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


Last Fine Art Piece of 2014, “Rain, Rain”

“Rain, Rain”
Photo: Reylia Slaby
Model: Hiromi

I can’t believe that 2014 will be coming to an end in just one day (Wow..). With that being said, this will mark my last fine art piece of 2014.

Before I go into detail about the piece itself, I want to talk a bit about “Teru Teru Bozu”, the little doll made out of cloth. It is a very common to see them here in Japan. They are amulets against the rain, and children make them as crafts for when they are wishing for sunny weather.
For a bit more information on it, please follow this link:

This year has been a whirlwind for me. So many amazing things have happened. Because of my schedule and new responsibilities, I haven’t been able to think straight for the last couple of months. Now that the dirt has settled a bit, I feel like I am slowly coming back to myself.

2014 was a mix of the good and bad, as it was for everyone, I believe. We all had things that weighed us down and made us feel less than happy. In my case, I brought certain ghosts from 2013 into 2014 and let them haunt me the whole year. I wished for sun for a long time, and despite knowing that it was up to me to push away any dark clouds, I didn’t, and continued to make personal choices that didn’t bring any happiness.

This image is a bit different from my usual style. It was shot only yesterday, with my beautiful Nikon d7100 and 50mm lens. It was the first time for me to work with someone so young, and I loved it. She was such a fireball of energy, so curious, and so decided on doing what she pleased. She asked me so many questions, questions I didn’t always have an answer to. She helped me remember a bit more clearly what having fun looks like.

The title comes from the song in English “Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day”. Now this picture encapsulates all I want from 2015. It has been raining for a long time, but now it’s about time for a bit of sunshine. Not saying that there won’t be other storms, I’m sure I’ll receive my fair share in 2015, but there are one or two things I need to let go.

I want to walk into 2015 with a heart of a child and with a hopeful spirit. To look forward, but not to be afraid to look back and to learn. To keep dreaming and to keep on growing.

And a special thank you to EVERYONE who has been supporting me, encouraging me, and loving me this year. I owe everything to you.

Have a spectacular 2015, everyone!! Here’s to the New Year!!



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On “We Were Blinded”

Love-blinded2-smallHave you ever been in love? It is definitely a beautiful experience like no other. As you step into the world you see that it is a magnificent mass of twirling, twisting fabric and leaves. You are empowered, and you feel as if you can do anything just as long as you continue dancing. The light makes it’s way through the leaves of the trees and gently touches the floor and your skin. The world that surrounds you becomes kaleidoscopic and fills your body with it’s resonating energy. The music that plays is the beating of your heart and the whistling wind.

You take your parter’s hand and you are whisked away into a reverie of forevers, dreams, and  “Never let me go”. You are sure that this would be the dance of your life; you can feel it.

But then your partner trips. That’s OK, we all forget the steps sometimes so we forget and forgive and continue to sway and move together. It is hard to pick up the harmony again, but once again you move together as if the beat had never been broken.

But you never realized the one problem during this splendid dance: You are blinded. Through the madness of the moment, you can’t see the person for what they truly are. Their flaws fade away before you eyes in a rose colored fog.

So this is love.


sketchIn my own attempt to describe and understand romantic love, this picture was born. It started in October of 2013, I believe, with a simple sketch. I thought of my previous relationship and how it ended, but also the times in between. When they say that Love is Blind, they really know what they are talking about. It is not anyone’s fault, it is just that sometimes people have different dances. Sometimes too different. So then they end up spinning away from your life. When this happens, you are catapulted into reality and everything becomes a thousand times clearer. Then you ask yourself “What was I thinking?”  But cest la vie, it is in the past.

This idea had been sitting in my sketchbook for about 5 months until it was actually materialised. It gave me a chance to properly plan it out. Also after 5 months, my Photoshop abilities had got to the point where I could manipulate it almost identically to how I saw it in my head (At least this image). It wouldn’t have been the same picture if it had been earlier.

1382790_583131335067238_2139790226_nI then contacted fashion designer Michelle Hebert ( Upon viewing her portfolio, I knew straight away that I wanted to work with her, so I sent an email to see if she would be interested in making a gown for this project.  I told her my idea for it, and then off we were. Since this photo was about love, I knew I wanted the dress to be red. But I also wanted it to be long. Really long. She definitely delivered. The dress she designed turned out to be perfect.  I had such a fun time working with Michelle on this collaboration. Also along the way, we became good friends. I’m looking forward future collaborations with this wonderful woman!

For the model, I had my friend Ayumi come in. She has modelled for me before, so I knew that she was the only one for this shoot. She works as a dancer and has the ability to be any character I give her. The guy for the shoot, Araya, was also really great! It was my first time modelling him, but his fun personality made photographing him a pleasure! Bascially, both of them were wonderful!

I was a bit worried about this photo-shoot, because it it quite different from the pieces I normally post. Sometimes I can be scared of exploring my full expression because maybe it won’t look “Fine Art” enough, or that it will deviate from “my style”.  But then I knew that I loved the picture myself, that it expressed the feelings I once had, and that is what matters. Sharing art is about sharing parts of yourself, even the fears you may have. It is about understanding yourself as an artist and person, and inviting people along on your journey.  Thank you all for coming on it with me!

If you have any comments, critiques, or questions, please post them below! I would love to hear what you have to say!



Yesterday I Was Kidnapped

Yesterday I was kidnapped. Don’t worry, it was only in my dream. Dreams can sometimes be a mirror into your thought life, and through this I got to understand an important part of myself.

The dream was still fresh in my memory when I woke up, but I couldn’t remember how it happened and I didn’t know exactly who my kidnapper was, but I saw the faces of the people who were also captured. As I looked around I realized one thing. We were all women.

Apparently I had been there one month, and I was struggling endlessly to get out. But one day I decided to turn around. Behind me were a set of stairs laced with hundreds of blue butterflies that lead downwards into a forest. I knew this was the way out. I floated down and beckoned my fellow captives to come with me. We all escaped. I found my family (who apparently didn’t notice I was away) and begged them to call the police.

I started to live my life normally again until later in my dream, I saw two of those same women willingly get back into the car of their captors. I was shocked. I tried to remain hidden just in case they saw me, but I couldn’t understand why they would want to go back to that horrible place.

After I woke up, I asked my sister to look up dream symbols. What does it mean if you are kidnapped?

To dream that you are being kidnapped denotes feelings of being trapped and restricted. Someone or some situation may be diverting your concentration and your attention away from your goals.

It made sense to me. Recently, I got out of an art block. Of course I have them often, but this one was different. This one was attached to a thought pattern I’ve had for about a year. The feeling of being not good enough. Being quietly obsessed with how people perceive me. That no matter how hard I try, no one will care or understand.

I realized in that moment that that was my kidnapper.

Recently it feels as if I broke out of that pattern of thinking. I may have not rid it of me completely, but it does weigh on me less these days. But like those two woman who got back into the car, it is easy to relapse into negativity. You are doing it to yourself and no one is forcing you to think in that way.

No matter how different we are, we all have similar worries and fears. The desire to be loved and accepted reigns strongly within us. It is natural. But maybe the key is understanding yourself first. I struggled with that idea, because I would often depend on people for confirmation. While that isn’t necessarily bad, there is one person you should never exclude in that group. Yourself.

On “They Called Her Ame Onna”

The more I do photography and write about it, the more I realize how hard it is to be honest in today’s world. There is so much pressure to be perfect that it can overwhelm you and even turn you into a really negative person. I feel the pressure daily, as we all do.

 One of those pressures for me lies in identity. People who are born into the same culture as their parents can’t truly understand the mindset of the third culture child. While I don’t want to dramatize it, it is true that the older I become, the more I am aware of it and the more it affects me. When I was younger, I remained blissfully unaware that I was different than the other kids, but now even when I’m in the store and the clerk says “Enjoy your stay in Japan!” I have to physically stop myself from explaining my whole life story of how I was born and raised here. I want to cry out, “This is my home”, “I’m not different”, and “I belong.”

 It can be painful, but I do by best to push the negative side of it away. But what about the people who take the negative things about their lives and carry it wherever they go? The people who wear their pain like a medal of honor and never let anyone forget what they are going through?

 “Ame Onna” 「雨女」in Japanese means “Rain girl”. It pretty much refers to any female who brings the rain wherever they go. So if you are going to a picnic, and it happens to rain on that day, you could be an Ame Onna. But what about a rain that others can’t see or feel?

 Sure, pain can be beautiful and we can’t ignore it, but there are so many people who choose to dwell on the problem instead of working on it. I can be that type; I tend to over-think painful experiences and feelings. But it is never good to carry your pain around. Only by putting down the umbrella can we realize that the rain has stopped and that the sun is now shining.

 Any comments or questions please message me at  🙂



What Art Taught Me: Passion

What Art Taught Me: Passion

Originally written on: December 31st 2013 

Previously, when someone used the word “passionate” to describe themselves, I always felt a bit uneasy. I never knew why for sure, but I suspect that it is because I felt that on some level word was sacred. Using that word would be akin to calling yourself a genius or a prodigy. To me, they walked hand in hand.

 Despite loving the arts my whole life, I could never bring myself to say that word. I loved everything I did and immersed myself in it all. But to me, it wasn’t being passionate, it was being natural.

 I do think that society has used that word so much that the meaning has been lost, so now most of us are left with a bad impression or no impression at all when it’s used. I think it’s a pity, because when you really look at the word, you realise it holds so much meaning and depth that is usually taken for granted.

 But I didn’t have to look through a dictionary definition to understand it.

For the most part, I found it through the times I was taking photos. It was a slow process, though.The first time I caught a glimpse at it was when I took my first intended conceptual photo. It was there, my feeling was being reflected in my model and I felt it for a moment. But it was only for an instant and it passed by me.

Then after being hurt by someone I cared about, I found it again through heartbreak. It came to me and I saw how I was feeling as a picture. I felt it, and nearly breathed it. But not in the way that Hollywood depicts it, but the way you see it in a beautiful dream. After you wake up, all you want to do is return to all those heavenly images that were dancing before your closed eyes. That’s how it is for me. I feel in images.

 I’m lucky enough to kind of understand passion. I don’t have a very tight grasp on it at all, but I do think it can be in all of us. My question is, is it wrong to say you’re passionate when you don’t know how or why you are? Is passion something we can have? Does it reside in us innately? A free gift to each person as we go through this funny little thing called life? I don’t know. I don’t hold all the answers. But I do hold a few questions. And maybe if we all ask loud enough in one big booming voice we will find an answer ringing back to us.

 That is what I hope to do though art. To find understanding about the life that surrounds me. Something inside me wonders that if I take all the influences, good and bad, and then echo back with art, maybe I will be able to see it more clearly.

 In the end, looking back at my body of work and the experiences I had with each one , I do think I can be passionate. But not all the time. Sometimes I can shut it out, but it keeps knocking until I open up to it again. It is very understanding.

 I found passion in many places during all of my photo shoots. I’d like to share a few with you.


 In To Cut Your Ties I found passion in the spur of a moment and the beautiful short hair of the model.

 In Wait I found it in the fact that my model had been a ballerina as a child, and I saw it in the graceful placement of her arms, even though it had probably been years since she danced.

 In It Can’t Protect You, I found it in changing my clothes on a public road in front of a friend in the rain, just because I needed the shot.

 In A Bleeding Heart, I found it in hardly wearing anything at all, nearly slipping on the rocks and dipping into a cold pool of water that I momentarily shared with spiders and water-bugs.

 In Running From Yourself, I found it in a field. I walked about two hours there and back, with all equipment over my shoulder. I was alone, and at the end of the photo-shoot I found myself running through the field and jumping, yet I didn’t know why. I was just happy. Even though no one was there to see it.

 In Your Promises, I found it in my model, who was an embodiment of passion herself. To the way her mouth moved and to the way she clutched the stems of the flowers. I wished I could be like her.


 So many…so many. There quiet experiences lead me to a place inside myself that I wouldn’t have been able to discover otherwise.

 Hopefully one day I will understand passion better. But not to use it as a tool to explain how much better I am than someone else, as if passion is only reserved for an elite few. No, that isn’t why it’s here. It is meant to fuel us to make more of itself. For what purpose? I still have yet to know. Maybe one of you have the answer




Am I addicted?

Am I addicted?

We are all addicted to something. For some it’s cigarettes, alcohol, or taking selfies.  For me, I got to say it’s Facebook.

Generally speaking, I dislike social media. I got bored of Twitter and Instagram pretty quickly (I literally had to force myself to update.) With twitter, I can’t say all I want to say in 140 characters or less, and for Instagram, I feel that if I don’t add the right hashtags I’m doomed to unpopularity. So I’m  too lazy for either of them. But with Facebook, it’s a different story. I feel like it has become the modern-day version of opening up an empty fridge over and over again. The only exception being that I’m not only looking into my empty fridge, but I’m looking into everyone else’s.

I love getting feedback from the things I post, but recently it has just become so bad to the point where I’m checking it every 10 minutes. If I hear a beep, I jump right to it. For this reason, I’m really glad that I stopped using cellphones, so at least once I leave my house, I’m disconnected from the world. But still, when I get home I’m admittedly just as bad at anyone else.

But even though I think I’m bad, it’s crazy to think that the addiction level of the general population surpasses that of mine. What are we doing to ourselves? What happened to talking to each other face to face and having a normal conversation? The internet that was initially intended as a tool is now a crutch.

Honestly, I don’t know why I go on Facebook that much. To some, it might not be too often, but to me it feels like an insane amount of time. When I was younger (before the Facebook boom), I spent most of my time doing productive things like reading, drawing, and writing. But now, I seem to have fallen away with the wave of people who spend their waking hours looking at memes or staring at a screen.  That’s not who I want to be. That’s not what I want to do.

SO. Since I can’t eliminate Facebook entirely from my life, I will be thinking of a plan that will help me get over the “addiction”.  Because seriously, no one enjoys having to depend on Wifi for happiness.

What about you? Are you or were you a Facebook addict? If we are talkin’ past tense let me know in the comments below how you got over it.

And a current photography update: Going pretty well. I have a list of 40 pictures I want to take at some point in time, so I’ll continue to plan those out. Just as soon as I get off Facebook. Just kidding :3

Hope you are all well ❤