Note: This is my third blog post, based on an assignment from Annie Liebovitz's online photography class, taught through the Masterclass website. This time, the assignment was to photograph a person in a studio-like environment and on location. I looked for a volunteer and was thrilled and surprised to get two volunteers: Nichole and her daughter, Ashlynn.
I photographed Nichole and Ashlynn in a relatively plain space to get the impression of a studio. Then I talked to Ashlynn and Nichole about their favorite things. Ashlynn, who is a second grader, told me that she likes board game and that her favorite is "Pie Face." It involves whipped cream and a wheel that is spun. Ashlynn also likes hockey, dance, soccer, and religion.
"I started skating at three and playing hockey at five. I like scoring goals and teamwork."
"My favorite type of dance is acro. "You get to do lots of fun cartwheels and other tricks. It's hard to do handstands, but I finally got the hang of it because I've been practicing."
"I like school. You get to learn new things and have fun."
I took pictures of Nichole and Ashlynn on a bridge in Town Commons. The bridge has significance for them because, in November 2010, the wedding pictures for Nichole and her husband Mark were taken there.
Ashlynn was a baby then. She said that she is happy that she was a part of her parents' wedding. The weather was the same today as it was on Nichole's wedding day.
Nichole's second happy place is at the Radisson, where she works as a fitness instructor. "Teaching group fitness probably is my favorite thing. I remember the day that I woke up, just shy of my 28th birthday, and said, this is not where I want to be in life, and I thought, what do I love to do? and the answer was Zumba. Zumba opened the door to other group fitness formats.
"I have been here at the Radisson for two and a half years, and I've learned a lot. I have people in my classes, who have been with me since day one."
Last year, Nichole organized a Zumbathon as a fundraiser for Relay for Life. This year, she plans on holding a second Zumbathon. It is scheduled for April 29th at the Radisson.
"Right now, we are pushing fliers. We made events pages in social media. This year, the Zumbathon is being held in honor of Hannah Boyer. She is a four year old, battling leukemia, and she is at St. Jude's. The doors open at 1 p.m., with Zumba from 2 to 4 p.m. There's going to be vendors, a basket raffle, and, obviously, Zumba. We will have about ten to eleven Zumba instructors, from Rochester, Canada, and from all over the place, which is great.
"We have a DJ this year, which is a step up from last year, when I played the music from my phone. The cost will be $15. Last year, it was $20.
Last year, we had 20 participating. We are hoping for 30 this year. The hotel will provide a stage for the instructors, a separate room for the basket raffle because we are expecting it to be that large. We raised $1,000 last year and would like to see that again this year.
"I am so excited. I get to dance with my friends. That is a good day in my book."
Thank you, Nichole and Ashlynn for being my models. More about the Zumbathon will be posted in April.