Telling stories. It’s how we share with each other what is important, what matters. PICTURE THIS! is our monthly newsletter bringing you ideas, announcements, and inspirations. Because I find inspiration from the people I photograph I am beginning a new addition to my monthly newsletter, the Client Spotlight. Wishing you a blessed February!
Scroll down for this issue:
1. February: Client Spotlight *
2. Monthly Must-Have: ALBUMS
3. Sure Shot Tips!
5. Framing the View
1. February's Client Spotlight: Rev. Kenneth I. Lewis
I woke up today and that gives me hope. It means I have another chance to make a difference or to make a change.
~ Reverend Kenneth Lewis, Green Memorial AME Zion Church, Portland
Several years ago, I found myself at the doorstep of a church resonating with lively, joyful music and a preacher whose voice commanded attention and whose words provided inspiration. Since then, Reverend Lewis continues to be a spiritual anchor for me and so many others; it is why I want to introduce him in this month’s client spotlight.
Rev, as I and some others affectionately call him, is simply a wealth of knowledge and experiences. His is a guidance that is not directive or problem solving, rather he seeks to support each of us in arriving at the answers to our own questions. He heralds a social gospel that seeks civic and political engagement and that encourages us to be present with each other. COME STAND WITH ME, DON’T TALK FOR ME is a message that reflects the foundation of his work: speak resistance, struggle, and truth to power and be a strength to your community.
The history of the Green Memorial AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Zion Church really parallels this life approach. Originally founded as a mission in 1891, the AME Zion church-- named for Moses Green, an escaped slave--was a haven for the African-American community in Portland. It quickly outgrew the missionary model and the church made plans to set its proverbial roots on Munjoy Hill, completing construction in 1914 by blacks with black money. This church still serves as a community hub on its original foundation, but now hosts a faith community that is the most diverse in the state of Maine and in the AME Zion church globally.
In January, I asked the Rev to speak to the importance of black history month. He remembers Black History Week as a youth and he recalls when it became a longer national observation as Black History Month. As long as we need to have special month for it, he says, until it is integrated into our education, black history month is important for all people in America.
And yet, Reverend Lewis remains steadfastly hopeful because of the experiences and exposure in his historically African-American congregation and most importantly his faith. Green Memorial AME Zion now stands as an example of how love and faith can blossom when we embrace each other and our differences.
On a cold wintry morning in January, my sister Sheryl and I met with Ken at his place of work in downtown Portland to talk with him for this blog post. Because February is Black History month, it only made sense to me to start my new client Spotlights with a living source of black history himself. While we were entering the MaineHealth building, Sheryl remarked that she had always wanted to know what the inside looked like, and visiting Ken's office was on her to-do list to do while working for the Maine public health department. That was before her career took a 360 and she began working for her me. We spent two hours talking with Rev. I had a lot of questions and he had a lot of answers and a lot of stories. It wouldn't have been difficult to listen longer, but meetings and life had to resume. In that two hour pause and introspection, we bring you the Many Hats of Rev. Kenneth I. Lewis.
2. The MONTHLY Must Have: ALBUMS - to have and to hold...
There is truly nothing quite like having a custom printed album in your hands to share with friends and family. Whether you had a photo session with Sharyn or another photographer, it's never too late to take your digital images and have them printed into an heirloom quality book. Albums make great ANNIVERSARY gifts, even if it's been a while since your wedding day. Check out ourpost about ALBUMS for more details and to take advantage of our VALENTINE'S DAY special! (expires 2/28/18)
Schedule an album consultation with me via email or phone today!
Want an easy way to increase your chances of your camera and images to be returned to you if it is lost --or worse yet-- stolen? These tips will take you no more than 10 minutes if you do them all. And doing at least one of these suggestions is better than doing none.
#1 Put your name and phone on your SD card with a permanent marker. Takes less than 1 minute.
#2 Enter your name through the menu of the camera. It is located where you set the date and time. Takes 5 minutes to navigate and thumb in.
#3 Make sure you inscribe your name and number with a permanent marker INSIDE your camera bag flap.
Remember, a police officer would look to contact you and a criminal would not.
Finally, in the event of the worst case scenario, you never get it back and you need to make an insurance claim. Be sure to save the serial number, make and model of your camera along with the receipt (or where and when you purchased it). This takes less than 2 minutes.
Don’t believe that this really helps? Well, it really does. Let me tell you a story...
On beautiful evening one May in 2009, I am out photographing a bride and groom and their wedding party at Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth. We are getting shots here and there trying to squeeze in as many as we can before heading to the reception in the Old Port. In my normal manner, I don’t want to line up and take everyone’s image in the same exact location and background, so we are moving here and there and everywhere.
At this time I am shooting with My D2x, my Fuji s5 and my d700. My assistant has the Nikons. I ride with the couple in the limo, while my assistant and second shooter take a separate car. At the reception, I set up my lights and begin taking portraits with a beautiful natural light location in the venue. As I then prepare for the inevitable joyful dancing, I look for my D2x. It is NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.
My heart racing, my blood pressure rising, I ask my assistants "Where is my D2x?" as it is part of their job to keep track of my gear.
I get blank stares and an "I don’t know, have you looked here?"
Yes, I had looked there that is why I am asking them where it is! Can you just picture the rush of emotions right then? Whew!
Benn, dear Benn, in a panic suddenly says "Oh no! maybe I left it at the park? I will go back and check. Oh, I am so sorry." As Benn is en route to the park, we get a phone call from the Cape Elizabeth Police Department. Someone had turned in a camera and they found my number on the SD card and called! Luckily, we got our camera back that night.
Now, I am telling you that as a professional you should not worry that your images could get lost. I shoot tens of thousands of images every year and only have had a few close calls. Knock on wood, I plan to keep it that way! I make it very easy for a good to person to return my equipment to me should it EVER get in the wrong hands. I want you to do the same, too. I know your images mean a lot to you and I never want you to lose them or your gear. Ever. Heed these simple tips to help keep your camera found!
YOUR VOICE is important to us! Please leave comments or your thoughts on this and any of our journal entries! We want to hear from you!
SHOUT OUT TO ALL SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS AND ENTREPRENEURS! Having beautiful and professional images of your business, your team, and your products or services can boost revenue. This is a great time of year to book photo sessions for your company, especially with the special I am running now through March. Take a moment and check out our packages for small businesses and make your marketing shine!
WHAT'S NEW WITH THE FAMILY... It has been a rather strange winter so far, but I have been assured that we're in the home stretch to spring. My sister has been keeping me updated on wrestling stats for both of my nephews and I had the chance to spend a Saturday watching them. Jakob, the high school senior, just won his conference championship as the heavyweight, and I know both boys will be contenders as Regional and State Championships are coming up. For more pictures of wrestling, check out my album on Facebook!
My daughter performed in her first middle school concert this January along with the school band and 6th grade chorus. What a jump in music ability from previous years. It was a joy to watch.
With the start of the trimester, I have a new class of kids for dance instruction at the Waldorf School in town. We're preparing the first ever public performance on March 22nd. I will have 18 students dancing a bachata routine to kick off the Maine Coast Waldorf School annual Coffee House! Follow me on Instagram and FB fMi.
5. Framing the View: A Little History About Sharyn
February is a special month for me. It is a time I share and learn alongside my bi-racial daughter, about Black History Month. In the month of February we return to my daughter's elementary school and read to the second and third classes great real life stories of Americans and our history. For many of these students there is not much if any interaction with minorities. It is something for a 3rd grade child to raise their hand and ask " What does desegregation mean?" To see the world through the eyes of a child is inspiring to me. If you have had me photograph your family, you may recognize how much I appreciate children.
I have had the privilege myself as fate would have it, to find I was a minority in predominantly all black neighborhoods throughout my 20's. Being an artist, it is easy to find oneself not fitting into any one particular group, and having the calling upon the heart to answer to the heart. One of these learning experiences was living in Prospect Heights Brooklyn in the 1990's. I have since reflected upon the importance of that time for me. At the time I moved in I believe there was one other white person on that block, they lived across the street from my building for a while. Sometimes I felt like an outsider, but in time common ground was found as others were as curious about me as I with them. There I found a sense of community on that one block that I had never experienced. It serves as a special place in my heart. The neighborhood has since changed, with only a few familiar faces left. I believe the term is gentrification. I wonder where blocks upon blocks of people who lived there are gone to now. I didn't know them all of course, but simply walking down the streets and seeing the faces of those there now, I know in 25 years, a lot has happened in Brooklyn. I believe Black History is important.
Being an artist, I work from the heart. Being an artist, I am constantly wanting to learn, to teach, and to share. Which is why I am starting a new segment to my monthly newsletter called Client Spotlight. In fact, newsletter sounds to dull for what I want to do, which is share enriching stories of those who paths cross mine, sharing them with you. What inspires me daily to be a photographer are people's stories--and everyone has a story. Starting this month, I will begin my client spotlight with Rev. Kenneth I Lewis, pastor of the Green Memorial AME Zion Church in Portland Maine. I have photographed Rev. Lewis many times in many capacities, he is a man who wears many hats! Be on the look out for this month's new Client Spotlight Feature.