by Skip Cohen
Sometimes the most fun of this industry has nothing to do with having a camera in my hands but the pure pride and enjoyment of watching friends in action. Kevin A. Gilligan is in the spotlight this morning, and he's no stranger to SCU. One of the best "how-to" pieces I've ever shared was Kevin's three-part guest post on all the ingredients you need for your own exhibition.
Noreen Wenjen, the subject in the images, is an accomplished pianist, author, educator - but she's also Kevin's other half, his wife. They've got two kids and live south of Los Angeles, and two years ago, after a five to six-year friendship, he and I finally met in person. Looking back over these last few years, he's become one of my very best friends, and we recently did a program together for ClickCon Nation.
As you watch the short BTS video below, you'll also pick up on one of the most important ingredients of a shoot like this - teamwork. There's that old line about "teamwork makes the dream work." While the images of Noreen at the piano are beautiful, one of my favorites is at the very end - and it's the team, (masks and all), it took to produce the images.
Kevin's backstory on the image is below, but I want to share my own Steinway moment. In my previous life, we were looking to buy a piano for our two kids who were taking lessons. We wandered into Boston Piano in Natick, MA. As we looked at pianos on their showroom floor, I sat down and plunked a few keys on a Steinway. The manager of the store came over and commented on the quality of a Steinway. After hearing that our kids were taking lessons but not serious musicians, he said, "Well, for what you're looking for now, you'd need a Steinway like you'd need a Hasselblad."
The look on his face was priceless as I handed him my new business card. I had just accepted the position of president of Hasselblad USA a few weeks earlier! I totally understood his point, but it was one of those moments that became priceless for both of us.
Kevin is a landscape, portrait, and sports photographer from LA's South Bay. Check out more of his work on his website, and follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
A stunning flowing red dress, a big stage, dramatic lighting on a Steinway piano and a beautiful model - These are the components of a portrait shoot that have been burning in the back of my mind for months.
Noreen Wenjen is a classically trained pianist, piano teacher, author and entrepreneur. She wanted to capture dramatic images of her passion, having played piano since she was five. She’s performing on a 9’ Concert Grand Steinway, a gorgeous, hand-crafted instrument that takes a year of meticulous work to build. We wanted to capture her incredible love for music as well as the beauty of the instrument.
Thanks to Steinway of Beverly Hills for opening up their showroom to us. I love the way these turned out, I can see the joy on her face, and love the way her red flowing dress looks by the piano.
Kevin A. Gilligan
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.