52 Week Project Blog

Week 14/52 - A Bright Smile With A Commendable Future

I am happy to reveal my cousin, Veronica, as my 14th portrait of the week! The bright smile woman you see here is graduating this summer from the University of Washington! What you are about to see here are presented in two fashion. The first is the usual appearance of Veronica and the second is her graduation gown. You will read about our experience, small facts about her, and our relationship mixed in with photography aspect. Here we go!

Two weeks ago, Veronica messaged me to do her senior portrait. The first thing I said is this, "Sure! You do senior portraits for college"? She answered, "I just need some for my grad party invite". Sure enough I was down for it. Then the idea popped up for me to combine my project with her grad photo portraits. We picked a week and location. Naturally, we picked the UW campus. On the week of our photo shoot, Seattle weather didn't make it easy to plan. We planned for the middle, but pushed it to the weekend. Honestly, it worked out for the better. 

Veronica has one of the biggest, brightest smile out there. Growing up, every time I bring my camera to her house, pictures of her and our family had to occur. I never turn down a photo opportunity. It's how we create wonderful memories and share them to our friends and family. Continuing forward, our life together grew into who you see now. 

This particular photoshoot was special. To photograph Veronica in her usual attire was amazing. Initially, she asked how to pose and where to stand. That's normal. As I pointed out the spots of what I like, she then begin to open up her suggestions. Happiest to hear, I wanted that! I told her what she brought up I didn't think of that. We spent most of our time inside Paccar hall and Suzzalo library. Both I have never set foot. I always wanted to photograph in them. With Veronica, I fulfilled being in both on the same day! She told me she took classes inside Paccar hall. It's cool to know about what she's striving to be and for me to photograph her in the one place she's usually in. 

The next location was the library. I have been told it looks just like Harry Potter. Once the door opened, we walked in and observe the architecture of the staircases and entrance to the area. Sure enough, I was blown away. We wanted to get in quick to beat the crowd of over populating the space. This area was fun because we whispered the entire time to give each other directions of photo moments. During our time in the library, Veronica asked if I wanted to get my pictures taken. I'm like sure. She may have not known what to do exactly and struggled with positioning. With a little helped, she got the perfect shot. 

Our last spot were the staircases. This area was hard because of the drastic differences in harsh natural sunlight and artificial lighting from the bulbs fluorescent. The area with the sunlight, people looked at us or walked past us. Veronica pointed out some of them wanted their photos taken. I said out loud, "From me? Why"?  I think they found it interesting and wanted the same experience. Next time I'll ask! The low lights created a moody feel for us since her clothes contrasted against the stone. In a way, they meshed seamlessly. 

The second portion of the blog shows the vibrant side of Veronica. Above she's ready to celebrate and dominate the world. Particularly, dominate the photoshoot. 

Veronica is a part of the Khmer Student Association club at the UW. This weekend, April 15th marks the Khmer New Year show presented from the club. She will be performing the Apsara dance. For those who don't know, it is a classical Khmer dance perform through a ballet-like performance showing graceful, sinuous gestures codified to narrate classical myths or religious stories.

Besides the fact above, it's awesome to photograph Veronica in her cap and gown around the campus. The weather may have not helped with showing its true color, I made it possible to show her true color with the cherry blossom, outside staircases, and outside the PACCAR building with her wardrobe. 

The coolest fact is we share musical interest for The Weekend. Years ago, we went to the same concert when he came to Seattle for us first show. We had no idea we were in the same concert together until the end of the show. Anytime The Weekend is brought up in any discussion, it's what we talked about the most. Darn! We wish we can go to his concert this year in two weeks. 

This experience with Veronica was amazing because we got to spend time together in having a fun photoshoot, catch up with our lives, and talk about new wonders for our future. The photos I picked I had a hard time formulating them together because they were all so good! The soft window lighting helped neutralized the harsh lighting to reveal Veronica's wonderful smile.  

Lastly, thank you for being in my project. You have grown so much and thriving into an amazing woman. The impact you have for your friends, family, and the community is inspiring. It gives me great pleasure to photograph you for people to see. I hope you enjoy these images as well as the people in your life will, too. 

I cannot wait to talk about Week 15. It will be an experience compelling to share. Stay tune for that post! Thank you for your time! 

- Sally