When I went out for this session the other day, I had an idea in my mind about what we might do. The funny thing was, I arrived at the location only to find the building I planned to use as a backdrop had been torn down! It had been there for my entire life, and I pass it often… then poof, it was gone! It was a good thing, however, because it forced me to adapt quickly without choosing an entirely different location. As soon as I met Brandy, I got the sense that she is calm and thoughtful, and I was struck by her natural beauty. Pure, simple, monochromatic nature was a perfect reflection of Brandy’s style and spirit.
Brandy asked me for a quick portrait session because she is the illustrator for a children’s book – very cool! The book is most likely going to be called “Mattie the Monarch”, and it documents Mattie’s migration to Mexico (She’s a late bloomer that lags behind and must make the journey all by herself.) The author is Dr. Matthew Douglas, the zoology professor at Grand Rapids Community College. They are planning on having some copies printed and available for purchase at the Frederik Meijer Gardens gift shop by March during the butterfly exhibit! They are hoping to be published some time this year, which will allow them to distribute the book at additional venues. They also plan on continuing with a few more books to make it a series. I will definitely be on the lookout for this book when we visit FMG this year, because our kids love nature (and of course Lucy loves butterflies!), and anything that can teach them about the world around them is great in my book! I am also really looking forward to seeing Brandy’s illustration work!
I asked Brandy to tell me what this opportunity has meant to her, in hopes that it would lend a little more insight about this lovely person I had the pleasure of photographing:
I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect job straight out of college! I have always had an interest in the biological sciences, but my true passion is art. I majored in Liberal Studies (emphasis in Environmental Studies) at Grand Valley. The philosophy of the program is centered on integration and a very holistic style of learning. This project to me is integration at its best. I have been able to utilize my talents, passions, and knowledge to create something that I am really proud of, and have also discovered a practical use for my degree (which can be hard as you probably know…). And, if nothing else becomes of it, at least I can say I have a great resume! Dr. Douglas has given me such a great opportunity (as he has with many previous students), and has helped me see that my artistic talents can be useful. I am thankful for his help in so many ways.