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A handful of times I was able to hang out with Taro and his coworkers, and during a Brazilian all-you-can-eat dinner, I met Grace and Matt (although prior to the dinner, I am pretty sure I met Matt and also saw him during Facetime sessions with Taro). We had a funny conversation that night and after that night, I still saw Matt through Facetime (Taro would show his face on the phone and Emi would become stone cold silent!) and would get tidbits of the lives of Taro’s coworkers. So it was definitely a pleasant surprise when Grace emailed me expressing interest on doing a Mad Max inspired photo session. I was instantly intrigued – where? when? how is this going to look? Luckily, Grace had a vision, but in the process of creating that Mad Max look, she realized it would take an insane amount of hours to make it happen! However, she came up with a great alternative – a crow scouting out a desolate looking landscape – and found the perfect location for our shoot together. Through months of conversing, I have to admit my excitement and nerves were building. I couldn’t wait to see Grace’s final look after getting sneak peeks at her costuming and wardrobe through email. At the same time, the perfectionist in me was worrying that I wouldn’t get the look Grace wanted, really nailing that post-apocalyptic look and feel. But the minute I saw Grace in her costume and we talked in the car on the way to the location – I am so grateful that Matt picked me up because I would have gotten lost and confused getting there! – I knew it would all come together. The result? A blend of the post-apocalyptic feel with a sense of desolation, Game of Thrones inspired crow element and landscape, and the grittiness of Mad Max with the magic hour of light. I love what resulted in the end and I especially love the mix of rawness, femininity, strength, and athleticism captured in Grace.

Thank you so much for this opportunity, Grace! I had so much fun behind the camera and I loved how your creativity inspired mine! I cannot wait to do something like this again very soon!

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The Olivia Act, named after one of the children killed in Newtown, was started by an photographer who wishes to remain anonymous. Olivia’s family had family pictures taken a short time before she was killed. Those pictures are precious and now priceless to them. Upon hearing this, this photographer was moved to give away a 30 minute family photo shoot and has challenged other photographers to do the same. We go about our daily lives and sometimes we don’t take the time or have the resources to have family photos taken.

I will be taking nominations for a family who you think would appreciate this gift. This 45 minute session will take place after the New Year and will be completely free for the receiving family.  They will receive a CD of the digital portraits as a keepsake of their priceless memories.  I will be taking nominations from now until January 31st. Please email their name, contact information, and a brief summary of why you chose them to info@andreataro.com.  Please put  ”The Olivia Act”  in the subject line. The chosen family will be contacted via email. Please feel free to share this post with family and friends.  Thank you and I look forward to taking part in The Olivia Act.

A little over a year ago, I was sitting in a chair, getting my make-up done.  It was the big day and I was enjoying every minute of it because I was surrounded by my girlfriends and two amazing people, Nikki and SC.  Nikki did my hair for my wedding and when I initially asked her if she knew anyone for make-up, she highly recommended SC.  SC was very helpful with what to do – I had two trials and really fell in love with the purple shade the second time – and everyone enjoyed feeling glamorous for the day.  I think the two moms enjoyed it the most, especially since they both do not wear make-up, and loved having eyelashes!  The day of the wedding, SC came in with suitcase of beauty supplies, but what I noticed was this gigantic bruise on her.  I was concerned – did she fall and injure herself?  I am a complete klutz and run into tables and doors, so did she have a mishap, too?  SC told me that it was from her pole dancing class and I thought, wow, it must be intense!

Fast forward a year and now, SC is an instructor.  I heard that she is pretty awesome and I finally witnessed it myself during the portrait session.  In my eyes, she did insane moves!  Even as I sit here and write this, I still cannot figure it out.  SC has such power and strength that she can do a bow (that is what it is called in yoga) on the pole.  People struggle to do that on the floor and SC just did it.  I was amazed.  What was even more stunning was the trick where she held herself horizontally with just her legs.  It is a difficult move, yet SC held it with such grace as I snapped photos of her.  When she was done, she had a bruise from that move alone so you can only imagine how tough it was!

SC, I have to give you a big thank you for introducing me to the wonderful women who instruct and take classes.  You not only do beautiful make-up, but you left me in awe as you did trick after trick!  I cannot wait to watch you compete and cheer you on!