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Thrive in Joy

Two years ago, my very dear friends lost their only son to a freak lighting strike on Venice Beach, California.   The event made national news, as did the passing of their son Nick, a gifted baseball player and an incredibly bright soul who was set to attend USC that year.   The loss of a child, no matter the circumstances, is grief beyond belief – but to loose a child so suddenly and randomly is something I can barely wrap my heart around.

Last week, I was in Los Angeles to witness and photograph how my dear friends, two grieving parents, have channeled that grief into something positive and incredibly moving. They started a foundation in Nicks name and held a Baseball event at Notre Dame High School in the Valley. It’s the school where Nick played baseball and the event was created as a venue for people to come together, play ball, connect with friends and family and to raise money for the Thrive in Joy, Nick Fagnano Foundation. The foundation provides scholarships to USC as well donating money and support to several Los Angeles schools and on going projects to make over classrooms in the impoverished districts of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

The event at Notre Dame was a moving celebration of life. Dozens of people, including coaches and umpires, donated their time and energy to create events like; baseball clinics for little kids, a lecture for parents on how to support student athletes or to be better coaches for their kids teams, an exhibition game with many alumni and friends, a softball game for older men and women, food, games and a silent auction with excellent items.

When I shoot events, my job is to capture the energy of that event, the heart and soul of what it’s all about. In this case, I didn’t have to search for that narrative it was all around me. It was an absolute pleasure to have been a part of it. My friends, the volunteers and the participants were all there to celebrate the life of an incredible young man, and in his name, help others to reach their full potential.

Click here to learn more about Thrive in Joy, The Nick Fagnano Foundation

To see the full gallery of images from the event – Click Here.

Here are some images that help tell that story:

Coming to Los Angeles in June

I’ll be making another trip to Los Angeles – June 19-24th and I’m accepting bookings for Photo Shoots!

If you live in LA and have ever wanted to shoot with me this is a great opportunity.   Contact me now to book your shoot!!

 

 

 

LIFE photographer Margaret Bourke-White clad in fleece flight suit while holding aerial camera, standing in front of Flying Fortress bomber in which she made combat mission photographs of the US attack on Tunis.

Inspiration – Margaret Bourke-White

 

As a photographer, when I look for inspiration I seem to gravitate toward the pioneers in the industry. I find it in the photographers who broke new ground at a time when breaking that ground took such passion, will and determination. It’s no coincidence that many of my personal hero’s in that field are women.   Capable and exceptional women are still fighting today to be recognized in a mans-world. They are still fighting for equal pay or to retain their right to choose. Imagine only recently having the right to vote, making your mark on that world and gaining the respect and admiration of your male-peers.   Margaret Bourke-White is one of those women.

From Patrick Murfin’s blog about Margaret:

Sean Callahan, an awe struck admirer and author of the book Margaret Bourke-White: Photographer noted, “The woman who had been torpedoed in the Mediterranean, strafed by the Luftwaffe, stranded on an Arctic island, bombarded in Moscow, and pulled out of the Chesapeake when her chopper crashed, was known to the Life staff as ‘Maggie the Indestructible.”

Margaret not only entered a mans-world as photographer, she went where no woman photographer has gone before. She was assigned to Europe before WWII to document everyday life under Fascists in Italy, Nazi Germany and Soviet Communists. She was granted unprecedented access, including to Joseph Stalin. That rare shot of Joseph Stalin, smiling and relaxed appeared on the cover of Life.

 

When war broke out, she was there to cover it, surviving a Luftwaffe bombardment and firestorm in Moscow. She flew and documented combat bombing missions in North Africa, and survived artillery bombardment in Italy where the army was bogged down in a grueling mountain campaign. Margaret also followed General Patton’s Army toward the end of the war. She was with him at the Buchenwald Death Camp shortly after it was liberated. The photos she took were published in Time and were among the first and most detailed images that Americans were able to see. The experience was a tremendous shock, commenting later:

“Using my camera was almost a relief. It interposed a slight barrier between myself and the horror in front of me.”

 

Her next assignments took her to India where she documented the Independence of India and the bloody partition of India and Pakistan. Again having access and photographing the key players in that conflict including Mohandas Gandhi. The photograph of him, emaciated from fasting and sitting at his spinning wheel became one of the most recognizable images of him.

 

Margaret’s images still remain as some of the most moving and inspiring visual documents of WWII history. She, like so many women during WWII, stepped into a world previously dominate by men and showed her courage, strength and compassion. She did this, not in an age of iPhones and Instagram, she succeeded under the most dangerous and horrific circumstances.

 

She is a huge inspiration to me.

A few powerful examples of Margaret’s work:

 

Resources :

The Not Quite Indestructible Margaret Bourke-White

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Bourke-White

Making the investment in a professional photographer.

We live in the age of social media, Instagram and hi-resolution iPhone cameras. More than ever before, people are expressing themselves as amateur photographers and they’re having a great time doing it. As a photographer, I’m keenly aware that the growing trend in social media photography is opening up access to less experienced and less expensive amateur photographers. In some cases those photographers will serve you well. For instance, if you need a good Facebook profile photo or if you want a friend shoot a party or event, then going the cheaper route will serve you well. With so many friends and family taking up photography, it’s a good time to ask: When should you make that investment and hire a professional?   The best answer I can give you is this: When it matters, when it’s important to you personally or professionally to get the best quality images.

Here are the top five types of jobs for which I’m most frequently hired and a little insight on how I approach them:

Professional headshots – If you are using your headshot to represent yourself in the professional world, hire a professional to take them for you. Whether you’re an actor, author, personal trainer, CEO, performance artist, or business owner, your face is the impression people have of you. When I’m shooting headshots I make sure your wardrobe reflects your professional image by providing a free consultation so that you get the most out of your shots. A professional also knows how put you at ease, give you easy direction and guide you toward being authentic and accessible. We give you enough variety of poses and backgrounds so you have plenty to choose from. The images can be reprinted and enlarged and when you’re done, you’ll have a library of great images to use for a few years. It’s worth the extra time and money.

 

Editorial and Fashion Shoots – I think the reasons for hiring a professional for your Ad campaign are pretty evident. When you look at a finished Ad it’s easy to forget that most Editorial or Fashion shoots are a team effort. The photographer, while our vision, energy and spontaneity are huge assets, is only part of a larger effort to create an Ad campaign. There are clients and art directors, editors, retouchers and graphic artists, make up artists and stylists. There are so many creative minds working together to realize a vision that was conceived months ago. The best photographers are able to work with that team, to give them exactly what they want and to know how and when to contribute their own ideas or sense of style.

 

 

Corporate Brand Photos – Your Company’s online image is HUGELY dependent on the images you choose. This is not something you leave to an amateur. There are dozens of considerations to take into account when setting up a brand shoot. Among them is the energy of the company and it’s co-workers, the color palate of the web site and logo and the message they want to convey to their customers. Each of these considerations steer the art direction of the brand shots. A good photographer can guide small companies through those choices and work with the art director on larger shoots. We have the experience under our belts to be able to not only give the clients what they need, but to offer up ‘out-of-the-box’ images in ways that they may not have envisioned.

 

Location shots – Whether you’re selling a home, putting it on Air BnB or showing off your company space, your online images will be competing with thousands of others. You need well-lit and staged images that highlight your space and makes it stand out above the others.   Hiring a professional who has the equipment, experience and eye to artistically capture your environment is an investment well worth making. When shooting a space for a client, I make sure I’m there at different times of day to catch the best light. I look for interesting details and accents that make the space unique and I understand that images can create a sense of drama, comfort or energy.

 

Weddings and couple photos – Needless to say, your wedding is an incredibly special moment in time. It’s not the time to trust it to an amateur. A good wedding photographer has the experience to be in the right place at the right time. We plan for any lighting contingency and know how to make your special day as stress-free as possible. We communicate with the other vendors involved and work with them as a team. While there may be a lot of pressure to make sure you get all of the shots you need, it’s equally important to make sure you don’t intrude into the couple’s experience of their day. We’re able to put them at ease and allow them to have fun in the process. We also have the resources to offer our clients and their family high-end prints and photo books.

 

When you have a project that matters to you, contact me for a free consultation!

 

Valentines Day Special!

 

Valentines Day is coming!

Candy and flowers are great but this year, consider giving a unique gift that will last forever…the gift of a custom photoshoot!

Your shoot includes:

  • Gift Certificate – Add a personal message to your gift card.
  • Wardrobe and shot consultations to help you get the most out of your shoot.
  • As many as two wardrobe changes.
  • Traditional couple and interesting artistic shots.
  • Both artistic lighting and natural light.
  • A variety of black and white and artistic color choices.
  • Print quality image files.
  • All proofs from your shoot are available for you to download.
  • Professional retouching on two images of your choice.
  • Additional retouching available on a ‘per-image’ rate.

Special gift certificate offer:  Buy your Valentines Day gift certificate before February 14th and receive 1  FREE retouched 8×10 print. 

Contact me today to order your gift certificate and for a free quote.