Honoring Good Women

The Bellingham YWCA is a remarkable organization.  It does incredible work within our community’s and is one of my favorite organizations to support whenever and however I am able.

The Y’s Womencare program, for instance, provides emergency, confidential shelter, 24 hour crisis support services and community education for women who are victims of domestic violence. It’s transitional housing program is available for single adult women in Whatcom County to give them a safe, supportive place to stay while connecting them with the appropriate resources to get their lives back on track and become self-supporting. The Back to Work Boutique provides low income women in Whatcom County with new clothes sot that they feel confident and look good while applying for a job. And, an especially popular program at this time of year is the Prom Dress Program, that allows young women of all incomes access to a formal dress for a special occasion.  The YW currently has more than 200 formal dresses in stock.

The Bellingham YWCA Northwest Women's Hall of Fame is Sunday, March 23.
The Bellingham YWCA Northwest Women’s Hall of Fame is Sunday, March 23.

The organization also sponsors the Northwest Women’s Hall of Fame.  Since its founding in 1999, the YWCA has honored 56 contemporary Whatcom County women, living and deceased, and 12 Legacy Award winners, from the early days of the county, whose service has inspired later generations.  This year’s awards event will be this upcoming Sunday, March 23 at Northwest Hall in  Bellingham.

I was honored to have been asked to photograph for the event three of this year’s four awards recipients–Julianna Guy, Ann Marie Read and Deborra Garrett whom I had photographed for her campaign in 2012 in her bid for Superior Court Judge. Ramona Elizabeth Phare Morris will also be a recipient. To be selected, honorees must have made a lasting impact, served as role models for women and girls, demonstrated perseverance and vision, and overcome obstacles to achieve their goals.  

Ms. Guy will be one of this year's Northwest Women Hall of Fame recipients selected by Bellingham's YWCA.
Ms. Guy will be one of this year’s Northwest Women Hall of Fame recipients selected by Bellingham’s YWCA.

Julianna Guy is a delightful woman whose eyes sparkle with life when she speaks.  I had a lovely time getting to know her during our studio session.  A former accountant for network and local television, she moved back to Bellingham to retire and is now persistent spokesperson for a park and branch library in the underserved Cordata neighborhood, She is now helping to create a park in the King Mountain area. Juliana formed the Cordata Neighborhood Association, resulting in a park being built & greenway being designated. She is a former  SCORE counselor, helping entrepreneurs – especially women – start new businesses.  Juliana is also involved with Planned Parenthood, and Big Brothers & Sisters.

The Bellingham YWCA is honoring Ms. Read for her service and dedication to parenting and childhood education.
The Bellingham YWCA is honoring Ms. Read for her service and dedication to parenting and childhood education.

Ann Marie Read and my path’s crossed many years ago when our sons were studying piano from the same teacher. I was delighted to catch up with her and to learn what she and her family are now doing.  During the past twenty-five years, she has been a parenting educator at Bellingham Technical College (BTC). She has provided critical early childhood education for parents in a variety of venues, including weekly parent/child classes, free drop-in groups for low-income parents such as “Baby Connections”. In addition, she has worked with special populations, including parents participating in the “Early Head Start” program, parents from the Nooksack Tribe, and student parents in BTC’s professional technical programs.  How she has done all this and been a mother of three sons too, I’m not exactly sure.

Deborra Garrett, who has been an attorney in Whatcom County for 30 years, is now a Superior Court Judge.
Deborra Garrett, who has been an attorney in Whatcom County for 30 years, is now a Superior Court Judge.

Judge Deborra Garrett is someone I also came to know through our sons who attended the same middle and high schools. (She was the subject of my blog post in August, 2012–Primarily Primaries which you can read by clicking on the link here.)  Her career in Whatcom County spans more than 30 years.  She has represented individuals, organizations & businesses.  Often her representation provided her clients the only remaining opportunity to resolve their legal issues. In 2013, Judge Garrett became the first woman elected to a Whatcom County bench as  Superior Court Judge and I was proud to contribute to her campaign by photographing her and some of her campaign events.

The fourth recipient is Ramona Elizabeth Phare Morris. She is a strong proud Native women who has advocated for Lummi People as well as all Native Americans, advocating in important areas such as jurisdictional and fishing rights, BIA Land Trust, roads on tribal land, Tribal Taxes (fish taxes) Treaty Tax Force (Nationally), Health Care and Youth Education, tax issues & concerns for tribal people. Ramona  has represented the Lummi People proudly and has worked alongside many other tribal leaders .

There’s still time to make a reservation for Sunday’s Northwest Women’s Hall of Fame dinner and ceremony to recognize the contributions and achievements of these extraordinary women who have all made Bellingham a better place to live.  I hope you’ll join me in supporting this, and other YWCA programs.  For more information just click on the link( in green lettering) or phone the YWCA at 360-734-4820.


A Whole New Normal for Marla

I remember the day that my friend, Marla, told me that she had been diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma.  It was at a monthly breakfast meeting of women that we both attend.  This group has been gathering once a month for the past 13 years.  typically sometime during the breakfast, we take time for anyone with an announcement about an upcoming performance (most of us work in the arts field), exhibit, or event in which we think the rest of the group might be interested. This time Marla revealed that she was going to have surgery to remove a 2.8 centimeter tumor–about the size of a walnut– that doctors had found.

It was a benign tumor, 2.8 millimeters in size, Marla explained.   As with any surgery, hers would involve some risks.  Those risks included complete hearing loss in the ear by which the tumor was located, possible loss of sight in one eye and possible partial facial paralysis.  We all kind of stared at her, perhaps a little shocked by the news.  Then the questions came.  When and how did she learn about it? When was the surgery to be?  Who was going to perform the procedure?  Had she checked for a second opinion?  And so forth.

In retrospect, I am sure all of our concerned, well-meaning questions seemed like a bombardment to Marla.  But she had done her research.  Once she received the diagnosis, she too had a flood of questions to which she sought many of the answers on-line.

After diagnosed with acoutic neuroma, Marla keep a journal of her experience which she now shares with others in her  book: "A Whole New Normal".
After diagnosed with acoustic neuroma, Marla keep a journal of her experience which she now shares with others in her book: “A Whole New Normal”.

She had weighed the consequences and the treatment options and decided, based on her specialist’s opinion and her own, to have the surgery.  For Marla, coming to this conclusion was no small matter, as I’m sure it must be for others in the same position.  Besides her job as the development and membership person for Bellingham’s independent film theatre, the Pickford Film Center, Marla is a theatre director and actress who appears in many local productions.  Facial paralysis or even a loss of hearing could impact that avocation, one that she loves, greatly. Not to mention her daily life.

She had given her tumor a name, “Norman,” perhaps because it was easier to live with it that way.  She had interviewed several surgeons and settled on one with whom she felt both comfortable and confident.  The research, in her case, paid off. She did experience hearing loss in the one ear, but no permanent paralysis or loss of sight.  And the incision site wouldn’t be visible.  Perhaps best of all, she learned afterwards that she would not need radiation treatments either.

Naturally, she was relieved and thankful, as were her family and friends.  She has resumed her ‘normal’ activities and life without Norman.

Just last month, Marla made another announcement to our breakfast group.  She was publishing a book about her experience.  She had told no one, up to this point, except for the editor and designer with whom she was working and her immediate family.    As Marla explains on her book’s website:

Marla's book about her acoustic neuroma can be purchased on-line or through Bellingham's bookstore: Village Books.
Marla’s book about her acoustic neuroma can be purchased on-line or through Bellingham’s bookstore: Village Books.

“I kept a journal, which I have now turned into a book! Not because I am so incredibly full of myself (ahem!) but because when I was on my journey, I needed to hear a story with a happy ending while I was living my own. Thankfully, on the way, I met a few people with their own happy endings, but mostly I heard from and about people with complications and post-surgical, ongoing issues.  I wanted to share a story of hope, to balance out all of the stories otherwise available on the internet.”

I was honored  to photograph her for the book:  “A Whole New Normal–An Acoustic Neuroma Journey”.  She wanted to stage the photo session at Boulevard Park where she had spent most of the time writing the journal.  That’s exactly what we did.  I chose a spot down on the beach where we could work undisturbed and undistracted.  I tried to create an image for her that captured the Marla I know, with a warm, friendly, genuine smile that says “I care.”Marla’s hopes her book will encourage people who have been diagnosed with the same condition to seek out the best care, to struggle through the hard decisions and to face the challenge knowing that happy outcomes do exist.  All profits from the book are being donated to the Acoustic Neuroma Associations of US and Canada.

To help spread the word about her own experience and the book, she’ll be in Los Angeles, where she grew up, attending the Acoustic Neuroma Symposium August 9-11.  She’ll have free copies available to newly diagnosed attendees.

You can check out her story for yourself on her new website and blog at: http://www.awholenewnormal.com/  or on her book’s Facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/AWholeNewNormal.

You can also order a copy for yourself or someone you may know who has an acoustic neuroma on-line by clicking on this link:  http://www.villagebooks.com/book/9780615852133.

Although “Norman” is no longer a part of Marla, it has become forever a part of her life.

Open House!

This weekend is National Open House weekend sponsored by the National Association of Realtors so if you’re in the market for a new home. thinking about it or just want to see the place around the corner that went up for sale, this weekend might be the time to do it.  Client and realtor Lyle Sorenson who is now with the Windermere Real Estate in Bellingham stopped by the studio yesterday and told me that there will be more than 200 houses open for view this weekend. That’s a lot of home viewing!

Lyle's a real estate professional with Windermere here in Bellingham.  He came in recently for an update for his business portrait.  We kept this one casual with an outdoor setting.
Lyle’s a real estate professional with Windermere here in Bellingham. He came in recently for an update for his business portrait. We kept this one casual with an outdoor setting.

If you’re home shopping, get in touch with Lyle.  He just told me yesterday about some new condo properties with fantastic 180-degree views in Blaine.  Might be just the thing if you’re in the market for a waterfront property!  You can check it out here on these on-line fliers from Lyle’s Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1060QaB.

Lyle came in to pick up the finished images of his updated business portrait.  We did both a studio portrait and a more casual, outdoor portrait for him to give him flexibility. I advise all my business portrait clients to do that so they will have different images for different uses.  It also saves the client a lot of time and money in not having to reschedule a second appointment when they need a new image.

A studio portrait creates a different look.. It helps establish your professional image for your business' promotional purposes.
A studio portrait creates a different look.. It helps establish your professional image for your business’ promotional purposes.

It’s also a good idea to keep your business head shot current and refresh it with a new one at least every two years, if not more often. There’s nothing worse  than having a stale, outdated business portrait on your website or promotional materials.  On second thought, the only thing worse would be using an amateur snapshot to represent your professional image.

Business portraits are a specialty of my studio.  I love working with other professionals to help them achieve their business goals with a good, professional image.  Click here http://bit.ly/11r6zea  to go to my website and see what I have done for other Bellingham business professionals and can do for you!

What Not to Wear

March is ‘Getting Down to Business’ month at my studio. Schedule an appointment for your business portrait and receive a second finished image along with the one included in your session at no extra cost!  Contact my studio now for details!  http://www.southhillstudio.com/contact.htm

One of my favorite television indulgences is the TLC series, “What Not to Wear”. While I don’t watch every episode, I tune in now and then just to see what hosts Stacy and Clinton are doing for their latest fashion ‘victim.’ Sometimes I like the suggestions they make, sometimes not so much.

It’s a little like what I do for my business clients when planning their studio session. The difference being, of course, that I don’t tell clients that they must throw out everything in their closet before we start. Instead, here are some straight-forward, simple suggestions to help you look your  best in front of the camera and in your final business portrait. Thought I’d share them with you.

Attorney Jim Britain recently updated his business portrait.  Note that he selected a light blue shirt instead of the usual white.
Attorney Jim Britain recently updated his business portrait. Note that he selected a light blue shirt instead of the usual white.

1) Keep patterns to a minimum.  Solid colors, other than white, are usually more flattering to everyone and ‘read’ better in a business portrait. If you must wear something patterned, make it in the blouse or shirt beneath a jacket or sweater. Or better yet, as a scarf or tie. White dress shirts beneath a suit jacket are fine.

2)  Iron everything before  you arrive. There’s nothing worse than rumpled garments in a business portrait. Removing wrinkles from an image is costly and time-consuming.

3) Accessorize.  For women especially, a necklace or scarf can change the look of an entire outfit and is quick to do. For men, a couple different ties or a vest can make accomplish the same thing.

4) Bring two different sets of clothing. I allow my clients a change of clothing during their portrait session and encourage them to select one outfit that is more casual, perhaps even more ‘fashion-forward’  than the first. There are times when they need an image that is not quite a formal as the one on the website for promotional or publicity purposes. It’s easier, and more economical for my clients, to switch clothing at the initial session than to come back later.

For a second, more casual business look, Carolyn wore a sweater insteadl of the jacket.
For a second, more casual business look, Carolyn wore a sweater instead of the jacket.
Carolyn Coughlin chose a black suit for her website portrait.
Carolyn Coughlin chose a black suit for her website portrait.

5) Avoid clothing with fashion logos on them.  Whether you know it or not, a fashion logo subliminally sends a message to your clients. You want the focus on you, not who makes your clothing.

6)  Hats are a no-no. I love hats. I wear them all the time. But for a business portrait, unless you’re an artist with a paint palette in your hand, leave the hat off.

7) Glasses. If at all possible, ask your optician if you can borrow a set of empty frames like yours or similar to your for your portrait session. It helps to cut down on glass glare in the portrait and saves artwork time afterwards. If you don’t always wear your glasses, be sure to remove them for some images.

8)  Under-eye baggage.  Try to get a good night’s rest the evening before your portrait session. Everyone has shadows under their eyes but dark shadows due to lack of sleep are bad for business.

9) Easy on the make-up. Contrary to what a lot of people think, you don’t need to wear heavy make-up for a studio portrait. Most studio lighting used doesn’t require it. The type of make-up a woman might wear for a ‘glamour’ style portrait certainly isn’t appropriate for a business or professional portrait.

10) Hair today… Unless yours is a portrait for a hair salon, stick with your usual hairstyle, the one  familiar to your clients. If you’ve updated your hairstyle and plan to stick with it, then you need an updated business portrait as well. A trim a day or two before is fine, but if you need a cut, do so at least two weeks prior to your portrait appointment.

I hope that these tips are helpful. Your business portrait is an important part of your marketing effort. Take care in planning and selecting your portrait so that it sends the message you want to your business’ clients and customers.

Be Prepared for Your Business Portrait

March is ‘Getting Down to Business’ month at my studio.  When you schedule an appointment for a business portrait for yourself and/or your staff, you’ll receive a second image, in addition to the one included in your professional session  for no extra charge.

Every six months, I go  to the dentist to have my teeth checked and cleaned.  It’s part of my regular health maintenance program.  I’ll bet many of you do the same.  And yet, when it comes to ‘maintenance’ of your business image, some people think once every five or even ten years is good enough.  It’s not.  Like your teeth, your business portrait needs to be ‘cleaned up’ on a regular basis.  It’s often the first thing visitors see on your website or advertisements.  The impression your portrait creates could make a difference as to whether that individual decides to choose to do business with you instead of someone else.

Plan Ahead

When Jenne joined the team at Gene Bell & Associates, she needed a portrait for the website.  As someone who works closely with clients, she needed a warm, yet professional feeling to her image.
When Jenne joined the team at Gene Bell & Associates, she needed a portrait for the website. As someone who works closely with clients, her image needed to give a warm, yet professional feeling. Read her profile at: http://www.genebellassociates.com/Our-Team.1.htm

A little pre-planning before you arrive for your business portrait appointment will help both you and the photographer more successfully achieve your portrait goals.  I ask my clients when scheduling their appointment to think about how they plan to use this image.  Will it be for the website?  For a print ads? For editorial use? For the business card? Or all of these things.

Think about the image you wish to convey.  Trendy photos are fine for personal images but for the professional, consider what the portrait will say about your business, your personality, your credibility.  Will potential customers be put off if you present yourself seated atop your favorite motorcycle, for instance, unless you operate a business that sells or caters to that vehicle? Likewise, wearing a stern, harsh look on your face  instead of smile might say that you are ‘unapproachable.’  Not the image you want to project unless, perhaps, you’re a judge.  Even then you’d probably want to appear ‘knowledgeable and just, rather than grim and foreboding.

Set Your Stage

Since Jeff is a consultant to the snowboarding industry, an outdoor setting in casual dress best reflected both his work and his personality. Find him at: http://www.jeffharbaugh.com/about/

If the image is primarily for a website, think about where your business portrait will appear and how it relates to that page.  If it’s for your bio page, your photo needs to complement that information.  That may mean staging your portrait in your business environment instead of in the studio.

Generally, I advise clients to have one of both if possible because the two different settings have different applications. Clients ask for an outdoor setting because they want to create a ‘more relaxed’ impression on their customers.  That is often combined with a studio session because sometimes a more formal, more ‘business-like’ image is necessary.

An  ‘on-site’ session requires you to ‘dress the set’ just as in the movies. And just as in the movies, the background, the items on the desk and bookshelf all become elements in ‘your story.’  Clean off the clutter and keep personal items to a minimum unless they are key to your business image.

Studio vs On Location

John Walton's editorial portrait was staged at his company warehouse to accompany a feature article about him in a magazine. Read more about John at: http://waltonmagic.com/about-john/
John Walton’s editorial portrait was staged at his company warehouse to accompany a feature article about him in a magazine. Read more about John at: http://waltonmagic.com/about-john/

There are times when convenience requires the photographer come to you, instead of the other way around.  The advantage is generally one of time for the client, not the photographer.  However, for the formal business portrait, the studio is better.  Not only does the photographer have a greater command of tools in the studio–lighting, backgrounds, seating– but the studio is free of outside distractions.  In the studio, there are no telephone interruptions, no clients dropping in, no meetings disrupted.  That means that you will be focused on the task at hand and the results will be noticeable.

Remember, your annual business portrait update is an investment of both time and money well worth making.

Getting Down to Business

March is ‘Getting Down to Business’ Month at my studio!

Gaye Godfrey recently update her professional portrait for her website and says: "The thing I appreciated most about Cheryl and her photography skills is her intuitive ability to determine the perfect setup for each shot, i.e. attire, location, pose, lighting, outside conditions, and most of all she quickly understood my goals."
Gaye Godfrey, Benefit Auction Specialist, recently update her professional portrait for her website and says: “The thing I appreciated most about Cheryl and her photography skills is her intuitive ability to determine the perfect setup for each shot, i.e. attire, location, pose, lighting, outside conditions, and most of all she quickly understood my goals.”

Update that worn-out business image you’ve been using now.

My business and professional portrait sessions include a 30-minute studio session with a change of clothing (to vary your look), up to 20 images to select from and your choice of one image from the session fully retouched and prepared in four different formats for different business uses.  This month, schedule an appointment for a business portrait for yourself and/or your staff and receive a second image for no additional charge.

Keep your business and professional portrait current.  

Your  image reflects  how up-to-date you keep your business.  Likewise, using a “snapshot” or an amateur photo for your promotional materials is a mistake because that too projects your public image to your clients and customers.  Remember that old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words?”   No where is it more true than in the professional world of business.

Hart Hodges needed an updated business portrait when he joined a new firm.
Hart Hodges needed an updated business portrait when he joined a new firm.

Regular updates of your professional portrait  is just good for business.  Styles change, trends change, you change–often for the better–so why not change the picture you use to present yourself as a professional?  Contact my studio and “get down to business” with a new, professional portrait.  Remember, this offer is only good through March.  Phone my studio for your appointment:  360-714-8241.

See more of my business and professional portraits on my website at  www.southhillstudio.com.

Book Aids Cancer Survivors

Here’s a second post to  my “Author! Author!” blog series.

Nancy Keene didn’t set out to become a published author about childhood cancer.  It was probably the furthest thing from her mind as a young mother.  But after her own daughter, now 24,  was diagnosed with cancer, that all changed.

Nancy, along with Wendy Hobbie and Kathy Ruccione, is co-author of the book:  “Childhood Cancer Survivors  A Practical Guide to Your Future.”  The book was first published in 2000 and instantly landed as number five on the Library Journal’s Best Consumer Books of  the Year.

I recently photographed Nancy in the studio for her promotional use for the new issue of her book: Childhood Cancer Survivors–A Practical Guide to Your Future.

The book has just recently been re-issued and updated in its third edition, published by Childhood Cancer Guides.  “This book is not just about science, but about the experience of survivorship,” writes the authors in the Preface.  “It blends basic technical information in easy-to-understand language with stories and advice from more than a hundred survivors and parents of young survivors… We wanted to explore the richness and variety of the survivorship experience and help survivors feel less alone in their journeys.”

Their book covers a variety of topics, including how to navigate the legal, educational and medical systems,  how to handle relationships and  how the disease effects different parts of the body–all intended to educate and provide information to families who have or had children with cancer.    It is written in a straight-forward, well-organized style that should be accessible to all.  In addition, it offers an extensive list of resources available, along with a description of what they do and how to contact them, for those coping with childhood cancer.

The third edition of this book is now out and available. It’s first edition was named one of the Best Consumer Health Books of 2000 by the Library Journal.

On Tuesday,  Oct 30,  Nancy and her co-author, Wendy, are leading a webconference called Staying Healthy After Childhood Cancer Treatment,  sponsored by the National Children’s Cancer Society, a nonprofit organization. The audience is survivors, parents of survivors, and healthcare professionals (nurses and social workers) who can get continuing medical education credits for participating. The PowerPoint program with audio will be archived on the NCCS site at http://www.thenccs.org/web_conference_archive after the presentation.

Childhood Cancer SurvivorsOn November 7 through the 9, she’ll be in Atlanta at the annual conference of Critical Mass: The Young Adult Cancer Alliance (http://criticalmassevents.org/about-us/), a consortium of individuals, organizations, and governmental agencies currently supported by LIVESTRONG to present a poster about the book.

Nancy has a hefty background as an editor and writer who heads up a 30-member team responsible for producing multiple projects for agencies such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], National Institute on Drug Abuse [NIDA]), Administration for Children and Families, Indian Health Service, and others.  She has been the primary author of more than 50 books, E-books and articles for consumers and health professionals.

As an advocate for those with childhood cancer, she works to keep books in print about that topic through the nonprofit Childhood Cancer Guides.  “When your life is turned upside down, your need for information is great,” reads the final section at the back of the book from Childhood Cancer Guides.

This is one book that is essential for anyone who has a child with cancer or who, like Nancy, has  a childhood cancer survivor.

You can learn more about the book on Facebook at:  Childhood Cancer Survivors.  Here’s the link:  http://on.fb.me/Rtc3k

*Cheryl Crooks is a former journalist and medical reporter for TIME Magazine who now owns her own portrait photography studio in Bellingham, WA.

Art for Auction

If you’re a lover of  art, then The Art Auction this Saturday hosted by the Whatcom Museum Foundation is an event not to miss.  This annual event is the major fundraiser of the year for the Whatcom Museum of  Art and History and is an opportunity for attendees to purchase artworks generously contributed by a variety of local artists.

This image of Bellingham’s Old City Hall is from my personal projects collection and is one of my personal favorites.

The Bellingham community is rich with fine artists.  Painters, sculptors, glass artists, mixed “media-ists”.  You name it, we seem to have them.  I once heard someone say that Bellingham has more working artists per capita than anywhere else in the country.  That’s not a fact that I can verify, nor can I tell you what criteria was used to define the word “working” but I do know that we have an abundance of talented visual artists who produce works in a wide range of subjects and media.

On the first Friday of every month, the Downtown Bellingham Partnership sponsors Art Walk.  From 6 to 10 p.m. downtown Bellingham’s restaurants, galleries, boutiques and studios keep open their doors to showcase work exhibited by local artists.  It’s a popular event and on fall evenings like these we’re having right now, the sidewalks are filled with people of all ages strolling from one venue to another to view the artwork.  Afterwards, or before,  friends gather at downtown restaurants and bars to share a bite or talk over drinks.  It makes for a lively evening and often a spontaneous social outing as friends run into one another while going in and out of the shops and galleries.

Ruthie V’s painting “Snowgeese” is among the art works for auction at The Art Auction this Saturday. More of Ruthie V’s work can be seen at: http://www.ruthiev.com/.

This Friday during Art Walk, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. ticketholders for the Champagne Artists’ Reception will have the chance to meet some of the artists whose work will be available for purchase during the auction the following evening.  But if you don’t have a ticket for either that event or Saturday’s auction, you can still see the work on exhibit this Thursday and Friday, Oct. 4 and 5 from  noon to 5 p.m. at the Museum’s Old City Hall building.  It’s a great way to introduce yourself to the local art scene or to see the work of emerging local artists.

Gaye Godfrey specializes in managing benefit auctions.

Doors for the auction itself open at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6.  Tickets may still be available.  Gaye Godfrey will be handling the auction for the evening.  Gaye specializes in benefit auctions and has manages many in the Puget Sound area and in locations as far away as Southern California.   She’s just launching a newly designed  website about her services can be found at:  http://www.gayegodfreyauctions.com/.

If you can’t make the auction or the exhibit, you can view the entire catalog at:  https://wmfdn.ejoinme.org/?tabid=388331.   If you want to reserve any remaining seats, contact Kristin at 360/778-8936 or visit the auction’s website at:  https://wmfdn.ejoinme.org/?tabid=401947.  But hurry because it’s going, going and will soon be gone!

Making a Case for the iPhone

The new Apple iPhone is out today.   For some people, that meant sleeping in line overnight outside an Apple store in order to be among the first to buy the newest version of this popular phone.  But if you’re not among those who need or, even want, the updated iPhone, you can still give your phone a new look with a product that a local Bellingham woman and graphics designer has introduced.

Brandon agreed to model for his Mom’s new company. He and I first met when I photographed him as a senior. He’s seen here using one of the vintage camera cases, one of my personal favorites.

Jennifer Harrington has come up with some clever and very cool snap-on covers to individualize and “fashion-ize” your otherwise generic-looking iPhone.  Her company, On Your Case, offers a variety of designs, from the simple, to vintage, to retro and to even holiday-themes.   My personal favorites are the ones with the Eiffel Tower, the vintage cameras and the bright red “Keep Calm and Call Your Mom”,  a take-off of the British slogan used during World War II,  “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

Jennifer called me on her cell phone recently to set up a photo session to show off her product.  I had taken senior portraits for her son, Brandon, a Bellingham High grad, a few years ago.  He had agreed to be one of her models for the session, along with his girlfriend, Stephanie, and Jennifer’s assistant, Andrea.”  Jennifer had a ‘look’ in mind that she wanted to get.   She came up with the basic concept and together we put together a session to create her images.

Stephanie and Brandon go nose to nose with their iPhone cases. His is another camera from the Vintage collection; hers is one of the Pattern designs.

She wanted to use the images from the shoot to illustrate how much fun and how personalized her cases could make your phone by including them on her company’s Facebook page and on the website now under construction.  She’s also got the individual cases posted on her “Etsy” store page  at http://etsy.me/OgQmqd. There you can look through seven pages of different cases in order to find the one just right for you.  And the great thing about these little cases is that they are so reasonably priced that you can buy three or four in order to customize your iPhone for every occasion.  How cool is that!

She’s also got a more limited selection that will fit the Samsung smart phones and is soon going to introduce covers for the iPad.  Finally, someone is getting stylish with these devices!

Andrea’s totally cool with the Teal Chevron case from the On Your Case pattern collection.

I’m not an iPhone user myself so I’m hoping that Jennifer will eventually come up with cases that will fit other types of popular smart phones because I really love what’s she’s done!  Almost makes me want to wait in line to buy the new iPhone.  Almost.

Primarily Primaries

Just wanted to remind you to vote in the primaries, in case you haven’t done so already. I placed my ballot in the mailbox this morning.  I’m sure you’re all aware how important it is to cast your vote and I hope you’ll do so these primaries.

I want to urge you to vote through the entire list of candidates.  Last, but certainly not least, on our local ballot are the names of those who are running for the position of judge.  Sometimes those names are overlooked because they do appear last or because people simply don’t know the people running for those spots.

Garrett is among those whose names appear on the primary ballot due Tuesday, August 8.

And yet, it’s been shown that of all those who serve in elected office, it is judges with whom people, like you and me, are mostly likely to come in contact with for one reason or another.  Judges can wield considerable influence in our daily lives by the decisions they make in cases that may end up effecting us even though we’re not the ones standing in the courtroom.

I learned some of this when photographing Deborra Garrett who’s running here for Whatcom County Superior Court Judge.  I was asked to make a studio portrait and to cover some of her campaign events for her campaign materials, website and Facebook.  I was honored to do so.  I’ve known Deborra personally for several years.  I took senior portraits for both her son, Frank, and her daughter, Joanie, and have gotten to know her through her work with the schools in teen court and the various other activities that she and her kids participated in.

Deborra’s son, Frank, pictured here as a high school senior, is a lover of the outdoors and made Eagle Scout.

Now, they are both grown.  Frank has been travelling following his graduation from the University of British Columbia, and Joanie is now studying at the University of Washington.  Doesn’t seem like that long ago since they were here in the studio.

Joanie is a lover of literature and wanted to include one of her then favorite books, “Catcher in the Rye” in her senior portrait.

If elected, she’ll be the Whatcom County’s first woman Superior Court judge.  And while that’s significant, it’s not the only reason, nor should it be, to cast your vote.   Your vote really does make your voice heard.  So please, be sure to get your ballot in by the deadline, Tuesday, August 7 and vote for the candidates of your choice.