“I call my style: DORK-CHIC …”
“I have a funky, fresh, out-there personality and I feel like my clothes reflect that … I think that my clothes let people know that I’m open and that I’m ready to talk with people …”
Heather is a lifestyle photographer based in the Inland Northwest of the United States. Her genuinely kind, playful and open personality (that is also very present in her personal style!) goes a long way in helping her clients feel comfortable and able to be fully themselves in their photo shoots with her–whether they hired her for their engagement, wedding, family portraits, professional branding, or even boudoir.
“Gosh, there’s not [only] one thing I love about [this outfit]!… I love the colors, I love the pattern, I love everything about it. I love how comfortable it is, how stretchy it is, how modest it is … The pattern just makes me feel so happy inside! Just makes me feel so dork-chic! ” – Heather
Photo Credit: Heather James Imagery
(Previously “Heather Claramunt Photography”)
Her style is quirky, but easy-going; Full of bold and happy patterns, but with toned down, depthy Fall colors that she considers to be super peaceful.
“I think they think I’m open, and fun, and maybe a little loud–’cause all those things are true…”
She joked with me over Facebook, emphasizing that “Nothing too bright” part:
“… my personality is loud enough without the added flare, haha!”
“I just hope I make people smile… I love making people smile, and I hope I make their days a little brighter, and I hope I teach my children how to do that for other people.” That’s the simply beautiful legacy she hopes to leave.
To Heather, love and integrity are the very epitome of beauty:
‘Real, genuine person! You can be friends with me!'”
When i asked what she loves about herself, she humbly answered: “ … I love that I love people … I love that I care about people … I just want to be the kind of friend that people want–or need–you know? I just want to be a good friend.”–There’s nothing more important or beautiful to her than sharing kindness so, naturally, it gives her so much joy to bring others joy–Because of this, she believes helping others is better than self-help could ever be:
Heather being silly | Photo Credit: Evelyn Cirignotta Photography
Giving compliments is one way she loves to spread joy; it’s a beautifully simple gesture that can completely change how a person’s feeling–so, they should be given out like hugs!:
“… I think everybody has little parts of their personality that … what they’re wearing comes out in, and it’s just always different parts of our personalities that are so complex–so what we’re wearing on a day-to-day basis is so relative to whatever’s going on inside of us at that moment and that day.”
“I think that when I’m all dolled up and I’m at my best my insecurities aren’t seen as much, because when I’m all dolled up and looking my best, I feel more confident. On the days where I’m wearing yoga pants or something, I feel like that’s when my insecurities are really seen–and, a lot of times, I feel like if I’m not super dressed up for someone I’m being more vulnerable with them… and I’m letting them in to a side of me that a lot of people don’t see all the time.”
Heather told me she sees love in action as “… not abandoning or leaving when things get hard, it’s turning the other cheek … and it’s acknowledging that it’s not always going to be perfect and having grace for others when they’re not perfect … It’s being patient and kind, and just all that beautiful stuff! …”
“I think the most beautiful thing about life is having a new chance every day; because every single day, we mess up and we miss the mark and we’re not perfect … and we think a negative thought, or say a negative thing, or do a negative thing, but every day is a new chance, and every day is, like, God giving us forgiveness … a new day to start over and try again … “
Every day is a new page in our story. A new opportunity to try again.
Full Interview Transcript:
Heather: I call my style: DORK-CHIC …
I have a funky, fresh, out-there personality and I feel like my clothes reflect that … I think that my clothes let people know that I’m open and that I’m ready to talk with people … I think my clothes tell people that I’m inviting … I think my style makes people feel comfortable … I think it’s unique.
I’ll put a staple piece with something a little bit funkier, to make it it’s own–and I think I do that with my photography a lot … I’ll take a simple photo but edit it in such a way that I really make it my own.
*!* How am I doing?! I feel like this is like prophetic, like it’s from the Lord, like it’s just coming out!
Alissa: I love it! You’re easy to interview.
Heather: I’m giving you substance!
Oh! And I’m totally with a Fall color-palette …
Alissa: Ah, yes, yes, yes! I saw that, too… I love fall colors, too.
Heather: Me, TOO. Obsessed.
Alissa: Let’s see…I guess you already answered, pretty much, in one word what you would describe your style as…
Heather: *snap* Dork-chic!
So, what do you think is the most important thing in choosing what you wear?
Heather: That it makes me feel beautiful. That it makes me feel confident, but it’s comfortable, but it’s something that I can do any activity in. It has to be comfortable and it has to be cute. …It must be dork-chic!
Alissa: With your current outfit that you’re wearing, what is your favorite thing about it?
Heather: I love…Gosh, there’s not [only] one thing I love about it… I love the colors [Deep reds and greens], I love the pattern, I love everything about it. I love how comfortable it is, how stretchy it is, how modest it is…how it covers me, like, I love that I’m not falling out of it–Not that there’s anything wrong with having cleavage or anything, but just, for me, I like that I’m not falling out.
The pattern just makes me feel so happy inside! Just makes me feel so dork-chic!
Alissa: The dress that you’re wearing: What does the pattern make you think of?
Heather: …The pattern makes me think–I’m gonna get really deep–of a utopia-reality, because it’s pleasing to the eye, and it’s got systematic patterns, everything’s working in place…and..it’s perfect, it’s just perfect.
Alissa: What about the colors?
Heather: The colors just make me happy and make me feel at peace … The colors are peaceful colors, to me… —(*We excitedly talked over each other*) like darker colors.
Alissa: –do you think it’s the–yeah..I wish just going to ask if it was the depth.
Alissa: Does this outfit differ much from the other outfits you wear?
Heather: Mn-mn. No, no. They’re all kinda funky–girl, you can look at my closet, it’s all funky.
Alissa: Have you ever worn something that didn’t feel “you”?
Heather: …I’d say yes, and I’d say sometimes I still wear things that don’t feel “me”–but they feel “me” they just feel like a different version of “me”. Does that make sense? Like, if I wear jeans and a sweatshirt it just feels like a different side of me …
Like, okay, I went to acting school in New York, and they say when you’re becoming a character to, like, go buy the shoes your character would wear, and go buy the clothes your character would wear, and walk in them, and be in them because it makes you part of the character. I think everybody has little parts of their personality that … what they’re wearing comes out in, and it’s just always different parts of our personalities that are so complex–so what we’re wearing on a day-to-day basis is so relative to whatever’s going on inside of us at that moment and that day.
99% of the time, I’m not going to lie, I’m in sweatpants and looking crazy because, honestly–I feel like a mess, I feel like a mess that day, so I look like a mess that day and I need to be better about just forcing myself to get cute even if I’m not doing anything ‘cause I know it will affect me positively. You know?
Alissa: Yeah, I totally get that…It’s something that I’ve been paying a lot of attention to in the last couple of years, too, ‘cause it does make a difference on how you’re feeling!
Heather: Yeah! Totally… Like, I normally never wear makeup and since you were coming over I was like “Oh God, I gotta put makeup on!” Ya know what I’m sayin’, like, the house is all clean…
Alissa: I like that point a lot, though, that we really can’t box a person into one little thing–we’re all pieces and parts of a whole bunch of–We’re multifaceted. I really, really like that.
Heather: Yeah, totally.
Alissa: And that was an interesting point, with walking in your character’s shoes…
Heather: Yeah, yeah! That’s totally what they teach you… You know, to become your character–go to the thrift shop and find clothes they’d wear.
Alissa: What do you think people’s impression is of you when they see what you’re wearing?
Heather: I think they think I’m open, and fun, and maybe a little loud–’cause all those things are true…But that’s kinda what my clothing is–And not necessarily loud, I would say, I would say, just, noticeable.
Alissa: Yeah, sounds and colors do actually have a little bit of a correlation–it has been found in studies, there are some people who can “hear” through their sight–It’s really rather strange but…
Alissa: Yeah! So, like, the brighter colors – the cooler colors, those kinda correlate with higher noise – lower noise.
Heather: Interesting…I didn’t know that…
In acting school we would get blindfolded and they would be like “Alright, what colors is this smell?” and “what smell is the color” and all this stuff…It was interesting…It was kinda the same thing.
Alissa: What do you feel is not seen in your outfits? Is there anything that may be within you that people can’t tell just by looking at you?
Heather: I think that when I’m all dolled up and I’m at my best my insecurities aren’t seen as much, because when I’m all dolled up and looking my best, I feel more confident. On the days where I’m wearing yoga pants or something, I feel like that’s when my insecurities are really seen–and, a lot of times, I feel like if I’m not super dressed up for someone I’m being more vulnerable with them… and I’m letting them in to a side of me that a lot of people don’t see all the time.
Alissa: Is there anything that you wish people could see?
Heather: I wish people could see my sincerity, and my just real and rawness, and take me as I am that way–but I think that, because of the way the world works, people will project misconceptions onto people just by what they’re wearing, or maybe they’ve heard something about someone so they’ll project misconceptions without really giving that person a chance. So I think that, yeah, I wish that…I had a sign around my neck that said “Real, genuine person! You can be friends with me!”
Alissa: I like that a lot…
What would you say you’re afraid of, then, of people misconstruing about you?
Heather: … I think that people can misconstrue confidence with arrogance, and I think that on the days when I look really prim and proper–not prim and proper…that’s a weird thing–look really dork-chic, on those days, when I’m rocking my dork-chicness, I feel that maybe people might be intimidated by me–because I’m all really tall, I have a bunch of makeup on, I’m looking all cute and I can be intimidating. But I think once people let me open my mouth and talk, they see that I’m nice, and real, and I’m just easy-going.
I can totally send you–I have some cute pictures of me in my funky dresses and stuff…
Alissa: I’d love that, yeah…
Heather: One of them, I have blue hair in it, so that would be perfect!
Alissa: LOVE it! Yes!
Heather: My hair color changes all the time–it’s in the mail right now, I’m gonna go rose-gold–kinda like yours…
Alissa: Yeah, that was an accident *chuckle*
Heather: Really? It looks pretty…
Alissa: But, yeah, a happy accident…
I love your style, though, I definitely think that it does show that fun, bubbly, happy-to-be-around person!
So, this next question isn’t to judge other people, but instead to give an audience perspective for me to write from–What type of people do you think are the type of people to misunderstand you?
Heather: …I don’t know… I think, maybe people that are more reserved in maybe patterns they wear. Maybe people see that I wear a lot of bright patterns and they’re just kinda caught off guard because it’s not something they would wear–and that’s okay! But I think that they might think that I’m more off-the wall than I am…I’m pretty down-to-earth and I’m pretty easy-going…I’m not really off-the-wall, but they probably think I’m more eccentric than I actually am.
Which I think is why I don’t like the bright colors, ‘cause I associate the bright colors with being really eccentric and I associate the darker colors with being more mellow and laid-back.
Alissa: I gravitate toward darker or more toned-down colors for the same reason …
Alissa: If you saw someone dressed in an outfit similar to yours, what would you think about them?
Heather: I’d be like “Oh my gosh! My spirit animal!”. Every time I see someone with a fun, funky outfit, I have to compliment them. Like, I’m not that person that is shy about talking to strangers, I’m not that person that is shy about complimenting people — I think that the world is a hard enough place and people have shitty day all the time…and you should just give compliments to people, if you really like their hair, if you really like their outfit, I think you should just give them out like they’re hugs because everybody needs something to make their day a little cheerier.
Alissa: I love that… I find that something that’s so beautiful, that something as simple as complimenting someone’s outfit can completely change around how a person’s feeling.
Heather: Yeah! Like anytime I see somebody’s jacket or something I’m like “Oh my gosh, I love your jacket”… And some people probably think that’s weird, but … I’m not doing it for any weird reason, I just want to be nice to people … I have hard days, I suffer from depression, and if someone says something nice to me it means so much … I just do that because I would want people to do that for me.
Alissa: What do you think makes a person “beautiful”?
Heather: I think what makes a person beautiful is not what they’re wearing on the outside, but–it’s so cliche, but–it’s truly how they treat someone when no one else is looking–which is integrity…What you’re doing when no one else is watching–if you’re making the right decision when no one else is watching, I think is beautiful. I think people who look outside of windows instead of looking into mirrors more often–when they’re out looking at other people, trying to help instead of constantly trying to fix and help themselves–Because I think that “self-help” isn’t self-help at all, I don’t think self-help is really helpful. I think that you always have to look outside of yourself instead of looking inside because if you look inwards toward yourself you become prideful and self-centered ‘cause you’re just thinking about “How can I improve my life, how can I improve my personality, how can I improve my health?” and you’re not thinking about the fact that if you go out and you are supportive of other people, stuff like that just naturally comes … they bless you with your helping them–it’s blessing you and it’s changing who you are, and that’s what’s helpful to you as a person, is going out and making a difference … you know?
Alissa: Yeah, i like that… That’s so true. I certain have forgotten that over the last couple of years, and it’s helpful to hear that again–’cause it’s so true.
Heather: I think of it this way: my ministry right now is my kids, and my friends, and my family, and that’s, like, all I have time for right now and I figure if I’m investing in them and I’m telling them, like “You are humble, you are grateful, you are intelligent, you are…” all these positive attributes I keep telling my kids, I hope that just sticks with them and, I think, as a result then that makes me more beautiful of a person, because I’m implanting in them these little seeds of beauty, you know? So it’s like, you just sharing the love …
*Her 2-year-old son, Luke, comes up to give her kisses*
Alissa: He’s all “I want to share the love!”
Heather: Normally he doesn’t like giving kisses…I’m very surprised. He’s my baby…
Alissa: What do you think is the most beautiful thing about life?
Heather: About life?… I think the most beautiful thing about life is having a new chance every day; because every single day, we mess up and we miss the mark and we’re not perfect … and we think a negative thought, or say a negative thing, or do a negative thing, but every day is a new chance, and every day is, like, God giving us forgiveness … a new day to start over and try again, and I think that’s the most beautiful opportunity like that …
*toddler troubles and distractions*
Alissa: Well, i like that! I think that it shows in what you’ve said about your style, too, to some extent; you grace yourself with seeing the different sides that you have of yourself, and your days where you have your messy self and your days where you have your put-together self–and we all need to have that grace!
If you could paint a picture of what you wish life were like, what would it look like?
Heather: Hmmm… I wish life were easier– *Laughs* I wish life didn’t have as many obstacles that were purely there for building my character. I wish that I didn’t have to build my character and that my character just already was how I wanted it to be; but alas, that is not how life works.
Alissa: So, what character traits do you wish you had just here and now, right away, without that?
Heather: I don’t know–Right away, I wish I was more patient, I wish I was more focused, I wish I had more self-control, I wish I had more gratitude–Just things like that…Less irritability.
Alissa: Life gives us a lot of worthy things to pay attention to, but when it comes down to it, what do you think is the most core important thing?
Heather: Like in life? I think the most important thing in life is love–which is cliche but true–but I think for me, it’s acknowledging that everything that I have is a gift from God, that I’m not entitled to anything … and that loving people, I think, is the purpose of life–I think we’re here to spread God’s love that he has for us by just treating others well and loving them, as imperfect as we all are, but do it to the best of our ability … every time someone’s loving someone and being nice to someone and doing good things, I think that’s a little bit of God shining through. So, I think those are the most important things in life.
Alissa: What do you think love, then, looks like in action? … What to you is the biggest impact?
Heather: … I think love in action is … It’s not abandoning or leaving when things get hard, it’s turning the other cheek … and it’s acknowledging that it’s not always going to be perfect and having grace for others when they’re not perfect … It’s being patient and kind, and just all that beautiful stuff! … and I think it’s giving of your talents–I think love is giving of your talents–I think if you have the gift of hospitality, then you should do that. I don’t have the gift of hospitality–I don’t! I’m not a good hostess, like, I’m not good at throwing parties–that’s not my thing. But I’m really good at being encouraging to people–so I can talk to people and be encouraging that way. So I think using your talents that God has given you to love people is unique to us and we should use those, for sure.
Alissa: So, big one right here: What do you hope your existence brings to the world?
Heather: Oh my God… *laughter* I hope my existence–I don’t know–I just hope I make people smile… I love making people smile, and I hope I make their days a little brighter, and I hope I teach my children how to do that for other people.
Alissa: What do you love about yourself?
Heather: … I love that I love people … I love that I care about people … I just want to be the kind of friend that people want–or need–you know? I just want to be a good friend.
Alissa: I love that…
What would be an amazing compliment?
Heather: … Compliment?
Alissa: Yeah. Regarding your style and your personality?
Heather: If somebody told me that I was open and loving. I’d be like, *Cute, squeaky voice*: “Thank you so much!.. That’s what I want to be!…”