Opera singer, teacher and liver-of-life…Meet Lisa. A deep, creative, authentic musician with talent, personality and drive. During this portrait photography session I strove to capture as much of Lisa as possible in camera. It is my goal for you to be able to see the way her voice sounds; a tall order, but I tried my best!
I’ll begin with this dramatic, black and white image. I like the timeless, surreal nature of this photograph– the sound of her voice as I hear it is elegant, nimble and smooth. She moves with grace and ease among pitches and tones with a voice that is stirringly beautiful, haunting and inspiring.
What a treat to see (and hear!!!)! Yes, this is intentionally slightly out of focus, I like it that way ;).
Lisa wanted photos that were unique, creative and artistic. She wanted photography that would capture who she was as a performer and person and not just what she looked like. She wanted a photographer that could capture her true-self at her best in a fun, fresh way. I believe this image does just that:
Here is another portrait of Lisa, this time showing more drama and depth. I love the stark contrast of deep black shadow against the warm light touching the side of her face and body.
It beautifully illuminates her features as well as the exquisite fabric of her gown!
Light in the darkness… We captured this photograph in a dark room with doors closed and all lights off. I captured her reflection in an ornate mirror with rim-light illuminating her as she sings while her voice bounced against marble, mirror, plaster, wood and glass.
It is almost as if the light is inspiring her to sing in the darkness. Such a powerful, almost spiritual image that captures her unadulterated joy and passion for music.
For me the hand-carved wooden accents on the mirror give hint to the timeless classic, personal, deep-rooted style of music that she specializes in– opera. The rough grainy edges in the foreground give it an authentic, natural feeling.
This environment was quite the opposite– a bright room showing blue skies, the dramatic pop of red and her broad smile and full-on energy. It gives you a feel for her affable, buoyant nature– she is incredibly positive, approachable, friendly and certainly doesn’t take life too seriously.
She may have moved to singing musical theater instead of opera at this point in the shoot– I’m telling you I got a complete concert– so amazing!!!
Lisa wanted a good variety of photographs that she could use on her website and social media as well as head-shots for performing auditions and PR. Here is one that I believe would work well as a head-shot– how could you not book a performer with this gorgeous smile? 😉
Lisa has an incredibly impressive resume, from touring Europe with two-time Grammy winner Robert Page, to giving private performances at intimate gatherings in Washington DC for ambassadors and other dignitaries. She has performed diverse roles including Musetta in La Boheme, Rosina in Barber of Seville and Gretel in Hansel und Gretel and many others.
Having all of these international achievements and such a sophisticated career and impressive education, you might expect her to be at least a little stuffy, but she is incredibly down to earth, honest and humble.
I like this photo because I feel that those qualities really come across:
The gorgeous campus of Wilson College was the perfect location for her session– it has such a natural yet traditional feel, as faculty she had access to some pretty amazing spaces and it also holds so much sentimental value for her.
It is the place where she had her senior portraits taken years ago, it is the location of her first kiss with the man who became her husband and the father of her wonderful son, it is the place where she teaches.
At this point in the portrait session, the sun began to set so we took one last image before traveling outside to take advantage of that natural, golden light.
Lisa shared that she is turning 40 this year, and that she has chosen to fully embrace it. She said while is is not currently living in NYC and touring Europe, she has settled down and is taking time to enjoy her beautiful family while still pursuing her passion for music in a new way.
She is currently a music professor at Wilson College and conducts the choir there. She also teaches voice at the Cumberland Valley School of Music and continues to perform as well. If it sounds like a lot to do, it is. But for her, music is a passion and all of the ways that she is involved with it give her more fullness in her life.
She said that she has been gifted with so many wonderful voice teachers over the years that have each left a unique stamp on her life. As a voice teacher herself, she hopes to share the knowledge and love of music that they have imparted to her, and help them to develop their best voice; a beautiful means of expression that is just their own.
For me this image shows her passion, her heart, her ability to let go.
So there is an incredibly creative, environmental sculpture on the campus of Wilson College right now. It is part of internationally acclaimed artist, Patrick Dougherty’s, “Stickworks” collection. I began by just having it subtly in the background of this photo…
Here you can see more of it– though I liked to keep it mysterious and dramatic here. It is a collection of bent sticks and saplings carefully woven together to creative a one-of-a-kind environmental structure. They are meant to be reclaimed organically a few years after they have been constructed.
I thought that Lisa’s red dress caught by the breeze along with the primitive, “moonlit” stick house construction gave such an interesting and almost haunting appearance.
Lisa is actually the one who imagined the creative concept of this next photograph.
I previously shared that she conducts the Wilson College Choir and teaches voice lessons there at the Cumberland Valley School of Music. She also has a love of oaktrees.
She mentioned the proverb, “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.” She envisioned herself conducting the oak trees on campus. I captured her idea in this way:
I hesitated to end the blog post in this way, as I believe the shadowy subject against the late evening sky is a perfect ending to the story– but, I thought you, as blog reader (yes especially you Pennsylvania locals) might enjoy this part…
We also captured a little bit of her on the job– here she is teaching voice lessons at Cumberland Valley School of Music. You really get a feel for how supportive and attentive she is here:
Here she is with Kitt, her duet partner, who she sings with on a regular basis at the local Episcopal Home for Assisted Living. Lisa said that she likes to think that she is assisting residents in living life in her own small way. 😉
She said she sometimes performs for people in dementia wards at other homes, and that while they may not recognize the names or faces of people in the rooms they remember the melodies and words to songs and sing them out and that it is a real pleasure for her to bring them such joy.
Lisa you are beautiful on the inside and out and it was such a pleasure for me to capture you in your element in so many areas of your career. I wish you all the very best that life has to give and commend you on all of your local outreach!
I hope that these photos captured your spirit and presented a visual representation for the way your voice sounds that will be useful on your website, as headshots, etc!