photography by merrilee » san diego area weddings and portraits

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Jessica Hull’s “Second Wind”

I am really, really excited to share this story and these photos with you. These images were taken last summer and have been safely tucked away on my hard drive until now. I promised Jessica I wouldn’t share them until she gave me the okay and with her upcoming CD release, she has given me the thumbs up. Since these images are a big part of Jessica’s story, I’ve let her take over my blog so she can tell you about her music and our shoot from her perspective.

In her own words…this is the story of Jessica Hull – “Second Wind”

At 33 years old, my lifelong dream of creating a music album of original songs had been eluding me for years; the childhood visions of being a rock star, sitting at a cd signing with lines of fans clamoring to get my autograph and picture taken with me. But life happens, dreams fade, reality smacks us in the face, and I lost sight of this dream. I even stopped singing for several years. It was like a piece of me died, but I wasn’t sure how to revive it.
Last Christmas, I called Merrilee and asked her – just out of curiosity – if she would be open to photographing a musician/band. She was excited at the prospect, and I decided to schedule a shoot. I didn’t have enough songs for an album, didn’t have a theme in mind, nor did I know where or how I was going to record. But this was my first step towards my dream coming true. My friend, Alyssa Hilliard, stepped up as photographer’s assistant, and on a warm Saturday afternoon in early summer 2012 we headed to Marion Bear trailhead in La Jolla to do this thing!
The title track “Second Wind” is about getting to a resting point in the sometimes grueling adventure of life, and pondering what’s behind, but remaining open to what’s ahead. To get to that point, we often have to lean on the help of others, and sometimes, it is their faith that carries us when we have none. I came out of a decade of dark times and difficult lessons, and will never be able to express enough gratitude for those who “propped me up, to find my second wind”.


For the photo shoot, I wanted to narrate this theme, and the idea of showing me trudging down a road with baggage in tow was easy.

But how would I convey this metaphor of pondering and embracing an optimistic future, using a literal dirt path?


I have this fantastic vintage suitcase that my dad used take door to door selling Fuller Brushes back in the day.

I decided to fill it with a new dress, shoes and jewelry. This case is the glue that brings the photos together – and the landscape image of me opening the suitcase is the inside of the cd case.

By the end of the sequence, I’m wearing the dress, and continuing down the path with my old baggage left behind, and my “new life” fitting me like a glove.

Merrilee knocked it out of the park – she captured PRECISELY what I envisioned, and made me look GOOD! We had so much fun, and I made her promise me that she wouldn’t release these photos until it was time for the CD to come out.

 Jess + Merrilee

This Christmas, it’s time to live my dream. There may not be fans wrapped around the building, or paparazzi outside my front door, but the humble meaning of this project reaching your eardrums (and hopefully, hearts) is among the most gratifying experiences I’ve ever known.
Merrilee, thank you for spending so much time capturing my vision. What a wonderful memory!

Jess + Alyssa

For anyone who would like to purchase “Second Wind”, please visit jessicahull.bandcamp.com. Website jessicahullmusic.com is currently under construction, but will be live by 12/25/12!
CD release will take place on 12/20/12 at 10 PM at the Go Lounge in La Mesa (21+, free).

Okay, it’s Merrilee again….at this point, I’m going to cut back in and share a few more of my favorites from our session. I also want to say Jess, I am so excited for you and eager to see what lies ahead. You’ve worked so hard on this project and it is easy to see your heart and soul in your music. Someday, when you’re receiving your grammy, I’m going to say, “hey, I know that girl and I took photos for her first album.” Love you 🙂