A Portrait


What’s funny about that background is… well, there are actually two things. The first is that I completely forgot to add a background because having so much SNOW in the foreground totally distracted me.

The second is that the mottled blue reminds me of those generic portrait backdrops photographers would use for grade school school portraits and such back in the day. Β It really is a portrait in both the best, and the worst, senses of the word.

The Ann Coen Gallery in Surf City did a very cool thing this holiday season. They opened up a “mini-session” portrait studio at the gallery where you could drop in, get a few quick, professional portraits, and get the photos sent to you digitally on the same day. All of the awesome talent of the Coen gallery with none of the family drama of one of Ann’s world class portrait shoots, and at a fraction of the cost. People were dropping in with their kids, their pets, their spouses…

Word on the street is that Ann Coen plans more of these mini-sessions this Summer, so keep your eyes on the Gallery for details. It is truly brilliant.

Hopefully they’ll let me bring in a Snow Owl. Then I can finally get a decent background.

What’s most funny about this post is that the generic owl portrait which illustrates it is exactly the type of picture I (kind-of, not-really) stopped taking after meeting… wait for it… Ann Coen. I’m a wildlife biographer, not a wildlife photographer. My illustrations are just that… a visual to illustrate the story. I’d been taking pictures for years, but had never even seen a real photograph until the first time I visited Ann’s gallery. It was Ann’s work which inspired me to recognize that all of the detail and emotion of a story could be contained in an image. That an image could be as specific and unmistakable as 1,000 words. While writing this I went back and re-read the 2013 Reading Only Some Pictures Tell StoriesΒ and I’m amazed at how true those words still are today. I almost never achieve the ideal she put in my brain, but I continue to struggle towards it because it leads me towards a better place and brings me a ton of joy.

But most of all I’m amazed that, despite all of the above, how much, sometimes, I still love just-Snowy/no-Story. Probably because I feel like I can just reach out and pet him!