The Blog

Ties, Frogs, Mustaches and Pumpkins

I know, sounds like some sort of witches brew to ward off evil, but instead it was just the right ingredients for a great shoot.  Meet Lincoln.  The only thing cuter than his costume was his smile. . . .

by Michael Clemens

1 year later . . .

Almost a year to the day of shooting the Gallagher Family's "Day in the Life", I had the pleasure of shooting a family portrait session with them. 

They are as charming as ever, and I didn't think it was possible, but they've only gotten even more photogenic. 

In just one year, these kids already look so much bigger and older (and learned the act of photo bombing :) )

Having done a "Day in the Life" for them , I feel as though I'm a small part of the family.

I look forward to continuing to see this family grow and evolve and capture them in photographs for years to come. 

 

Portrait of a Family . . .

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Families all have their own stories.  I had the pleasure of shooting the Barnett family.  This mom and her two boys have been through so much.  Mom has fought Cancer for years going through extensive treatments and pain.  If you've read any of my blog, you probably know that I have lost everyone to Cancer (for the record, I hate the I have to capitalize Cancer, as though giving it some "respect") .   Anyway, none of the tens of people in my life who have had a cancer diagnosis has turned out positive.  Although the Barnett's are not my family, I had this wave of hope when hearing that Mrs. Barnett is now cancer free.  To me, it's as foreign as if you told me aliens have landed and living in my back yard.   And all the time this single mom has had an incredible and positive attitude. With the boys having to be the men of the house and take care of so much, they have both stepped up at a young age and carried a lot on their shoulders.  I feel so honored to have shared this time with them and was part of documenting their history. 

"Day in the Life" - Schroeder Family

Another "Day in the Life", another incredible family.  As a gift to his wife, Dad bought a "Day in the Life" photo essay for his wife for her birthday.   This was a jam packed, morning to night, event filled day.  I don't know how they do it.  After looking back at this book, and all the different activities, places and things, I'm exhausted! These kids were amazing.  So polite, smart, respectful to everyone, and smiles on their faces.  This day reminded me why saving these moments are so important.  They go by in a an instant.  The days are about "Go! Go! Go!", and by the time you have a moment to breathe, you get to start all over again the next day. 

Lovin' the Lovins

Got to see some good friends that we haven't seen in a while this weekend.  It's incredible to see their pair of twins after a year.  That time between 3 and 4 years old shows such a monumental leap from baby to kid.  All the personality and vocabulary and just overall confidence shows through. . . well, you be the judge . . . 

Welcome Darcy J.

Here are a few shots from a photo session I just did of the 1 day old Supermodel Darcy J.   It's been a while since I've had babies this little and you forget just how small and fragile and dependent on you they are. 

C o n g r a t u l a t i o n s   L e s l i e   a n d   T o b i n   !

shooting friends . . .

Recently, I've done a lot of shoots for friends.  It's truly one of the most difficult things for me to do for several reasons.

1.  I want every single image to be better than the next.  I want each one to be that magical kind that you hope for once or twice a year, except I was EVERY one to be that way.

2.  I want the family feel like they are doing it because they like my work, and not feel "obligated" because I'm a friend.

3.  I want them to take away from the shoot images that are going to be special for years to come.

Well, I received this email after delivering images from my latest "friend" shoot.

I'm speechless. . .

______________________

wow.

these surpass even what i had imagined they would be, and i pride myself on my imagination.

#1 i know you spent too much time on these.  i just know it. 

#2 location, light, lens are *such* good choices, clemmy, but it's your artistic hand that makes these moments in time so special.

wow.  i can't tell you how happy i am to be a part of my family in (some amazing) photos.

you know how it is....0.2% of my family photos have me in them.  i only wish i could return the favor to you...

you've given me and my family a very special gift.   these are legacy photos, clemmy.

you remember that photo of your grandma, or mom, or any other loved one...on the wall in your place growing up,

on your grandma's shelf?   my kids are going to have a few of your photos in their minds forever(!)

a photo of yours is going to be the one they remember hanging on their wall growing up.

you might have heard it from every person you've taken pictures of, but that's only because it's true.

you might think i speak in hyperbole (i've been known too), but i believe what i'm saying.

i was a big fan, but now i'm a true believer.

i'm no longer on the sidelines, i'm there.

clemmy, i can't thank you enough for sharing, not only your time with us, but your gift.

terp (and the other terps)

by Michael Clemens

steps away

I have had a lot of loss in my life. . .

My father died of Cancer when I was 9, my Mother, when I was 24, my little sister when I was 39.  Not to mention aunts , uncles cousins, and one of my closest childhood friends that I grew up with.

During all this loss, there was always a woman who was there for me.  She was like a 2nd mom to me. . . Sharon Felder.

Sharon was a young 20 year old that lived above our family when I was a little boy.  Little did I know what a huge part she'd play in my life.  When my father got sick and passed away, my mom relied on Sharon to watch me and my little sister.  Ever since then, Sharon has been there for everything.  I saw her get married and have 3 children, she threw welcome parties for my babies, she always checked in on my sister and I to make sure we were alright.

Sharon was the one who introduced me to the director I ended up working for for 6 years .  That was one of the most exciting times in my life.  Being on set of major motion pictures, traveling around the world, meeting the biggest celebrities, and having a job with a lot of responsibility.  All along, Sharon was in the next office planning all the big events for the company.  Her sense of style was immeasurable.  There was nobody that cared more about you than Sharon.  All the while, she would look out for me like I was another one of her children.

When my sister got sick, she wasn't able to work.  Sharon had told my sister's story to one of the most generous women I've ever met.  Her name was Linda Adams .  Linda ended up paying for ALL my sister's expenses so she could focus on her treatment and make an attempt to get better.  It was the single most generous things I've ever seen.  Sharon was the one who orchestrated all of this setting up a new apartment for her with all the furnishings.  She even made shirts for everyone that said "Team Marni".

My sister passed away, but her last years were certainly better for having Sharon and Linda in it.

A few years ago, I got word that Sharon, the last person / family member from my childhood, has Cancer.

This was just 2 years after my sister passed away from the same disease.

I was rocked.  It took me a few weeks , but then I called Sharon on my way home from work one day, and spoke to her for nearly my entire hour commute.  Well, talking is a loose description.  I could barely get any words out between all my crying.  I didn't want to do that to her, but I couldn't help myself.  But of course, in typical Sharon fashion, she tried to make me feel better.

She was very positive and said she was going to fight this.  I was certainly glad to hear how positive she was, but I also heard some fear in her voice for the first time.

I've never had Cancer turn out positively for anyone close to me.  I was truly hoping for the best.

I've not been one to handle things like this very well.  With EVERY person I lose, it doesn't get any easier. . in fact it has gotten nearly unbearable to deal with.

Months went by and I hadn't talked to Sharon.  I couldn't do it.  Selfishly, I couldn't bear to hear her voice knowing she was stricken with this terrible disease.

So I waited. . .

and waited. .

and waited. . .

I would get updates from my step sister that Sharon came to her little girl's birthday party.  I would hear updates from former co-workers that they had a shopping outing.  etc. . .

It has now been 2 years later.

I don't get back to Los Angeles much anymore with the craziness that all our lives become, especially after having kids.

Well, I had to go to Los Angeles for work for 3 days.  I stayed in Burbank. . . 15 minutes from Sharon's house.

I said to myself. . . I need to go see Sharon.  The first night, I saw a friend for dinner who lived walking distance to my hotel.

The 2nd , and last night, I said . . . " I have to go see Sharon tonight".  I got knots in my stomach.

After work I went back to my hotel and sat there for an hour contemplating what I should do.

I got in my car, drove to her house, and sat out front.  I must have sat there for 2 hours. . .scared, crying, frustrated, angry.

I was hoping someone would come outside and see me so that I would be forced to make contact.

After my 2 hour struggle, I started my car, drove back to my hotel, and went to sleep.

3 weeks later, Sharon passed away.

I had no idea she was that ill when I was "feet" away from her.  I want to think that if I had known, I would have gotten out of my car. . .but I didn't.

If I had just knocked on the door.

I went to the funeral which was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.  Hearing stories of Sharon, seeing photos, and seeing her family made my selfish, childlike behavior hurt even more.

There have been plenty of things I wished I had done in my life, but none will live with me everyday the rest of my life like this one.

by Michael Clemens

Remembering Sammy

I was asked by some friends to take some photographs of their family dog because he was getting so old, they didn't know how long he would be around.  What I didn't know, is that they may actually be needing to put him to sleep.  Seeing this sweet old dog just tore my heart out.  We went outside to get some shots, and this poor ol guy stumbled and struggled just to get down one stair.  All of a sudden, a quick afternoon shoot for a friend became much more important.  This was going to be documenting a "family member" for possibly the last time.  I'm now possibly responsible for how he was to be remembered.  Pictures are said to be worth a thousand words, but after taking these, only one comes to mind. . . goodbye.

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