wp_head() You Gotta Be A Special Lady « portraits without borders
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You Gotta Be A Special Lady

It’s very special when you get the opportunity to work with some someone you trust Jessica Ford my editor for PWB is that person. I want to share with you the first day we met (again).


My day started at 4am. I couldn’t sleep; thinking about all the things that could and will go wrong in the hours to come. I couldn’t help wondering if booking three clients (two boudoirs, and 1 maternity) in one day was a bad idea. One booking a day is challenging enough, but three in one day can test the creativity and talents of any good photographer. I was worried about working in a new studio I wasn’t familiar with. I also couldn’t help wondering if bringing on a new assistant that was an old friend 30 years ago was a good idea. For me, being overly prepared helps to sooth my worries; so I began to re-recharge my batteries, double check my props, triple check by gear, review my notes and sample images to no avail. The weight of my worries was beginning to buckle my normally strong confidence. I did what I normally do when I feel this way, I called my wife when it was early enough to call (and not piss her off). Our conversation began with our normal, “how are the kids?” and “I miss you.” When I finally got to why I called her for, her loving solution felt like skinny-dipping in freezing water, “You’re stupid! You’ve done this a hundred times. Get over it!” That’s all I needed to rebuild my confidence, and attack the day.

The shoot began with a boudoir layout with Crystal. She wanted to surprise her husband with some loving photos of herself. They have two young children; I personally know how that could test any relationship. I could tell she was nervous all week from her email conversations. I reassured her that I would do everything in my power to make her look beautiful. I don’t think she realized how little I had to do to accomplish that, she’s already naturally beautiful. She said her eyes were the body part that her husband loves the most. I can see why, Jess and I both agreed on how striking and captivating they were.

Next came Estella. She too wanted to surprise her boyfriend with beautiful photos of herself. She has such striking features that were easy to complement with some simple lighting scenarios. Her face and body truly generates a “heat” that I’m sure her boyfriend appreciates and loves to see. I’ve been wanting to use some light fixtures I bought at Ikea, and I think they suited her perfectly. She says her boyfriend loves the Spanish soccer team that won this year’s world cup, so we created a cute and sexy tribute for him.

Seeing Adrianne, Amit, and Nyan was such a joy. I photographed their wedding last year, and now she wanted to do a maternity shoot. I’m always down for any opportunity to see this beautiful couple again. She belongs to a Brazilian dance troupe, and brought several beautiful dance costumes that she uses for her troupe with her. They were so rich in color, Brazilian heritage, and tradition. It didn’t take much to find the right light and composition to make them shine.

My assistant Jessica was the first to show up. The last time I saw here was 30 years ago in high school. As the minutes got closer to her arrival time I began to get anxious. Questions like, “Will we get along?”, “Will she understand what I want her to do”, “Is she going to hate me for what I put her through?” were looming in the back of my brain. The moment I saw her shadow as she entered the side gate and heard the familiar timbre of her voice when she said, “hello”, all those doubts went away. She was such a joy to work with and to be around. We laughed and joked all day about all the silly things we grew up with: RG&B, her B210, her stereo, her chicken hat, my sitting in the park drawing, Kramer vs. Kramer, her AE-1, and, of course, photography.

She was everything I expected and more! She struggled a bit but it never stopped her. The moment I handed her my camera I stopped for a moment to figure out what I really saw; I saw myself. I saw my own determination and will. I saw a curiosity that was in me a long time ago and still in me today. I saw a reflection of a person who once they picked up a camera, dissolved into the moment and forgot about the deadlines, the bills, and worries this world imposes on us.

Jessica Ford

She has no idea the breathtaking places her camera is going to take her. She has no idea how hard her struggle will be to become a great photographer. She has no idea how powerful a photograph can be, and how one image can change the world as well as herself. She has no idea how much this profession will consume your life. She has no idea how proud she’s going to feel when she takes that image that will never be recreated again. She has no idea how her camera can find long lost friends, even after 30 years. Thank you Jess, for letting me see the footsteps of where I’ve been, and how much farther I have to go.

Written by Ashton Boni

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