Posts in Category: portrait

Around Town with WeirDass

Just running around town becomes an adventure itself when you’re photographing dynamic comedic improv duo: WeirDass (Stephnie Weir and Bob Dassie.) The husband and wife team have such incredible chemistry that you can see it easily in their stage performances… like those at iOWest Theater and improv festivals, their on-camera appearances like their Eleven-Year Itch series (directed by our own Ric Serena,) and their day-to-day life as well.

Here are a few stills from our little run around town.

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HoMEGRoWN: Audrey K

The first business owner I approached for the HoMEGRoWN project project was Audrey.  I had worked with her on a campaign celebrating all of the different body types that women can have, and knew I wanted to highlight her for this project.

Her store is full of beautiful things… to wear, to look at, to covet. Audrey is queen of customer service and wants everyone who enters to feel special and well cared for.  (And a side note… her window decorations for the Magnolia Park holiday event always rock!)

Audrey felt a little self-conscious during the photo shoot (as she’s usually doting on someone else and not the center of attention,) but she handled it with grace and a winning smile. I count myself lucky to have worked with her, and wish only great things for her future.


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For her conceptual image, I wanted to combine her retro fashions that have caught up with trends for today. The model is the same on the magazine cover as the one holding the magazine. My only regret is that you can’t see the beautiful neckline on the dress designed by Audrey in the image.Conceptual+image+for+Audrey+K+Boutique-+bringing+retro+fashions+into+today

Photographer: Jen Serena

Portrait Subject: Audrey K, Audrey K Boutique

Model:  Elle Jane Hounsell

HAIR & MAKEUP: Alexandria Storm, Miss Cassanova, Ciara Pisa

WARDROBE: Audrey K Boutique & Drelyn, Beyond Imaging

HoMEGRoWN: Tony’s Darts Away

Happy New Year!

To kick it off, let’s raise a glass at the next stop on our HoMEGRoWN Burbank small business tour: Tony’s Darts Away.

Located dangerously next door to our studio, it’s our favorite local pub, with an all-California craft brew lineup (including Tony’s own Golden Road line) and bar fare that’s worth writing about (including truffle tater tots and vegan sausages.)

We met Tony a while back when we were gearing up screenings for our film, MIle… Mile & A Half, and even discussed having our release at his Golden Road location. So, it only seemed fitting to include one of our favorite entrepreneurs in this series, and even with his busy schedule, Tony was game.

I only had 12 minutes to shoot 4 different setups with him, and although he says he’s not comfortable in front of the camera, he came off as cool and friendly as he is in person.

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For the conceptual photo, I commissioned Sara Macias of Eclectic Visions to craft a dress made of Golden Road beer cans. The vision was a modernized Americana with our model holding one of TDA’s signature franks. Using all practical elements, including poly-fil clouds and turf, the post-process helped create the hyper-reality.  The dress & image will soon be on display at Golden Road so keep your eye out for it, should you stop in for a bite or drink.


And here’s the initial design for the dress.


Photographer: Jen Serena

Portrait Subject: Tony Yanow, Tony’s Darts Away

Models:  Elle Jane Hounsell

HAIR & MAKEUP: Alexandria Storm, Miss Cassanova

WARDROBE: Sara Macias, Eclectic Vision & Drelyn, Beyond Imaging



We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.

- George Bernard Shaw


Photographing other artists both amazes and inspires me.

It happened again when shooting composer Tony Morales in Los Angeles. He’s humble and curious, crazy-talented and just an incredibly nice guy.

You’ve heard his work in films like Now You See MeIron Man 3, Hatfields & McCoys, and The Bag Man to name a few.

As a music photographer, this shoot gave me the opportunity to let people see the face behind the talent. We shot on-location at his studio and surroundings, and created some standard headshots, creative portraits and an awesome

conceptual photograph that shows all the roles Tony plays in his work.

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Vampire & Victim

What better time to test than around Halloween?

Talented MUA Samantha, from SKBeauty was game to try some special effects makeup while she was in town. And although feeling under the weather, model Deija gave us a stunning array of emotions for her two sides.

Yes, I would’ve liked more time. Yes, I would’ve liked to rough out the concept some more, (like figuring out in advance which side would be bite vs. blood,) but that’s what a test is for! To freely figure out what works, what doesn’t and to work with new talent.

So: success!


Making Music

Have been having a blast working with so many musicians lately. Coming up with concepts and helping them redefine their look makes for wonderfully challenging and diverse images.  I’ll have some shots from session with Neil Nathan soon, but here’s a new fave of mine – a compilation image of Amanda Mae Steele.




It was just a coincidence that our daughter checked out a library book about mustaches the same time my friends at CBS held their first Upfront Mustache Contest.  Because CBS is now my client instead of my employer, it was an honor to still be invited to participate…even if I couldn’t due to an upcoming interview shoot in the Sierras for our documentary, Mile…Mile & A Half.

The Upfronts are an exhausting few weeks in which the networks determine their fall schedule.  It’s marked by long hours and little sleep, so contests like this one help add a little silliness to the routine.

Although I couldn’t officially participate in the competition, I decided upon my return from Yosemite to trim my beard back…revealing only a mustache.  My daughter was by my side, directing me as to how I should shape this “moostash.”

I looked ridiculous.

It gave me an enormous amount of respect for those able to pull off such an endeavor…to don the hair on the upper lip without thinking twice.  After a few hours, I would start to forget about the small animal living under my nose only to be reminded when when Jen would break out in laughter during a conversation.

The mustache didn’t last a full 24 hours on me.  I guess I just don’t have what it takes.  But kudos to those who do, and I hope you enjoy a little laughter at my expense.



Her Hands were not Petite


Her hands were not petite.  They were not soft, nor manicured.  My Grandma’s hands were large and worn from years of labor…cleaning passenger trains, office buildings and the homes of those less fortunate.

She drank her coffee black and rarely paused in her day.  She enjoyed the occasional late-night cigarette, and her drink of choice was Vodka and Orange Juice.

Pride never got the best of her, but it sure came close.  At the age of 54, after having raised three children in marriage, she took back her maiden name and was single again.  She struggled to make the mortgage…to keep the home where my cousin and I were being raised.  Losing was not an option, but it was an ever-present threat.

And, I’m sorry!!  You didn’t know her last name was COX once again??!!   Maybe you missed her screaming that announcement at the top of her lungs…or the announcement she scribed in shoe polish on the giant picture window of our Second Street Home.

Her conversations were seldom cohesive.  The information was accurate and plentiful, but it was on you to connect the dots.  I grew up with notes upon notes taped to the walls, cabinets, appliances, etc. clueing us into little bits of wisdom (or instruction):

“FIRE!  FIRE!  FIRE!  (unplug the toaster)”

Some made sense.  Some did not.  All were priceless.

Her politics were…hmmm…vocal.  She’d say, “Growing up, we were NEVER to ask anyone whom s/he voted for.”  Then, in the same breath, turn to a complete stranger and quip, “Why would anyone ever vote that idiot Bush into office?

She was convinced I was a registered Republican.

She has been described as INDEPENDENT, STUBBORN & FASCINATING.  All true.

She celebrated her birthdays by treating others to ice cream.  I don’t have a “K” in my name because she thought three lettered names were good luck.  When I was eight, she hauled two large garbage bags of snow on a train ride from Virginia for us to play with in our warm Florida yard.

And she always loved you more.

No, her hands were not petite.  But, I loved holding them during our walks.  She didn’t need my assistance, but she allowed me nevertheless.  Through downtown Sanford, through Central Park, through Harlem and Santa Barbara…she’d let me hold her hand.  She’d tell me her success had been seeing the world through her children’s and grandchildren’s eyes.  My only regret is that I never had the opportunity to take her out of the country so she could see some of it with her own.

She died strong…eighty-five hard, loving, painful, generous and joyous years.  Upon cleaning her home, my Mom found a note she’d penciled in.  It read:

“Thanks.  It’s been wonderful.”

It has, Grandma.  Thank you.