West meets East, US engages Russia, country invades city, retro fuses with modish—a lot can be said about this multicultural engagement session.
Meet Yelena, my Russian-Korean tough portraiture client with whom I’ve been working since 2009; one of her images firmly stuck in my “Best of” portfolio (left). Back in 2009 she put my team through a 15-hour marathon, but unlike my studio’s boudoir marathons, she was the only person getting all the attention. She surely participated in boudoir marathons as well, in 2010 and 2013! She was also a valued ambassador for the studio, bringing like-minded friends who were also going for all-day photography adventures.
Comes a day for her to reach me for a joyous need for an engagement session! By that time she had moved out from NY to live with her fiance Adam, a native of Texas. They planned a Christmas trip to NYC and took that opportunity to work with me. The city was one of the obvious themes, especially for Adam who has only been to NYC once before in his teens. Christmas decorations unavoidably (and merrily!!) made it to the background.
This photo session was another routine all-day adventure to her (poor Adam…) so we had plenty of time for various themes, feels, locations, and wardrobes. Sounds very much like her first photo session with me… Alas, the freezing-point weather kept them out for brief segments only, especially when they had to take their coats off for that Texan theme, kindly requested by Adam. We were supposed to go to a Texan restaurant that day but something did not work out. As a last-minute alternative, I brought them to a place that at least had words “Wild West” in it, albeit a playground on the west side of Central Park… Good thing we went there after sunset—Yelena dropped her phone during numerous coat on-and-offs and after returning to the hotel we noticed the loss and were able to track its location. With no kids in the cold park that late, the shiny iPhone was still on the ground an hour later for us to pick up.
Another portion of this stylish multicultural engagement session took place at the hotel, from its restaurant to the hallways where I was on the lookout for interesting props and backgrounds. Note the fashionable choice of the bride: they were all styled by her friend Olga Lomaka, an artist from Russia, whom I also had a pleasure to work with and had her photos published in a few beau monde publications.
At the end of the session, I brought them back into the room which they predictable kept downplaying due to its seeming ordinarity. As I say in such case, I don’t need a palace for interesting portraits.
So here’s my wild mix of portraits. I feel like this is a wonderful example of a multicultural engagement session, considering the mix of all details about them. Let I be forgiven by Adam: he possibly has as much to do with country and cowboys as I do, although my mother was a shepherd when little. He’s a cool modern professional and doesn’t he look like young short-haired Patrick Swayze in a couple of photos??
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