the end. and the beginning.

indeed, it's curtains for kerri hamilton, the commercial photographer, and braden was to be my last portrait. honestly, this is exactly the way i wanted it-to have the last session be with someone as passionate about life and the meaning of it as myself. i've learned over the last 19 years that i cannot create art pieces or visual markers in someone's memory if i do not understand or know them. you can't just pose people into models of their experience. where's the authenticity in that? i've known braden for about 7 years, and have come to get a better view of this incredible forward-thinking individual mostly in the past 2 years. he would not want me to talk about his AP tests, or his multiple college offers, or his various occupations, but i know he is thrilled about sharing his bfa decision at rider. he leaves in two weeks, which gives space for another local "idol" contestant, singer of the national anthem, fundraiser coordinator, show producer, dancer and performer in his wake. the ripples he has made in this local pond will continue to spread and i am delighted to be able to witness in the next few years which shores they reach. 

senior portraits should always include family, in my opinion. who are we without our families? 3 pm.
a few personal and sensitive moments with mom (braden's biggest fan and supporter) and dad (newly retired chief of police) 

braden expressed a strong desire to incorporate the bankhead theater in his portraits. thanks to his mom for coordinating this while i was away, we were able to use the building and its nooks and crannies as our backdrop. the space holds many many memories for braden. i only hope i delivered.

 about 1 1/4 hours into our session i took this rigging portrait. the halo, the rim light, the lines of his face, the contour and shape were the definition of my personal vision for this shoot. after this, i felt liberated to have fun and stress less. :)
up to the dressing roooms and that bank of lights.
 back down to the stage. the vertical, graphic lines of the rigging were too good to pass up. he knew he wanted those in his portraits and he was spot-on right. we just needed to light them.
 i always plan extra time into my sessions. (rule 1) inevitably, something will go wrong, be delayed, etc. however, we were not prepared for a 2 1/2 hour drive to the city. we barely made it to the golden gate before the sun was eclipsed by incoming fog. (rule 2: have a plan b.) 7pm.
 losing light fast here. making do and adding our own definition with off camera flash. our goal was to capture a bit of that iconic sf imagery.
 the next 7 shots are results of plan b: changing the location in the blink of an eye before the sun sets entirely. constantly moving. no daudeling.
avoiding random tourists with cameras is harder than you might think.

braden, the shot below is not the one as i asked you to do again. i couldn't tell from the small screen, but i actually got it the first time around. i love the movement, the beacon lights, the vertical lines and curving path, the bench a place to ponder? so subtle, yet i keep coming back to it. this is right after the first lumbering raccoon. 8:45 pm 
 you went WHERE?? asked my law-enforcement husband. yes, well, i now know what it is like to watch multiple drug deals, narrowly miss getting struck by a police car and two firetrucks, and to squeeze a shot in between said drug deals, a light pole to the right and a fire hydrant to the left, all while watching my back. i fired 4 shots blind before calling it. this is what we got before a brisk retreat past the prostitutes, crazed drug addicts talking to themselves and dumpster diving, back to the cash-only garage. truly: once in a lifetime. only for you braden. (mom and dad this was braden's idea!)he was right though. the mural was awesome. 9:30 pm
 7 hours into our session. hungry. peering out through the "M" of the macy's sign at the top of union square in space roughly 3'x3'. get your orders in as the bakery is about to close. cheese cake factory. 
10:30 pm.
 we've lost a flash to a puddle in union square. at some point i drop a transceiver too. we are so tired things are registering in slow motion until we hit treasure island, back the car into our chosen location and the wind hits us full speed. sarah mans a flash to the right, braden balances on the brick wall and i perch with tripod from the tailgate of the car to capture a few shots. the biting wind revives us for the ride home, whereupon we arrive at 1:30 am.
this session marks an end for one of us and a beginning for the other. the funny thing is, braden, you asked if i had a most memorable session. i think you just experienced it. 
up, up and away! love you! 
(the full proof gallery is HERE)