Life mentor. What face comes to mind when you hear those words? I see several. But one in particular takes me back to when I was 17. Already passionate for photography, I had just set up my first dark room and was snapping pictures all of the time. I met professional fine art photographer, William Skees. He needed a model for a few shoots and invited me to join him. He was very professional, and since I was under age, my mom needed to accompany me. This was the start of several years of working together in many creative shoots and we became great friends. We would discuss photography, light, life and art.
What always amazed me about Bill was his ability to do whatever he wanted in life. Reinventing himself over and over. He first set out as an author and wrote about computers, before we all had them in our homes. Then at one point he wanted to live on a boat, so he and his wife Carol, did just that. In fact they even raised their son as a baby on a sailboat. When I met him, he had set his sites on being a fine art photographer. After several years of art shows and published work, he moved on to other things. Moving to a ranch out west, more sailing, writing a handful of novels, and recording music with the best audio interface. Just two weeks ago, I reconnected with my dear friend for the first time in a few years. He and Carol are currently cruising all over the world to many exotic places... teaching and directing bridge. Bill is someone who knows how to live life to the fullest! Whenever I am unsure of the possibilities that life holds, I think of Bill and the doubts fall away.
During our recent email exchanges, Bill asked me if he could send me his archived images and contact sheets from our sessions. The box arrived today. Containing hundreds of working contact prints and hand printed 8x10s. When I was pregnant with my oldest son, we did a series and captured each month. This was before maternity photography was a 'trendy' thing to do, well before digital photography had become main stream. Back when every time you pushed the shutter, you had to process that image in some way...more than looking on the back of the camera, or on a computer monitor. Lighting, posing and camera settings had to be planned and methodically thought out. Test shots were taken with a Polaroid camera. As I flip through these images, they bring back so many memories. Back to when I was just learning about light and photography, not knowing that my teenage passion would become my profession and livelihood. When my adult life was just starting to take form. When my body had not yet changed from having children. Back then, I did not realize how much impact these sessions and my time with Bill would have on my life. I am forever grateful for the time he invested into our friendship and art.
In the eight years that I had my portrait studio, and two years since then, I have always invested time into teaching others, especially teenagers that were wanting to learn the craft of portrait photography. Having at least a dozen high school and college interns in those years, several have become dear friends. I am excited to host a portrait workshop in a couple weeks and begin a mentoring program in the coming months. If you are interested in staying informed with the mentoring and educational programs that I will be offering, please make sure that you are on my email list.