Well, this was quite a daunting task… recapping all that happened in the last year. Hope I don’t leave anything out. To say the least, this was a banner year for me. I took on many new clients, both locally and out of state, many of whom have become friends. I launched a few new projects which is always exciting! We launched 2 successful Kickstarter campaigns, one of which took me to London, where I created wonderful imagery and made wonderful new friendships! I also became internationally published this year – 3 different countries outside of the US, actually! I did extensive traveling within the states, which is always exciting and fun. I am going to do a month by month recap. I had several guest postings on the Ballet Bag. I will do my best to be inclusive but I am going off the top of my head and some light tracking on FB, since this is a last minute idea.
January brought me some new clients and new work. I shot Jeanette who is now a trainee with San Francisco Ballet, for Tutu.Com. I also had a shoot with Pamela H who is a tap friend of mine. That same day, I shot the Harnett sisters, Genna and Alex. Genna is finishing up school and Alex is now an apprentice with Ballet Arizona. They were in for audition shots. January also took me down to Tampa to shoot Gaspar, the pirate ballet. This month also marked the birth and launch of Hope Dances, my dance outreach program for special needs kids. Last but not least, I worked with a new company. Well it was new to me, Delaware Contemporary Dance Theatre.
This month brought me back to South Jersey to work for Dance Factory. I have shot for them for the last few years. Always a fun day and I love Stacey, the director. She is the best! Hope Dances was involved in the first ever Tap Teaser on Tour, which was really exciting. I photographed, Tapas, for Ballet Fleming, of which I am now a steering committee member and their company photographer. In a very ironic twist of fate, I became the back up or plan b to Lois Greenfield who was supposed to do shots for Dance4Life dance school. Things fell through and Ms Chauntee called me and asked if I was available. Fortunately I was. What a fun night that was! That group is just plain ole CRAY CRAY!
This was a neat month. I had a few in studio for fun, personal things. I also shot Belfast Connection for their promo content. This was a blast. They are always a hoot and brought in a wee taste of whiskey to help jump start the shoot. I also had in, Isabelle Seiler, who is currently training at JKO school in NYC. I shot a bunch of live Irish bands including Blackthorn and Drop Kick Murphys. DKM was really fun as I went backstage and interviewed Tim Brennan who plays accordian and banjo for the band! I also went up to Boston to shoot Boston Ballet’s rehearsal for ELO Experience. Also, I worked on some personal projects with some of the dancers. I always love going up there!!
April brought me to Baltimore to photograph the rehearsals for Rasta Thomas’ Tap Stars as well as headshots for the cast. I also begun shooting for the Inspirational Irish Women nominees. This is a yearly event where a committee votes on and nominates xx number of women who they feel are exceptionally inspirational in the Irish community. Last year they had a painter create the portraits which were done in an abstract method. This year, I was fortunate enough to have been commissioned to create them! On Easter, I had the fun opportunity to travel to NYC to photograph Avi Scher and Dancers, which included Carla Korbes and Seth Orza of Pacfic Northwest Ballet. Barre Boys had their event, Happy Hour which featured an exhibit as well as an hour long performance of men in dance!
May is always busy for me. I work with 3 different local dance studios for photo day in May. In addition to that, I did a promo shoot for Too Darn Hot – an all female tap revue. Inspirational Irish Women had their event including the exhibit of my portraits. I photographed a performance on top of the Intrepid battleship. One of the biggest things for me this month was to shoot the first edition of the Boston IBC. What a wonderful opportunity this was! My images from this got some serious action in the press. One of them was in the May or June issue of Auditorium magazine from South Korea.
Ah June… mark of summer! This was a pretty active month for me. I had the opportunity to work with a young dancer from the Rock School, Alston MacGill. We had our first ever Dance for Dreams Gala for Hope Dances. Barre Boys celebrated its 1st birthday. I did a shoot with Allie Parsons who was wearing Margot Fonteyn’s original tutu from the birthday offering! I also had shoots with Holly Curran from Ballet Fleming, Kat Richter and Abi Kurdin. I traveled to DC to shoot with Sona from The Washington Ballet, her husband and father as well as with Septime Webre, Artist Director for TWB. I also flew to Tampa for the better part of a week to shoot a ballroom competition. Well, I was the personal photographer for one of the competitors. While there, I met with and shot a dancer from Orlando Ballet as well as Peter Stark.
Well, I must be honest. By now, I am deathly tired of planes and airports. I mean seriously. lol. July doesn’t seem to have been as busy. At least according to my calendars as I am going back. In July, I spent probably about 4-5 days in Savannah, George to shoot for DTI, dance competition. My first day down there, I drove to Hilton Head Island where I met and had the chance to work with Angie and Mollie Sansone. Angie dances with Kansas City Ballet and Mollie for Nashville. We did a shoot on a plantation down there. That was really really fun!! The day after I returned home, I had the chance to shoot a dear friend’s wedding. Lisa and I have been friends for a few years – I found her on craigslist. I love her to death. So, it was an emotional day for me. Also this month, I was published in UK’s Dancing Times and Philippines’ Town and Country magazine! I also had the pleasure of working with a set of ballerina twins who happened to have the same disorder my son was diagnosed with. The family and I are dear friends.
Now we are talking!! August, aside from being my birthday month, was epic!!! In August, I flew to London for a week. Wow oh wow was this an amazing trip!! I flew out of Philly Intl and into Heathrow. It was an overnight flight going in. I will include my blog which has a daily log for the trip. But, to summarize it, I spent a week in London that was fully funded by my generous supporters. While there, I met with the girls from the Ballet Bag, shot dancers from Royal Ballet, English National Ballet and Hamburg Ballet, saw Mariinsky do Don Q, SHOT Mariinsky’s dress of Robbins/Balanchine Triple Bill, shot Mariinsky principal dancer Igor Kolb on the rooftop of the ROH. Doesn’t get more epic than that!
That was the very beginning of the month. At the very end of it, I traveled to Salt Lake City to lend my services for a fundraiser to benefit a young lady with stage 4 terminal cancer. This trip left me a changed man as well as making some new life long friends! This trip also inspired my new series, empoweredME. What a great way to spend my birthday.
September was unfortunately quiet for me. We had a Hope Dances-9/11 event which was wonderful. I also had an image from RHPM in the NYTimes Sunday calendar section as well as a 6 page spread in Dance Studio Life with my BIBC images AND a 2 page spread as an ad for DTI. That same RHPM image appeared in Connecticut Magazine either this month or October. I had the pleasure this month of photographing Allenda Witzel, a young ballerina who was studying at Kirov in DC. We had mutual friends at CPYB. Since then, I have remained in touch and friends with her mother.
I finally got my mojo back and the phone was ringing like crazy. One of my images was featured on the cover of SI Focus magazine, which is a magazine for those dealing with Sensory Processing Disorder. I had wrote an article for the magazine for this month. One of my images from the ASH Workshop was in Dance Teacher Magazine. I celebrated my second year at the studio (or was it 3?). I picked up a new client, United Dance Merchants of America and shot their Jersey show! We also launched the Portraits of a Disorder exhibit, featuring images of children diagnosed with SPD. At the beginning of the month we had a Barre Boys exhibit at the Performance Garage. I did work for a new client, Jovo Dance, which was great. I love them! Also did some family portraits for the Kurdins. In October, we did a SLEW of shoots for empoweredME! I also was in NY shooting for that and for Tutu.Com including a few shots at the Occupy Wall Street scene. In October I also did the new promo shots for Ballet Fleming. This is always fun as is the theme – FUN. No, that is the theme they go for… fun!
This was a great month!!! I started the month by shooting BalletX rehearsal for a piece for the Ballet Bag. I had a small exhibit at the Dance for Dimes event at Widener. I interviewed Pennsylvania Ballet’s Artistic Director, Roy Kaiser for Barre Boys and photographed him at their new property on the Avenue of the Arts. I did a promo shoot for Renaissance Academy’s Nutcracker. Some more empoweredME shoots. I did Chesco’s dance team shots again as well as a new client from the Rock School, Isabel Montague. Ursinus College and PDP brought me back to shoot shows then flew up to Boston to shoot for Boston Conservatory. Some of the dancers needed shots, so the director brought me up. While there, I made some new friends. I had a mini shoot with Amanda who is in Boston Ballet’s school. She wanted images for a Christmas card. I also did a shoot for Alex Heier who is also a student at Boston Ballet and her mom is on their board. What a wonderful family!!! My dear friends, the Ramsay family played host to me as well as chauffeur! This was one of the few times where I was actually sad to be leaving. What an amazing weekend!!!
In my studio, I had a male ballet dancer who is studying at Butler. This was a nice treat. Most of my commissioned work for audition shots are from ballerinas. He was a lot of fun and very open to things!
I also had two of the dancers from the NY Knicks in for headshots. I had shot one of the girls’ sisters a year ago for dance shots. This was a fun session. They were a blast to work with!
Black Friday, I made an impromptu trip to NYC to shoot THE Misty Copeland for empoweredME. What an AMAZING experience that was!!! She was a delight to work with (duh) and seemed to be really happy with the images. They were simple yet powerful! Although I had told my wife that I was free that day to do family things, I simply could not pass on this opportunity. We still got to go to the movies when I got back.
3 days later, I found myself back up in the big apple for a shoot with Jon & Abi Stafford of NYCB for a piece I was doing on brothers and sisters who dance in the same company, for the Ballet Bag. Before my shoot with them, I had lined up a mini shoot and interview with Oliver Swan-Jackson who dances for Suzanne Farrell Ballet, for Barre Boys. He was a lot of fun and a nice guy!
This December was much easier then last. I only shot 3 Nutcrackers and they were all within 30 mins of my house which is nice. I launched my very fist coffee table book which was for empoweredME. Artistically, I knocked off one of the things on my bucket list – maternity shoot en pointe! I actually did two! One was with Fang from Koresh Dance and her hubby Tommy Gant who is also a ballet dancer. The second was with Pennsylvania Ballet Soloist, Gabriella Yudenich. Some of my images from CPYB’s Nutcracker last year saw some life this month. One of my snow scenes were part of a 2 page spread in the local paper in Carlisle plus the cover of 717 mag.
DCDT company stopped by the studio for an off the wall shoot. They are always a hoot, esp Ms Chauntee! Project Moshen was in the studio for some new promo shots. That was a lot of fun! I have been friends with Kelli Moshen on FB for a few years now, so it was also nice to meet her!
The last few shoots I had, yielded some of the best images I have created all year. One of my favorites was with Sara Rodriguez from University of Utah. We grabbed 3 different looks in one shoot. So so so awesome! I love her!!! I also had a visit from Lisa Fitzgerald from Exit 12. She was a blast! I ended my work year with a shoot with Simon Hoke, a young budding cavalier who is studying at CPYB.
So, this is 2011 in a nutshell. There are a lot of shoots that took place that did not get mentioned and I enjoyed every one of them! This was a banner year to say the very least! The good thing about doing this is it gives me clear picture of what I did so I can set new goals for 2012! THAT is exciting!
I am taking holiday from Dec 23-Jan 3 to spend time with my family and decompress. When I come back, we will have a new website within days and exciting new content to release!!!
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you all! Thank you so much for your support, I love you!!!