by-product being beauty.



© Reylia Slaby
Fine Art Photography
INSTAGRAM: @reylia.slaby

Train Thoughts


On the train today I thought about death. Usually those types of thoughts only visit me when I am most vulnerable, that being when I am about to go to sleep. Although today at 4:00 in the afternoon while riding the train, it knocked on the door of my mind. Somehow this time, instead of being frightened, I found myself sift into a comfortable sadness. Perhaps being surrounded by strangers made me feel at ease, feeling a bond with my fellow people, knowing that despite our differences, there are always two things that we will always share with each other. Life and death.



Back from vacation! Now back to work :)



I haven’t written in a while. Of lately I have other outlets that satisfy my need for a release of words. I have had more people to talk to, and articulate my feelings and theories to, so it feels almost superfluous to write them out. That might be one reason.

Lately, I have been thinking about what I was doing this time last year, and the stark difference always takes me aback. In comparison to last year, I am extremely content and happy, despite having tendencies to complain a bit, which is a natural occurrence in all lives, even if a lucid reason isn’t present.

I have been extremely busy, though. I have been working on a project in Tokyo, and each time I arrive in the Kanto region I feel filled to the brim with gratefulness towards the people I am working with, to the point where it overwhelms me and I often feel compelled to prayers of gratitude and thanks. While I am alone, “Thank you…Thank you..” is always escaping my lips.

Also, I had a two week vacation in Nagano, even though it feels like it had been longer, which isn’t a bad thing. The location I go to in Nagano each year is a unique one. There, time is forever stopped and the only thing that changes are the exteriors of the people that go there. Each time I go, it feels like I had never left, except for the obvious fact that I have gained a year in my life.

I did have a few photo-shoots in Nagano, although not as many as I had intended. I am always distracted there, and it is very hard for me to be creative. I think that the reason for that is because everyday there I find myself surrounded by so many fascinating and fun people, that I would much rather sit talking than photograph.

I think I also work better when I am close to home, and have full control over my surroundings because I know and understand it. As I arrive home, ideas of shoots fill my head, which is odd because when I left for Nagano, it began to empty.

It does feel wonderful to be back home. Since I have been doing a lot of work in Tokyo, several people asked me if I am going to start living there. At the moment, I don’t know if I could. There is something about the Kansai region that I can’t shake. I have spent my whole life here, so I’m sure there is a natural unwillingness to leave one’s home, but I think it is more than that.

Either way! I am definitely excited about the new project. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be surrounded by so many amazing and kind people.

More updates later on 🙂

Much love,





It had been a while since I had taken regular portraits. My friend Sayaka and I were finishing up a conceptual shoot, and I asked if we could take some regular as well. I was happy when she said yes.

This is one of the images that came out. Not only was the light perfect that day,  but Sayaka was perfect for the light. I really enjoyed this shoot for many reasons,  one being that during the short time between meeting her and doing this shoot (About 3 days?) I got to know her and we became friends. It is always a lot better to be able to model someone you are friends with. You not only understand each other, but you both have a lot more fun.

For technicals, this was taken with my Nikon D7100, on a 50mm. These days I rarely use anything more than my 50mm.