In case you haven’t noticed we’ve entered a new year and decade. I’ve been feeling particularly creative as of late and have my eyes on new projects, new adventures and new avenues for exhibiting my work. As the new year rolled in I signed up with a few networking sites and groups including Smug Mug and Model Mayhem. I mention these important networking tools because this week I had my first face to face experiences with both. Attending my first Smug Mug workshop at B&H and working together with my first Model Mayhem contact Diana. My first experience with Smug Mug and Rob ‘Ninja’ Nicholson was excellent. Entertaining, informative and completely reassuring at the same time. Listening and watching Rob made me better understand why people join cults and believe in alien abductions. I wanted to stay and meet everyone but there’s something about crowds that sometimes give me overwhelming anxiety. The room was so packed that all I could think of was fresh air and how close I was to the door. The very same week I had my first meet up with my very first Model Mayhem contact Diana Lo. What drew me to Diana’s profile was the simple beauty of her pictures on the site. A lot of the work I had seen on the site was a combination of sex, raunch and endless hours of Photoshop. Her photos stood out to me. After a couple of emails and a phone call we chose a date and time. I’m always a little nervous before a session. I admit that after all these years I still get the butterflies before every session. Working with someone and trying to capture their essence five minutes after you meet some one for the first time definitely has it’s challenges. But Diana and I had instant chemistry. During our phone conversation she told me how much she liked the location work I had done. So I promised her we’d visit some of my favorite spots before we went back to the studio. She had never been to Hoboken before so I was more than happy to give her a tour. As we talked and took pictures Diana became more and more instinctive. I almost immediately noticed that the pictures on her profile, although beautiful, didn’t even scratch the surface. I meet a lot of beautiful, unique and special people in my line of work. Diana however took it to another level. She reminded me of someone who was very special to me a child. Someone who opened my eyes to the beauty the world has to offer. Whenever I think of that particular person I have so many special memories. To this day I get choked up just thinking about her. As we went from one spot to the other Diana would thank me for showing me these new places, explaining my approach to each photo and making her feel included. She told me about growing up in Hong Kong and living in Manhattan. What was scheduled to be a two hour session went past five hours and I can honestly say that not a minute was wasted of forced. We both loved the shots we took and enjoyed the whole process. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to be doing what I love. I’ll go back to this session and this blog post whenever I need a reminder.