Monday, April 13, 2009
(For this particular review, we enjoyed one-on-one interview time with the business proprietor, Mrs. Mo Lukens. We’ve included some poignant quotes from Mo throughout the interview. Enjoy.)
“It’s all about the families, creating heirlooms to be passed down from one generation to the next.”
There are times when I feel it is necessary to request certain accounts and reviews from my wife, the illustrious Mom in the Know, as those experiences have touched me in some way. She is presented with numerous offers of intrigue, and from time to time, I feel compelled to turn from the world of sports I normally cover to lend my story to the site… and more often than not, it’s a special occasion when I beg for the opportunity, something special that has come along and provided a source of inspiration.
Over recent weeks, I have grown an affinity for pictures. Growing up, I was never a picture guy. Hated ‘em. Didn’t take ‘em, didn’t want to be in ‘em, and didn’t have very many that served any pertinent role in my life. However, as I move on in life, I find myself taking more time to enjoy good pictures. Whether they be from friends on Facebook, from a co-worker’s cell phone, sitting on a billboard along the commute to work, or found in a book or magazine, I am finding the art and beauty of the photograph has started to take hold.
Of course, it may be my failure to stop aging that brings me to this day, but more than anything, I believe it may be the joys of my family that has brought importance to pictures. I have found the life as a husband and father is so much more fulfilling than any other experience I have ever had, and I have come to realize that (a) these moments are fleeting (and I’ve already let too many go by), and (b) there isn’t an emotion or problem that can’t be made better by spending a few minutes with pictures of my family. It reminds that there is a purpose, that there is something greater, that I am capable of loving and being loved and am blessed to be enjoying my life with the three most beautiful creatures I will ever have in my life.
“The fathers, especially those with newborns, are beautiful. You can see the gravity of the love that has hit them.”
As such, when the Mom in the Know was granted an opportunity to meet and work with one of the more renowned family photographers in our area, Mo’s Family Portraits, it was an exciting moment for us, but especially for me.
While I fail to find flaw in pics of my wife and daughters, the fear that I will ruin family photos is never ending. I simply don’t photograph well. I’m covered in ink (tattoos have been a long-standing addiction), I have a forehead like a movie screen, and I can’t pull off the smile that conveys comfort and happiness.
As luck would have it, Mo’s Portraits is known throughout our area as the place to go when you want your family pictures done right. Not only is Mo known for her work with local families, but the studio has earned respect as one of the best providers of commercial photography in the area. The studio, located in the heart of Golden, Colorado (a quaint lil’ suburb on the far west side of Denver, serving as the welcome mat for the Rocky Mountains), has done work with local political figures, businesses, sports and entertainment celebrities, and those are pictures we see throughout the newspapers, publications, advertisements, and web pages of our community. Clientele like this shows just how much respect this studio has earned, and having the opportunity to meet and have our family photographed by that same studio… it was very exciting to say the least (and she does all kinds of work on top of these services, including babies, children, senior pictures for the high school kids, and promotional needs).
“You can see it first when time comes for high school senior pictures. The girls are excited, making plans and preparing for the big day. The boys are mortified and seem to think a lack of planning will relieve their fears. Somehow, we always make it work for both.”
So Mo gave us a call and set us all up. We would meet her at her studio, located in a historic home in Golden (an ideal setting for such events, a picturesque residence set on top of a small hill overlooking historic Golden and the adjoining foothills), and we were instructed to wear matching grey t-shirts with jeans (I fully believe this was done for my comfort, as this is my outfit of choice on six of the seven days of the week). She also wanted to speak to us about “a cool new service she’s been providing to customers that’s getting rave reviews.”
We arrived and Mo immediately put our girls, normally ramped off a potent mixture of childhood energy and enthusiasm, at ease, providing them with a slight distraction while we discussed the session and the goal of the day: We will get some fabulous pictures of you and your family, and we will give you the most amazing family portrait you could hope for… and it won’t even hurt!
Before I knew it, we were done. Mo had thrown us in a room and allowed us to mingle together, and after a few minutes (during which she was shooting), we went through a few posed shots and some family fun. The kids were allowed to play and even inspired a few poses for us all, and Mo took shots throughout. It passed so quickly, I didn’t realize we were done, and the entire family had a blast, and that might be more amazing than anything.
“Five-year-old girls are loveable little goofballs of energy, and they are SO much fun to photograph.”
As I waited for the kids to gather their things, I was enjoying the comforts of Mo’s family room and noticed a large portrait of an older couple, sitting together in the sun, embraced on a large, smooth rock in the midst of a stream. Suddenly, it hit me: That’s a painting. It looked so real, I hadn’t noticed the strokes and the texture of the picture. Mo had snuck in, walked up behind me, and said, “So you like, ‘cause that’s what I’d like to do for you.” It’s called Artistic Impression, a method of creating a painting to replicate a photo.
She sat us down and we went through all of the photos, making eliminations for various reasons. The wife didn’t like this, the kids liked that, and to help, Mo added her artistic input, steering us towards observations and choices that would give us a picture that reflected us as a family and that would translate for us all. Somehow, she had managed to take one picture that was the perfect caption of us as a unit. The kids and piled on top of me as I laid on the floor, and Mo had the wife move in casually behind to bind us all together… all three of them laughing and full of love, and for me, a simple look of happiness.
I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t moved, and before I could recover my emotions, I was crying. So often you forget just how lucky you are and how much love you have been given, and somehow, Mo reminded me of it all in one picture… and I couldn’t contain myself. I had to walk out. It was the one, and Mo marked it, and she sent us on our way.
“In this line of work, you find opportunities to see people through highs and lows. Every job is an emotional moment for the people involved. Weddings, births, families, a person’s first professional session for an exciting new career or opportunity: you see all realms of emotions, and that’s powerful.”
A couple of weeks later, the Mom in the Know gave me a call to let me know she was on her way to meet Mo. She was preparing to do an exhibition at the local Barnes & Noble (we went to support the cause, and I wanted to check out more of her work). I was to meet them after work, and upon arrival, I found that our Artistic Impression was the centerpiece of the collection. It was brilliant, beyond anything I had imagined.
The kids were gleaming with joy and Heather was as proud as could be. Payton, our oldest, had a small piece of hair dangled in front of her face (she got all my good jeans, including her fine hair). Adison, our youngest, was cheesing it without teeth and with a crinkled nose. I’m laying there, the bottom of the pile, and it may be one of the best expressions ever caught of me. My colorful artwork on my forearms is perfectly replicated. A slight tan on my face accompanied by a forehead made white due to an undying dedication to baseball caps (though Mo toned it down so I don’t ruin the pic!). The folds in the shirt, the shadows, and tones and smiles and the emotions. They all shine through in a way that is both artistic and rich.
When I think of my family, at this time of our lives, this is what I will envision. This is what I will remember. Mo captured it perfectly, and it is one of the few pictures I will reflect on until my days end. It is a perfect gathering of us all, and it is a picture that I hope to hold to remember who we have been, who we are, and who we will always be… a family.
“There are promotions and advertising and such, but for a photographer, nothing beats a good referral. If you take pride in your work and put your devotion into providing quality photographs, they speak for themselves. Those moments and the families that appreciate them are the reason I do this, and they are the reason I get to keep doing it… and that’s the joy of my work.”
We owe this to Mo, and we encourage you to give your family (and yourself) the same gift. Visit Mo’s Portrait Studios online today to check out her portfolio, artistic offerings, credentials, and services. She always has promotional offers running as well to help you plan for the event and save a few bucks (not that Mo is going to hurt you anyway… she’s very reasonable and will give you more than your money’s worth). You will also find Mo is more than willing to discuss your particular situation. During these hard economic times, it can be difficult to consider the services you may need for photography. Mo is flexible and happy to discuss your particular situation to make arrangements beneficial for all.
I promise… you will not be disappointed.