A WOMAN WHO NEEDS NO INTRODUCTION...
But I’m giving her one anyway, because.
I’ve been a fan of Theresa’s work for several years. She isn’t some novice talent trying to make it. She HAS made it (and continues to make it again and again). Her work is often featured on various social media and photography/modeling websites and publishing's. When I learned she was coming to Oregon, I tried to contain my excitement; realizing that I might not actually get to shoot with her and this could simply be a dream of sorts. But then we started planning out a shoot over the course of several months.
I always try to step-up my game with every production. Collaborating with a high-end professional alternative model (who has over 9 years of pro experience) can be quite intimidating, but I was going to go big or go home. Hustle is all there is. After recently doing dozens of outdoor shoots, I wanted a change. I knew I wanted to shoot indoors where I’d have more control over the lighting and feel of the environment. I visited dozens of locations from apartments, hotels, and even condominiums. Once I found the right hotel, I grabbed the nicest room online, then gave them a call to confirm. They said an even better room was available for upgrade that was more spacious with a bigger bathroom plus a dining table, etc. I said “hell yeah” and forwarded the news to Theresa.
But here’s the REAL story…
Come shooting day. I loaded up my car and drove an hour north of my city to an even bigger city where the location was. I got to ride a fancy elevator. I set up both my cameras and all my equipment (didn’t even use everything I brought with me - best to over-prepare than under-prepare). Then I waited around because I was super early.
I went to the front lobby with my phone out while Theresa found parking. When I saw her walk into the room, It was like seeing a celebrity. I went up and said “Theresa Manchester?” and she looked at me not knowing who I was and then a moment later said: “oh, hey” with a smile on her face. I helped carry her luggage and then we took the fancy elevator up to our floor. As we walked down the hallway, she noted other peoples rooms were nice and the lighting was bright. Those were single rooms with just a bed. We finally made it to the end of the hall. I slid my key card and opened the door and she gasped at the sight of the room I had booked. “Can you close the door and do that again” she said while whipping her phone out to take a video of that moment. We stepped in and she noted that I had gone all out for this shoot. She acknowledged my efforts. One of the best feelings in the world is when someone you admire approves of your efforts; like when a mentor says he/she is proud of you.
We chatted for a bit. I told her about my schooling and everything I’m trying to do with my life at the moment. She talked about her bohemian lifestyle and modeling in her sleep. She recommended that I try to do all the things I want before I get hammered from “adulting”. It was great being able to pick her brain about success and making a career out of a hobby and all. Once she was ready, we started shooting.
Theresa Manchester works fast! I mean super fast! You need an excellent shutter finger, auto-focus, and eye just to keep up with her. Some models run out of ideas after a few poses. Theresa is a posing machine. This is a shoot where I was actually the one who stopped her posing by putting my camera down instead of the model asking me for more ideas. She could have posed in the exact same spot for days. Which would’ve resulted with thousands of shots displaying my attempts to keep up with her. But that’s not how I compose my photo sets (as most of you who enjoy my work already know). I like different backgrounds and switching things up. I was determined to use ALL spots of that hotel room. I brought my secret weapon. You ready for this? I brought an organized shot list on paper. I also set my phone alarms to keep me on schedule! She laughed at how annoying my alarms were (they’re annoying but also effective).
We kept alternating from spot to spot in the hotel room. The result is one of the best photo series I’ve ever put together (in my opinion). The last background was the shower area. She said: “No one has shot me in the shower with a PRISM before”. It was a good thing I brought mine. I love shooting with prisms. After our shoot was complete, she mentioned she had a good time, signed my model release, took my business card, then I walked her to her vehicle, and she gave me a hug. This wasn’t just one of the best shoots I’ve ever done. This is one of the best days of my life/existence. I want to especially thank Theresa Manchester for the opportunity to work with her. Please enjoy this photo series and short film.