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This is my journey. This is what I see. I am a wife, a mother, an artist. I am on His path.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Adventures with the Man Child - Senior Pictures with Ben Shirk!

The difference between getting photos for girls and boys. Girls love to dress up, put on make-up, do the foo foo thing.....

        .......boys, ah, no.  I really didn't know what to expect with the Man Child. He is always behind the curtain on stage or up in the tech booth pushing buttons and switches.  He does not like to be in the limelight AT ALL.  Then the Blue Hair announces, "It's picture time! It IS your senior year and we WILL get photos!"  The look on his face....well, there was no look. It was that mouth hanging open, blank stare thing with small utterance of, "Wha.....no, nope, don't wanna......"

Man Child is the one that always faces backwards in our family photos.  He told me that he hasn't brought home the envelope from school pictures for the past seven years.....huh, that explains why I have no pictures of him!

I gave Ben Shirk of Shirk Photography a call*.  We talked about fifteen minutes in the initial call. Ben does a great job getting a feel for what you are looking for, but most important, the personality and likes of his subject.  We even received a questionnaire for Man Child to fill out with his likes and dislikes listed. In his personality profile for Ben, Man Child said his least favorite feature was.....his face.  This should have been a red flag right there.  I was a little nervous. I really didn't know what to expect out of the Man Child.  I had this image in my head of a mass lump in the middle of the photography studio.....he's a boy! We should poke him with a stick....

By the way....this is child number two for me at Ben's studio.  Frog had a BLAST at her senior photo session (she graduated in 2012). She saw a photo that Ben did with a couch in the middle of a huge field and the princess power clicked.....she had to have her photos there.  He captured exactly what she wanted....vintage!

So, off we went.

We were greeted in studio, bright and early with everything the Man Child owns. We learned from that experience with Frog....take everything, and just a few more props. Nope, take a lot of props. If you like it, if you collect it, take it....you might just use it.

Ben has an awesome eye to put whatever you bring into a situation.  We brought about twelve possibilities of complete outfits for a four outfit session.  He started asking what were favorites of the Man Child and shifting a moving layers around.  We had our final four outfit choices and the ideas were clicking in Ben's head.

The morning was gorgeous and we set out the door of the studio immediately to catch the incredible clouds in the sky.

I do need to interject the sadness of the trip ..... the one "prop" we had hoped to have with us....the Man Child's "new" truck.

The "new" truck was left at home for the photo shoot.

He has worked hard to get this truck in the driveway, and we thought it was up and running....until the fuel pump started leaking. We determined it wasn't safe for him to drive it the thirty miles to Wilton, but Ben had some ideas of places he knew had old cars and trucks parked in fields.

We set off for one farm and hit.......the mother load!  There were Internationals everywhere! Man Child had his pick of a dozen vehicles and pieces sitting around the farmer's pastures.

We even had an audience.
It was International Heaven in the middle of a sheep pasture! Ben seems to have a great relationship with his neighbors in Wilton.  He told me he only found this site a year or so ago. There are hidden treasures all over....if you just slow down and look.  The thing that slowed him down? A chimney standing by itself in a pasture. That is when he saw all of the trucks...what a find! 

Talk about commitment to your client....Ben was willing to
get down and dirty in the sheep poo to get that perfect shot!
Ben was always looking for the color....the textures....
...the angles....to fit his subject's personality!

What did I tell you about those clouds!
It was a perfect day!
Always showing those great shots to Man
Child as we went along...love the attention
to detail and the quest for feedback!
We got some other great shots in different locations, along with a "costume change" in the truck before we headed back to the studio for some of the more traditional shots.

Man Child all suited up!  Thank you
to Men's Wearhouse for a great suit!
We got a few traditional shots to make the Blue Hair in me and the Yearbook happy....and then it was back to some fun shots again.  Ben was constantly on the move, shifting lights, chairs, pianos.....

It was hard to get a shot that
Ben wasn't a blur of motion.

My novice shot of the action....

"Hey - let's stand on the
piano for the next shot!" 

How about some moody jazz shots....
or some jazzy mood shots!
.....and for a finale.....do you want to do anything else?  A trampoline......
      ......what Man Child doesn't want to jump on a trampoline in a suit!

Time to get comfy again and pack everything up. Man Child and I set out for a quick lunch and about an hour later received a text that the photos were ready for viewing.  An hour!  This is one of those awesome perks the Ben is offering for time.  Time that Man Child didn't have to take off work again. Time that I didn't have to lose from vacation....precious time.

It was very difficult to narrow down the photos that we wanted to keep. If I could afford ALL the images, I would have them. Every one a piece of art...and they were still in raw form.  I can't wait for that email that the proofs are ready.  To see all of the images we picked in a clean format with some fun Photoshop opportunities in a couple of the shots.  And I can't wait to see the new piece of art for my wall.

Man Child - I hope you had fun stepping out of your comfort zone for a day. I hope this isn't a once in a lifetime event for you. You need to step into the spotlight a little more often.  You are a bright light in my life.


Thank you for helping my son step out from behind the theatre curtain to show off a little of his sunshine in the lens of your camera. You have a gift in bringing out individual personalities in your portraits.  After the fun of the photo shoot, your patience is gold, dealing with crazy Blue Hair Mamas and what they want and what they can budget for.  You make the selection process fun and easy. I wish I could get every single image that you took because they are all winners in my photo album.  Thank you, thank you, thank you..... for the most wonderful day in your studio. I know the Man Child had a blast.

The Blue Hair Wannabe

*By the way....I love going to Shirk Photography! Check out his website and his images online by clicking on the studio link highlighted.

Ben Shirk is located in Wilton, Iowa and is a three time PPA Iowa Photographer of the Year and a three time PPA International Photographer of the Year.  In other words......he is fabulous!

A big thank you to Ben Shirk for allowing me to photograph and blog the Man Child's adventures in today. It is a great opportunity and, I think one of my favorite things to do, is to watch Ben work.

His creative force is massive.
His smile is infectious.
He is an artist with his camera!

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