As a portrait photographer, the number one reason women give me for not wanting to be photographed is their weight. They tell me, “I need to lose 40 pounds, and then we will do it.” They are waiting for a stunning outward transformation before they can look at themselves, but that transformation must come from within. It starts with accepting exactly who you are at this moment.
I was thrilled when Sarah said that my photos made her “see the beauty and elegance people tell me I have.” This is my favorite part of being a photographer, showing the person I am photographing what everyone sees in them. I could see her “beauty and elegance” right away.
I love creating images of peoples' dreams. When I start working with someone new, we have an in-depth consultation about how they would want to be photographed. I encourage my clients to step up and be brave enough to imagine themselves in a different way. This is one reason I named my studio Dreamspeed. What are the speed of your dreams? Are you traveling toward your dreams? I want to show you the person you have always dreamed you could be.
The first step when working with Dreamspeed Photography is the most important: the consultation. Before I photograph you, I want to know exactly what you want and make sure I’m the right photographer for you. We will meet at my studio just outside Chilhowie Virginia and talk about how YOU imagine your photoshoot going.
I had no way of knowing this was the last time I would get to photograph my friend. He passed away completely unexpectedly, July 18 , 2022. I am shattered and trying to regain my footing. I enlarged two of the images to give to his children, Keith and Rowan, and they sat by Ron’s casket during the viewing and at the funeral. I have never been so proud of my work. I was honored they were used and thankful to be able to share them with his family and friends.
As I pawed through the racks at Lane Bryant looking for something to wear for my photoshoot, I dreaded trying on clothes because I didn’t want to know what size I had become. I could wait no longer. It had to be done.To create a great image, you must be vulnerable and able to open yourself up to something you would have never tried before. This is the case with my white jacket. I never wear white, but this jacket spoke to me. I thought it would look clean and uncluttered for one of my branding images. I tried it on over myLed Zeppelin t-shirt, and it felt right. I grabbed a sleeveless shell blouse to go with it.
My memories can stray and meander, but my photographs of him bring me back to the place where memories begin. Even photographs like this one taken long before I was born, in a place I never existed physically, connect me to him. I get a glimpse of his youth and his history. When fitting the pieces of his life together, I have photos to pin to those years, to fill out the arc of his life.
What will I do with my gray? I’m not sure yet. It’s like that summer you noticed you had breasts and were not quite sure how best to wear them. Did you cover them up with lumpy sweaters or wear the lowest cut top you could find?
After the first day I was so miserable, I almost went home. I didn’t care what it cost. But I made the decision to stay because I came to learn from the best. I did everything humanly possible to make that happen. For three days I went on like this, but I pushed through. In order to photograph all day, I didn’t get to shop at any of the vendor’s booths or go to any parties. I had to conserve my strength. The morning I left I felt relived. I'd made it.
Years from now, how precious will these photos be to Lyra and Sarah? Sarah may remember that hot summer afternoon when these were taken. It was just before Lyra started taking dance, and she was busy planning a recital. And Lyra can share these photos with her grand- children, and tell them that their beautiful great-grandmother used to teach dance in Marion.
Women over 40 may appear in a family photo, but in that situation they are not the focus of the portrait, only part of a supporting cast. As a portrait photographer, I have heard so many times, "Oh, don't photograph me, I just want pictures of the kids/grandkids." Women over 40 are used to be passed over by popular media, so why would they expect anyone to photograph them?
“Ace's & 8's is a lofty name. It draws a mental image that, should we fail to live up to, will leave the audience feeling like they've been sold a false bill of goods. We're a band of working class musicians, playing working class music, for working class people."