Every now and then I feature in a blog post one of my wonderful senior portrait clients. It’s so much fun to hear about the activities they are engaged in and the dreams that they are pursuing. When gettintg to know my seniors, I strive to engage them in a way so that their personality or interests are expressed in my portrait of them because it is, after all, a portrait about them. Earlier this summer, I put a ‘shout out’ for a senior model. One of the first to respond was a young woman who attends Bellingham High School–Maya Norton. Maya came to my studio, as do all my seniors prior to scheduling their sessions, so that I could meet her and learn more about her.
She walked in my door with a big smile on her freckled face, a sense of poise and confidence, and an exuberance that is highly contagious. As we talked, I was even more impressed by all that she had already accomplished in her young life. Last winter, for example, she went with her mother to Mexico, then stayed by herself to live with a family and volunteer with an organization that was helping women entrepreneurs start their own businesses. Her high school culminating project, she told, will draw from that experience in a presentation about micro-financing. In addition, Maya has volunteered here at home for the Red Cross, the Bellingham Food Bank and as a tutor at Sunnyslope Elementary School.
She’s also an athlete who has participated in track, soccer, the annual Ski to Sea race here, and cross-country running. In fact, Maya, who’s now captain of her high school’s cross-country team, was recently featured in an article appearing in the Bellingham Herald’s sport section. Here’s the link to that article: http://bit.ly/1eWj7Cp. So it was that I selected Maya as my studio’s senior model for this season. We scheduled a session down by the water, a location that we determined together. I gave her the same guidelines that I give to all my seniors about clothing, expectations, props and other tips to better prepare her for working in front of the camera.
As it turned out, Maya was natural. She brought with her a favorite dress that we used to create a romantic feel on the rocks. She slipped on a simple, elegant black outfit sassied up by a pair of purple rain boots and umbrella for another set. And naturally, she had to include her Bellingham track jersey for at least some of the shots. Each clothing change seemed to bring out another dimension of her personality which is, I suspect is indicative of Maya herself–a young woman who has depth and several facets to her.
Her mother has kindly said: “Your photos of Maya are great! The Herald’s photos are good action shots, but it’s hard to look ‘photograph-able’ when exerting oneself in a race! We’re so thankful for how you captured Maya in her racing jersey, in the town she loves. Thank you! ” Thank you, Maya, for coming into the studio and for giving me the chance to photograph such an exceptional young woman.
You can view more images from my session with Maya, as well as other senior portraits, underway now, that I’ve photographed by visiting my website gallery at http://bit.ly/1avw5Ec