The Creative Process Is An Amazing Thing

The creative process is an amazing thing. When a client I love asked me to photograph the kitchen appliances that he manufactures, I was intrigued. If only to have the opportunity to earn a living doing what I love most.

The stainless steel appliances were challenging to photograph. They are like dull mirrors, they reflect everything around them. I wanted to deliver an excellent product so I kept my eyes on the light and especially the stainless steel. In the end, my client’s team was happy. I felt great to have learned so much and met their marketing needs. I will not minimize my gratitude for the paycheck I received either.

Here’s where the ‘amazing’ takes place. I had recently photographed a guy who works out at my gym. He had recently been divorced and seemed to be channeling his energy by transforming himself with physical exercise. I watched as he slowly and methodically lost 40 pounds of fat. His muscles became visible and he had a new sparkle in his eyes. I offered to photograph him as a sort of reward and also because I was inspired by him. I brought my grey background to the gym and we took a bunch of straight forward images of him standing there. He was a little uncomfortable when I asked him to wrap a large metal chain around himself. To me, the chain represented his struggle for freedom and joy. He showed a bit of discomfort at first, but by the end of the shoot he loved being in front of my camera. As you will see…heehee : )

I was so busy over the holidays that I hardly looked at the photos. Then I had the stainless steel appliance shoot. When I finally looked at his images, I was a bit disappointed. Just didn’t feel the strength, courage and determination I felt when I watched him in person. One morning after doing the post production of the stainless steel appliances, I sat with his images and viola! These are the final photographs of ‘my guy from the gym’…..I just love how the creative process works! I just love how these images evolved. Click thru to see the rest.

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Recent Personal Work

I love people, the more diverse the better. I fall in love with a lot of the people I meet. Inside each person exists a whole world to which we are inextricably linked. Photographed Jorge Farinas at The 5th Street Gym, Miami Beach, Florida where he’s been a fixture for more than a decade. He shared his life stories and words of wisdom with me. That’s my favorite part of my job.

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Haitian Summer Camp H.E.L.P. L.I.F.E.

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This summer I volunteered as a photographer to document an amazing program created by my friends, Dr. Charlene Desir and Dr. Pamela Hall. Together they wrote a grant that was funded by The Children’s Trust in the summer of 2010. This project called Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (L.I.F.E.) is an art-based literacy program, aimed at using diverse methods to learn and provide academic tools to a growing immigrant and minority population in the U.S. schools who are under-achieving. In 2011, they began working with middle school students and created the Haitian Empowerment and Literacy Project fondly known as H.E.L.P. This was their fourth year. One hundred students from the Haitian community attended. The program included breakfast and lunch.

The mission of L.I.F.E. and H.E.L.P. is to provide a quality art-based program that would empower youth in the Miami-Dade community to make positive life choices, develop socio-cultural awareness, and to build literacy skills that will enable them to maximize their personal potential. Keeping in mind that old adage “know thyself,” both programs created activities that would merge the social self, emotional self and academic self into one identity and create a space whereby students would meet to engage in activities (academic and artistic in nature) that would connect them to their Haitian culture and community.

As part of the program, each student wrote a purpose statement. I included these statements in their portraits (which we had great fun creating). Through this process, each child came to life in front of my eyes. Reading their purpose statements really touched my heart. I was filled with inspiration, hope and joy. At the end of the summer, the kids were each presented with their portrait to serve as a constant reminder of their purpose.

As for Dr. Charlene Desir and Dr. Pamela Hall, I am filled with tremendous admiration, gratitude and respect for them both. Talk about making a difference? I want to meet and work with more people like them. That’s my purpose statement. Here are the photos. Enjoy!