Three years ago, when I was a relatively new Philadelphian, Paul took me to Sakura Sunday at Fairmount Park’s Horticulture Center. It was like stepping into another world, with the most stunning display of Cherry Blossoms I’d ever seen. For someone who always favors photographing darker and moodier images, no one was more surprised than I was at how badly I wanted to photograph a beautiful model in the cherry blossoms. But the spring display is temperamental depending on the winter, the peak bloom time only days long, and difficult to predict in advance. For the next 2 seasons, we tried to make it happen. Models would flake and cancel at the last minute, and assembling a team willing to be flexible enough to shoot with only a few days notice almost impossible. Models don’t always understand how true magic is photographed. You have to be patient enough to wait for the perfect light, or in this case, fickle mother nature.
When makeup artist Wendie Heatherington approached us about doing a shoot, we decided to give it another try. We reached out to dancer Lainey Johnson, who I’d wanted a chance to photograph forever. Lainey is a true pro with a smile that conveys all the joy that we hoped to capture, as well as beautiful dancer lines that I knew would perfectly mimic the graceful arches of the trees. We again called upon our friend and super stylist Joey Mason of Philly Aids thrift, who found some beautiful dresses from their racks for us to play in. Danielle Harrsch rounded out the team with soft, beautiful hair styling, and my love Paul Cofield, somehow embraced my odd need to wallow in pink floral prettiness, and charted our course for several different areas around the city lined with the graceful trees.
And so we spent the next few hours, rattling around in our old truck, Lainey bravely changing dresses roadside, Paul determined to make her climb trees in gowns and pointe shoes, Wendie and Danielle on hand to primp and refresh, dropping in and out of fields of cherry blossoms, and captured Lainey as she danced throughout Philly, and it was absolutely as perfect as I could have imagined. ‘Cause sometimes, it’s totally worth it to wait for the magic.