How about a gig on the fly? Here’s how I was pulled into a cosmopolitan birthday party driving out of the woods, dressed accordingly.
With years, photographers collect curious stories to keep their listeners entertained. All sorts of stories. Some crazy situations arise from misunderstanding. One happened to me when a young lady requested an underwater shoot with her partner, omitting the word “maternity”. Of note, she was of that complexion when people are still careful with congratulating on pregnancy, risking to offend a plus-size lady. I photographed her trying to conceal the belly! The topic of pregnancy never came up. It was only after the shoot that I dared to ask her if she was pregnant. I had to enhance the photos to accentuate and enlarge the belly, the results weren’t bad at all.
Now to our cosmopolitan birthday party. There wasn’t much in common with the first story, just another type of misunderstanding. I’ll omit the details of the pre-party discussion and will fast forward to the past Saturday evening. I’m driving from Philadelphia suburbs where I shot a super sweet foliage engagement session. It’s been an intense driving weekend so far with another trip to NJ shore the next day (at the end, racked up 720 miles) and I was looking forward to getting home when I started getting concerned text messages if I was ok. They came from my friends at that party. Unbeknownst to me, they’ve been waiting for me. I didn’t have the studio lighting equipment for the fashion and art photography—something that floated around during the first conversation. Worse yet, I was dressed for the shoot in the woods where I climbed the rocks, kneeled and lay on the muddy ground, jumped over the creeks, threw the leaves around—wouldn’t bring my good clothes for that, right? Plus, I was 2.5 hours away from them and would hardly cover half of the party. Explained all of it and was still asked to come. They are my good friends so I obliged, of course.
And here I am, wearing baggy dirty clothes and a little stinky, entering a plush cosmopolitan birthday party in Marlboro, NJ, at a private estate. Not sure if everyone was clued into the situation but if they are reading this, that’s my story. I saw many friends and past clients there, and they helped me feel comfortable despite my late arrival and looks. Will include a few of their older photos at the end of the blog.
My clients are Lillian, a gorgeous businesswoman, designer, and president of Cosmopolitan Glass and Metal, and her 6-year-old daughter Gigi. Lillian is a Russian Korean who grew up in Armenia, speaking several languages. Yes, there are Koreans in Russia, and perhaps the most famous one is late rock singer Viktor Tsoi, the Soviet-era equivalent of Kurt Cobain who also died young. One of my past clients is also Russian Korean, whom I photographed several times, the latest during past summer ZORPHOTOUR for her underwater maternity in New Orleans, LA.
I found the party in its full swing. Being a double mother-daughter birthday, all ages were present — from little ones, to teens, to adults, and all beautiful at it! The decor, lighting, and entertainment were stylish as expected, all surrounded by Lillian’s stunning creations of glass and metal. DJ Johnny Versace rocked the house, singer Chaz Langley kept the party smooth and groovy.
Although we skipped the formal fashion shoot, Lillian brought us to her dressing room where we did an impromptu photoshoot with just one off-camera light at hand. As another artistic treat, she received an oil-painted portrait by Ruslan Musatov.
These photos ARE NOT the full set, just an abbreviated collection to keep the blog tidy. The full gallery will be released to Lillian in a few days so if you were a guest, contact her, please.
Click images for full size. Kindly refrain from re-uploading images to social media during the first week of feature. Share instead and give credit!
Here are the promised photos created for some of this cosmopolitan birthday party guests in the past: