As a fellow theatre family, I was already aware of the creative energy that flows throughout the Snyder household. They are amazing singers and actors and actresses. According to my daughter, they are theater "goals". So of course when they asked me photograph Isabelle's, their eldest and only daughter, senior portrait session. Of course I agreed because I enjoy the opportunity to work with fellow creative’s. What I was not ready for was just how creative, energetic, and ethereal Isabelle was. From our initial consultation, it was very clear that she had been planning for this session for some time. She knew the look she wanted, already secured the location, and even planned on inviting some of her friends to join in. While listening to her describe her feelings and vibe she was aiming for, I could easily visualize her mood board.
Day of the session, we arrived at the venue, a historic mansion. Now to be clear, Isabelle informed me that it was a beautiful mansion, but her words did not do it justice. This mansion was breathtaking. It offered everything that I could ever image as the perfect place to photograph. It included a private library with wall-to-wall bookshelves and themed ornate guest rooms with beautiful views of the grounds. And that was just the beginning. The grounds were massive and house so many jewels. It included a beautiful garden archway, a lovely maze of tall bushes, a mysterious path of tall converging trees titled Alice in Wonderland Path, another set of beautifully whimsical trees where each branch has its own personality, fields of scarlet bee balms that live on forever, and to top it off with a perfect accent, it had a peaceful stream that provided a natural contour of the grounds. For me, this was an amazing mansion that offered limitless photographic opportunities, but for Isabelle this was home away from home.
It's so easy to allow time to escape from me when I'm in the zone. And during this session we both transcended being "in the zone". Every location, look, and feel felt effortless. What started out as a senior portrait session, quickly transformed into me photographing Isabelle's essence. It was clear that Isabelle was in her perfect peaceful space. Because of her love of the outdoors, she effortlessly battled prickling leaves, spider webs, hidden beaver holes, obstacle course of tree branches, and other visible and not so visible crawlers. Every direction I suggested, she not only executed well but made it her own. Isabelle commanded this space as if she was Mother Nature herself and it was a pleasure to bare witness. And that was just the outdoors. What I learned is that a historic library filled with wall-to-wall books is Isabelle's favorite place to be in the world. And the joy and energy radiating from her agreed. From climbing bookshelves to resting in a window nook with her favorite read, the stillness and quiet of the indoor session screamed volumes, and the camera loved every moment of it.
As you can image, this senior portrait session from this amazing, artistic, and accomplished State College Area High School Senior was anything but normal or average. It was ethereal. And what an experience this was for her, especially as she embarks on a senior year of questionable uncertainty due to the ramifications of cover-19. I not only invite you to get lost in the imagery of her session, but to also join me in congratulating a soon to be high school graduate.
Congratulations Isabelle on all of your accomplishments. I wish that you have an amazing senior year and cannot wait to see what the world has in store for you afterwards.