“…These days just ain’t the same without you, lady
Right now my feet are wet
And they don’t know the steps
Or maybe they regret me leaving, lady. You’re my passport home My guiding light, My hand to hold…”
Passport Home, JP Cooper
So, let me just start by saying this blog is not about me, per se. I cannot help, but acknowledge this session brought back all the boy band feels for me. I am literally listening to “I Promise You” by NSYNC while writing to you all. I love the sessions that remind me, let alone the couple, of what is so beautiful about budding love. When best friends become lovers, everything changes in the front windshield. The light of day is brighter, the sun is warmer and the grass in your own yard is prettier than the sod on the other side of the fence next door. Kasara and Parley are right there.
In the beginning.
Kasara answered an ad a few weeks ago to do some new portfolio building work for me. I have changed a lot of my process when it comes to couples and I wanted to explore my own process, instead of the rules set forth by my professors in college. I know the rules, now I get to break them. I have always treated my models no differently than my clients; instead of paying for the session with money they are paying with time.
Kasara, Parley and I had never met prior to the day they stepped in the studio. Kasara said she signed Parley up without his knowledge; he was nervous, because he had never modeled before. Thankfully, my process does not involve knowing how to pose for Instagram with duck lips, a talking on the phone pose, coat hanger poses or a hungry bird who needs to eat soon pose. (smile here, I know you want too). Seriously, how many times have we gals roped our man into a photo session he didn’t know he wanted and did it to be in line with “Yes, dear.”
For me, this was no different than a brand new couple entering the studio for the first time. Oh wait, they were. want to preface that, because there is a thought pattern out there that modeling for session is not a real session. Yes, it is. Especially for these two.
In Kasara and Parley’s case, this was a very expensive session, it cost them time. Please allow me to explain. Kasara is a flight attendant based in Seattle with a residence in Utah. She is in the air five out of seven days a week and living in and out of hotels all over the world. Parley lives and works in Utah. When Kasara is home, she also balances additional employment obligations. Quite frankly, her schedule can be a mess. Now add quality time with the love of her life.
When I asked how they met, they said they had been best friends for a long time and three months ago the decided to give their romantic relationship a go. For Parley, whose love language is time, this can be an emotional challenge. He sees Kasara two, maybe three days a week, if he is lucky. He holds Kasara’s dreams close to his heart and personally sacrifices his greatest value.
Kasara will be the first person to tell you being a flight attendant can be a lonely existence. She lives out of a suitcase and adventures to places alone that she would prefer to share with Parley. When she steps off the plane for her leave time, she wants to be all his. No more, no less. She said, “I want to feel like a woman.”
Love is in the process
When our session “began”, I did not begin shooting right away. I allowed them to become comfortable alone on the set for a few minutes, before I sat down on the couch to get to know them. During my Master Class in 2018 with Annie Leibovitz, she said it is not the photographer’s responsibility to set the client at ease. I am a firm believer in that philosophy and I use it.
There is no such thing as the awkward 20 minutes. Who came up with that crap anyway? When we communicate on something other than a smartphone or text, comfort falls into place. It can take less than 20 minutes or more to learn who you are and what matters most. I prefer to sit down and get to know my couples and allow them to fall into their ease on their own. This way, I do not have to interrupt their connection by changing a pose to something that checks the boxes and made them feel unnatural to begin with.
Then, I get to the heart of who they both are; not just her. We photographers are always focused on women, because marketing stats say we need to. I don’t believe that entirely. We need to focus on what women want and not neglect a man’s natural needs in the process. He is important.
When we start shooting, we get to those boy band feels. We laugh, we cry, we get warm and fuzzy. Would you believe focusing on what human behaviors matter most to a man will get him to emote. Yup, every time. Wink, wink. Secret sauce here. Not giving up the recipe.
The good stuff.
Kasara and Parley’s session reminded me of the early days before my own wedding. My husband and I would curl up together like know one was watching. I think most couples do. You can’t tell me somewhere down the line when life hits us in the knickers we don’t forget what that feels like.
Kasara and Parley are in one of the best stages of a loving relationship. They appreciate each other’s hopes, dreams and desires. They value their time together like it is their last day on Earth. They are not in a rush for anything other than enjoying each other’s comfort. It is beautiful to be a fly on the wall for.
Their session hit me, hard. I came home from the studio, turned off my phone and curled up with my husband for a Pen’s hockey game. I did not begin editing right away, jump into my emails, bills or even putting dinner on the table. It was an order in and cuddle kind of night.
I challenge you after viewing their session to not feel something. Don’t just get pictures together. Get connected.
” Kristie was fantastic to work with! I’ve been off and on modeling since 2013 and have never had a shoot with a photographer that even slightly mimics her style of capturing images with such raw emotion. I’m a full-time Seattle based flight attendant living out of Ogden Utah, and have now been dating my best friend for three months. Kristie captured both our unique love AND friendship in every shot she took and the results were absolutely extraordinary. I’m so grateful we got to have a chance to shoot with her before she moves this summer and I will cherish these images for a lifetime! Thank you, Kristie!”Kasara Gerry
“Last Thursday I got to have a very special experience with Kasara Marie Gerry.. I had my first ever photo shoot. She signed us up for a couples shoot, and I must say the experience was very unique to what I was expecting.
The idea was a “lifestyle couples shoot”, and rather than being directed to pose we were simply photographed interacting with each other in our own natural way. Each of these photos are raw stills of us just communicating with each other in our own unique way. We would be given a prompt, then we’d just do our own thing with little to no direction. That being said, here is a look into how we interact and how we show each other we care 💕
A special note for Kasara: I know I say it a lot, but I hope you know how much I care about you and that you really do make me happy. You make me feel safe and comfortable, and when you have to leave for a trip it’s like part of me has gone away… You really are my best friend, and you light up my life. I never knew I could have or expect to have someone like you; who I can be around 24/7 and never get sick of. You are my lighthouse, and my home. Thank you for always supporting me, understanding me, seeing through my flaws to see the best in me, and sticking by my side ❤️❤️❤️ These photos are credit to Kristie Montrois, thank you for providing such a unique and intimate experience for us ☺️”Parley Banz