Headshot

Portraits of British writer and jazz musician, Dominic Green

Writer and jazz musician, Dominic Green, was one of the most delightful people I've had the good fortune to photograph – a mix of self-deprecating good humor, wickedly keen intelligence (he studied English Literature at St. John's College, Oxford), and a fount of wonderful anecdotes about his theater-bred family and colorful musician friends.

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Mystery writer portraits, New England chapter

Photographing mystery writers is an absolute delight; I get a little tingle of happiness when I'm contacted by an author who delves into the deep dark depths of the human psyche to create their stories. Recently, I photographed Ray Daniel and Anne Macdonald, both wonderful writers and human beings, who are members - and in the case of Ray, the president - of the New England Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, New England chapter.

When photographing a writer of this type, I try to avoid the obvious cliches, but infuse a subtle tinge of drama and gravitas through lighting and positioning. The goal is to create an author photo for book jacket and publicity use that tells a visual story about both the book and author in a beautiful manner, inviting their readers to get to know both them, and their books, better.

When author photos are for the birds...

Despite the breezy tone of my title, I have to say that new author, Neil Hayward, is one of the most charming gentlemen I've met! He recently contacted me as his new book -  "Lost Among the Birds: Accidentally Finding Myself in One Very Big Year" -  was coming out in May, and his editor sent him my way to create the imagery for his book jacket and his promotional material.

Neil Hayward, author, Arlington, MA

Hayward, a rather educated Oxford/Cambridge-educated scientist and consultant, decided to take a year off and attempt what’s known as a “big year” — seeing as many different kinds of birds as possible, traversing the continent to do so. He managed 749 which made him the North American bird spotting champion. And prompted him to write a book, as well.

When he came my way, what could I do but take him outside? We had a lovely day in terms of clarity, though it was brutally cold, which Neil took like a trouper, eventually becoming rather blue in the process, but certainly game to try new landscapes outside.

We also shot in the studio, playing with strobes and ambient light, to get some beautiful headshots. Though as much as I love my studio, I have to say that the field trip outdoors felt necessary and true in order to capture the spirit of Neil's big year.

Neil Hayward, author, Arlington, MA

Headshots for a Harvard lecturer and public health expert

Every once in a while, a client will walk through my door who immediately brightens the room. I feel very fortunate to have photographed Colleen Chapman this past week, a public health expert who lectures at Harvard, Boston, and Georgetown Universities, in addition to running her healthcare consultancy. Hailing from Waban, MA, Colleen was truly a delightful person to photograph; witty, warm, and brilliantly clever.

Colleen was looking for a professional, warm, and polished headshot to be used on her speaker bios and for her company's marketing material. My goal was to convey her wit, vivacity, and lovely personality in her imagery, which was truly a pleasure on my part!

The face of health: environmental portraits of nutritionist/media personality Stacy Kennedy

Stacy Kennedy is a board-certified specialist in oncology nutrition and an integrative nutritionist. Featured in the award-winning documentary films, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead and Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2, Stacy is a senior clinical nutritionist at the Dana-Farber/Brigham & Women’s Cancer Center Hospital, and is an adjunct professor in wellness and health coaching at William James College. She, along with her husband, Dr. Russell Kennedy, PsyD, run a private practice, Wellness Guides, LLC,  in Wellesley, MA, creating individualized plans for optimizing weight management, disease prevention and management, and promoting longevity.

Stacy, regularly featured in TV, radio, and print media, came to me looking for a series of environmental portraits that supported her private practice and media work. A lively and personable woman, Stacy was looking for compelling imagery that conveyed both her approachability and deep professional knowledge. In additional to her nutrition background, Stacy is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health Fitness Specialist as well as a yoga teacher, and it was important to us both to create portraits that also touched on her fitness background as well.








Portraits and headshots of Theresa Regli, chief analyst of Real Story Group

Creating the right headshot for a thought leader in technology

Theresa Regli, chief analyst of Real Story Group, a global digital workplace and marketing technology analyst firm, speaks at technology conferences throughout the world. She contacted me recently because she needed an updated, sophisticated portrait that accurately conveyed both her experience and her real-life presence.

 Portraits of Theresa Regli of Real Story Group. Boston, MA.

Portraits of Theresa Regli of Real Story Group. Boston, MA.

Intelligent, witty, and well-traveled, Theresa had a wonderful gravitas about her, a feeling of great internal strength, and it was important that these qualities would shine through her portrait. For an accomplished person like Theresa, I felt that her headshot had to be like a short story that described her world of work and her confidence in that world just through her gaze, stance, and body language. We were both very pleased with how the images conveyed both her internal and external presence.

 A change of background for a different look, and a peek behind the scenes.

A change of background for a different look, and a peek behind the scenes.

BNY Mellon | PFLAG Pride Portrait Project

Last week, I blogged about Manuel and Joe, two men I photographed for BNY Mellon and PFLAG, to showcase portraits of members of the LGBTQ community in order to raise awareness about Pride Month. Peter Tenggren, my contact at BNY Mellon who asked me to create this small group of work, sent me the below picture of the portraits, (printed by Bob Korn Imaging) now settled in the first of its four traveling stops throughout the Boston area for the month of June. I thought I'd share with you all the images, and very importantly, the words behind each person photographed, below.

 

The Pride Project
Artist’s Statement

I’m delighted to work with BNY Mellon and PFLAG, as a proud ally, to present this collection of five portraits of vibrant members of the LGBT community in honor of Pride Month. With each photograph, I worked to display the humanity, warmth, and intelligence of the person pictured; to show both their inner world as well as to document each person’s features, relationships, and character. Part of the process to create these images was to get to know what was important to each person, and to create a safe and warm environment so that each man and woman pictured would feel at ease to truly be themselves. My goal with each person photographed was to foster a genuine friendship and alliance enabling the viewer of the portrait to feel as though they had somehow already known the person in the photograph. As a portrait photographer, storyteller, and former psychotherapist, it is vital to me that each portrait creates a narrative and sense of recognition between the viewer and the viewed.

- Sharona Jacobs, June 4, 2015 www.sharonaphoto.com

Sharona Jacobs
The Pride Project
Amy and Lori, 2012
Archival Digital Pigment Print
20 x 30 inches

Amy:

“This portrait was taken hours before I married my best friend. It was amazing to have one of the best days of my life documented in such intimate and lovely detail. To me Pride is confidently walking down the street, holding hands with my wife while pushing our 18-month-old twins in their stroller. In the past 20 years my Prideful life has shifted from bar-fueled weekends to Saturday Gymboree outings. What hasn’t changed is me going about my out life in the most honest way possible.”

Lori:

"Pride is raising our children to know that Different doesn't mean Lesser. Differences are a good thing and we should always try to embrace what is different about ourselves and others. Our family might look a little different to some people, but it is full of love and laughter and both the family we were born with AND the family we chose." 

Sharona Jacobs
The Pride Project
Mark, 2012
Archival Digital Pigment Print
20 x 30 inches

This portrait of Mark was taken the day Lori and Amy were married, and he and his partner hosted their celebration. Amy: "There’s the family you’re born with and the family you choose. Our chosen family includes two of the kindest, most generous people on the planet who opened their home to host our fabulous wedding.”

Sharona Jacobs
The Pride Project
Robin Lippincott, 2015
Archival Digital Pigment Print
20 x 27.4 inches

Robin: "I am a writer of literary fiction and nonfiction. I have two books coming out: Blue Territory: A Mediation on the Life and Work of Joan Mitchell (November 2015), and Rufus + Syd, a young adult novel co-written with Julia Watts (Spring 2016). I am also the author of the novels In the Meantime, Our Arcadia, and Mr. Dalloway, and the short story collection The 'I' Rejected. My fiction/nonfiction has appeared in over 30 journals, including "The Paris Review," "American Short Fiction," "Fence," "Memorious," "The Literary Review," "The New York Times Book Review," and others. I teach in the low-residency MFA Program at Spalding University. Simply put, pride means having the self-respect to be fully myself.”

Manuel and Joseph, Pride Portrait Project, BNY Mellon and PFLAG
Manuel and Joseph, Pride Portrait Project, BNY Mellon and PFLAG

Sharona Jacobs
The Pride Project
Manuel and Joseph, 2015
Archival Digital Pigment Print
20 x 26.5 inches

Manuel: "We are constantly making each other laugh. A common scene would include me talking about my day, but in Sofia Vergara's voice, followed by Joe bursting out laughing with his eyes shut, probably thinking to himself, "I hope this is only part of today's show, and not what I actually signed up for!" The roles reverse when Joe starts walking around the kitchen imitating a praying mantis while re-enacting a scene from Isabella Rossellini’s, "Green Porno" (which we went to see on our first Valentine). But life is not all about laughter and smiles. With our highly sensitive and introspective personalities, we often find ourseleves having to support and uplift each other, especially after reading one article too many about some form of injustice in the world. In this higly curated society driven by selfies and social media, we are proud to show all sides of our love, from laughter to tears. And as Milennials, we are thankful that we can safely show this connection outside of our private spaces (even if Joe sometimes shrugs off one too many of my PDAs)."

Sharona Jacobs
The Pride Project Joseph, 2012
Archival Digital Pigment Print
20 x 30 inches

Joe: "I have an innate fear of photographs. Perhaps it's from a youth deeply concerned with judgement and being misunderstood. Or perhaps it's because I've spent my life seeking out difference and broadening my knowledge, skills, experiences, and connections into the multi-faceted person I am today; I feared a portrait could not distill this. Yet Pride, for me, is an inversion of that fear. It is acceptance, celebration, and love for the diversity both within and outside ourselves. And it is in this light that I couldn't be more proud to show--at least an aspect of--our selves and our love.”

Jane Attanucci, poet

Jane recently came to me because her first book of poetry was about to be published by Finishing Line Press, and she was looking for a book jacket photo that represented both her and her work.

Jane Attanucci blog-1245
2015-03-19_0004

She explained that she was looking for a quiet, contemplative image that would accurately represent her keen mind and curiosity, as well as the warmth of her personality. I learned that we both enjoy photographs that showcase honest, "in between" moments, conveying thoughtfulness and a investigative process, so her images needed to capture that sensibility. In addition to writing poetry, Jane has been a professor of psychology and department chair for many years, and meeting her and getting to chat with her was such a treat for me - I always relish the opportunity to chat with those who worked in psychology, as I did for several years.

To suit Jane, I shot against a lighter neutral background, and bounced light to create a delicacy and softness to her imagery. She has incredible green eyes, and we chose an outfit in a mossy green both to highlight her features, as well as to pull in the earthy quality of her new book, "First Mud."

Her book is available now through Finishing Line Press.

Meyer Psychology: Photographing psychologist and psychotherapist headshots in Arlington MA

Wynne Meyer blog-8157 As both a trained psychotherapist and photographer, it gives me great joy to receive a phone call from anyone in the mental health field who is looking to commission photography. Wynne and Cary Meyer are a husband-and-wife team who have a joint psychology and counseling practice in Arlington, MA. They are warm and kind people, really delightful to work with and get to know, and I wanted to make sure that potential clients would get a great first impression from seeing their headshots on their practice's webpage.

Wynne, a psychotherapist, is a lovely and insightful person who integrates mindfulness training into her cognitive-behavioral work. Many of her clients are women, parents, and couples, and she wanted to make sure her clients would get a sense of her personality and could also relate to her when we discussed how we could best approach her portrait. I took a very honest approach to photographing her, and I think the image she chose really captures her thoughtfulness.Cary Meyer blog-

Cary, a sharply intelligent psychologist with a warm sense of humor, specializes in working with men as they transition between life stages. He works with clients on both relationship and career issues, and is also a staff psychologist at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA. His image is a bit more business-like, but we also both wanted to capture his approachability as well.

It was wonderful to work with Cary and Wynne, and even with the few hours I spent with them, I could tell that their clients would be in good hands.

Portrait of an Executive Director of a nonprofit: Donna Smith Sharff of the Children's Room

2014-03-18_0002 Donna Smith Sharff is the Executive Director of the Children's Room, of Arlington, MA, which provides support for grieving children, teens, and families. She is a lovely woman, inside and out, and I wanted to capture her warmth and depth of character for this shoot.

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Boston lawyer portraits

Sharyn Sooho is more than a divorce lawyer; she's a Newton, MA attorney with an art history background. When she came to me, she was looking for something beyond the traditional portraits of lawyers with a bookcase in the background. She wanted, instead, the personalities of she and her associates to shine through her imagery. As a divorce attorney, people come to her group in times of great stress, and she wanted her future clients to feel at ease even before she met them. We worked together to make sure the warm and caring personalities of Sharyn and her delightful associates, Lindsay and Jessica, came through front and center.

Behind the photo shoot: Tracie Thoms, film and stage actress

In late April, I photographed actress and singer Tracie Thoms, who's probably best known for her work in RentCold Case, and The Devil Wears Prada.

Tracie was preparing for a gala for her alma mater, the Baltimore School for the Arts (the performing arts high school which inspired the movie Step Up), and the school kindly allowed us our photo shoot in their auditorium prior to her rehearsal. Part of the high school was converted from a grand old hotel from the turn of the century, and the auditorium was located in a beautiful old ballroom with gorgeous architectural details.

In the below images prior to the shoot, Tracie is touching up her make-up. In college, she acquired the nickname of "Tink Tink" for her ability to quickly and flawlessly attach her false eyelashes, and she still knows her way around a make-up brush.

We began by shooting on stage, using strobes and reflectors to create the warm glow and illuminate the highlights of her dark hair from the blackness of the stage.

Above, Tracie is chatting with her former musical theater teacher, Becky Mossing, while I adjust my lighting to my satisfaction. Milk crates are a photographer's best friend - you can use them to carry gear, to stand on if you're short like me, and of course, as seating for your clients. I feel like I should write a post just about the distinguished behinds that have sat on my various milk crates.

 

After shooting on stage, I moved Tracie into the audience seating area, and backlit her curls. We multi-tasked by having her sing with her former teacher, to prepare for the following day's gala.

Periodically, students would come by the auditorium in order to meet Tracie, and we'd take a moment from the shoot in order for her to say hello and pose for a few photographs. I couldn't resist this girl's hair - she and Tracie excitedly admired each other's hairstyles while they waited for another student to line them up for a photo.

After finishing up our shoot, I shot for a few minutes while Tracie rehearsed for the following day's gala with Becky and pianist Michael Sheppard. After enjoying the private concert, I quietly packed up, content with the day's events.

 

Head shots for the traditionalist and untraditionalist (sometimes the same person)

Andrea came to me looking for a head shot for her professional LinkedIn profile. She wanted an image that was professional, flattering, yet warm and approachable. But after we got a great professional image for her, she was up for having some fun creating a head shot with a little more drama, contrast and light. Each image shows a different and wonderful side of her vibrant and creative personality.