RecentlyI had the pleasure of meeting the lovely ladies of the Connor B. Judge Foundation. The Connor B. Judge Foundation is a Cleveland non-profit that raises money for the research and awareness of NMO. I t formed when a local Clevelander, Connor, transformed from a healthy 22 year old to a hospital patient that couldn't walk and could barely see.
NMO stands for Neuromyelitis Optica and is very rare. It's an autoimmune disease where the body begins to attack its own spinal chord and optic nerve. The symptoms are extremely similar to MS, but are much more treatable if the patient is diagnosed correctly. In fact, if a patient is incorrectly diagnosed with MS when they are actually suffering from NMO, the treatment can cause irreversible damage. Luckily in Connor's case, he has recovered most of his vision and the ability to walk. It was an honor photographing the foundation, and I wish them the best of luck in their continued activism. Visit their website if you would like to learn more about NMO, Connor, or perhaps even donate a few dollars to the cause.
It took forever for Summer to arrive in Cleveland, and now in a few weeks it will technically be Fall. It's been about a year since I've moved here from Pittsburgh and I figured it's time to start a personal project. This summer I decided to start meeting and photographing dancers. Photographing people in motion has always been a love of mine, whether it be martial arts, dancing, or children jumping on a bed. (ahhhh be careful!)
I love to photograph dancing because you never REALLY know what the camera will capture. You can try to time your shots right, but you can't freeze someone in the air to adjust the lighting or tilt their head. It makes getting a cool photo much more special.
Below are two young gentleman named Juan and Khalil. (Juan is the man that wore all white on the white backdrop and Khalil is the man with the contagious smile) These photos will be the first of many dance photographs I'll be creating this year. Hopefully I'll learn a dance move or two along the way, but I'll probably just stick to photography.
Some of the best portraits I take happen during a photo session with a child. There are lots of obstacles of course, between making sure they aren't hungry, thirsty, or tired, working through the poses, and getting them to smile, it can be difficult work. But when it all comes together children can give the most genuine expressions. As we get older our insecurities tend to take over. We worry about our hair, our clothes, our skin, our eyes, our teeth, our nose. We look at a photo of ourselves and immediately pick out the parts that aren't perfect. With small children however, that wall of insecurity is often not there. (at least not yet) So when they connect with the camera it hits you like a truck.
Lilith, Parker, Felix, and Aurora came into the studio comfortable and with a high amount of energy. While at times it took some coaxing to get smiles, overall the shoot was extremely successful. Their mother was open to other photographic techniques besides the typical white background, so I experimented with a grey backdrop and more serious expressions. I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to photograph these children and create some wonderful photographs.
A few weeks ago I had one of the most enjoyable shoots I've had in a while. Crystal Coreen came to The James Douglas Studio for some promotional shots before making a big move to LA. When she first arrived it was I was setting up the studio and I was impressed with her quiet, yet strong presence. Shortly after the stylist, Kylee Cook, had arrived all three of us were chatting like old friends. Cleveland, 90's music, boyfriends- we got to know each other before the shoot and sometimes, that' my favorite part. People trust me to make them look good, so a little easy-going conversation can go a long way.
I have to say, Crystal was a natural poser. (Not the bad kind of poser, the kind that makes my job easy) She moved well, she knew what look she was going for, and Kylee was right there with her, switching up the hair/makeup for each new outfit. We had a great time and made a lot of great images. I wish her the best of luck in LA. These are some of the final images she chose, I'll probably put up a few more of my favorites later.
A little while ago I had the awesome experience of working with Thespis per Lacus Media (Say that 5 times fast). We brought some actors and models into the studio for a brief headshot/video session. The videos are for models to promote themselves and their skills in front of the camera. The lovely lady below is Layla from Taxi Talent Management. She is probably one of the best models I've seen in front of the camera. She moves well, knows her angles, and always appreciates the snacks I bring for shoots. (You can never do a photo shoot without snacks!) Anyway, check out the video created below and watch her do her thing!
Many of the people I photograph know a thing or two about posing. Models especially know all of their best angles. But sometimes it's fun to photograph someone with a different type of "posing" skill set - such as a martial artist. If you look at the portrait section of my website, I've already done some Tae Kwon Do, though most of the photos are mid-action shots.
I've never studied martial arts myself, but I'm learning that it's much more than throwing punches and kicks that will knock your head off. Discipline, balance, and form are just as important, if not more important, to being a great martial artist. This probably isn't news to many people that have attended a dojo, but your average joe shmo like me knows as much about combat as Jackie Chan movies decide to show. Maybe next time we'll get into more traditional action shots. But until then it's nice to photograph a different kind of pose.
Last week, we had the wonderful experience of hosting a yoga gathering at TJDS. For those of you that don't do yoga, that meant a bunch of people were going to show up with mats, sit down, and do some awesome stretching/strength training/ooommmmmmming. I participated as well, and was quite sore for DAYS after. (I don't know what experience level we were supposed to be at but it was NOT beginner)
Anyway, having a yoga gathering meant that everything in the studio needed to be cleared out, the furniture pushed back, and all our photo equipment put away. So naturally, we stuffed everything in the back room like the grown adults we are. Our neighbors were also kind enough to take some furniture into their space. It was really cool to have the studio so spacious for a day or so. It's interesting how space can be so fluid. It can change so drastically with just a little rearrangement. In reality, a studio space isn't one space, but an infinite amount of spaces where one can only be used at a time... but philosophy tangents aside, my least favorite part was putting the studio back together. And for some reason the back room is still full of stuff. Funny how that works.
A little bit ago, I had the pleasure of photographing two models represented by Pro Model. Pro Model is a talent agency that is quite large. So large that you wouldn't think they were based in the humble city of Akron, OH. Kaitlin, on the left, is very interested in fashion work and like myself, is a long distance runner. Sophia, on the right, had the biggest smile I'd ever seen and I couldn't help but smile with her. Maggie Kleinman did an awesome job with styling and is always a pleasure to have on set. I wish the best of luck to Kaitlin and Sophia and may many gig's come their way!
I enjoy working in the Artcraft building. Not only is it a beautiful space, but there are many other talented artists and companies that work here. One of those companies is The Talent Group. I've gotten to know them through a few photo shoots where I've photographed their talent. One great thing about them is the amount of diversity they offer. They have models and actors of all ages, races, and sizes.
I always enjoy chatting with the models/actors whenever we're creating photographs. It helps us both relax and I love learning about where people were and where they ended up. Photography and modeling are kind of similar, in that we're all hustling to get the next gig. So most models have pretty interesting stories, and I can never wait to hear what they are.
I had the pleasure of photographing two models from Taxi Talent Management shortly after joining the TJDS team. Jerrad and Layla were extremely easy to work with and their energy made the shoot lots of fun. Jami Millerleile was our awesome stylist and created a very natural look for both models. While this wasn't my first rodeo, it was the first time I got to be the boss at TJDS and order people around. I've done a number of shoots in the studio since, but I'll never forget working my first photoshoot at TJDS with Taxi talent.
Hello there! My name is Sarah Holden and I am a professional photographer that just moved to my new home in Cleveland, OH. I love getting to know and photographing people. Thank you for taking the time to look at my personal blog!