I am blogging today to share with you some awesome images from yesterday’s workshop with Scott Robert Lim in Chicago. But first, I am going to torture you with some sentimental musings and stories. So if you’re easily bored or in a hurry, skip to the images.
This past April, my little business called Red Gecko Studio officially turned two years old. Honestly, I can’t believe I didn’t blog on the anniversary of my last day at my old job. At the moment, though, I’m quietly reminiscing on many things that have happened in the course of these two years. I really believe it’s important to reflect on the interesting and often random ways in which the pieces of our lives come together. Every once in a while you cannot help but marvel in wonder at the results of all those little things working together- especially when they culminate in a spectacular day such as yesterday. Where to begin…
I suppose I could start fifteen years ago. Don’t worry, it’s just a small part! At the age of 14, I signed up to take photography in my freshman year of high school. When I arrived at class the first day, I realized that the Canon Powershot camera I had talked my mom into buying for me was not going to cut it… I’d had no idea I’d need an SLR camera with interchangeable lenses. My ever-accommodating and generous mother promptly handed over her Minolta Maxxum 7000. I never gave it back.
Fast forward to 2010. It was my first full summer of supporting myself on my income from photography alone. Prior to that summer, I worked at the Brink Lounge in Madison and met Crystal. Her interest in photography became a regular topic of discussion for us, and she ended up as my intern for 2010! She has made awesome strides in her work and I’m blessed to have her with me.
One day, I called my mom and asked if she’d like to assist me on some weddings that summer, too. She happily said yes, and I finally got to replace that old camera I “stole” with a nice new DSLR. Mom went to work learning to shoot with it and began to add some photographers as friends on her Facebook page. One of those friends ran a Facebook contest for free tickets to After Dark Education in Minneapolis, and my mom entered us. We won! Thanks, Mom. J
Enter Scott. Mom & I met Scott the very first night of After Dark and immediately clicked with his energy, artistic vision, and personal philosophy. I spent the next four days with one eye on Scott, trying not to be TOO much of a groupie but unwilling to miss anything he had to teach me. I connected with the fashion edge to his work, among many other things I have probably already spilled about here.
With a newfound curiosity about fashion photography, I eagerly accepted an offer to be the official photographer for Wisconsin Fashion Week in Madison that fall. Unfortunately, WFW festivities were canceled- but not before I met couture fashion designer Rebekah Jacobs (of Rebekah Jacobs Couture) at a networking event and casting call. I could tell instantly that Rebekah was a truly talented designer and artist with a similar passion for her gowns to the passion I have for photography. We became fast friends.
In September of 2010, I went to New York City for my first of Scott’s four-day international workshops. Over the course of that week, I made the decision to move my business into a retail location. Within a few weeks of the workshop, I signed the lease on my beautiful space downtown Madison and gave Rebekah a call. I knew the space would be more than I need on a regular basis and was thrilled when she found it to be the perfect opportunity to expand her business from the condo she shares with her encouraging husband. On December 4, we held our grand opening at 402 East Wilson Street!
Shortly before I left for my second international workshop with the Scott Robert community (this one actually outside of the US in Paris), Rebekah & I scheduled a fashion shoot to update her portfolio for eventual use in her marketing and on a new website. We went to work right away and called on Barb Zanzig of BZ Artistry, whom I’d met on my 27th birthday when she did a makeover for me at a MAC cosmetics counter. She had her own new studio space and is a very talented make-up artist. Then we contacted Rebekah’s hairstylist, Tony, who owns Hybrid Salon in Madison. He and his employee and friend Bradley came on board to make Rebekah’s gowns look fabulous. The shoot was scheduled. I came home from Paris filled to the brim with inspiration, and with a new idea: a Scott Robert one-day workshop in the Midwest! Rebekah’s collection shoot went so beautifully that I asked Barb, Tony, and Bradley if they’d come on board for the Chicago workshop. They sure did.
And yesterday arrived, and went wonderfully, and left me with yet another dose of inspiration. All of the work that my AMAZING style team and I put into making the shoot a success definitely paid off. At the end of the day, I stood back and surveyed the scene as the group wound up the shoot with some shots of the models and the Chicago skyline at dusk. I reflected on all of the little moments that brought me here, and a wave of gratitude washed over me. This unique experience was created not by me or Scott, but by the combination of everyone there. So many people that I am close to were involved in the long road map that lead us to that grassy park last night, and I tingle with excitement to wonder where else we are all headed next. And after that. And after that.
Picking Scott up at his hotel yesterday morning, I felt like I was hugging an old friend- and yet I’ve known Scott only 14 months. I wish I could tell the stories of how I met my dear friends Michelle and Stephanie, who were also part of the workshop and are also newer additions to my life and also feel like friends I’ve known forever. I wish I could ramble on about the new friends I made, too, because I am excited to know what adventures those new friendships will lead to.
Instead, I’ll close this long story with a wrap-up thought. I encourage you all to open yourselves to new friends, adventures, risks, & ideas- whenever, wherever, and however they arise. You never know how things will come together to create something new that is much more than the sum of its parts… Something that could change your life.
More images to come. Enjoy!