A Dreamy Engagement

Hello Loves,

It’s July and hot as all get out. Luckly, I was able to shoot this GORGEOUS couple during a cooler evening.

Sarah and Johnny are sooo in love, and I fell sooo in love with them too!

There is nothing as refreshing as seeing pure love through the eyes of my lens. There is something about capturing their personalities and their love that makes me fall head over heels all over with my job - my craft.

Take a gander and tell me what you think.

Love,
Ro

Celebrating Pride Month - Meet Cameron

Dear Loves,

It is June, Pride Month, and we have a treat for you all! 

We were gifted with such a privilege to interview a fellow friend and amazing role model - Cameron. He is a United States Air Force aviator, and boy a what a time it is to be alive!!

He recently attended Q Prom in Shreveport, LA, which was an event held for LGBTQIA+ members that allowed them to recreate their own prom.

Before the event, he showed up to the studio in his mess dress uniform looking ohhh so dapper. Although he did not have a date to the Q Prom, he was all so courageous and excited to attend solo and meet new folks. 

To describe him in a few words, he has the warmth of a ray of sunshine with the sweetness of a macaron and the air of a well composed gentleman. What else could you ask for?? Am I right?!

We sat down and asked him a few questions....

*The thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog/article/interview are solely Cameron’s and no others. 

Me - “What is the most important thing you would like people to know about you as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community?”

Cameron -  “ 'Things are rough all over.' – Cherry Valence, The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton

It is a cliché answer. I am human and that is the truth. I do not always get things right, and I face difficulties and adversities every day.  These obstacles do not define us.  How I, you, and everyone chooses to handle these obstacles makes us who we are. I strive to be better than yesterday and learn from my short comings. I aim to live my best life, while I am breaking down barriers and walls to be my most authentic self."

Me - “What do you feel like, from your own opinion, is the most common misconception about LGBTQIA+ members?”

Cameron - "The most common misconception of the LGBTQIA+ community is the public’s sexualization of queer culture.  People fixate on sexual undertones rather than the artistic value and dedication involved.  One way I can speak to this is in this example: drag and leather communities are comparable to burlesque and modeling pageants.  Drag and burlesque are ultimately visual arts, forms of self-expression, and forms of personal empowerment; whereas, leather and modeling pageants showcase people of the community that worked tirelessly on eloquence, couth, dedication to physical fitness, etc. These examples all have sexual facets, but that facet is NOT what they stand for at the end of the day.  People of the LGBTQIA+ community are people; we are your neighbors, your coworkers, your friends and your family.  A community should be just that, a community. There should not have to be any adjective in front of that."

Me - “As a role model for the younger LGBTQIA+ generation, what would your best advice be about the world we live in and how to maneuver their thoughts, actions, and expectations?” 

Cameron - "Communicate, Unconditionally Love, and Be Happy. The world can be a scary place, but it does not have to be. I recommend surrounding yourself with those that make it as close to a utopia as possible. Talk with friends and learn new things every day; there is always room for personal growth. Ask that wallflower if they would like to sit with you if you have an open chair.  The small gestures go a long way. If there are causes or organizations you believe in, then you should go volunteer, help, and support them. If there is not one, then go start an organization for that cause. You cannot always be a follower; sometimes, you have to lead. Lastly, you determine your self-worth and no one else should convince you that is anything less than a diamond. Go forth and shine!"

Happy Pride everyone!!

Much love, always.

-Ro

In Home Newborn Lifestyle

Hello Loves,

It’s been a hectic couple of months, but I am on the grind - fear not! I am currently pushing out sessions left and right, but I must pause to share this session with you all.

Eeeek! This session literally gives me the feels. Brooklynn is such a trooper and her mom skills are definitely admirable - not to mention her children are absolutely adorable.

They literally give me baby fever! Ahhh.

Without further adieu… I present the Dowdens.

Love,
Ro

A Modern Mid-Century Bride

Hello Loves,

April is a busy wedding month, followed by May, but I am taking the time to share this spectacular bridal session with you all.

Meet Lindsay, she’s the bride of your dreams. Her wedding was filled with beautiful antiques, a Saudi bridal jewelry set, water color custom invitations, miner-cut diamonds, family paintings… oh goodness the list goes on! (drooling over the details)

The vision for her bridal shoot, as well as her wedding, was inspired by her modern mid-century home…which is absolutely stunning. I could have photographed her all day, because every inch of that home was a great inspiration to create art with such a beautiful female - inside and out.

Lindsay was our muse and art was our goal. Take a peek. Tell us what you think.

Stay tuned for her wedding blog!

Love,
Ro

Hair/Make Up by Blanca Velazquez - Shear Artistry Hair

A NICU Journey : LeMoine

Dear Loves,

Back in June 2015, I had the pleasure of shooting Chase and Laci’s wedding. It was a beautiful wedding on the water at Laci’s parents’ home. These two had so much love and chemistry it was absolutely undeniable, and I had the pleasure to capture it for them.

In 2019, they welcomed their dear baby boy, Kable Lawson LeMoine; however, it was quite early and quite unexpected.

I once again had the pleasure to be welcomed into their lives and document their new miracle.

When I met them at the hospital, I soon was reminded of the unique bond that Chase and Laci shared - the same one I witnessed on that June day. Though, there was something different about it: it was a wiser and more powerful bond. I must say, I was extremely humbled by the atmosphere these two exuded.

There, together, they sat and worked in symphony- an unbreakable team. I was in awe and reminded that God is love and He never seizes to amaze me.

Chase and Laci, y’all are true rocks and I will forever remember capturing these sweet memories for you.

Sending all my love and prayers to the LeMoines.

Love,

-Ro

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A Nursing Student Tale

Meet Brittany, she’s a nursing student at Northwestern State University. She has a degree in biology and is currently obtaining a nursing degree. Yay for the job market - am I right?! Yesterday she filled me in on her busy schedule, and the anxiety she already has at the thought of the commencing spring term. She had me laughing hysterically with her life stories and her journey through nursing school. Let’s just say the photos speak for themselves. I’m sure other nursing students can relate.

She was definitely a blast to have in the studio. Good luck on the spring term!!

Love,
Ro

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SB Fashion Show

Hey Loves,

It’s been sometime since we have chatted, and my oh my is there something big to talk about! Recently, J Michael Photography Co. was part of an amazing fashion show put on by SB Magazine.

We were kindly asked to document the show with our fashionesque photography and attention to detail…and we were flattered. This was an event we were not going to miss!

The whole day was filled with make up, dreamy textures, and beautiful models. The smell of hair spray was intoxicating euphoria and the heat of the lights made you feel like it was Broadway. The atmosphere was elevating and every outfit left you wanting more.

If you missed the fashion show this year, make sure you don’t make the same mistake next year.

Chat with you next time.

Love,
Ro

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J Michael Photography Co. Presents Jacqueline Pracht

Hey Loves,

Just as I promised yesterday, here is the art that James created with Jacqueline. 

Some of you might know that James is a fantastic painter, and you can tell he brings that art into his photography. The red dress photograph is a composite that he created that gives off an aesthetic pleasure of an oil painting. The same aesthetic look can also be seen with the photo below it where Jacqueline is lying on the couch.

Where does James draw his inspiration from? Well, he is a big fan of John Russo and draws a lot inspiration from him when it comes to trying to portray people in their beautiful rawness. 

Feel free to ask us questions about the poses and his way of editing. 

Love,
Ro

Hair and Make Up: Couture Make Up Bar Salon

 

Behind The Scenes with Jacqueline Pracht

Hey Loves,

Recently, J Michael Photography Co. had the pleasure to photograph Jacqueline Pracht in a high fashion photoshoot. (Which we will be offering to all our clients!! eek) 

Let me set the scene for y'all. There was music that made you want to dance - Jacqueline was stunning with an air of empowerment - the corner was a full salon at Kacey's hands - I was documenting and assisting - and....drum roll please....James was k.i.l.l.i.n.g. it! 

Stay tuned for the next blog showcasing the fine art James created from this high fashion shoot!

Until then, take a peek at behind the scenes with me. 

Love,
Ro
 

Hair and Make Up: Couture Make Up Bar Salon

Let J Michael Photography Co. Document Your Wedding Story

      One of our favorite milestones to document at J Michael Photography Co. are weddings. We believe that your special day should not be taken lightly. We know that you have thoroughly thought out everything down to the very last detail, and we make it a point to document everything down to the smallest detail. We leave no stone unturned. Trust us to take care of your special day and take away that bit of stress. It's YOUR day - let's make it magical. 

Kellie Spence: LGBTQ+ Highlight

Hey Lovers,

It has been a crazy summer at J Michael Photography Co., but we are excited to announce that James and Justin will be attending Austin Pride in Texas! So to commemorate their trip and the festivities, we offer you one more highlight of an amazing member of the LGBTQ+ community. 

What we are trying to achieve is to highlight their accomplishments as another person of society. Recently, I spoke with someone about the LGBTQ+ highlights and the ignorance in response was jaw dropping. This anonymous person just assumed that this highlight would be an exploitation of their private romantic life....pfft. As IF! Wake up. It's 2018. 

With that being said, meet Kellie Spence. I have been fortunate enough to know this gal since I was 8 years old, and I'm lucky to call her my best friend. Without being bias, she is nothing short of total bad ass. She is a paramedic firefighter and as if that's not bad ass enough...she has her captain's license to cruise the coast while on duty. Woah! As intimidating as she sounds, she's totally down to earth and has the sweetest caring soul I know. 

I had the pleasure to interview her!

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When you look at these portraits what do you see? 

Strength.
Independent.
Wise.

Let's talk about your career. You have such an amazing job. Can you explain to our readers what it is you do?

We have a variety of rolls in the community. Our motto is protecting paradise. We begin our days by checking our apparatuses off daily. Making sure all the equipment we need to perform our job is there and working correctly. We have to stay ready 24 hours a day to do what ever call that may come in. It ranges from medical calls, fire related calls, to something as simple as helping some one that needs help physically doing every day things. Our job can be strenuous and mentally draining at times, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

How has your career shaped the way you see life?

My career is very rewarding. It has opened my eyes to how quick life can be taken away from you. You should never take a day for granted.  Always remember that when you think things are as bad as they can get, remember that it will get better. Maybe not right away but it will get better no matter the situation.  Pick yourself up and push through those hard times. What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.

Is there something that you now know that you wish you could relay to your younger self about  coming out?

If I knew then what I know now I would tell people that it doesn’t matter what people think about your life style. If they don’t agree with it then those kind of people don’t need to be a part of your life. Be proud of who you are and what you stand for. Live your life for you, you bring your own happiness and life is too short to live life unhappy. Don’t let other people's views and opinions affect your happiness.

What profound words! Life is too short to live life unhappy. Throughout your journey who has been the most supportive in your life?

My dad, Jamie - my girlfriend, and you. 

Aweeee, shucks. Thanks Kel!

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Although I am not a member of the LGTBQ+ community, I have seen the ups and downs, but at the end of the day we are all human. Kellie is a strong individual that has fought hard to obtain her career regardless of obstacles, and I will always admire her for that. She's an amazing role model for little girls, including my own daughter. 

Thanks for reading!

Love, 
Ro

J Michael Photography Co.

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Derick Jones: LGBTQ+ Highlight

Hey Loves, 

As we continue with our LGBTQ+ highlights at J Michael Photography Co., we had the amazing pleasure to interview another one of Shreveport's finest - Derick Jones. 

Derick is the Digital Media Manager for SB Magazine and most importantly they are the owner of a brand! That's right! You heard right... their own brand - Vessel Vintage. The clothes are edgy, and Derick pours their heart and soul into the brand, which uniquely defines them as a beautiful human being. *

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First, let's get to know each other - tell us about your childhood and where you grew up. How did it impact your identity?

I was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. I knew I was gay very early on, but because of my parent's religious ties, suppressed that side of myself. I used art as a form of escapism and found solace in words. I found out I was adopted when I was ten years old, and then at 16 came out. Between discovering I was adopted by a family member and discovering my sexuality, I felt very overwhelmed. I lost my virginity at 13 and to be completely honest, looking at my life from the outside feels like an odd reality show. I am 31 now and still, I'm trying to find myself. I identify as queer and non-binary. My gender is a non-issue for me and I have become more and more comfortable expressing myself outwardly. I'm still nowhere near where I'd like to be, but I'm working on it. Because of living in the south, I have to pause on a lot of things including how I dress or how I speak. I constantly live in fear, though I try to put on a secure face.  

Second, I’d like to talk about the hardships and injustices that members of the LGBTQ+ community members suffer. 

Have you ever encountered any discrimination in your line of work? Or in your life? If so, what would you like people to know about you before they judge you?

I was bullied in middle and high school. I had my fingers slammed in lockers and was called every "gay" name in the book. Later I dealt with off-campus encounters with other students where I didn't know if I was going to make it home alive. I often didn't want to be alive. I thought about suicide a number of times. It's hard living in a world where you see so many people who don't think you should be a part of it. That's what it's like growing up in the south. As I've gotten older, my circles have become tighter. My friends are my support system. I'm still weary a lot of the time and I'm not sure if that will ever change living here. Discriminating against someone is a form of entitlement, and the south is known for its entitlement and privilege. I have been fortunate to not encounter it in the workplace.

When many people from the south look at me, they see a gay man. I don't identify with those two things. I am a queer person. I do not identify with either male or female, and that's one of the hardest things I've ever had to come to terms with. For many, many years I identified as gay (and to an outsider, I may still seem that way because I am married to a person who presents masculine). I didn't understand that my identity superseded my sexuality, and that who I decided to have sex with didn't equate to how I wanted to present myself. Because I don't identify with either gender, I identify with both of them. I do my own thing, wear what I love, express myself how I feel is necessary and I create. I create work that reflects good intentions and equality. My brand is my body of work. I have been working on it for five years, just like myself and my relationship with my partner whom I'm so grateful to have in my life. Everything changed when they came along. My life got brighter, and I finally started seeing myself in the mirror. It allowed me to open doors and focus on something that is bigger than myself — my brand. 

I want people to see me as I now see myself, a driven 30-something who is madly in love with his partner and his career.         

Lastly, what advice would you tell your younger self now? Is there something you wish you would’ve known then that you know now about coming out?

Fuck everyone. The naysayers' will always exist. Family is not blood. Stop trying to be someone else. Don't hate yourself because you're different.

I can't reiterate that last statement enough. I went through many years feeling disgusting, awful and the like because I was "different." I didn't like my body. I didn't like my hair, my face, my feet. All of it. I didn't like that I didn't enjoy the same music as my friends, or that I preferred art shows over football games. I wanted to fit in so desperately bad and turned to drugs and alcohol. I used them as a form of escapism and to fit in, and I really the whole time, I was meant to stand out. I've always been meant to stand out. 

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 Stay tuned for the next highlight of #pridemonth. Thank y'all for reading. 

Love,
-Ro

J Michael Photography Co.

*they/them/their gender-neutral  pronouns

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Ransom Ashley: LGBTQ+ Highlight

Hi Lovers,

June is Pride Month, and J Michael Photography Co. is extremely excited to highlight outstanding  members of the LGBTQ+ community and grab some insight into their lives.

J Michael Photography Co. had the pleasure to work and interview Shreveport's finest - Ransom Ashley. For those of you who might not be aware, Ransom is a renowned artist: a fine art photographer and actor. His artwork has been featured around the world, but most recently he has gotten a lot of attention over his work depicting what it felt like to grow up as a LGBTQ+ member in the Bible Belt of the South. 

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First, let me ask you about the portraits that James took. 

When you look at them, what do you see?

Working with James was one of the most comfortable experiences I’ve had in front of the lens. I think that connecting with the person that you are allowing to capture you is so important, especially when even just the act of being yourself can cause you to feel vulnerable. I can most definitely see, when I look at the images he captured of me, that he got at something really beautifully contemplative but also a sense of confidence and empowerment. 

Second, I’d like to talk about the hardships and injustices that members of the LGBTQ+ community members suffer. You, as a child, were not necessarily treated fairly growing up in the bible belt of the South. 

What advice would you tell your younger self now? Is there something you wish you would’ve known then that you know now about coming out?

It is incredibly hard being a member of any marginalized community especially in communities or social circles where you are dehumanized and treated poorly for your differences. I would definitely tell my younger self that one day everything will make sense and get better. I never would’ve believed where I would be now if you had told me as a young struggling teenager in a conservative Baptist school. I wish I had known that my power and my beauty was in my differences and not inspite of them.

Lastly, I view you as a phoenix rising from the ashes and grabbing all that hardship and identity struggles to create beautiful art, as you yourself have said that your art comes from your emotions and identity struggles, more so your search to know why everyone is the way they are…

How has your art shaped your identity of today?

My art has given me an education and a self-reflection that I don’t think I otherwise would’ve had or encountered. It gave me a cause to take a hard look inside myself and around me, a means to put the pieces together and learn about what it means to be human. I think my identity has probably shaped my art more, but my art has certainly allowed me a greater understanding of who I am as a person.

Thank you so much for your time Ransom! J Michael Photography Co. is extremely excited to be working with you. We greatly appreciate it.

Thanks so much, Ro! The pleasure was all mine. It’s been a wonderful experiencing working with and getting to know y’all.

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Isn't he just fabulous?! Well, that is it for now. Stay tuned for the next highlight of #pridemonth. Thank y'all for reading. 

Love,
-Ro

J Michael Photography Co.
 

 


 

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Fine Art Photography: The Overused Term

Hi there! Let's talk art: fine art photography to be exact. 

In recent years there has been a rise in the term - fine art photography -  by many photographers, both amature and professional; however, the question still remains to our clients, “What is fine art photography?”

Some think the term can be splattered over any photograph taken to allure clients, but that is just silly.

Don't take just my word for it. According to Digital Photography School, fine art photography is beyond just taking a photo and slapping that term on it. There is technique and certain elements that are used in the images that causes consistency - whether it is the medium, the grain, the shadows, the tones, or the message. Overall, the image needs to convey a message or an emotion.

James is what I call a fine art photographer, not because he takes amazing photos, but because he likes to capture people in unconventional ways, which encourages the viewer to build their own narrative around the image. He states that the inspiration for the undertone of his fine art comes from renaissance era paintings.

J Michael Photography Co. fine art portraits carry a a distinctive tone in grain, tones, and shadows. There are elements of nature that he transfers from each image to the next as he creates a statement in pixels.

Recently, James had the pleasure to work with a well known photographer in the area, Cat Salley with RP Photography. She's a really cool cat and was nothing short of a pleasure to work with and loads of fun. There's nothing more refreshing than when two artist get together to create art. 

I inquired about the idea behind this portrait, and James just looked at me and replied in a profound tone, “Distress, lost, emotional; Alone.” It hit me like a brick, because as he stated those words, I felt every sense of them while staring at the portrait.

And that ladies and gentlemen is fine art.

How does this portrait make you feel?

Love,
Ro

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Sources
https://digital-photography-school.com/what-is-fine-art-photography-and-how-to-do-it/

Meet Roberta

Hi y'all!

My name is Roberta, and I am over the moon to be part of J Michael Photography Co. and to be working under this fabulous brand.

I am a gal with many hats. Along with being the marketing director, I am also the blogger and wedding photographer for J Michael Photography Co. Even as I type this, my fingers are dancing on the keyboard from pure joy. 

I met James over a year ago, and I quickly became obsessed with him and Justin - his husband. It was a July 4th when this Southern-raised, Latina gal showed up with shots of tequila at his front door. It was honestly like I had just found my long lost friend; the kind that no matter how far you are apart, you never miss a beat. 

James and I love working together so much that we decided to venture into business together, or as James would say - I self appointed myself. It was seriously a no-brainer to me because behind the scenes we were always discussing our businesses and our photography down to the very last detail.  

It was definitely not a hard decision for me to make. Yes, I'd be leaving my business and my brand behind, but I was so ready to rebrand that it just seemed to be the best decision. Working with James is pure pleasure, and I love how well we feed off each other's energy, thoughts, and art. 

When you love someone, you want to help and see them succeed, which is the best part of this new business venture. 

Stay tuned for all the magic.

Love,
-Ro

J Michael Photography Co.

 

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About James

Meet James  

He's a warm summer night with a tall glass of sweet tea and some peach cobbler on the side - he's warm, he's sweet, he's southern; moreover he's Faulkner in disguise. The perfect artist. 

James loves to create and add a touch of elegance to all of his pieces. He's truly anything like none other. His sessions are full or fun, laughter, and elegance. He's a professional with a dash of Gatsby. 

It's honestly a treat.

James loves to create and paints as a hobby. He's able to see the details that can make the difference in a portrait. His keen eye for tones and details makes him the ideal artist for portraits. He likes flair, but he also enjoys some lifestyle in his photography, which makes for the best combination.

On any other day, you can find James in a bistro on Line Ave. with his hubby Justin indulging on an entrée with their little dogs: Bella and Benson. 

-Ro
J Michael Photography Co.

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