Portraits: Erika B.

On Sunday I had the esteemed pleasure to photograph Erika. Erika was referred to me by Ariel who I've photographed several times. Both Erika and Ariel are Ms. Virginia pageant contestants with impressive educational and professional resumes. Erika came to me because she was looking to do something outside of the pageant photography world to start building her portfolio. She pitched a few ideas my way and we set a date.

Among her various accomplishments Erika is a recent law graduate from UVA who is passionate about public defense. She's originally from South Carolina. Also a transitioner from the pageant world she was Miss Montana United States 2014, Miss Delaware US international 2014, and Dominion State Miss 2014, also Miss Charlottesville USA 2013, Miss Southern Virginia USA 2014. Currently she's prepping to compete for Miss Virginia 2015.

From the moment Erika arrived she was pleasant, easy to talk to and had a reassuring confidence that had me looking forward to photographing her. As we began to shoot the communication was great, we tossed ideas and back and forth and she easily took direction while putting in her own creativity. I was so pleased with the images I wish we had more time to shoot more. Enjoy them below after my little rant.

Hair & Makeup by my good friend and client Tamara Montgomery.

On another note: I'm looking forward to watching Erikas future accomplishments as she'll soon be interviewing at MMG Models. I recently found out that Erika shot with another photographer [who shall not be named] a few days after our shoot. He came highly recommended and while his work is decent his personality leaves me to question why he even bothers photographing people. I spoke to Erika about what happened and it sounded like a nightmare. He criticized her body from the beginning and tried to dissuade her from pursuing her dream. He went as far as to tell her not to go to New York for her upcoming interview. What makes it worse is that she hired him for his photography services, not to be belittled and made to cry. It really angers me that someone can be so callous towards an individual in her situation. I just dont get the mentality. This industry and media is already extremely tough on young girls and women. Instead of continuing the trend, why not support and use constructive criticism if you to help instead of knock down?

It scary to think that this guy claims to be passionate about photographing people and an expert with pageants contestants, models and high school seniors. I can only imagine how many people he has done this to. I can only hope that karma will makes it way back to him.

End rant.