Senior Style + Balance

by Carri Paschal

Assisting Aaron on his senior photo shoots is really one of my favorite things to do. It’s a great opportunity to get to know the seniors and their parents. Aaron and I make it a point to get to know each and every one of our seniors to make sure every Senior Experience with AP2 Photography is personal and one of the highlights of their senior year.
What I noticed is that Seniors have their own vibe and tend to have the most fun when they are comfortable rocking the styles and fashions they are use to. Whether it’s their favorite pair of jeans, a big comfy sweater, varsity jacket or a graphic tee and a fresh pair of J’s or Timbs.
Fashion sense and comfort always equates to fun and great senior pictures that reflect your style. Feeling bold? For a bit of extra fun, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and tap into your alter ego! Select a color, outfit, hairstyle, accessories or even a lip stick color that is bold and different. Some of our best sessions have been when Seniors explore fashion trends and styles that they see in magazines, fashion blogs, and on TV.So as your prepare your favorite looks for you Senior Experience remember to find outfits that fit your style and personality but also bring your alter ego along for the shoot! We’ll be sure to capture traditional pictures that your family will cherish, your friends will love and get you plenty of “likes” on instagram!

What Does Your Headshot Say About You?

Nothing is more important than a first impression. While smart-phone selfies have their place, they also send a message to the rest of the world on how serious and invested you are to your brand and/or business. A potential client’s decision to do business with you will often be based in large part on your sense of competence and professionalism. It is important that your headshots visually represent you and your brand.Now that websites and social media are a major driving force in businesses large and small, your image is even more important. I recognize your needs and I offer business professionals, entrepreneurs, creatives and anyone trying to establish or rejuvenate their brand, fresh and modern headshots that will represent at their best. If you would like to schedule a session or go over options in greater detail please contact me us at aaron@ap2photography.com or 937-430-5831.
“What does your headshot say about you?”

 

Zanele Muholi: Personae (photography gallery)

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati, Ohio

October 10, 2016This past weekend I attended South African photographer Zanele Muholi’s gallery opening: Personae at The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. This two part gallery, Faces and Phases and Somnyama Ngonyama is part of the Fotofocus Biennial Photography – The Undocument Series.To describe Zanele Muholi’s work as captivating is an understatement. Each and every subject on display in her Faces and Phases gallery draws you in with direct/intense eye contact. They made a powerful connection with me that made me feel as if I was somehow connected to them. This exhibit is a collection of portraits that both mourns and celebrates, that documents the resistance and losses in the South African LGBTI communities. The black and white portraits display on the white walls of The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center make a strong statement and I encourage all that can to make the trip to Cincinnati to experience the exhibit firsthand.Before Muholi took the floor to talk about her self-portrait series: Somnyama Ngonyama, meaning “Hail the Dark Lioness” in Zulu, there was a spoken word performance as well as live music and a dance interpretation of Zanele’s photographs. This personal gallery is fascinating in part due to Muholi intentionally darkening or lightening her complexion throughout images to touch on how people throughout the world tend to covet lighter skin. By embracing her own blackness Muholi displays pride in her appearance hence the title – “Hail the Dark Lioness.”
While attending the gallery I was also lucky enough to meet Atlanta based fine art photographer Shelia Pree Bright. Shelia and I have been following each other’s work on instagram for over a year now so it was definitely an added bonus to finally meet her and engage in an inspiring conversation about photography, activism, expression and the importance of shooting from the heart. You can view Shelia’s work on instagram (@shepreebright) as well as her website sheilapreebright.com.Needless to say I left The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center full of passion and inspiration. Eager and excited to not only capture images but to also capture people’s imagination and attention. Committed to help tell people’s story through images that gives their struggle a voice.

 

America – Do Your Job and VOTE!

The tone of this year’s election has been nothing short of disgusting. It’s uncovered the undertones that we all have tried to ignore and/or pretend that we as a nation had moved pass.

And while both candidates leave a LOT to be desired please don’t use that as an excuse to stay home on Election Day. Let your ballot count, especially on your local level. These are the issues and candidates that will impact you the most. And take a long, close look at both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Try to sort through all of the propaganda and smear campaigns and choose the candidate that you feel will best lead our country.

America IS beautiful. Yes, we have our challenges, setbacks, etc. but there is no place else on earth I’d rather live than right here in the United States of America. And with that said it is our civic duty to do what so many before us have fought, bled, died to do – vote.

afropunkfest 2016, Brooklyn

Commodore Barry Park, Brooklyn, New YorkAugust 27-28, 2016


My trip to afropunkfest Brooklyn 2016 began with me not knowing quite what to expect and ended with me planning my outfit, camera gear and logistics for afropunkfest 2017! For those of you that aren’t familiar with afropunk it’s a collection of fashion, music, art, culture and oh yeah… more fashion!


It’s funny how karma works. On this trip I sacrificed my airplane playlist, “The Epic by Kamasi Washington” to talk to an aspiring photographer that just happened to have the seat right next to me. We talked the whole flight. I gave him my contact information and encouraged him to reach out to me with any questions he may have. Well as fate would have it the FIRST person I saw when I got out of our Uber ride was none other than the legendary New York street photographer, Louis Mendes. This man is approaching 80 years old and stays on his hustle! He lectured me about not having my camera out with a portable printer to make money, invited me to go over to Harlem with him on Sunday morning to take in the scene all while greeting each passerby with an infectious smile and an occasional wink of the eye, “usually anybody that had a camera in their hands.”


FASHION

Once I actually got inside the gates I realized that I underestimated the fashion element of afropunk. There were fashion photographers everywhere and with plenty of worthy subjects to shoot! There were people rocking custom made dashikis, African print head wraps, dramatic hair styles, statement t-shirts, I could go on and on. There was an abundance of stylists, makeup artists, beauticians and bloggers on hand all taking notice of the fashion trends on display at afropunk. 


MUSIC

As far as the music at afropunk Cee-Lo Green and The Internet were my only MUST see acts. Cee-Lo was great and I would go see him again in a heartbeat! The Internet left a lot to be desired. They were just there, no energy at all. Other acts in attendance were Janelle Monae, Ice Cube, Saul Williams, Fishbone, Tyler the Creator, Thundercat and Flying Lotus and they provided a great soundtrack for the weekend.


ART

I’m inspired by art from all different genres and there were some very talented artists at afropunk. Art that makes you think, art that makes you laugh, art that makes you fight back the tears, art that makes you second guess everything you that you’ve ever known. There were artists doing body and face paint, spoken word artists, painters, jewelers, fashion designers, graffiti artists, dancers… the whole gamut!


CULTURE

I have been and will always be intrigued by other cultures. At afropunk you see a little bit of everything. You see people from different cultures, backgrounds, sexual preferences, religions all melting together and having a good time. To call the event tolerant would be a disservice. People were engaging with one another, giving out free hugs and genuinely making sure that everyone they came in contact with was having a good time.


And did I mention there were more than a few photographers in attendance? I had a good time talking shop with them. We talked gear, photography approach, the challenges of shooting afropunk and a few other nerdy things that only fellow photographers could appreciate. I also bumped into some of the photographers that I’ve interacted with on social media throughout the years. 


With all this said my favorite memory of afropunk is creating new ones with my daughter. We had a great time at afropunk and it was our first time seeing each other since she went off to college. As you go through your daily life be careful not to get lost in the grind. In fact make a point to find your passion, to find a way to scratch off something on your list of “things you’d like to do” and then add something new under it. Get out and create memories!


Hope to see you in Brooklyn for afropunkfest 2017!

Class of 2017… It’s YOUR Time!

Class of 2017 you have NO idea how fast your senior year is going to fly by! The first day of school will quickly turn into homecoming, mid-term exams, prom and finally your last day of school and graduation!


Take time to take it all in and enjoy your Senior Experience. It may not seem like it now but your senior year will be something that you will reflect on for the rest of your life. It’s your first major milestone, you and/or some of your best friends that you grew up with and saw just about every day will begin to move across the country.


Be sure to take your class work serious, your grades and overall GPA will play a major role in you attending your “dream school” or getting the job that you want. So have fun but take care of business!

How Quickly Time Flies


How quickly time flies…

Seems like just yesterday I was rushing to the hospital to welcome my first born into the world, now here we are some 18 years later she’s leaving the nest and off to begin her college years at “The Mecca” Howard University.

Where did all the time go? It seems like we should still be laying on the floor with the lights off making shadow figures and listening to music, “she was raised on D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Raheem DeVaughn and well… good music!

 Whether we like it or not our kids will not remain children forever. Time will pass, milestones will pile up and if we as parents have done our job, they will grow into young adults and move forth to claim their place in this world.

Don’t get me wrong… I will definitely miss her, but I’m excited for her to start the next chapter in her life.

I have invited by my daughter “AND afropunk contributor” to attend afropunk  in Brooklyn on August 27-28 so I’ll be seeing her soon so we’ll get a chance to hear good music, vibe with other creative people and more importantly continue to cement our bond. 

How Did I Get Here?


So I’m on a plane with my wife heading to Ocho Rios, Jamaica to photograph a destination wedding and I keep asking myself “how did I get here?” Seriously “how did I get here?”
In 2011, I bought my first “serious amateur” Nikon camera with hopes of taking better pictures as I traveled. I never had any thoughts or aspirations of starting my own business or even taking photography seriously  for that matter. I just enjoyed the challenge of learning something new, the process of growing and getting better each time I picked up the camera. With photography, no matter how long you’ve been shooting or how skilled you are with the camera, there is always a new challenge awaiting you or something new to learn. 


In 2012 I launched AP2 Photography. I’m proud of my business and where I am as a photographer. That doesn’t mean that I’m satisfied or resting on my laurels. And while I challenge myself to not only satisfy but exceed my clients expectations the thing I pride myself on the most is providing them with a great experience. This concept is true to who I am as a person. I love to engaged and connect with people. Which brings me back to “how did I get here in beautiful Ocho Rios, Jamaica?”


Well in the winter of 2014, I met Anna who at the time was graduating from Wright State University and on her way to Law School at Michigan State University. During her “extended” shoot we talked, we laughed, discussed politics and got some pretty dope images along the way. In fact I even promised her a free photoshoot when she graduates from Law School and when she’s elected to public office. Since that time we’ve kept in touch through instagram and have maintained the relationship we formed two years ago.


That relationship is what led me to Jamaica. You see going the extra mile for Anna made an impression on her which led to her referring me to one of her fraternity brothers. From there it was up to me “and my work to seal the deal.” I’ll take those odds every time. So here I am, on the balcony of my room in Ochos Rios, Jamaica. Enjoying time with my wife, taking in the view and wrapping up this blog post. Life is good my friends! Life is Good!

Something Old, Something New


Growing up in the Residence Park neighborhood of West Dayton my mother always accused me of having an old soul. This was usually related to music which has always been a constant in my life. She’d walk past my room and stick her head in to hear me listening to music from well before my time. Songs from her teenage years. I’ve always had an appreciation for things that managed to stand the test of time.

Being a photographer in this digital age it’s easy to get caught up chasing the latest and greatest gear on the market. This is an expensive “and often unneeded” habit within the photography industry. Early this summer I was at a thrift store and decided to buy an old Super KSX film camera “it was 50% off!” with thoughts of using it to decorate my studio space. The camera came with a roll of film so I decided to test it out. The whole process was stimulating. From the way that it felt in my hands, to fumbling around the old mechanical dials to the unnerving anticipation of waiting to see how the film came out.


Since that time I’ve added an old Nikkormat FTN and an old Mamiya/Sekor 1000 DTL to my collection of film cameras. The Mamiya/Sekor is special to me because it belonged to my late “and favorite” Uncle. He always had a camera out during family events. I love shooting with the film bodies because it forces me to slow things down and focus on what I’m trying to accomplish.



These old film cameras have sparked a new flame for me. I love the anticipation that comes along with shooting film. There‘s no screen on the back of the camera to show you what you’ve captured. No blinking lights to let you know if your image is under or over exposed. I love the look and feel of images captured on film, especially black and white images with just the right amount of grain so I’ve decided to only use Ilford black and white film and to also develop and process my own film.

So the next time you want to try something new consider something old…

Vision Quest

As a photographer and business owner I’m ALWAYS looking for ways to sharpen my skills. I want to give my clients a great overall experience from the first time they call or email me all the way up until the time they pick up their prints and beyond.

This spring, my wife and I packed up and headed to St. Louis to attend Shutterfest which is the largest photography convention in the Midwest, as well as one of the best in the country. I attended classes instructions by Miguel Quiles that opened my eyes to new techniques and philosophies on capturing headshots, dramatic portraits and beauty portraits.

  
We also participated in a class on video fusion which will allow us to provide an additional service to our clients.

  
We also walked the trade floor to look for new products and services, networked with other photographers from across the country, discussed opportunities amongst ourselves to enhance our client’s experience and of course ate plenty of barbecue!