true you: authentic portraiture session #1

Myriam of Joy Spread the Word, and Jenijen of Not Calm (dot com)

So, I might have mentioned once or twice that I was quitting my job.  What I don't think I've told you is how I got to this decision about what I wanted to do when I grow up.

Obviously, I love photography.  I actually got into photography because I love faces, and wanted to be able to capture the beauty I see in the faces around me -- of family, friends, even strangers.  It's still my very, very favourite form of photography:  nothing excites me more then when I know I've captured an image that will offer the subject a glimpse of her spirit.  Taking a portrait is a very personal experience for me:  it feels intimate, and I'm always very grateful when someone lets me capture their image.  Shooting energizes me.  And the feedback that I generally get is that the images I take tend to capture the "real" person in front of the camera -- rather than posed and perfect images of physical characteristics, I think (hope?) I capture a small but perceptible peek at the subject's soul.

Even so, however, I've never wanted to be a full-time photographer. The reason is simple (if born of paranoia):  I never wanted photography to feel like a job.  Because I love taking pictures so much, I've always been afraid that if it became something I did eight hours a day, that it would lose its appeal for me. It would start to feel like a chore.  And besides, there are two other things I love to do:  I love to write, and I love to speak.  And I realized that if there was a way that I could make a living doing all three -- writing and/or speaking, using my photography as support of my words -- that I could work for the rest of my life and die a happy death.  And once I'd decided that, it was a matter of figuring out how to make it happen:  certainly writing articles and supplying images is the most obvious way (and one which I'd love to do), but also, I'm hoping to do some public speaking (while using my images as visual aids), and, of course, digital storytelling.

Nonetheless, I do love a good portrait, and in order to keep my portraiture skills sharp, I've decided that I'll schedule a few sessions every year for people who might be interested in having their pictures taken by me.  Again, I won't be doing this every day, maybe a few times a year.  And definitely, when I travel (to, who knows, wherever you might live, perhaps), I'll make sure to have a day or two set aside to take pictures of whoever might happen to be in town at that time, as well.

So, to start (and to hit the ground running with my business), I thought I'd open this up to anyone who lives in or around the Houston area.  The following are the deets:

true you*:  authentic portraiture session #1

what it costs:

$250  (this price contemplates one person.  Please e-mail me for prices of additional people.)

when it is:

Thursday & Friday, October 30 & 31, 2008

where it is:

Somewhere inside Loop 610, with good natural light.  Right now I'm thinking Memorial Park, but this may change.

what it is:

A one-hour one-on-one photo session with me.  We'll talk, laugh, shoot for an hour.  If you want to bring one change of clothes, that's fine (but remember, we'll likely be in a park, so you'll need to be comfortable changing in your car!).

what you get:

4x6 prints of all the really good images I take.  I can't tell you how many this will be, but if we shoot for an hour, you'll likely receive more than you'll know what to do with.  But wait, there's more!  I'll also give you a CD of all the same images, in high-res format.  You can do whatever you want with these images -- use them in Christmas cards, give framed enlargements as gifts, use them on resumes, as bio images on your blog, Facebook page, MySpace page, LinkedIn profile, Twitter avatar, whatever.  They're yours to keep.  I'd just ask, as a favour, that if you do put them on your blog, you link back to

how you get in on it:

if you're interested, e-mail me at chookooloonksATgmailDOTcom, with "true you" in the subject line.  I'll get back to you and we'll set something up.  Bookings will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.


So that's about it!  Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions, I'm happy to answer them.  And for those of you who aren't in Houston, but would be interested in a True You authentic portrait session, please feel free to let me know in the comments.  You never know:  if there's enough interest, perhaps I'll make a special trip to your city.

* * * * * * *

On another note: sincere thanks to all of you who've stuck with me through all these various changes in my life, and who take the moment to leave a comment or send me an e-mail encouraging me as I go forth with possibly my most dramatic adventure to date (save for motherhood, obviously).  It's so trite to say this, but you have no idea how much your comments and emails have meant to me these past few weeks,  particularly during those moments when I find myself second-guessing all my thoughts and decisions.  I really appreciate it.

Song:  Stayin' Alive, as performed by Wyclef Jean


Update:  My latest digital story has gone live.  Read more about it here.