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Nicki's Portraits...and the birth of our new portrait genre

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As a portrait photographer it's sometimes hardest photographing those the closest to us.  And yet it can be the most rewarding.

In this blog post I'm pleased to share, in her own words, my wife Nicki's story about her portrait session -- how it came about and the effect it had on her.  ENJOY!
 

"I am Nicki. Mother of two. Wife of photographer. 

 

People always tell me how lucky I am to be married to a photographer, and of course I agree. Thing is, I myself am rarely in the photos - I do not really like my photo being taken unless I am prepared for it - hair looking good, make-up good, clothing good, and of course never the right weight for it. Most days, I do not look "good enough" to be in photos. Yes, there are the annual Christmas card photos that my kids will likely cherish when they themselves are grown up. Mostly, however, they will find a gazillion photos of themselves photographed by dad (his most precious and ongoing project is documenting our kids). Not many of their parents. 

 

I have a photograph of my mum in her youth, looking glam and gorgeous, posing in a lifebuoy (I guess that was the fashion then) - those photos you want to always remember them by, because they are so beautiful. 

 

I have recently been introduced to the lovely portrait photographer, Sue Bryce, and was immediately infatuated with her photos of everyday women, transformed into glamorous movie-star types - photos that could appear on the pages of Vanity Fair or Vogue.

 

I asked Paul to do a photo shoot like that of me. He readily agreed - then while we were chatting about it, we both looked at each other and like a bolt of lightning, were struck with the idea of transforming his business to this kind of portraiture. No, I did not want to lounge on a bed in my lingerie (I am not THAT comfortable with my body for that), but in a glorious evening gown, or LBD - something I would be proud of to share with my kids, my friends, the world. Something that would transform me from regular mother of two, making school lunches every morning in my pjs, glasses and hair in a bun, playing taxi to and from school and sports most often in yoga pants and that same bun in my hair, doing 20 loads of laundry a week…..you get the picture, to a beautiful woman ready to walk the red carpet for her debut! 

It was a pampering I will not easily forget - something I wish I could do every time I have to leave the house.

 

We researched hair and make up artists and found someone who was eager to come to the studio to get me dolled up. What an experience that was. It has been many years since I had someone doing my hair and makeup. Most women tell me they haven’t had it done since their wedding! It was a pampering I will not easily forget - something I wish i could do every time I have to leave the house. I had no idea what I would look like - until she was done and I was given the mirror. WOW! I didn’t even look like me! 

 

Then we started on the portraits - Paul was so masterful at posing me and telling me what to do, where to place my arms, my hands, my legs, for the best angle of me. We had various backdrops, standing, sitting, lounging on a chaise - it was so much fun. I was a total model for a day. Music pumping (a little champagne too) to relax me. 

 

Paul showed me one photo on the back of the camera while I was modeling for him. WOW - I looked like a model! What a feeling! When I saw the edits, it was very emotional. I was beautiful. Something I definitely do not feel most days of my life. Since then, I look at the photos almost daily - just to remind myself what I can be and it makes me feel beautiful all over again. 

 

Thank you, Paul, for giving me this gift. This gift of ME. This gift that will outlive me and be my legacy to our children and theirs. something that they too, can display with pride and love, just like the photo I have of my mum in her lifebuoy."

Behind the scenes....

 

 

New Site Launches!!

It's live!  And we couldn't be more proud!

Please check out the galleries -- there will be more to come and we're excited to go live and share with the new direction we're taking for 2017!

Enjoy!

A New Direction for 2017!

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This series of the Same Day Transformation of Lana shows the new direction that we are taking our studio into 2017!

Nicki and I are proud and pleased to be creating these legacy portraits for woman of all ages reminiscent of a modern session for a fashion magazine.  

All of the sessions include a portrait planning session, hair and make up on the morning of the portraits and an in studio, print reveal.

Check out the website for more photographs and to sign up for your own custom portrait session.

A Documentary Worth Watching....

Last night after the Thursday night NFL football game I watched a powerful documentary on former NFL player Pat Tillman.

It will be broadcast tonight on the NFL Network at 9 PM EST/6 PM PST.

It is a fantastic documentary that tells the story behind one of the NFL’s most enigmatic players.

Following 911 Pat walked away from a lucrative multi-million dollar contract with the Arizona Cardinals in 2002 to enlist in the Army and become a Ranger.

Pat was subsequently killed in 2004 in a friendly-fire incident in Afghanistan. Controversy swirled around his death because of a military cover-up to hide the fact it was friendly-fire.

I’m very proud and pleased that some photographs that I made, including the one with this email, are included in the documentary.

The photographs were originally made in 1997 on my very first assignment for Sports Illustrated (the pinnacle, at the time, of magazine sports journalism) and Pat gave me this photograph.

Briefly, the story was about how Pat was the Pac 10 Defensive Player of the Year despite being undersized and how well he was doing in his academics. Pat graduated in 3 1/2 years with a GPA of over 3.85 in marketing. The concept was to capture, in one photograph, that aspect of student/athlete.

I proposed an idea to Pat and he shot it down, though very nicely and politely.

“Mr. Gero, I don’t mean to be difficult. But that doesn’t sound like me."

That’s okay Pat, is there something that you do that incorporates that notion of student/athlete?

“Well, sometimes I climb up into the light towers and I just think."

I nearly dropped my cel phone as I envisioned the possible photograph.

The next day at the portrait session Pat climbed into the light tower on top of the press box wearing Rainbow flip flops.

As I was making the photograph I had the distinct sense that this could be a double truck, or a full two-page spread. The vision I had in my head from the day before when he suggested it had now become a reality.

And in the next issue it did run as a full bleed, two page double truck. That was all Pat.

The documentary is wonderful because it shows how he affected people (even when he was a young boy) in such a memorable and heartfelt way.

He defied the odds (he was too small to play in college, the pros), was loyal to the folks who took a chance on him (he turned down a $6 million paycheck from the St. Louis Rams and instead took a salary of the league minimum to stay with the Cardinals because they took a chance on him when they drafted him) — a real throwback.

And became, finally, a true American hero.

I hope you will watch this documentary about Pat if you knew of him, or even if you might never have heard of him. I think you will be impressed with the man he was and the huge sacrifice he made for our country.

I will always be grateful to him for that and also for the kindness he extended to me when he let me photograph him in his own private space and helped me look like a hero to my editors on my first start out of the blocks.

Thank you somehow seems insufficient.

Shape Shifter v2 Backpacks from Think Tank Photo debut!

The great folks at Think Tank Photo just released three new versions of its award-winning Shape Shifter backpack.

These backpacks essential feature is that you can expand them to hold your gear and then contract them when empty, thus decreasing their profile.

They come sized for 15” and 17” laptops. The new Naked Shape Shifter is an entirely new concept in backpack in that you can configure its interior using your existing Think Tank modular components.

This way you can transport your belt system inside the backpack. Don’t forget that with our Think Tank partnership you receive free gear with your orders and free shipping ordering from this link:

https://www.thinktankphoto.com/collections/shape-shifter?rfsn=140905.1cb641

The new Think Tank Shape Shifter v2 backpacks have arrived!

The new Think Tank Shape Shifter v2 backpacks have arrived!