the first part of the dream is winning the chance to compete.
After that, the dream grows. For a few, it leads to gold.
But this story isn’t about athletes. It’s about a young girl named Maddie
so graced with natural charm that this Denver photographer
felt compelled to ask her mom if Maddie had ever considered modeling.
In all my years of portraying faces and personalities as a people photographer
based in Denver Colorado, it was a question I had asked only once before.
Actually, I met Maddie’s brother Brad months before I met their parents
Lori and Rick. Brad and my son Levi were on the same baseball team that spring
and as one of the dad assistant coaches, I had thrown hundreds of grounders
and pop-flies to the boys on the team. It’s so fun being a dad. Lori and Rick, along with
their two other kids Maddie and Dan, came to all the coach-pitched games.
They had seen me photographing the action in front of the dugout.
And although sports photography has never been a means to make money,
I do enjoy it. At the end of the season, I burned action shots plus team photos
and gave them to appreciative parents. Later in the spring, I did some corporate
photography in Denver for Rick’s property management firm Maxx Properties
It was in the middle of one of those hot summer afternoon games, I noticed Maddie.
Only 13 years old, she was almost 6′ tall with legs like a marathon runner
and a face like Ingrid Bergman. Since I had met Lori and had done photography
for Rich, it wasn’t an awkward moment when I said I’d like to photograph Maddie.
But I immediately added that model photography is a strange world.
And for every girl who makes it big, there must be at least twenty others,
whose lives have been at least temporarily wrecked.
Lori and Maddie both seemed genuinely eager to get to work. I wasn’t the first
one who had mentioned the possibility of modeling for Maddie, and Lori, an amateur
photographer herself, had already already made hundreds of remarkable images.
Part of the fun of being a professional photographer and running one’s own business,
is that I can screen the less desirable jobs from the ones I thoroughly enjoy.
Since this job was just for fun, I didn’t have to charge much at all.
I met with Maddie and Lori several times for location photo-shoots and we did come
up with some terrific model photographs for her portfolio. We tried to recreate
an olden day look with Maddie wearing her grandmother’s dress
and did some fashion photography in downtown Denver. But he highlight was our very
first photo-shoot. Working at Lori and Rick’s brick Tudor home in east Denver,
I was immediately struck by Maddie’s natural presence. A person can look compelling,
and beautiful, to the eye. But some people have something special. A different level
of beauty or sophistication can suddenly appear in the lens of the photographer.
With very little prompting or direction, Maddie preformed like she’d been on this stage
before. Call it an old soul or whatever cliché seems appropriate,
Maddie has that special “it” factor.
At first, it was just drop-drop-drop on the patio roof. We decided to stay dry and shoot
Maddie looking out the window toward the patio. Then the deluge came.
The rain turned to hail. Undaunted by the weather, Maddie got into her swimming
suit, grabbed an umbrella and frolicked the way any 13 year old should.
After the storm, Lori drove us to a nearby park in search of a rainbow.
What we found was a giant puddle and soft light perfect for reflecting the budding
career of a young model’s dream.
After the storm, Maddie's mom Lori drove us to a nearby park in search of a rainbow. What we found was a giant puddle and soft light.
This all happened last year, in 2011. Soon after our model photo-shoots in Denver,
Maddie and Lori signed with a local talent agency. But the arrangement turned out
to be short lived and had to be broken. Instead, Maddie signed a contract with Pulse-
Management in New York. And as Maddie reaches for gold, who knows
where we might see her face?
A stunning black and white fashion photograph of model Maddie Kerr