The remnants of our latest winter storm in Denver had barely faded this year when the trees started to don those precious and fleeting spring hues that inspire me walk around my neighborhood in an artist’s stupor. It’s almost too much for my eyes to take in, and sometimes makes me feel as though I’ve tripped into an illustrated children’s novel:
Pink tree, purple tree, yellow tree, blue… Green tree, lime tree, red tree too...
Lately I’ve been obsessively photographing environmental and beauty portraiture, so it was on my mind to photograph a glamour portrait session out in the vibrant hues and rich colors this spring. But almost immediately on the heels of the first blossoms came predictions of yet another fairly significant winter storm. One of those, “totals could be measured in feet,” kind of storms. The kind that would almost assuredly wipe the color off the trees, and we’d be praying for it not to take the branches off the trees as well.
In Colorado, heavy spring storms inevitably result in my son and I spending the next morning wandering through our neighborhood, alternating between appreciating the purity of a fresh spring snow blanketing the city, and moments spent covered, ourselves, in snow as we shake and free the branches, watching them spring back to life... thinking about the importance of remaining flexible in life if you want to survive the heaviest of storms...
As the storm predictions marched closer, nothing opened up in my schedule, and I nearly surrendered to waiting for next year to execute my vision for an epic flower glam session.
Friday morning, the day the storm was due, time was up and thick clouds were rolling in. Around noon, as I was folding backdrops after my last professional headshot session of the day, I picked up one of the pink wraps I sometimes use in studio and all the sudden it hit me. The actual snow wasn’t due to start for just a few more hours and I was suddenly once again determined to Make. This. Happen.
Sometimes you simply have to run home, grab a green shirt (to bring out your model’s eyes) and a pink piece of fabric (for obvious reasons), kidnap your teenage son -- at the bus stop with his backpack still strapped from his school day -- bribe him with the promise of pizza (the BEST pizza), and beg him to pose for glamour-style portraits in flowering cherry blossoms...
All for the love of ART. And humor.
And what turned out to be a lot of fun packed into the 20 minutes before freezing drizzle started.
And thus this session was conceived, born and completed in just a few hours.
Turns out this boy of mine has really been listening as he has been assisting me on photo sessions over the years. Kid knows where the light is, and how to rock a glamour pose with his chin, shoulders and hands... AND throw in his own brand of teenage boy personality while he's at it. I know of no "Koala Pose" in the world of fashion photography... but perhaps it should be a thing...
Hilarious... and also kind of awesome.
The inclusion of Gabe's "Blue Steel through the Blossoms" was all him. I can take no credit for this last pose.
Judging from the overwhelmingly positive reaction a small selection of these photos received in just a few hours in photo groups on social media the next day, my takeaways are this:
Necessity really IS the mother of invention.
The answer often IS right in front of you.
Do something UNEXPECTED, do it from the HEART, and do it WELL.
Oh… and my son is THE BEST !!
PS -- did I mention that my son (THAT AMAZING BOY ABOVE) is an incredible photographer, too? He has been working with me on photo shoots -- often as a second shooter -- since he was 14.
Here’s wishing an incredible next trip around the sun… to the most incredible, inspiring, supportive, crazy-talented, funnier-than-he-knows, wicked-smarter-than-he-believes, strong, sweet, loving, flexible, soulful, wonderful, GOOD HUMAN I’ve ever been lucky enough to know.
I love you, kiddo. Thank you for the photos of me!
Jennifer Koskinen is a Denver based portrait photographer specializing in empowering high school seniors, women, and headshot clients, as well as having a special passion for connecting with and drawing out personality in her subjects’ EYES. Sessions are custom styled around YOU: You should exist in photos... for yourself AND for your family!
Photos of Jennifer by the one and only, Gabe Koskinen-Sansone