Luly Yang for Seattle Woman Magazine
Luly is Seattle's top designer for bridal and evening gowns and just won the Nellie Cashmann Award as the Business Owner of the Year. She has an exquisite store full of sparkle on 4th and University Street.
I was very much looking forward to this photo shoot, though, like all of them, this one had its challenges. There was no time to meet Luly beforehand or to check out the location. Also, I unfortunately missed her amazing fashion show a week before the shoot, because I was still in Germany.
Karen, the editor of Seattle woman, was there with me and started with the interview. It's a different thing, the atmosphere of an interview and the atmosphere of a shoot. The first one is words and so an act of expression. What I do is something else: a feeling or mood at least is allowed to enter and, with patience, a fundamental quality of the person or situation comes to light.
For me it's important that the person to be photographed is fully present and part of the photographic dialog. That, of course, includes myself. I had probably still a little bit of jet lag and realized that I did not fully arrive yet in my surroundings. There is this interesting mixture in a photo portrait session, the need to be active and push things forward, to be in control. At the same time, you need to be receptive and open, aware so you see what is falling in your lap. Suddenly something hits you, a certain constellation of body posture in relation to the surroundings, a certain something in the eyes, a fleeting moment... Letting go is required, on the side of the person to be photographed as well as on the side of the photographer, if the real beauty is to come out.
Luly is a charming and graceful woman. What impressed me strongly is how she combines a child-like playful enthusiasm and joy about colors and shapes along with a strong business sense. In the shoot, I wanted to get through this business consciousness and was waiting for something that really spoke to me and exited me, and woke me up.
We got there, I feel. Luly was patient and went through the choreography of the shoot with me without complaint. Suddenly, after hard work, it was there. A certain mystery, an expression that you cannot pin down, knowing eyes, strength and softness at the same time, a Mona Lisa gaze that draws you in.
Thank you, Luly, for staying with me in this.
In the end we gave each other a hug, and I had finally "arrived" back in Seattle.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
A few more that were not in the magazine that show the different sides of Luly:
A shot in between shots of an exuberant young woman...
...and the queen who reigns over her empire.