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April 2014

Ecstatic Variety Magazine Life Health & Wellness Photography

C h a r l e s t o n Fashion Week 2014 Runway Report

Searching for Heroes

T A T Going


5 Steps to Living

Within Your Means

Much More Inside...


Wax Ecstatic Magazine

April 2014 - Spring

On the Cover: Mckenna Hellam On the Back Cover: Delane Toole

Ecstatic Variety Magazine Life Health & Wellness Photography

Ta b l e O f C o n t e n t s Artist K i r i Ø s t e r g a a r d L e o n a r d b y

E v e l y n G r a c e 8

A Fresh Outlook for your Interior Space by Cheree Bernard 16 Five Steps to Living Within Your Means by Karen R. Jenkins 17 Gỏi cuốn - Vietnamese Spring Roll by Kendell Linh 18 G o i n g G r e e n ( e r ) by Rachel-Elise Weems 2 0 Spotlight on Photographer Tom Contrino by Kendell Linh 22 Searching for Heroes - TAT by Robert L. Healy 32 Azadeh Couture

by Tosha Cole Clemens


Charleston Fashion Week 2014 by Andrea Horne 46 Live Life Be Healthy & Take Lots of Pictures Chief Editor - David Moon



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Model: Kariann Photography by Kendell Linh & Evelyn Grace


Mixing it up Spring 2014 Color Frenzy


Model: Kariann Photography by Kendell Linh & Evelyn Grace Wax Ecstatic Magazine


Art & Illustration by

K iri Ø stergaard L eonard

By Evelyn Grace

I have always been fascinated by the imagination as it has no boundaries. Some embrace it more than others. Here is a glimpse into the world of Kiri Østergaard Leonard. See how she defines what is real and how she translates it into imagination.

Can you tell us about yourself and your artwork. My name is Kiri Østergaard Leonard. I am from Denmark, Scandinavia. I grew up in the small country village of Boeslum, surrounded by farms and animals. While still living in Denmark, I attended The Academy of Fine Arts in Aarhus. At age 24, I left my home country, friends, and family behind to continue my studies in drawing at the Pratt Institute in New York City. For my artwork I draw upon inspirations from my childhood and Nordic descent, along with nature, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales. My artwork tends to take on an imaginative and whimsical feeling, full of color. I currently thrive as a full-time illustrator, living in New York City with my husband Alexander Leonard and my two highly adored cats, Minnie and Mishu. I have illustrated for companies such as Mayfair Games, Llewellyn Worldwide, Dover Publications and more. 8

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What was your motivation as an artist from youth to adulthood? My main motivation has always been stories. I am particularly fond of stories related to folklore and mythos. Growing up in Denmark I was surrounded by all these tales of folklore and Norse mythology. I believe that my parents, Ragnhild and Jørgen Østergaard, in a way conditioned me towards becoming an artist with the stories they told me, and also the cartoons I watched as a child. My family consists of very creative people, though none of them does it professionally. My parents have also always been great at supporting and encouraging my creative endeavors. They made sure my brother and I had a well-stocked library of fairy tale books from a young age. I was always taken with the illustrations in these books, and while I had my first exhibition as an artist when I was in my teenage years, it honestly wasn’t until I was well into my twenties that I realized I wanted to make a career of it. At that point my motivation was love. I fell madly in love with my now husband, whom I met online. He was a freelance illustrator and I was so eager to impress him. I found his drawings to be phenomenal and I wanted to be able to do that myself, but I didn’t know how. He suggested I look into art schools in the states, which led to my move to the US and eventually to making a living as an artist.

How much has your artwork evolved throughout the years? (Is it ever-changing or are there characters that keep creeping up in your work because of your love for them?) I’ve always been drawn towards fairies, fairy tales and the like, even in my earlier artwork, so the themes haven’t evolved that much—but the quality has improved massively. I still have much to learn as a draftsman, but it takes time and practice, something I have learned I need to be patient with. It takes years and years to become good at painting and drawing; it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not talent—it’s hard work.


We noticed a darker theme or mood in your color choices. Is your choice based on the fairy tale aspect of things or just preference? You know, like dim lighting or candlelight. I have a fondness for the darkness. By darkness I mean specifically just that hint of the uneasy; it’s the subconscious that lurks beneath the happiness, our deeper self. I like toying with what’s within the shadows but I don’t like outright gore and violence, though—that turns me off. I like the odd, the strange and mysterious, without it becoming morbid.

How much of reality is in your artwork? That’s a tough question. It is imaginative but even the imaginative has elements of reality. Artists build upon input from the world we live in. Fairy tales aren’t reality but I believe there is much that can be learned from fairy tales which applies to reality. However, I also believe that sometimes we just have to enjoy something for what it is, without any need for a deeper meaning. Sometimes it’s just for fun! 10

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How is the creative scene in your area? Is it flourishing and was it hard to find a place for your type of artwork? Does it inspire you? It’s absolutely flourishing! Before I moved to the US, I was completely unaware there was such a big scene for it. I thought there was no place for what I wanted to do and it distressed me. I was uncertain it was even possible to make a living of it. I was so wrong. I’m not sure I would have realized that if I had stayed in Denmark, though. As hard as it was to say goodbye to my country, friends, and family, it turned my life around for the better. There are so many amazingly skilled artists in this field. The competition is also steep but it is incredibly inspiring. There is a yearly convention named IlluxCon that takes place in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where fantasy and sci-fi artists gather to show their work. I have only been attending for a few years, but it is amazing to see the imagination and skills of these artists, and it appears to be growing too.

How does your artwork fit in to the New York scene? I’m not sure that it does. It is my impression that New York has a big scene for editorial illustration, modern art, fine art, and installation art. I don’t see a lot of fantasy artwork in the city, though I know many artists working with it who live here. It’s not so much about location anymore; thanks to the internet, artists can pretty much work from anywhere and connect with people who like what they do. That being said, I love the creative energy in New York. Whenever you leave your home, you’re bound to come across some sort of cool art.


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Are you an optimist or pessimist, and does this affect your artwork? (Glass half full or glass half empty?) That depends on the day and if I have had my coffee! I’m generally a very positive person, but I have my moments of doubt and pessimism. I try my best to stay positive though, and I believe a good attitude can make a world of difference. I shy away from overly pessimistic people. I just can’t deal with the negative influence; it brings me down. When I struggle with my artwork, I can turn suddenly pessimistic. When that happens the best thing I can do is just walk away and focus on something that makes me happy for a while. If I’m not in a good place, I’m not likely to create good work.


“Month of Love (No Filter)” from your love challenge is a favorite of mine. Could you elaborate a little more on this, as it seems to really step out of the fairy tale world? I’m very happy to hear that illustration resonated with you. I wanted to work with heavier emotions in the illustration. I would like to bring more emotions into my work in general and this is a step in that direction. The topic for the drawing challenge was #NoFilter Valentine and it made me think of what love truly is—what’s left when the filter is removed? I immediately thought of this image of an old woman taking care of an old, sickly, dying man. So often love is portrayed to us as the lustful, butterfly buzzing feeling we feel when we first fall madly in love, when we are so passionate and just crave each other every second of the day. But that feeling fades over time no matter how much you are in love, and what happens then? Love isn’t just butterflies and kisses. Love without a filter is spending a lifetime together through thick and thin. It’s the love that spurs someone to take care of another day in and day out, when the loved one is very ill and no longer “of use” but purely a burden, to put it bluntly. It’s heartbreaking when couples who have been together for over 50 years have to say goodbye. Sometimes when one passes the other passes shortly after; they just lose the will to live. I’ve seen this happen and it’s hard, but it’s also beautiful that two people can be so entwined. So…Love No Filter! It’s the mature love, it’s better than the buzz because it’s heartbreakingly real and deep. It goes beyond good looks and charming personalities.

Tell us about your line of works and products.

I am currently illustrating a Tarot deck for Llewellyn Worldwide, which will be available for sale in 2015. Last year I had my first book published: Vikings of Legend and Lore, a Viking paper doll book for children. I also sell original art and prints of my personal illustrations and postcards online. Everything is available from my website at On occasion I also do private commissions; however, my schedule is currently too packed for that because of the Tarot deck.


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A Fresh Outlook for your Interior Space Cheree Bernard

Wow, is that grass we are beginning to see out there again?

You know what that means: Spring is right around the corner. This winter season has been a long, cold one, to say the least.

The change in seasons not only means warmer temperatures and blooming flowers; it is also the time for spring cleaning and some crisp spring design. After a long, stale, winter, spring is the perfect time to get organized, clean, and freshen up your design decor.

Let’s start by opening our doors and windows, pulling up the shades and letting the sun shine in.


rganize your closets and pack away everything winter. For those of you fortunate enough to not have to endure snow and frigid temperatures, you might be able to just hang up your jackets and forget about them for a few months. Getting organized is always a great way to feel a sense of accomplishment. Seeing all those bright-colored spring and summer clothes again is just the inspiration you need for the rest of the house. Change your linens and go for some lighter-weight bedding. Wash your window treatments. Get rid of those winter cobwebs and wash your windows while you are at it. Try introducing some new decor and mix things up a bit. Add some fresh flowers to your rooms to bring the outside in. Think purple lilacs, bright yellow sunflowers, or bright orange gerbera daisies. Try a new color—add a pop with some bright pillows, accents, maybe even a new area rug. Pick a color that makes you happy and go for it! Nothing says spring like a fresh new piece of artwork or an accessory for your table.

Once you have brightened your interior space,

get outside and enjoy yourself!


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Steps to Living Within Your Means

L by Karen R. Jenkins

iving within your means was a practice that was not difficult to achieve in the early 1900s. In fact, it was a way of life. Families made purchases on a cash basis which meant they could not spend more than the cash they had on hand. If they needed to purchase a high priced item, they were required to SAVE up enough money to purchase the item with cash.

With the recent economic crisis, it’s more important than ever that we begin practicing personal fiscal responsibility. Returning to some of these “Old School” practices can work wonders for your budget and your overall financial position. The Credit Card Act of 2009 provided regulations to protect the consumer; however, it is up to individual consumers to educate themselves and take measures to ensure they are not falling into the notorious debt trap. Here are five basic steps to assist you in being able to live within your means: Create a budget. Budgeting is by far the most important and most effective step you can take to control your finances. It’s a simple process of making a list of all of your monthly expenses and projecting what you will spend each month. Base your spending on the amount of money that yo u have coming in each month. As you make decisions on what you will or will not purchase during the month, refer back to your budget. If an item is not listed on your monthly budget, you may not be in a position to purchase it right now. Save up for large purchases. Instead of placing a large-ticket item on your credit card account, see if you can delay the purchase until you can save up enough money to pay for it in cash. Find out if the company offers a layaway plan. Layaway programs are becoming popular again and allow you to pay for the item over time. The great thing about a layaway plan is that when you pick up your merchandise, it’s paid for in full. Practice the “shop for 24 hours” rule. If you are shopping and run across an item that you would like to purchase (especially a large ticket item), determine if it is a need or a want. Do not make the purchase at that time. Give yourself 24 hours to help you determine if it is something that you truly NEED right now or if it is something you want. If it is a NEED and you can buy it without using a credit card, proceed with the purchase. If not, do not make the purchase right now. Add it to your budget and save up the money over time to make the purchase in cash. Practice moving away from immediate gratification. As a country, we have been hypnotized by advertisements on television, radio, and the internet. The commercials are impactful, and if you are not careful, they will convince you to buy the product they are selling, whether you need it or not. Take control! Use your budget to determine if this is a purchase that you can truly afford right now.

M O V E A W A Y from immediate gratification! Teach your kids. One of the most challenging things for parents is trying to teach their children that money does not grow on trees. Keep in mind that children are some of the best salespeople in the world, as they rarely take no for an answer. That’s why you find many marketers targeting your children in their advertisements. They know that if they can’t convince you that you need an item, your child surely can. When trying to get what they want, children can be very persistent until finally you decided to give in. Don’t do it! Work with your children and help them understand the concept of savings. Show them how to earn money around the house by doing chores and save their own money to buy the items they want in cash. You will be surprised how much pride they will take in themselves and in the items that they were able to purchase with their own money. This practice also teaches them patience and will hopefully get them away from the immediate gratification syndrome that most adults face today. By applying these basic tips, you should be in a position to live comfortably within your means. Remember, it isn’t how much money you make, it’s how much money you get to keep out of what you make. For a free copy of a sample budget form and more helpful tips on living within your means, visit: www.NobodyToldMeOnline. com. Karen R. Jenkins is a speaker, consultant, and author of Nobody Told Me! The Path to Financial Empowerment. She is the principal of KRJ Consulting, Training and Development, providing solutions to increase effectiveness, productivity, and retention. For more information or to book Karen to speak at your next event, email


Gỏi cuốn - Vietnamese Spring Roll Kendell Linh

For Gỏi cuốn • Cucumber • Green onion • Cilantro • Carrot • Lettuce • Shrimp (or Pork) • Rice Sticks • Rice Paper

It’s spring time, and what better way to jump right in than with the “Vietnamese Spring Roll.” My mother was from Kien Giang, a small town in South Vietnam. She loved to cook and made sure to teach me everything she knew. I was very hesitant in sharing this becuase it is one of the ways I get to keep her memory close to me, but Evelyn (my wife) thought it would be good therapy :) - Enjoy!!

1. Boil the Rice Sticks for approx. 5-6 minutes then strain & rinse with cold water.

5. Chop the Onion.

8. Place lettuce in bottom center closest to you.


2. Cut the shrimps in half.

3. Prepare the cucumber by cutting them approx. 3 inches in length.

6. Organize your ingredients and get them ready for wrapping.

9. Then place the rice-stick on top and decorate with onions, cilantro and shredded carrot.

10. Place the sliced cucumber and then the shrimp.

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For Peanut Sauce: • 1 TBSP Olive Oil • 1 TBSP Garlic Clove • 1 TBSP Peanut Butter • 6 TBSP Hoison Sauce • 1 TBSP Sugar • Crushed Peanuts

4. Shred the Carrot.

7. Dip the rice paper in water No need to soak.

11. Carefully fold (roll) the rice paper over the first section.

Pe a n u t S a u c e :

In a small pot combine and heat: (do not boil)

1 TBSP Olive Oil

1 TBSP minced garlic cloves

1 TBSP Peanut Butter

6 TBSP ‘s Hoison Sauce

1 TBSP Sugar

After combining and heating all of the ingredients for the peanut sauce Place in a bowl to chill and top with crushed peanuts.

Gỏi cuốn - Vietnamese Spring Roll & Peanut Sauce

12. After folding the rice paper over the sliced cucumber, fold in each side of the rice paper creating an envelope.

13. Finish by tightly rolling up the rest of the rice paper covering all of the ingredients.

14. Admire your first Vietnamese Spring Roll. Gỏi cuốn

15. Place on a plate then repeat until ingredients are gone. 19

By R achel-El i se Weems


G reen(er)

To say Americans love their meat would be a bit of an understatement. In fact, the United States consumes more of it on average every year than nearly any other country in the world. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Americans devoured a whopping 270.7 lbs. of meat per person in 2007. That’s an astronomical leap from the annual average of 138.2 lbs. per person in the 1950s, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), an excess of 145.7 lbs. above the recommended annual maximum of 125 lbs. of protein by USDA dietary guidelines.

Sure, you may find yourself reasoning, that’s a lot of meat—but what’s the big deal with packing in some extra red-blooded protein?

Unfortunately, it is a pretty big one.


here are actually a number of serious health risks connected to meat over-consumption. A 2012 study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) linked high meat consumption to dramatically higher risks of cardiovascular disease—currently the leading cause of death in the U.S. according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Both the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) report strong correlations between the relationship of meat consumption and type 2 diabetes, stroke, and a variety of cancers. An additional study by the NCBI in 2009 also revealed findings of direct associations between obesity and meat-heavy diets in U.S. adults. In light of these considerations, you might find it unsurprising that the dietary


recommendation to each of these health determents is the same—a significant reduction of meat intake. It is also due to these findings that another type of dietary lifestyle has begun steadily gaining popularity in recent years—vegetarianism. The deepening of nutritional research over the last 20 years into vegetarianism has begun revealing new perspectives within Western culture into the variety of benefits a vegetarian diet has to offer. In contrast to their meat-eating counterparts, vegetarians show significantly lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure or cholesterol, as well as lower overall cancer and obesity rates, according to the American Dietetic Association (ADA). A long-term study by the German Cancer Research Center revealed that vegetarians also appear to reap an increased longevity, as male participants Wax Ecstatic Magazine

reduced their risk of premature death by 50% and female participants by 30% over a 21-year span. The NCBI also reported evidence of decreased risks of hypertension, osteoporosis, and certain other chronic diseases among vegetarians. That’s certainly enough food for thought to strike some interest within the meateating community. That all sounds great, you may be thinking, but at the same time improbable to implement in your own meat-loving lifestyle. You definitely desire heart health and longevity—but you know what else you definitely desire? Steak. And bacon. Even in recognizing the benefits of a meatless lifestyle, you may feel there is no way you could bring yourself to give up meat altogether. So is it even possible for this article or any of the perks of a vegetarian diet to apply to you? Absolutely.


hile you may not want to convert to an all-green all-the-time lifestyle, there are still many health profits to be reaped by choosing to adopt a greener one. You can begin taking steps to dramatic health and nutritional improvements in your own future by implementing a part-time vegetarian diet three to five days a week. And getting started might be easier than you suspect, just by taking the time to follow five simple strategies. Have a plan Simply saying “I’m going to eat better” but having no execution plan to follow through is like saying “I’m going to take a vacation” without making any kind of travel arrangements. Decide how many days a week you want to go green and whether starting with a lower number and building your way up to a higher one will enable you to succeed. Then pick a start date and set goals for when you’re going to add an additional day. Meal plan in advance Give yourself adequate time to decide what type of meals you will be having on vegetarian days and which groceries you will need to prepare them. Keep in mind there may already be recipes you enjoy that can be adapted –lasagna, for instance, can easily be converted into a vegetarian-friendly dish by replacing the meat with vegetables and whole-grain pasta. Pack in the protein There are sometimes misconceptions about protein consumption in vegetarianism, because some people hear the term “vegetarian” and visualize someone who sits around eating nothing but grass and twigs all day. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. There is actually a wide variety of protein sources available aside from meat, which include nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, legumes, whole grains, meat substitutes, tofu and soy products. Make sure to incorporate them in your own meal preparation. Max out on the veggies That is, after all, one of the key points in constructing a well-balanced vegetarian diet—the greens. It’s not simply the absence of meat, but the equally important contribution of nutrients and sustenance provided by the vegetables. (After all, you could technically eat nothing but cookies and potato chips all day and call yourself a vegetarian, but you would be neither balanced nor healthy.) Try new vegetables and experiment with ways to prepare them—you might not like asparagus raw or steamed, but throw them on the grill or in the oven with a little olive oil and seasoning and you might fall in love. Stick to it Choose to keep pursuing your goals, even if you fall short sometimes. Try enlisting some accountability partners to help keep you on track and encourage you along the way. Nothing worth having is easy, but some things are definitely worth having. Your health is one of them. You only get one life and one body—and it is always worth making the investment to take care of both.


Spotlight on Photographer Tom Contrino

By Kendell Linh

Wax Ecstatic Magazine has been wanting to feature photographer Tom Contrino since the very first issue. We could’ve gone technical and asked the typical “photography” questions, but Mr. Tom Contrino has a deep history within the creative arts and as you will soon read , he is straight forward, honest and his pov is simply “Raw.” 1. Can you give our readers a brief Italy, and New York City for a couple years while I began to really build my portfolio with pages from Italian Bazaar, introduction about yourself? Italian Vogue and several other Italian fashion publications. It Ok, I am a father of three children, of was enough to kick off my career in the US, first with stories whom I am extremely proud. Born and for New Jersey Monthly magazine and then on to a handful raised in New Jersey. My two sisters of commercial clients. I was never very interested in shooting Pat and Terry have been my cheering editorial. I really did that to build a portfolio to get “worksection, support group, and my touchstone. They have tolerated me a-day” jobs like catalogues. I wanted to earn a living. I come with great humor. I’m also still best friends with my kindergarten from a very lower middle-class background, and I like the idea best friend Paul we get together regularly, he has sent me a birthday of working every day, without the pretense associated with the card every year...I contend it’s just to remind me that I’m six months whole world of editorial fashion. I have often said that fashion older than him. I have had a disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis photography is not a lifestyle, it’s a way to earn a living. I don’t since I was about 17, something which I have had to manage consider anything that I have done to be “art.” It’s commerce. throughout my life and career. I have most of my old friends from I still love it, but I make no pretenses of it being anything the days I managed the renowned Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New more than what it is. I’m proud of my work and I have used Jersey. The ones lost were due to passing, unfortunately. I can’t my artistic talents to create it, but it’s not art. I have rarely imagine my life without music—all types, from standards to rock, exhibited my own personal work because I believe that the world, and hip-hop. When I work, I have music on constantly, and minute you have an audience in mind, it compromises the when on location there is always a soundtrack going on in my head. work that you produce. I pretty much consider anything hung in a gallery to be commercial art also. If you create your work I have been incredibly blessed to have made my living doing and tuck it in a box for your eyes only, then you’ve pretty much what I love my entire life, photography. I consider myself “a created something with purity. All else is commerce. photographer”: I eschew labels such as “fashion photographer,” “still life photographer,” and so on. I’m a photographer by profession. I will shoot pretty much whatever a client has for me. It was the major thing that landed J. Crew for me at the beginning of my career. I was asked, “Do you shoot on figure?” I replied “Yes.” Then I was asked, “Do you shoot stills?” Again, I replied, “Yep.” It made my career, and has kept me very very busy for many years. I also enjoy the mix. My BA is in Education from Jersey City State College. After doing well there, and with a lack of teaching jobs in the mid-70s, I decided to go to a “real” art school, Pratt Institute, for my MFA. I learned that despite the hype and pretense about Pratt, the education I received at Jersey City State was indeed superior. Unable to get a job as a photo assistant, even with an MFA (due to “lack of experience assisting”), I continued to work at the Capitol Theatre, drove a cab, and ran a projector in a porn theatre along with a spotlight for the strippers. I eventually landed a job as an assistant for Kourken Pakchanian, who shot for both American Vogue and Bazaar. It was a great experience and paid almost nothing—basically covered my bus and subway fare from New Jersey. I only stayed there for five months, but I had immediately started building a name for myself, testing for the modeling agencies. My next step was assisting Jean Pagliuso, whose work is incredible. I stayed with Jean for about two years before deciding to head out on my own. I spent a great deal of time back and forth between Milan, 22

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w w w . c o n t r i n o p h ot o . c o m 2. Being creative has been with you since a very early age. found I booked the last motorhome in San You mention being a sculptor in your bio. Can you elaborate Diego and thus began our cross-country journey home. It was an incredible time to cross America, and it’s a treasured memory by all on that? Is sculpting still a part of your life? involved. I knew going in that it was going to create an incredible I have always had a better than average skill in the arts. I guess experience. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, but naturally you gravitate towards the thing in life that you are it was exactly the right thing for the time. We met so many kind decent at. For me it was art. I just knew at an early age that I people along the way. I also like “creating experiences,” so I’m could draw really well, and I was always doing things that related usually kind of the ring leader when it comes to the entertainment, to art. My father owned a dry cleaners and he had a natural and I never mind making myself the butt of the joke. We aren’t artistic talent, but he had a family to support, so the extent of his curing cancer; there isn’t a patient who is going to die. We’re art was sketching things from the funny papers, etc. He was also taking pictures and that should be fun. My real responsibility is a tailor, as was my mother, so they both had an eye for detail and to my client when I am shooting and producing the best possible a skill with their hands. I started sculpting with the wire hangers work that I can to help them meet their goal: “selling stuff,” lol. I in my Dad’s store. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was able guess people respond to the idea of having a fun time at work. to come up with some pretty decent life form wire sculptures. I Makes sense to me. never really stuck to one medium: I would use wax, yarn, clay, whatever was around. When it came time to leave high school, it was a toss-up: carpentry, music, or college for art. Since the Viet Nam War was raging, I decide that college would be a good idea. As luck would turn out, I pulled a very high draft lottery number and it was irrelevant. My first two years of college I poured myself into painting and sculpting. I absolutely adored it. Then I took an elective in photography, and I was hooked immediately. That was it! I had found what I really loved. I built a darkroom in my uncle’s wine cellar so I didn’t have to use the darkrooms at school and so I could use it anytime of the day or night that I wanted. I all but abandoned sculpting, painting, and drawing, except to finish the courses left for my degree, and I have never really returned to it. It was almost like a switch had been turned. 3. The work on your website exudes such a wonderful positive energy. There is so much life captured in the eyes of your subjects. In other words, your subjects connect with you in such a positive way. Do you feel that your personality is reflected back at you in your photographs? I’m naturally very outgoing and I really like being around people. I like people. I’ll pretty much talk to anyone given the chance, and it never ceases to amaze me how much you learn and how much fun it is. I don’t have any pretense about who I am or what I do or where I came from. I’m pretty much the person my mom and dad raised. I love hearing stories and telling them; I like to work with upbeat people and I try to stay as positive as I can. I’m very open to new experiences, and some of my best memories and stories come from “unplanned adventures.” On 9/11 I was on location in San Diego shooting a job with a crew of ten. It was obviously a terrifying time, and many of us were worried about loved ones back in New York City. We helped each other and actually shot later that day. It was a hard time to be away from New York. When the week was over we had no way to get home; we all wanted to get back, and it was costing the client over $1000 a day just to keep us out there. So I went online and


4. What can you tell us about the “Steampunk” concept, personal project?


teampunk is actually ALL work for Simplicity Patterns. They are patterns!! It’s just one of the lines of fashion they design, I love it and I always look forward to the days when we shoot that stuff. I’m sorry I can’t be deeper about it, but it was something they threw at me as part of the shoots and I just really loved the clothes and the whole concept of Steampunk. I work with Sue Candia who is the art director and she comes up with some great concepts, and I add my own and we come up with some cool stuff. The models always really enjoy modeling that stuff, so they are really into it, Sue is really into it, Jamie Hanson (the hair and makeup artist) is really into it, and Sheila (the stylist) loves the clothes. It’s a team effort and we all enjoy it. I think it shows.


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5. What can you tell us about Haikus?


he haikus came about when my dear friend Michael Smith just started posting them to photos I uploaded to Facebook. Michael and I both have Spondylitis, having met about 20 years ago online and creating the first online support groups for people with Spondylitis. It’s how the title “Fusion” came to be. It was a fusion of Michael’s words and my images. Michael is one of the most talented people I know. He writes many haikus every day. We plan to do a book of them, with any proceeds going to The Spondylitis Association of America. I’ve been dragging my heels on this one. It started off quickly and then got put on the back burner.


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We have discovered, however, that it works best when Michael writes to my images. The other way around I was shooting things that look too contrived. Most of the images are just stuff I like. Early on I had exhibited my work. At the opening, two ladies were discussing the photograph I had taken, finding this meaning and that in the photo. I just kind of shrugged and thought, “I just thought it looked cool.” No way deep meaning; I just thought it was something interesting. People sometimes think art has to be so deep, not sure why. I’m a big fan of conceptual art actually, and consider practical jokes to be a high art form.


6. You have a very impressive commercial photography clientele. I imagine that just didn’t fall into your lap, but took a tremendous amount of hard work? I guess I kind of covered much of that in the first part, huh? I didn’t stay inside the lines. Did I? Bottom line: yes, it was incredibly hard work and at times (especially before there was any work) it has felt like an endurance test. I haven’t listed all the jobs I’ve had. I’ve always been very entrepreneurial. I always had this or that little business going when I was a kid. I think it came in handy, because without some business sense, it just never would have worked out. It’s basically a business. Probably 50% of my time goes to running the business and maybe the other 50% goes to actually taking photos. I enjoy the business part of it.

7. How have you seen the photography industry change and how do you feel about it?


he business has totally changed. Everything is very bottom-line driven, as is the case throughout our economy. The “glory days” are over. The accountants run the business now. One thing I will say, is that in times past there were some pretty outrageous budgets. I would just look at them and shake my head thinking, ”Sooner or later the accountants are going to figure this stuff out.” Well, they did. I was always very respectful of my clients’ money: I would gladly take very large day rates when offered, but I’d just as quickly pass on the idea of ordering $100 bottles of wine, etc. at dinner. I operate primarily in the retail sector. Retail has been hit especially hard since the Crash of 2008. Several of my clients went bankrupt as a result or the crash, and several just ceased operations. There is a far smaller pool of clients out there. The ones who remain are especially vigilant of their budgets. Many of my cohorts have simply exited the business. At one time there were probably a dozen regional department stores, which provided perhaps 10 to 15 weeks of work in the industry. Most of them are gone, having been absorbed by Macy’s, which is almost all in-house. That is a lot of days gone from the industry: anywhere from 900 to 1,000 days of photography simply gone. With that loss the pressure has increasingly been on rates, and with fewer clients just in this instance, many have been unable or unwilling to remain in the industry. The “in-housing” of photography is pretty much the norm. The trend was starting in the late 90s, but with the Crash of 2008, it has pretty much become the standard business model. I even have friends in the wedding photography industry who have just given up. With digital photography, many simply have a “Cousin Vinnie” who has a digital camera, who they feel can do the same job. They can’t, but oftentimes the quality that these incredible wedding photographers achieved is pretty much lost on most. I can’t really speak about other specialties, but with widespread use of cheap stock photography, many ad campaigns are being created by simply building a final image out of many. It’s not the best of times for the photography industry.


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8. Do you have a favorite photo? Alfred Stieglitz’s “Hands and Thimble” is an emotional favorite for the obvious reason—my mom. A favorite photo that I have taken is probably a portrait of my sister Pat that I took on probably the second roll of film I ever shot. I love that shot, she loves that shot, and as time passes, I find that it is one of the purest images that I have ever taken.

9. What are your current projects? I am working on the haikus, albeit, too slowly for Michael’s taste, lol. I also have a project of portraits of Broadway actors’ hands and feet which I started with Broadway legend Tommy Tune and the non-profit Dancers in Transition, which I hope to devote more time to in the coming year. I also started a project of gravestones called “At Rest” and that is ongoing.

10. You’re an artist to the core, which means it doesn’t stop with photography. Will you be unveiling any paintings, sculptures, or writings publicly? I don’t plan on anything being presented publicly. I shy away from exhibiting my work in any formal setting. I throw things up online from day to day, but there’s no plan to it. I have a number of short stories which I’ve compiled. I might try to put enough of them together to publish a book. I have one “secret pet project” which I would like to execute, it’s a conceptual piece and I think it is just funny; I know that the critics would consider it art, lol. I am more interested now in conceptual pieces which challenge people’s visual and psychological perceptions. I consider all of them practical jokes. Well “practical jokes on the senses.” I am more interested in reminding the art world not to take itself so darn seriously, basically. The professor of my first aesthetics class opened the first day with this challenging statement or question: he declared, “Art is that which makes man human! OR Art is anything you can get away with!” I loved that, it really has stuck with me throughout my life, it is something of my belief system, because so much of what is called “art” is just BS in my opinion, but when if you label it Art (with a capital A), I guess it is.

Anything else you would like to touch upon? Pretty much sums it up… “Art is that which make man human, or art is anything you can get away with.” Either way, stop taking whatever it is you’re creating so darn seriously—it’s not brain surgery.


A Matter of Life Editorial

Searching for Heroes - Truckers Against Trafficking “There goes my hero, He’s ordinary” - David Grohl

By Robert L. Healy


resident Eisenhower considered the interstate highway system one of his greatest accomplishments. This incredible infrastructure facilitated the amazing growth of our economy and contributed to the United States becoming the most prosperous nation on the planet. But there is a dark side to this achievement. Legitimate businesses aren’t the only enterprises using the interstates. Pimps— modern-day slave traders—hold young women in bondage and force them to sell sex at truck and rest stops on the interstates. The FBI identified interstate truck stops as common places used by criminal gangs engaged in forced prostitution. Trafficking in human beings, mostly young women and underage girls, has existed on the interstates for decades. This activity is no less monstrous than the slave trade of the 18th century, when human beings were brought from Africa to work the plantations as slaves in the New World. This slave trade on the interstates is largely hidden from view, not part of public awareness. Truck plazas and rest stops are familiar sights along interstate highways. They provide necessary services to the trucking industry and are frequented by drivers in need of their facilities. Unfortunately criminal gangs also use these places to traffic young girls for commercial sex. Truck stops are often located in rural areas where law enforcement is stretched thin financially and geographically. For a pimp, the right truck stop can be a gold mine with its changing base of paying customers. The truck stop and trucking industries are very concerned and want to be rid of criminal traffickers using their businesses for commercial sex. In 2007 Lyn Thompson and her four daughters founded Chapter 61 Ministries, a Christian ministry with a mission to “combat the exploitation of human beings.” Through their ministry the family developed a depth of understanding of human trafficking on our nation’s highways.Thompson made the observation that truck drivers are the eyes and ears of the interstate. With that simple statement she realized that truckers were the key to making structural changes to the dynamics that allowed forced prostitution to exist on the interstates. A dedicated organization was needed to develop the full potential of this observation. Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) was founded in 2009 and run as an initiative of Chapter 61 Ministries until 2011, when it became its own separate organization. Thompson’s daughter, Kendis Paris, took over as executive director of this Denver-based non-profit. Paris realized that commercial truck drivers as a group are decent, hardworking people. Some are part of the problem, but the large majority are not. Truckers see girls as young as eleven or twelve being trafficked for sex and are offended by it. Many have children of their own and see the trafficking of underage girls through the eyes of a parent or grandparent. Historically, drivers lacked the tools and training to make


Lyn Thompson Founder of Chapter 61 Ministries

Kendis Paris Executive Director of TAT

effective interventions. It was easier when a girl knocked on their truck door to roll over in the sleeper or just look the other way. Many who turned away were troubled for years by their inaction and wished they’d had the tools and training to act differently. TAT recognized that the overwhelming majority of truckers want to put an end to human trafficking of young girls on our nation’s highways.

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TAT developed a strategy elegant in its simplicity and effectiveness. Give truckers training and tools to make an easy and effective intervention when they observe trafficking for sex at truck and rest stops. Perhaps the most important resource TAT provides are wallet cards with the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hot line: 1-888-373-7888. This universal number can be called from anywhere in the United States, an important feature for truckers who are constantly on the move. The NHTRC acts on all calls and immediately refers crisis calls to appropriate law enforcement. Since 2008, when NHTRC began tracking calls, there have been 790 from truckers—300 in 2013 alone. From these calls, 260 cases of potential human trafficking were opened. These results are important for two reasons. First, young girls are being rescued and given a new chance at life. Second, it speaks volumes about the strategy’s effectiveness.

TAT’s ultimate objective is to increase the risks to the traffickers to the point that risk overwhelms profit. To achieve that goal, TAT must first saturate the trucking industry, including travel plaza centers, with their training curriculum and build and/or strengthen coalitions with law enforcement and truck stop general managers. TAT has made significant progress with implementation but there is much work to be done. A key element of TAT’s training is a high-impact video telling the true story of two girls, ages 15 and 14, abducted in 2005 off the streets of Toledo, Ohio, by a sex trafficker and forced by violence and coercion into commercial sex at truck stops. A good Samaritan truck driver observed one of the girls working a travel plaza and called law enforcement. The girls were rescued and returned to their families. A 13-state prostitution ring was broken up and seven other underage girls were rescued. An FBI agent and a prosecutor provide key facts during the video, which is narrated by one of the young victims. The video and other training materials build awareness and motivation to put a stop to sex trafficking on the interstate. The video is powerful beyond words. You can view it at:

Perhaps the most important resource TAT provides are wallet cards with the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hot line: 1-888-373-7888. industry-wide organizations, but bringing individual trucking firms on board must be done one company at a time. An important leg of TAT’s strategy is building coalitions between local law enforcement and truck plaza general managers. Training truck drivers to observe and report is critically important but only part of the overall strategy. Truck plaza employees also require training. TAT encourages truck stop general managers and local law enforcement to build coalitions to maximize the effectiveness of interventions. Further, TAT seeks to utilize and strengthen existing partnerships between local and state law enforcement, the FBI and each state’s US Attorney’s office.

w w w. t r u c k e r s a g a i n s t t r a f f i c k i n g . o r g


he plan may be simple in concept, but implementation is difficult, daunting in its magnitude and scope. For example, there is not a single point of entry to the trucking industry. There are 360,000 independent trucking companies in the US. Many are small enterprises. TAT partners with national trucking associations and other


A conviction meant a permanent criminal record for the girls. Traffickers used this state of affairs to keep the children in servitude. They would bail the girls out and use the event to prove the need for their protection. There was a failure to recognize that many of these young girls were slaves in the true sense of the word.


o date, TAT has made remarkable progress. The National Association of Small Trucking Companies, Ryder, Cobra, Loves Truck Stops, Bridgestone, The Great American Truck Show and many others have joined TAT as corporate sponsors. Individual trucking firms have imbedded TAT’s training curriculum in their safety training programs. TAT is working with companies that specialize in training new truck drivers. Their hope is for every future and current holder of a commercial driver’s license to be exposed to the TAT curriculum. FBI Special Agents in charge of field offices around the nation, and US Attorneys have participated with TAT in forums to educate, build law enforcement coalitions, and raise public awareness. Combating human trafficking requires dedicated organizations like TAT. Their adversaries, the traffickers, are incredibly well funded and equally dedicated to perpetuating their evil. Human trafficking is a $32 billion global business. It is one of two fastest growing criminal enterprise in the United States, second only to illegal drugs. It is estimated to be a $9.8 billion business in the United States. For the sake of perspective, it is larger than the total combined revenue of all the teams in the National Football League. There is one thing every law enforcement officer knows for certain. It is a lucrative business for the traffickers. A pimp making a six-figure tax-free income is common. Human trafficking is driven by greed. The opportunity for financial gain is a huge incentive for the pimps, who often lack legitimate marketable skills. Until recently, underage victims arrested for prostitution were charged with little consideration for their age. Often, but not always, law enforcement focused on the girls, not the pimps or johns. The pimps worked in the shadows and frequently evaded arrest.


When we think of slave traders, it calls to mind victims being abducted from their homes and taken to another country where they are sold like livestock. Some victims trafficked for sex in the US are kidnapped. More often they are seduced over a period of time by a pimp. Children likely to be targeted are troubled youths from unstable homes. Children who are sexually, emotionally, or physically abused are prime targets, as are runaways. Pimps are current on social media and troll the internet phishing for victims. A pimp could be interacting on a child’s computer in the sanctity of her bedroom. Just thinking about this should horrify any parent. These modernday slavers are patient, willing to invest months recruiting a child. Traffickers can be boyfriends, family members, friends, or strangers. This situation cuts across all social strata. In 2012 the FBI broke up a prostitution ring in affluent Fairfax, Virginia, where pimps had recruited for prostitution women as well as underage high school girls. The legal landscape began to change in 2000 when President Clinton signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) into law. One of the more significant features of this law is the recognition and treatment of children under the age of 18 as victims, not criminals. It changed the focus of the FBI from building a “case to convict” to rescuing child victims from forced prostitution. Many other law enforcement agencies followed the FBI’s lead. The FBI estimates in the United States there are 100,000 underage victims, mostly young girls, being trafficked for sex. They also estimate between 100,000 and 300,000 American children are at risk of entering the sex for sale industry each year. The methods used to recruit or capture a victim today may differ from the tactics used by slavers 200 years ago. However, once a pimp has control over a victim, the distinction blurs. Pimps commonly use violence, fraud, and coercion to control

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their victims. Beatings and rapes are common. Children are often plied with drugs and alcohol to make them compliant. They are totally in the control of their trafficker. All earnings are typically confiscated. They have no control over their circumstances. They are treated like property. Pimps have even tattooed victims to identify them as their property.


lthough the FBI reports that human trafficking is growing, so also is awareness and opposition. Since the passage of the TVPA, many non-profit organizations like TAT have emerged with a focus on stopping this scourge. Non-profits play an important role, partnering with law enforcement and other government agencies. The nonprofit Polaris Project is a central hub of human trafficking expertise and functions to advocate for federal and state governmental policy. They also run the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and operate the hotline which is central to TAT’s intervention strategy. The FBI began a partnership in 2003 with the non-profit National Center for Missing and Exploited Children called the Innocence Lost National Initiative. By 2013 this initiative had recovered 2,700 sexually trafficked children and convicted more than 1,350 pimps. Non-profits like The WellHouse in Alabama, founded by Tajuan McCarty (a trafficking survivor), serve victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking. These examples are a small but important representation of the work being done by a body of non-profits to combat human trafficking. Government and law enforcement working alone will not get the job done. When law enforcement works in partnership with non-profits,

There is Real Hope.


It’s A Spring Thing

Model: Mckenna Hellam Photography: Kendell Linh & Evelyn Grace

It’s no secret that simplicity is beautiful and part of that is being able to apply natural make-up. For this particular photo editorial we asked our model Mckenna Hellam (who is very talented in the artistry of makeup) if she would be willing to apply her own make-up for the photo-shoot and share this process with you. She graciously accepted.


hen we arrived to the location, I began working on a natural face as requested. I started with applying a primer (Pore Professional Foundation Primer) to my face where the pores are visible, around the nose and cheeks. I moved on to the foundation, (Covergirl 3-in-1 Foundation Shade 825), applying this with a face brush and blending it in well. I then set this with setting powder (Rimmel London Stay Matte Powder in Sandstorm). Using a contour brush, I applied bronzer (Wet ’n’ Wild 725 Ticket to Brazil) under my cheekbones, around my hairline and at my temples. Blush was next (Tarte Cosmetics Magic); using a blush brush I applied it to the apples of my cheeks.


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Using my fingertips I applied an eye shadow primer (Urban Decay Eden) over my entire eyelid. This allowed my eye shadow to stay all day. For the eye shadow I used a flat shading brush and applied a shimmery nude color all over my eyelids (Lorac Pro Palette). In the area just above the crease, I used a blending brush to apply a matte brown color (Taupe Lorac). From the same palette I used the sable color and put it on the outer “V� of the eyelid to give the look more depth. Taking a large clean brush, I blended the shades all together.


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It was then time to use eyeliner. Before doing this, however, I curled my eyelashes. This is important to help make your eyelashes pop. Once curled, I used an eyeliner brush to apply black eyeliner (Maybelline Blackest Black) and set it with the black included in my eye shadow palette. Mascara was then applied to my upper and lower lashes (Tarte Cosmetics Gifted). When everything was complete to this point, I sprayed my face with a setting spray (NYX), blotting off the excess. After applying a light shade of lipstick my look was complete, and I was ready for the shoot. It was amazing!



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Launch Part y & By Tosha Cole Clemens

Couture F ashion Show


elebrities were captivated by the stunning innovated designs from the new AZADEH collection. The silhouettes were showcased at their new store opening at The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, California on February 8th 2014. Among a few were television personalities Gretchen Rossi, Slade Smiley and actor Jeremy Piven.

The guests were treated to a lavish brunch, celebrating with exclusive champagne and tea. The elegant atmosphere was uplifting and inspiring, an impeccable way to delight the guests with a runway fashion show representing the

AZADEH Spring 2014 collection.


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he vision behind this selection of roughly 30 pieces is displayed in the outpour of nature. Pure elegance graces the runway with airy lady-like variations of materials and patterns. Elements from the garden represent the focal point for this season. Establishing delicate flower headpieces radiates perfection as a cohesive design detail among all the silhouettes. The overall romantic femininity allures our attention, leaving us wanting more. Multi-colored prints against the white contrast ground portray a presence of youthful bliss. The classy silhouette that tailors the body nicely creates an adoring lively look. This is the perfect way to transition into spring. Dazzling the runway with well-defined embroideries that are strategically placed to provide the overall pattern envisioned is breathtaking. Sheer black fabrications conform to the body beautifully and transcend each look from day to night smoothly. Creating cutting-edge ravishing design patterns that transfer a sensibility of excitement in viewers, is what this white highlow dress represents. This silhouette is stunning with the usage of formfitting elements mixed with layers of free flowing design pieces. This look shouts utter glamour! Cobalt blue grabs the eye with this collaboration of a simplistic silhouette artistically paired with a unique approach in design. The endless array of polished creativity is just among some of the few designs that were showcased at this event. Designer: Azadeh A high-end luxury retailer specializing in women’s ready-towear and couture pieces, AZADEH is known for a dedication to exclusive designs, luxurious fabrics, a perfected fit and techniques of construction with one-of-a-kind service. AZADEH is taking the fashion seen by storm, starting off this New Year with an explosion!

Article By: Tosha Cole Clemens Tosha has over 10 years’ experience in fashion. Consisting of styling, trend forecasting, production, product development, design, and sourcing. She has represented top companies that include, BEBE, Wet Seal, Fredrick’s of Hollywood, and Fox Racing. She provides consulting and also is a contributing fashion writer for several magazines and the founder of


Charleston Fashion Week 2014 R u n w a y R e p o r t By Andrea Horne


he 8th annual Charleston Fashion Week was held March 18-22nd for five nights of beautiful fashion. It is one of the largest fashion weeks and considered a top fashion event in the country according to CNN and Southern Living. This was my first time there and I was accompanied by fashion photographer Daniel Valverde of Green Valley Photography. We have attended many runway shows together, but this was our largest show to date.


e were excited to see the designs on the runway, but everyone knows that it is jewelry that completes an outfit. So after we checked in at the media tent, we met with Dan Chase, the Vice President of Merchandising at Jewelry Television. He said that radiant orchid is definitely the hottest color trend for spring and amethyst bracelets and pendants set in rose gold are a perfect way to wear this style. As for bridal jewelry, pearls are still the most popular choice but have come a long way since your mother’s single strand of white round pearls. Pearls are sold in different shapes like coin, baroque, and free form as well as in several different colors like pale pink, taupe, and silver. For the bride who wants some bling, Bella Luce is Jewelry Television’s signature brand of simulated diamonds at affordable prices. You can look like a million bucks on your big day without breaking the bank. For bridesmaids, colored gemstones are stylish pieces for under $100 that your wedding party will have and wear for years.  46

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e arrived for the Friday night emerging designer show and walked into a massive runway tent with over 600 seats. We shouldn’t have been so surprised since they had over 7,000 attendees last year! Daniel got a great spot on the media riser and befriended a photographer from Connecticut. I took my seat in the second row and quickly realized I was sitting across the runway was Fern Mallis, the creator of New York Fashion Week. The show didn’t disappoint with emerging designers Justin LeBlanc, Tiffany Saini, Sara & Anna Kay Winford, and Deanna Ansara. The headliner was designer Brandon Sun who worked for Oscar de la Renta before presenting his own collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York. I did a double take once I recognized that one of his models on the runway was Hannah Brockman, who is one of the top runway models in Charlotte, NC. At 19 years old, Hannah is 5 foot 11 inches tall, and has walked in over 40 runway shows. It has been said that Charleston Fashion Week is the gateway to New York for models, so she is definitely a face to watch. 

P h o t o g r a p h y

b y

G r e e n

Va l l e y

P h o t o g r a p h y


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he Saturday morning bridal showcase was a classy affair complete with wedding vendors providing cake samples, beautiful table settings, and twinkling chandeliers hanging in the tent. The runway stage was transformed and covered in hundreds of gorgeous hanging fresh flowers from Gathering Floral & Event Design. There were a combination of wedding gown designers and boutiques represented on the runway. Emerging designer Kendra Barnes mixed patterns with flowers in her designs while Callie Tien, the designer  at   Modern Trousseau, used fine European lace in many of her gowns. The headliner was Mark Ingram and every dress he sent down the runway was more exquisite than the last. The biggest trend on the runway was the short wedding dress. This is popular for brides who want to change out of their formal gown at the ceremony and dance the night away in a shorter more comfortable dress at their reception.



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o after more than 2,000 photographs and four pages of notes, Daniel and I left the tents of the 2014 Charleston Fashion Week. It is a city rich in culture with a fashion scene of taste and distinction. We will definitely be back next year!

Links: Green Valley Photography: Charleston Fashion Week:    Jewelry Television: Gathering Floral & Event Design: 53

Ecstatic Variety Magazine

Live Life Be Healthy & Take Lots of Pictures

Come see


Photo Editorial in the May 2014 Issue


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April 2014 Wax Ecstatic Magazine  
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Spring 2014 Issue