This year I am photographing the Carolina Performing Arts as they celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Rite of Spring, which took place on May 29th, 1913 in Paris. They are many important parts to this photo story- the artists, the work itself, the hours of rehearsal, the venerable Memorial Hall, and the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But none of this art would be seen without the hardworking staff at Carolina Performing Arts.
The image above shows the artist team outside the green room in the wee hours of the night after the Yo-Yo Ma concert in September of 2012. I remember how tired I was at that point. I can only imagine how they felt! Recently I had the pleasure of photographing this fabulous artist team at Memorial Hall. From left to right below, Tiffany Gay, Marnie Karmelita, Sarah Mixter and Erin Hanehan handle and care for the artists that present work for Carolina Performing Arts. These ladies endure long hours in high heels and always seem to have a smile on their faces and a joke at the ready. These images were shot for an upcoming article that will focus on a week in which they all worked more hours than they thought humanly possible. Thanks, ladies, for always smiling and being so great to work with!
You may see the WHOLE STORY here.
Recently I had the honor of taking photographs for the Hospice of Wake County annual report. They are an organization of incredible people who help families through the death of a loved one with grace and dignity. It became apparent to me how special this place was when I met with Michael Blanchard, the Vice President of Development, to plan our shoot. As Michael explained it, hospice is about peace, comfort and hope for patients and their families. Everything from the design of the facility, to the artwork that adorns the walls and, especially, the people who work and volunteer there, reinforces this notion. So my goal became to create visuals that communicated this feeling of comfort and hope and to give viewers an insight into the unique people that make hospice what it is today. Thank you so much, Michael Blanchard, for asking me to work on this project and a huge thanks to Linda Noble who designed the report. You know I always love to see how you work your magic! Here are my favorite parts of the report.
Judy and I had dinner last evening with friends and they both told me how much they had enjoyed the Annual Report. We had not received ours yet, so I didn’t know exactly how to respond – except to say thank you. This AM, a colleague walked into my office with the report in hand, to tell me what a beautiful document it is. She was particularly impressed with the “In Their Own Words” portions and the visuals. She appreciated the focus on mission and stories, instead of “dollars”. She receives reports from many organizations, but said she was “riveted” by the stories. Of course, I stopped what I was doing to read it and found my eyes welling up with tears. Maybe I just have too much invested here, but it was a very powerful message and I congratulate all the people who contributed to making this report happen. It should be a very useful piece of communication for the coming year.
I have never seen a more appropriate report from our Foundation, Mike; this is a high water mark for us and I’m not saying this because my name and picture are prominent (really!).
By Kristin Prelipp Oguntoyinbo
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Some gardeners know how to gently coax life out of even the most delicate plant. They study the soil, the available light, a plant’s specific needs and even give plant food and sprays to keep their plants healthy. My kind of gardening would be opposite of that. It could be called survival of the fittest gardening! I love my plants but once they are in and established they either need to thrive or they will be replaced. I will weed and mulch the beds but I don’t water and I rarely fertilize. So my favorite plants are made for our climate and are hardy as well as beautiful. I want to talk about my two favorite April plants today.
Kerria Japonica is not very common. I see a ton of forsythia, which is also yellow and blooms at the same time, but this plant, called The Japanese Yellow Rose, is overlooked. The branches have a weeping willow feel to them and the yellow blooms last for weeks. I have both the “Plenaflora” and the “Honshu” variety, but prefer the former. When mature this deciduous shrub is 3 to 5 feet in height. I have heard that some Kerria plants rebloom off and on all summer long but I have not seen this. Perhaps it is because I don’t baby them enough. They like well-drained soil and perform best in partial shade. Below are three photos of this magnificent plant.
Azaleas are very popular here. When I bought my home 11 years ago there were 20 azaleas bushes in the yard. They have all thrived with little care. Every April they bloom, turning my yard into a wonderland. Azaleas are in the genus Rhododendron. They are generally healthy, long-lived plants when their basic requirements are met. They like well-drained soil and partial shade to full sun. To see if you have well drained soil, dig the hole and fill it with water. If the water has not drained out of the hole within one hour, the soil is poorly drained. It is best to trim your azaleas right after they bloom. Here are three photos of some of azaleas in my yard.
Thanks for reading! I am always looking for great photo stories to tell in the Chapelboro area. Just write to me with any questions.
Recently I had the opportunity to spend a whole day photographing cakes and other wedding treats. Southern Bride and Groom asked me to photograph some of the best area bakers work at the King’s Daughter’s Inn in Durham, North Carolina. The incredible setting really led the way for our shoot! Donna Parks, Jenna Parks Olender, Tracy Adams and I had so much fun wandering the Inn to look for the perfect room for each cake. Each and every room is decorated completely differently and all with incredible style! If only I could channel some of this into my own home. And after a long day shooting the cakes we were able to taste some as well. In particular, the kids and I really enjoyed the cupcakes! Thanks to everyone who participated in the shoot.
One of the best things about being in business for a long time is getting to photograph clients multiple times. It always feels like seeing an old friend. I love catching up! I had last photographed Tatyana Stewart Feeney when I shot her wedding back in 2001 at La Rez in Chapel Hill. After the wedding she moved to Ireland with her husband, Niall. They have two children and almost always make their way back to Chapel Hill to visit with friends and family each summer. Tatyana is an illustrator and has been getting quite busy in her work. So she needed a great head shot. She is a self-described shy person and was not really looking forward to being photographed. Almost everyone confesses to me that they are dreading their photo shoot and that they don’t take good photos. I always reply, “Well, you just haven’t met the right photographer.” It is my job to see your best angles, find the best light and to make you feel comfortable so your personality shines through. Not to mention I truly believe everyone has many beautiful things about them. It is my mission to find those qualities and bring them out in images. For Tatyana, she has such a wonderful smile and gorgeous hazel eyes.
To get ready for the shoot I always ask what kind of photograph they are hoping for. Tatyana said she wanted it to look very natural, almost as if it were just a snapshot taken at a family event. She wanted it to be outside rather than in the studio. I asked her to bring several outfits. I figure since you are taking the time to do this we may as well end up with several different looks to use for various occasions. That way you will not have to take another headshot for many more years. Above is the first outfit. In the beginning of a shoot I ask my clients view the images on a large screen television so I can get used to what they like and dislike. Most people have a “best side” and do not even know it!
Then we switched to a different outfit and went by the hydrangea bush.
And, finally, she tried on one last outfit and we headed for the shade. This whole process took less than an hour. I truly hope that people actually enjoy their photo session and that these are images that they will be proud of for a long time. Thanks for coming, Tatyana, and congratulations on ten years of marriage!!! I would love to meet Juliette and Fion next time around!
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