Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year in Review 2011 - Vithaya Photography

December 31, 2011 - It's been quite a busy year full of photography opportunities and growth. I put together a slideshow from many of the events I covered this year and look forward to another wonderful year in 2012.

Vithaya Photography Year in Review 2011

Two Years of One Lounge Birthday Toy Drive Event

December 15, 2011 - It was the second anniversary of One Lounge and also a benefit for the Washington Children's Hospital. Guests enjoyed a three hour premium open bar with cocktails, passed hors d'oeuvres (such as olive tapenade stuffed mushrooms, seared sea scallops, baby lamb chops and junior bacon cheeseburgers), Live Jazz with The Pete Muldoon Band, a Svedka photo booth, celebrity guests and some talented DJs. Co-owners Seth McClelland and Niko Papademetriou encouraged guests to bring a packaged toy for kids in need or to participate in the exclusive silent auction.

Event Partners: Svedka, Maker's 46, Perrier Jouet, Avion, Moet & Chandon, Washington Children's Hospital.

Sendoff for Miss District of Columbia 2011

December 15, 2011 - There was a sendoff for Miss District of Columbia 2011 Ashley Boalch as she is heading to Vegas to compete for the title of Miss America 2012. All the best to Ashley.

Photo Shoot at Iwo Jima of Marine Chick

December 14, 2011 - A friend of mine called me and told me of an opportunity to photograph Capt Sarah Plummer of the Marine Corps (aka Marine Chick) while she was in the DC area. There wasn't much advance notice, but I found the time to fit the photo shoot in one afternoon.

We all felt that the Iwo Jima memorial in Arlington, VA was a great and appropriate location for this shoot. The sky was overcast but as we kept shooting throughout the afternoon, the sun started to come out. Toward the end of our shoot I was able to get the shot that is pictured below, which I think best represents Sarah and her story.

World Traveler Antoneta

December 13, 2011 - While in New York City I had the opportunity to photograph Antoneta of Albania, who is Miss Diaspora 2011. It was a pleasure to meet her and imagine the places we will all go.

Dream Date Auction benefitting Chris4Life

December 10, 2011 - In an effort to raise funds to benefit the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation, a second annual dream date auction was held at District Lounge in Adams Morgan, DC. How peculiar that some of the dream dates auctioned for this benefit are none other than celebrities from The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and The Bachelor Pad TV shows!

The celebrities made a special trip to DC for this event and Michelle Money and Graham Bunn returned to DC to support Chris4Life after having attended the Chris4Life Blue Hope Bash on October 26, 2011. Other celebrity reality stars that were up for the dream date auction were Emily Maynard (winner of The Bachelor Season 13), Dave Good (Bachelorette Season 5 and Winnter of The Bachelor Pad Season 1), and Erica Rose (The Bachelor Season 9 and The Bachelor Pad Season 2).

Other DC notables that were up for the dream date auction were Nicole Hawkins, Mike Ponticelli, Sam Sanders, Julie Savignon and DJ Saul.

The event was emceed by Pamela Sorensen of Pamela's Punch. The media contact is Maurisa Turner Potts of Spotted MP Marketing and Public Relations. It was an enjoyable time having the dream date celebrities in the spacious District Lounge and everyone was privy to a multitude of photo opportunities. Even for such a busy weekend evening, there was still a sizable crowd and the auction raised over $5000. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Chris4Life Patient, Treatment & Care Program.

Friendlylook Soft Launch

December 10, 2011 - A celebratory soft launch of friendlylook splashed into Dirty Martini in the form of a happy hour. It was a time to meet and mingle with DC's social media mavens, eligible singles, tech leaders, and others in the media arena along with the friendlylook founders and team.

Here's more information about friendlylook from the invite:
"Friendlylook has the real potential to be the biggest local technology and consumer interest story this year. Everyone gets it, it's the most relevant social topic, and everyone has an opinion on it. We're launching a 3 month high touch interactive campaign this winter all across the DC Metro region, come find out what everyone in your audience will be talking about!

Consumer's interest level in dating and romance is always high, and it peaks dramatically through the holiday and post holiday periods. Friendlylook, "the singles social network", takes an entirely new approach to online romance by allowing singles to explore their own real life network of friends for potential partners.

Meeting new people through "friends of friends" is a more comfortable, easier, and more efficient way to date online. People are more likely to have important things in common with others in their extended network of friends, and it's exactly how most prefer to meet new people in real life."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dior: Art of the Dress @Saks

December 8, 2011 at Saks Fifth Avenue Tysons Galleria - Vogue commentator Megan Dostal presented past and present looks from the House of Dior inspired by the book 100 Dresses: The Costume Institute, created by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

National Dior Show Beauty Artist Vincent Lee also spoke and he and his team created three exclusive and personalized Dior beauty looks.

Karim Rashid at Alessi in DC

December 7, 2011 - Internationally recognized and award-winning designer Karim Rashid was at Alessi, the kitchen and housewares (and more) store in Georgetown DC. There was a meet and greet with Karim along with product signing.

Alessi is a family company since 1921. According to the Alessi Institutional Video, "I think that Alessi, as Italian Design Factory, is essentially a research laboratory operating in the field of applied arts, i.e. design. Our role is to continually mediate between the most interesting expressions of international creativity in the product design on one side and the consumer's wishes or better their dreams on the other."

Glenda Bailey Book Celebration and Signing

December 7, 2011 - Harper's Bazaar Greatest Hits event was a hit! - It was a rainy evening in Georgetown yet scores of people came out to celebrate the publication of Harper's Bazaar Greatest Hits. There was a book signing event with Glenda Bailey, Editor in Chief of Harper's Bazaar at the COACH store at 3259 M Street NW Washington, DC.

When guests walked into the COACH store they were greeted well: their coat was offered to be taken to the back and desserts and drinks were offered. The greatest hits book is a beautiful collection of photographs and commentary from a decade of covers under the editor in chief direction of Glenda Bailey. Guests were able to purchase the book and have it signed and many had their picture taken with Glenda. It was a special treat in having Glenda here and there was much to celebrate and the celebration continues in the pages of Harper's Bazaar, America's longest running fashion magazine.

Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It, LIVE!

On December 2nd, 2011 it was heralded that Scott Kelby is coming to town for his seminar: Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It, LIVE! Many photographers and photography enthusiasts attended and you had to be interested to spend the day in a seminar. It's fortunate to have Scott Kelby and his crew stop in DC as part of their teaching tour.

The teaching session of the day were: Lighting and Retouching for Headshots, Dramatic Light & Retouching Techniques, Edgy Light & High Contrast Post Processing, Lighting & Retouching for Fashion & Glamour, and Compositing: Lighting & Photoshop Techniques. There was a 15 minute break between sessions and an hour for lunch. The day went by quickly enough and there was a lot of information presented, which made it well worth the price of admission. It's good to have Kelby Training as a resource available to those who are members. Congratulations to Scott for being named by Scott Bourne of Photo Focus for being the 2011 Educator of the Year.

With so much information, may photographers put what was taught into practice. I definitely attend these seminars as a source of inspiration and there's also a sense of community in gathering with other photographers. May we encourage one another to the next level in our photography aspirations.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Miss DC USA 2012 Monique Thompkins - Photo Shoot and Interview

November 28, 2011 - I had the pleasure of photographing and interviewing Miss DC USA 2012 Monique Thompkins, the day after her pageant win.

Describe your Miss DC USA pageant experience?
It's nothing but positive. I met new people and made so many friends during the two days of competition. It all kind of went by so fast. During this competition, you meet others like yourself which is so refreshing. You also see what's unique about yourself. It's our nature to compare, but the things that are different about you are what makes you unique.

* How did you get the idea to do this pageant?
I used to watch pageants as a young girl, I was inspired, but never thought it was something I could do. I did a military local tour for the Marines for the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders (WRC). While on tour, the conversation came up about pageants. I was going to do it last year, but got scared. Cheerleaders from different teams on this local tour were talking and people encouraged me to participate. I wanted to prove to myself I could do this. You can do anything you want to do. You're never a failure unless you never try.

* You were born and raised in the DC area, so what do you think of Washington DC?
I absolutely love DC. After graduating from college in Philadelphia, it was suggested to me to move to LA to continue with dance, but everything in me just told me I had to come back home. When you live here for so long you take the beauty of this city for granted. Those four years away in college reminded me just how much DC meant to me.

* What are your favorite things to do?
My top 3:
Museums - I'm fortunate that DC has a lot of museums!
Movie buff - in theater or at home.
Traveling - I enjoy getting away and having some "me time."

* How did you get into Cheerleading?
I was a freshman at the University of the Arts. When I turned 18 I tried out for the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleading Squad and was the youngest on the team at the time. During my senior year, I knew I wanted to be with the Redskins so in March I auditioned for their Cheerleading Squad and made the team in April. I wasn't going to graduate until May, so I was in Philadelphia during the day for classes and drove to DC for WRC practice two nights a week. Even with all that I graduated with a 3.8 that year. I was committed to the team. If you have something you want to do, just do it, no excuses.

* What are things you are thankful for or appreciate?
I have so much to be thankful for, where to begin? My health, a supportive family, amazing career, 40 women I cheer with that I can call true friends and extended family, wonderful friends. This list would go on for days. I appreciate thoughtfulness. It’s never about how big, expensive, grand or small and simple something is, but the thought that was put into it means everything to me. I never take anything for granted. I am truly blessed.

* Describe your time with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America?
I was a mentor during junior year of college. The person I mentored went through four or five big sisters, and had a hard time opening up to people so I wanted the challenge. I met her at her school once or twice a week at her lunch period. She ended up seeing we had something in common and ended up opening up to me. That was the day I realized that mentoring was something that I was not only passionate about but sought to do. She really impacted my life.

* What is your lifestyle regimen for eating, drinking and exercising?
I am a junk food LOVER! And I love trying new foods; however, I am a pretty picky eater. My family loves to eat healthy. I wasn’t raised to eat beef or pork and I hear all the time I am missing out. I think my junk food obsession is my way of rebelling against my healthy side. Being a cheerleader provides a lot of physical activity. We practice twice a week for about 4 hours and game days for cheerleaders are 9 hours long (with morning practice, game day appearances and the game itself). Every now and then you can catch me in the gym doing strictly cardio or jogging around my neighborhood. I am always on the go!

* Who are your role models?
I have so many but I had a mentor at 13 named Janette Gillis and she was my FIRST role model. Mrs. Gillis was my middle school dance teacher. She was always poised, easy to talk to, and she was tough on you with a kind heart. She achieved so much and I wanted to be just like her. She impacted me so much that I attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Georgetown as well as the University of the Arts just like she did. She always believed in me, still does.

* Where do you see yourself in the future and what you'll be doing?
I'm never content with my life. I can't say where I'll be in a certain time of my life. I can get a goal in my head at the spur of the moment and that is my goal to achieve right then and there. Once that goal is accomplished I have another one. So my ultimate goal in life is to leave a positive mark on the places I go and the people I meet.

Photos and interview by Vithaya Photography.