Merging the dance of light with the mind's imagination, photography unveils the infinite beauty available in every given moment. As a medium, it is a unique and creative way of expressing the art of life, where the simplest of settings can evoke the rawest of emotions. Capturing a feeling of antiquity and the aesthetic essence of nostalgia is what propels Portrait Photographer Stephanie LaBenne to create. Inspirational and compelling, her photography offers a moment to pause and reflect on the enchantment of yesteryear. Join us as we take a moment to peek behind the curtains of A Quiet Life at Home.
Your images are truly breathtaking, how did you journey into portraiture photography?
Thank you so much! Photography is something I have long been interested in. I taught myself over the years by reading books, talking to other photographers and studying online. I have always been drawn to portrait photography. Early on I would dress my daughters in vintage dresses and shoot at abandoned houses and rural areas. I spent hours driving and scouting for cool places. Photography became a way for me to express my emotions. A lot of my early work has a sober feel to it. I am not sure why, but I know it fulfilled something very real and deep within my soul. Photography has always been an important outlet for me.
Tell our readers about your business, A Quiet Life at Home. What are your offerings?
A Quiet Life at Home evolved out of a desire to do something a little different, after a period of burnout. I began shooting more of what I love, and noticed a common theme of home, nature and quiet, romantic living. I decided to change my business name in order to free myself up to explore and create art revolving around the idea of romantic living. I no longer feel tied to one specific area.
As far as my current offerings, I am putting a lot of energy into styling and shooting for companies I truly love and feel inspired by, I am working on a handful of personal projects, content creating, and shooting portraits.
How does nature inspire you?
It is where I feel most alive. I grew up on the edge of a small town in Southern California near acres and acres of orange groves. For a time we rented an old farmhouse in the middle of an orchard. Growing up I had a handful of friends who had horses, and we would spend the summer riding, exploring, swimming and building forts. Being in nature has gotten me through the hardest of times. It is where I come alive, and where I feel closest to God.
What is it you love about antiques and bygone days?
The beauty and soul of it all. I could fill up a journal with my thoughts on this subject, but I will save that for another time.
You often photograph your beautiful daughter, Alyssa, how has your mother-daughter relationship evolved through this connection?
I’ve been photographing Alyssa her entire life. She is such a kind and gentle soul. We have always been close and have had some of the best times shooting. Things have come full circle now as she is a photographer herself. Her work has a purity to it that I love so much.
You are a lover of gardening, DIY projects, and herbal concoctions! How do these light the fire of love in your heart?
My heart has always longed for the old days. The traditions passed down through the generations hold so much beauty and wisdom. I would love to pass along any little bit I can to my children and grandchildren. When our grandparents were young the majority of their food came from the family garden. Today only a small percentage of people grow enough food for their families to live on. It has become a lost art. The same with herbs. I am so happy to see they are making a comeback in homes today. Just this evening my daughter in law complained that her stomach had been hurting since morning. I gave her a tincture of slippery elm, marshmallow root, plantain and several different mushrooms and she felt better within minutes. Those are the things that fill me with joy!
Tell us about your building creation and keeping things minimal.
Last year we built a barn on our land with an apartment at one end to house my ageing parents. We had originally planned to build a farmhouse next door, however as building prices increased and supplies and workers grew scarce, we decided to hold off for a bit. Instead, we carved ourselves a little space in the upper portion of the barn. While we are not living in the house we spent years dreaming up and designing, we are happy. We will build our farmhouse when the time is right. As for keeping things minimal, I find it much more challenging in such a small space. I am constantly editing the things I keep. I have learned that I am a lot happier having less to take care of, and our house is much easier to clean!
Who are your favourite artists and how do they inspire you?
I love this question. So much of my inspiration as an artist comes from paintings. I am currently loving many of the 19th century Genre painters such as Henrik Nordenberg and Francois de Bruycker. Their mastery of colour, tone and composition as well as their depiction of everyday life in the 1800’s inspires me to no end. Daniel Ridgway Knight’s paintings of peasant women are so lovely and Helen Allingham’s thatched cottage scenes transport me to a very peaceful and sweet place.
What is your favourite Daughters of India design and why?
Without hesitation I would say that the Kyra Midi Dress in white is my favourite. I have used it on several shoots. It’s soft like a cloud and falls just right. Every girl who has worn it has commented on how lovely it feels on their skin, and I couldn’t agree more!
As a woman of the arts, what is some advice you would like to share with our readers?
I would say to continue to pursue what inspires you as an artist. If you’re burning out in one area, change things up. Weddings got to be too much for me physically, and I started to burn out. For a time I didn’t even want to look at my camera. Once I allowed myself to dream again, a new fire was lit.
All images captured by Stephanie LaBenne (@quietlifeathome) of her daughter Alyssa.