I’m going to take you back in time…back to when my JDP senior Tad and JDP senior Shelby were in a elementary school and in a co-ed rec soccer program together. The year was 2010 and I was hot and heavy in starting a new business of photography because people liked what they saw that I created for my own family and wanted me to do it for them. I was completely overwhelmed and had no idea that getting paid for something you love to do is very, very different from running a business for that thing you love to do. I had just learned that the failure rate for a photography business was 85% and I wondered if I could beat those kind of odds. However, I knew a fire had been ignited in me that would not be easily quelled. I had visions for portraits I wanted to create and intense desire to grow in my craft (and still do today). So although the learning curve ahead of me was steep and seemed insurmountable at times, I was all in. That’s when I met Liz, Shelby’s mom.
While on the fields, Liz and I got to know one another and she wanted to see what I was creating. I shared with her my very first JDP senior, Lindsey, a dancer in red ballet shoes and she was enthralled. She’s never forgotten that portrait and has been following my work ever since. She reads our monthly newsletter with a glass of wine and is always eager to see what we’ve been up to over the last month. Incredible cheerleaders like Liz have been vital to the success of my studio over the years! I value her friendship, her opinion and her loyalty and they are a fuel to my creative process during the long late nights of work. Back in 2010, Liz told me when her son Blake was ready for senior portraits she was going to look me up and have me create for her. Two years later, she did just that and this is still one of my favorite basketball portraits I’ve ever created!
Liz asked if we could include Blake’s little sister Shelby in a small segment of his senior portrait time. Absolutely! Blake was teaching Shelby to golf at the time, so this is what we focused on between them. Liz put a story telling series of these on her walls and says she loves them as much today as she did when she hung them 7 years ago! She jokes the kids debate who gets what when they are passed on to them. While selecting her wall art of Shelby she said, “You know when I’m done hanging Shelby’s portraits, it’s only going to be your work of my kids and art work my kids have created on my walls! I just may never leave my house…I’m going to walk from room to room and admire my kids!”
So when it was time for JDP senior Shelby’s portraits, I asked Liz if she wanted to have Blake in a small segment to continue telling their story. Her eyes lit up and she readily began to work on Blake to encourage him to be a part. He happily obliged. We decided to feature their shared love of basketball! It’s clear Shelby and her brother share a close bond and they shared quite a bit of laughter while we created their portraits together!
Like so many competitive athletes today, Shelby has suffered more than her fair share of injuries related to the game. During an outdoor soccer game her freshman year, she tore her ACL. Her love of the game didn’t stop her from playing though. In fact prior to surgery, she played in a championship basketball game while also recovering from a sprained knee! She had her surgery, rehabbed and was back on the court to play the game she loves. Unfortunately though, during an indoor soccer game this last season, Shelby tore her other ACL and has surgery pending this August. This girl is one tough cookie!
Knowing the recovery road ahead of her and having torn both ACL’s, Shelby realizes her competitive sports career has drawn to a close. So how much more meaningful to lock down her love of the game in ways that will always take her back with smiles…and maybe a few tears…but so she always remembers.
As you can see we were all over place in creating for Shelby to mark this special time in her life. The heat and humidity that MD summers are always guaranteed to bring did not stop her from looking radiant outdoors!
Water is a re-occurring theme for me with portrait creation. The timelessness of it draws me every time! And fortunately my JDP seniors are drawn to it as well and don’t mind getting a little (or a lot) soaked!
Shelby, you were an absolute delight to create for! I can not wait till your mom texts me pictures of your portraits on the walls in your home! You are fierce, beautiful, kind and brave and the world awaits the impact your life will make! And welcome to the JDP senior model program dear! 😉