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#62 - CHECK! | NEW ORLEANS | LOS ANGELES PHOTOGRAPHER

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Go back to New Orleans - DONE.

And another item on the 101 in 1001 list bites the dust…

The last time I had been to New Orleans was with my husband and in-laws not long after Hurricane Katrina hit.  About a year later, my brother-in-law was enrolled in the Masters Program of the Architecture School at Louisiana State University.  We were living in Alabama at the time, and went over to Baton Rouge to visit and experience a LSU football weekend.  I mainly recall that the air was thick and heavy with humidity, everything smelled like delicious spices, and people screamed TIGER-BAIT at me every 3 seconds…it was memorable to say the least.  On the way back (or sort of ‘out of the way’ back), we went to New Orleans.  It was…incredible…and sobering.

The devastation left behind by Katrina was still in full effect, and the entire city evoked a strange feeling in me.  It was dark, oppressed, sad, broken.  Something about that visit shook me to the core.  I couldn’t rid myself of the emotions I experienced while we were there.  My heart hurt for New Orleans…for the Gulf Cost…but New Orleans in particular just haunted me.  I hadn’t been back since we drove home the last day of that trip.

Until this past weekend…

After arriving home from Vancouver and spending a short day and a half at my own house, I headed out from Los Angeles again and made my down to New Orleans for a job.  I landed at 9 at night and my client picked me up at the airport.  I walked out from baggage claim to meet her and felt the humidity seep into my skin.  How quickly I forget my deep Southern roots and adjust to the West Coast weather.  Every single time I go back to the South I find myself surprised by the stifling air - how could this be?!

Alice drops me off at my hotel downtown and we plan out the next morning.  The next day we shoot all day and travel all over New Orleans - it was phenomenal.  They welcome me into their home and walk me through the life they’ve made in this now bustling city.  Mardi Gras had been the weekend before - I listen to stories and learn about the history and tradition of the town and its people.  It was amazing.  And they love living there.

The morning after our shoot we all go grab brunch downtown and then walk into the French Quarter for some truly New Orleans flair.  It was just a quick walk, but the difference between this morning, and the last time I walked through this same area is remarkable.  It’s a completely changed experience for me, and I was so glad to have the opportunity to get back to New Orleans and see it, feel it, for myself again.

A huge thank you to Alice and Blake for hosting me for the weekend and showing me all around the town!

Here are a few snapshots from our walk through the French Quarter…

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And here’s my proof that I was there…

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Sara Midyette Litten - LOVE THESE!! Seriously can see life in these pictures and I love it.

Hayden - I love the 101 list! So glad you checked this one off!

Mary Elizabeth - LOVE NOLA! And your presh in that picture!

John Elrod - Gorgeous images!

101 IN 1001 » Amelia Strauss Photography Blog - [...] Go back to New Orleans… [...]

#62 – CHECK! | NEW ORLEANS | LOS ANGELES PHOTOGRAPHER » Amelia … | French Quarter In New Orleans - [...] reading here: #62 – CHECK! | NEW ORLEANS | LOS ANGELES PHOTOGRAPHER » Amelia … ← Luxury Las Vegas plus VIP ExtrasFREE Night & Suite Upgrade – Best … A [...]

A STAIRWELL IN NEW ORLEANS | LOS ANGELES PHOTOGRAPHER

Who isn’t most comfortable in their own space? I love the feeling of familiarity and the intimacy drawn out of those places that came through in these images.

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Hayden - Are you kidding??? Unbelievable!

Mary Elizabeth - LOVE.

Alan - Great use of lines and light. Good job.

FASHION EDITORIAL SHOOT | AN IMAGE

Exciting story to come…and also to accompany this shoot when we post the complete storyboard.

For now, check out an image from a shoot we’ve been working on…

Editorial Shoot Fashion Los Angeles Amelia Strauss

Purnell - Is this an ad from a magazine? Because maybe it should be. Beautiful model, amazing photography. LOVE IT!

claire - agreed and agreed.

Kara - Fab. Excited to see the shoot!

Mary Elizabeth - FREAKING PHENOM.

blaine - walli for hesiman!!

Betsy - i'm going to need to see some more of this

NEW ORLEANS ENGAGEMENT | AFTERNOON BITS

Something sweet and pretty…something raw and emotional…and a singular peek into the night with something dark and interesting.

Meet Alice and Blake…

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No worries…a legit post is headed this way in the next few weeks.  We shot much of this session on film, and I’m excited to share those images, as well as some digital favorites.

New Orleans.  Much more to come!

Purnell - It's like you knew just how to capture all the best parts of Nola - great pics!

Kara - STUNNING!

Christine - The first one is so beautiful and she is gorgeous.

#59 - CHECK! | JASIKA NICOLE | VANCOUVER EDITORIAL

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Take pictures of my friend Jasika Nicole - DONE.

Oh, the fun it was to check this item off of the ever-looming 101 in 1001 list.

When I was six years old, I met a little tiny girl named Jasika.  She was tender-hearted, joyful, and kind, with a sweet spirit.  We were classmates at our local elementary school, and that early introduction would, over time, become a treasured moment.

In the fourth grade we shared some really pivotal experiences in our class Christmas play, in which Jasika had the lead role, that probably was one of the first organized productions that would ultimately set us both on separate paths into a career in the arts.

Fast forward a few years, to high school to be exact, and Jasika and I were reunited in our love of performing - we were ninth grade cheerleaders together.  Actually, I think our squad was called JV, but you get the point.  I’m not sure what her favorite memories of cheerleading are, but mine have nothing to do with cheering at all.  I was completely into the signs we would make for the sports teams.  We had rolls and rolls of butcher paper and an unlimited supply of paints, and got to draw and illustrate banners that we would hang in the gym, and out on the football fields.  That was good stuff.  I definitely liked that part of cheerleading the best.

Throughout high school we were involved in a multitude of activities together.  We were both on the dance team (no banners, but super awesome sequined outfits), the show choir (which was epic - think of the coolest possible version of Glee), and participated in some musicals.  Looking back now, I clearly see how she was growing as a performer.  It’s interesting, because although I definitely shared her interests in performing, at the same time, I was discovering how to express myself through art and different mediums.

Jasika was THE performer of my class - sang all the solos, had all the leads, and pushed the rest of us to be a better version of ourselves.  To be all we could, and work with all of our being.  She always gave everything her all - and I always wanted to be like that.

In college we lost touch and went separate ways, but in a fantastic stroke of luck and destiny, she and my now husband (also in our high school graduating class), kept in touch and grew a new, more mature friendship.  They went on to grow closer, and spend time together post-college when they were both living in the Northeast.  While my husband was in graduate school in Boston, Jasika was striking out on her own in New York.  When he and I started dating again, my whole family went on a trip to New York City - first order of business of course, meet up with Jasika.  She had also always been somewhat of a favorite of my parents and brother.

Around this time, Jasika landed a role in “Chasing Nicolette” in Philadelphia, which my husband got to see live, and which turned into her first real break.  She landed representation and shortly after starred in “Take The Lead”, featuring Antonio Banderas in the true story of a dance teacher and his pupils.  The dancing is fantastic - but I suppose I’m a little biased.  You can check it out for yourself here in one of my favorite scenes from the movie.  So awesome.

A few months later, when we got engaged, we knew right away that we wanted Jasika to sing at our wedding.  It was a no-brainer.  The girl has sick talent in an incredible way.  She gave us an amazing wedding gift - flying down from New York and opening our wedding ceremony.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  She was stunning.  I remember tearing up in the hallway of our church just catching a note of the Lord’s Prayer.  And that was just a snippet.  As well as prior to my brother piping me into the ceremony.  That’s right - he played the bagpipes.  Whole other story…and also amazing.

It was a truly spectacular gift, and a memory I’ll always hold dear to my heart.

Jasika went back to New York, and kept working.  She would soon land an entirely new kind of role in a hyped science fiction television show, created by J.J. Abrams - who is also responsible for my sick obsession with LOST - called “Fringe”.  That show would go on to be picked up by Fox and Jasika’s role as Astrid Farnsworth would enter living rooms around the world and become a part of millions of people’s lives.

Fringe has now moved from New York to Vancouver, and Jasika and her partner Claire are living on the same coast as us!  We’ve spent some time together in Los Angeles recently, and headed up to Vancouver this past week to spend some good quality time with our friends, and go skiing in Whistler.  Side note - I didn’t ski.  Apparently I’m not entirely enthralled with the idea of falling down a mountain trying not to die.  It was still a fabulous adventure - and the setting of my impromptu portrait session with Jasika…heavenly.

I love the feeling of these images - raw and vulnerable.  I wanted to convey a sense of trust and intimacy and friendship between me, as the photographer, and Jasika, as the subject.  Some are just a fun and snowy mess, while others invoke something true and real.  I’ll let you all be the judge of that.

If you’re interested in learning a little bit more about Jasika, you can find her on IMDB and Wikipedia.  But the BEST way to get to know her is through her own site - JasikaNicole, which is absolutely lovely in every way, and displays many more of her talents than acting.  You can also find her at her blog, SugarBooty.  And every now and then, she might live tweet for Fringe - which they just started, but I hope to see her do again!  You can find her on Twitter here.  I would love for you to all get to know my friend a bit…

And with that, let the imagery begin!  Snow.  Snow.  Snow.  Snow.  Snow.

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Feeling out this thrown together studio / set situation…

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Probably my favorite image of them all.  No, definitely.

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These are just so happy and light and fun, and HER.

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This series, in addition to being aesthetically interesting, seems emotional and true in all the right ways.

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Good grief.  Isn’t she beautiful?

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Saying a lot with nothing at all…

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I am so glad to have introduced you to my friend.  And seriously, if you don’t take anything else away from this post - start watching Fringe!  Love it.  And yes, I may be biased, but I’m realistic too - this show is everything I want out of a television show…and more.  Jasika brings some extra heart.  Check it out - I have no doubt you’ll become a fan.

Esther - OMG! You're friends with "Astrid? Wow!!! I also have a sick obsession for Fringe, that's why now I'm proud to say I'm only 2 degrees connected with the most amazing television show ever!! :D You did a great job with the pictures, this girl is awesome! :)

Amanda - Amelia, these are beautiful as always. Of course having a beautiful subject helps ;) I love them!

Jana - These are amazing!

Rebekah Lyn - Beautiful pictures!

claire - she is gorgeous. obsessed with her hair. putting the first season of Fringe in my netflix queu right now.

Saadia Me*Chel - I think Jasika is absolutely gorgeous and these pictures are AMAZING! I love Fringe! I'm a little worried about the show though since they moved it to Fridays. That's usually not a good sign. I hope it stays though because I think it's great and I love Jaskia's character.

Alison - LOVE her in Fringe! My husband just commented last week on what a fabulous job she does playing Astrid. (All of them are so talented to be able to play two characters with somewhat different personalities-- especially Walter and Walternate!) It's so nice to see this side of her-- all the smiles and light-heartedness and to know that she's a nice person on top of it all. :o) Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos!

Mona - Such amazingly gorgeous shots, and I love your words too: the tale of your journey and your affection for Jasika, whom I don't know but wish I did, talented and all-around amazing. Thanks for sharing with all of us. And as a hobby photographer especially, chapeau: these are among the best portraits I've ever seen.

Kelly - Love these pictures Amelia! You are so very talented- amazing. So glad to hear about Jasika too- your writing definitely brought back memories of Jasika's performances in high school! :)

Lina - Gorgeous shots. She is perfectly lovely & I hope she has a long and triumphant career.

Melissa - Wonderful photo shoot! I'm a huge fan of Fringe, and all the versions of Astrid. This really brightened my day.

Nancy Jones - Your photos of our dear friend are truly the MOST amazing photos. Mission accomplished. Love you both - again. =)

101 IN 1001 » Amelia Strauss Photography Blog - [...] Take pictures of my friend Jasika Nicole. [...]

DEAR VANCOUVER, I MIGHT LOVE YOU

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Wow.  I’m quickly falling in love with this city and our experience here, and it hasn’t even been 24 hours since we landed.  Good grief.  And I’m so excited for the few days ahead I can hardly stand it!

This is my first time to Vancouver, and we were lucky enough to get a little tour from our friend Claire - who also patiently and graciously explored some gorgeous spots with us as she introduced us to the area.

I thought I would share a look into our very first day in Vancouver.  A seriously random collection of imagery?  Perhaps.  But I loved every single moment…

By the way, many random thoughts on Canada in general - I’ll share those later in the week.  For now, here we are out and about in Vancouver today!

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So these next few shots are by my husband…who knows what in the world is going on here.  Could I be more awkward?  They actually turned out halfway decent though, I’ll give him props for that :)

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This is when he decided he was going to shoot us in “album cover style” - his terminology and attempt…

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A tree I fell in love with on the beach.  Random fact, I have a serious obsession with trees and branches, not just skies!

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We went on a very short hike into the woods…the vibrant colors were incredible…green, green, green.  Not used to that in LA!

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Pretty little streams everywhere…

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Again, loving skies and branches.

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Phenomenal Museum of Anthropology.  Completely taken with the architecture.

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Interesting nooks and crannies…

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The man who refuses to ever be named or shown on my blog or even my twitter!  He is obviously in a fantastic mood.  Apparently Vancouver sits well with him…

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And thanks to the lovely Claire for this fun stuff.  Note to self - wear make-up when traveling; you never know when your husband might unexpectedly agree to be in a photograph with you.  Lesson learned.

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Last, but certainly not least, a wall I love.  I want to replicate something like this with paint in my house…

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I’m so stoked to post images of the next few days!  Hope you all are having a wonderful week!

Vera - Absolutely beautiful!

Graham - Wow. Wow. Okay. Favorites: the museum architecture (!!!), the Vancouver cityscapes (love the one of Jason walking and Jason/Claire reflection-agh!) and I love the mossy naturey ones. These all look so much like you! Very Amelia. Wish I was with you all!

Kara - Oh my gosh. Beautiful! What are you all doing in Vancouver?

sheaboom - aww... heart these and heart you amelia! my favorite might be the last one, vines... want this... GIANT on my wall. but you have to bring it to me in person. :)

Amanda Rogers - love. the pics of you and J are great (even w no makeup) and i really love the ones w you and claire!

RUSTIC EDITORIAL SHOOT | LOS ANGELES PHOTOGRAPHER

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This is the story we came up with for Graham and Jay.  Graham is one of my very nearest and dearest, and we collaborate on numerous projects.  As a designer, Graham saw this shoot in conceptual terms, and I absolutely loved it.  The premise was a five-year anniversary shoot, but that just set the stage for a rendezvous on the side of the road…

I love the fog.  I love the film.  I love the feel of the images; sensual and intimate.  All around good stuff, and completely worth the morning light!

Because she is a confident knock-out who treasures art above all else, Graham has agreed to share this storyboard with you.  So prepare yourself for a little heat and a lot of fun…raw imagery…who could ask for more?

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Blake Burton - mucho hotness!

Becky Brannigan - AWESOME and BREATH-TAKING! So very proud of my nephew Jay and his beautiful wife Graham. Thumbs Up!!!

Ann Edward - WOW. WOW. WOW.

Vera - These take my breath away.

Regina - Amelia- these are so very, very beautiful.

Christina - the talent behind these photos exceed words to describe how exceptional they are.- C

John - Absolutely stunning. I mean in.. stunning. Amazing.

Jess - Saw a link on John Edgar's twitter and I am so glad I did. These images made my day. Beautiful.

Nate - very nice work :D

Bill Gellerman - This is phenomenal. Good work lady!