The awesome Diane.
Several months ago, my friend Heather Barmore posted a photograph of herself that I had taken on her blog. When I found that she'd posted it, I read through the comments, and came across one written by a woman saying that it had been a goal of hers to have me take her photograph.
Well, this seemed easy enough.
I emailed the commenter, Diane: "Hey," I said (or something like it), "I saw that you would like me to take your photograph. Will you be at BlogHer?"
She responded rather quickly, "I will!"
So I wrote back, "Great, then let's make this happen."
We made plans, with her insisting that she looks bad in photos (note: it is a rare person who actually believes s/he looks good in photos). She insisted so much, however, that I started to wonder what I was getting into.
Of course, as usual, there was absolutely nothing to worry about: photographing Diane was an absolute pleasure. The shot of Diane, above, is my favourite. As you can see, she is quite empirically beautiful. And she's as lovely on the inside as well -- I saw her several times over the weekend, and she was constantly making sure that everyone around her was okay, and having a good time. I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to get to know her.
The truth is that a couple of people had contacted me before BlogHer asking that I take their portraits. Since I'm working on collecting 1000 faces, if I have the time, I'm always happy to oblige. Britt, above, was one of them. I'd met Britt before at other social media conferences, but this was the first time that I was able to actually spend time with her.
The word that comes immediately to mind when you think of Britt is vivacious. She's so full of energy, and she's effusive and enthusiastic and being around her is like having a really good morning cup of coffee. She's lovely.
Angella is another person who asked that I take her picture, which I was happy to do, because she has such an amazing smile. She disagrees: she thinks too many lines in her face appear when she has a wide smile, I say those lines are a beautiful sign of a joyfully-lived life. Please tell her I'm right.
Speaking of joy, Yvonne is actually someone I contacted before BlogHer, because I wanted to photograph her. I was clicking through images on her Facebook page, and I was constantly startled by how luminous Yvonne's face looks when she's smiling or laughing. I emailed her and told her that I really, really wanted to photograph her while we were in New York, and she obliged. I showed up relatively unannounced to her hotel room, we shot right there, next to the window.
Isn't she just radiant? She looks like the sun to me.
As soon as we were finished, her roommate walked in.
I'd met Lena a few times before, but had never really spent time with her. This didn't matter: she walked in and greeted me like we were old friends, and God bless her, when I asked her if I could photograph her (what with me being there in her hotel room with my camera and all), she happily agreed. The shot above was one of the first images I took of her -- she was laughing at something that Yvonne was saying behind her.
I love people whose radiant smiles come easy, don't you?
After I finished shooting Lena, I left her and Yvonne alone to get some work done, and went downstairs to the main floor. The woman above walked past me.
"Oh, man, I love your hair," I said.
"Oh, thanks!" she smiled politely. "I enjoy it."
"Yeah, I occasionally think about locking my hair, but ..."
"Karen?" she interrupted me.
"Oh my gosh!" she laughed. "It's Nicole Blades!"
Nicole is someone I consider more of a Twitter friend than a blog friend -- she's always been incredibly kind and generous with her support of me on Twitter, often linking to me and encouraging me. I immediately hugged her, and she introduced me to her friend (shown below), whose name was ... Nicole.
"You're kidding me," I said. "You're both Nicole?"
"Yes," they said in unison.
"You know what my middle name is?" I smiled.
After a long protracted conversation about The Best Hair Products, I finally asked them both: "Would you mind if I took your picture?"
They readily agreed. I took Nicole Blade's photo, above, first ...
... and then Nicole Moore sat down.
"Wait, I want to put lipstick on." She reached into her bag, and grabbed a tube. While she was putting her lipstick on, Nicole Blades was talking, and Nicole Moore laughed. I snapped a few shots.
She returned her tube to her bag.
"I'm done," I said.
"What?" she was incredulous. "But, I'm ready now!"
"I'm done," I said. I showed her the photograph above.
"Oh wow," she smiled. "I guess you're done!"
For the record, that's the quickest I've ever gotten a shot. I'm feeling very smug about this.
After this, we went inside, and I ran into Ryan Marshall, one of my favourite photographers on the internet. He'd invited a few of us to lunch away from the hotel, and I'd entered the lobby just in time to meet them. Jenny went with us, as did J (of The BHJ fame) and the lovely Kate (of Sweet|Salty).
I had met J. previously last year at BlogHer '09 -- we were both participating in the Community Keynote address. But our meeting was really brief, so I was looking forward to getting to know him better this year.
J. is fantastic, and is the classic definition of the idiom "still waters run deep." He's soft-spoken, yet outrageous; has a wickedly keen intelligence and is clearly capable of seriously profound thought, yet he's also cripplingly funny. I found myself both intrigued and fully charmed by him, and feel like I've officially made a good friend.
Ah, Kate. Kate and I were both founding contributors for Shutter Sisters (she's still a contributor), and she's lovely and kind and delicate and strong and beautiful and ... well, she's just breathtaking. And while she's an incredibly talented photographer, she is a freaking brilliant writer -- really, seriously stunning. Her first novel, The Dread Crew, came out earlier this year, and she generously gave me a signed copy for Alex. The book is more properly intended for kids of about 10 or 11, I would say, and I started reading it on the plane -- it's exactly the kind of fantasy-filled adventure book that I loved reading at that age. I'm going to finish it, and then put it away for a couple of years until Alex is ready for it -- and then when I give it to her, I'll proudly declare that the author is a very sweet friend of mine.
The lunch that day, among the 5 of us, was silly and serious and funny and depraved and truly one of the highlights of my entire trip. I will be forever indebted to Ryan for putting together this lunch, and he confirmed my suspicion that his generosity and kindness knows no bounds. My biggest regret, however, is that I didn't get a portrait of him (despite his telling me that there was no way he was going to let me take it). But I love a challenge, and I love his face, so one day, I will. Oh yes. Oh yes, I will.
As we were all sitting there, enjoying each other's company, I kept noticing the amazing face of the waitress who was taking care of us. I had just about decided that I wouldn't bother her by asking if I could take her picture, when Jenny leaned over to me and whispered:
"Dude. You have to ask her if you can take her photo. She has the most awesome face."
So I did.
And with that, the final batch of beautiful faces tomorrow.
Images: All photos taken with my Nikon D300 and 50mm lens.