How lucky we are! We get to work with the most wonderful people! We recently had a fabulous time creating some gorgeous portraits for Sujata.
The beautiful and talented Sujata came back to see us after much too long an absence! We first met her family when she brought her tiny daughter to us for a photography session. Now, two more daughters and years later, we had the opportunity to photograph her and her husband again. Although we have continued to photograph the family over the years, after they moved to Dallas, Texas, the photo opportunities were few and far between.
I am pretty sure not a day has passed for Sujata since we last met - she still looks as young and gorgeous as ever! She is radiant, and it is extremely difficult to believe she is the mother of college-aged children!
After raising three delightful girls, she now has some time to explore her own talents as an oil painter and is currently taking art classes.
Over the past few years, she has been perfecting her craft. Her artistic talent blows us away. For one of her assignments, she needed a headshot and, while searching for a photographer in Dallas, her husband said, "You already know who will give you the best headshot!" So off to California they came, and chose Prasad Photography to do the honors!
In addition to a headshot we photographed the beautiful couple. They are a striking pair, so young at heart, charming, stylish, creative... there are not enough wonderful words to describe them!
This past summer has been a very busy one here at Prasad Photography! One of the things that has kept us happily clicking away was photographing portraits for 9 young ladies, each performing their individual Arangetram or dance debut performance. The arangetram (literally, "ascending the stage") is a rite of passage, the culmination of an odyssey that took each of these girls from student to graduate under the direction of guru Ramya Harishankar of the Arpana School of Dance in Irvine, California. Each dancer's performance consisted of two plus hours of the elaborate, graceful and highly technical Bharata Natyam form of dance.
Mitali was the first of this group to perform her Arangetram. Traveling from San Diego to Irvine for classes, hers (and her mom's!) is an example of the kind of dedication it takes to succeed as a Bharata Natyam dancer.
Like the other girls, Preethi is passionate about dance and also multi-talented. She enjoys learning carnatic music as well as designing in multi-media.
Leena was the youngest of the group, an eighth grader, yet extremely accomplished. She is also a talented musician in both voice and piano, having won several regional competitions.
It's Not Bollywood
Many of you are familiar with Bollywood (have you seen "So You Think You Can Dance"?) - but unlike the glitz and glamour of Bollywood, the Indian film industry that regularly stages elaborate choreography in exotic locales,
Bharata Natyam is one of the most famous Indian classical dance forms. Originating in temples in South India for centuries, it is now one of the most widely-performed dance styles in the world.
Nikita is a talented singer, performing with the Irvine High School Chorale, and her other activities include Youth Action Team and Red Cross Club.
Viva is quite the all-around dancer, having studied ballet, tap, hip hop and jazz - and she was president of the Hawaiian dancing club in high school to boot!
Adorned in brightly colored costumes, headdress, makeup, jewelry and a pleated skirt that unfolds into a fan, the Bharata Nayam dancers perform with bright-eyed enthusiasm, their side-to-side neck and eye movements, hand positions, balanced still postures and instantaneous morphing among characters dramatizing ancient tales.
Sheila is another all-around talented girl, playing tennis for junior varsity, as well as painting, training vocal carnatic music, and many other pursuits.
Among her many pursuits, Pavan is a very talented painter as well as an accomplished sitar player.
Tara loves the fine arts and is an award winning classical piano player, having won many competitions. She is also an honor student and is an active volunteer for Kids Who Care Foundation along with her many activities.
Sumona teaches Bollywood, yoga and meditation, as well as ESL and is an inspiration to many.
Keeping Traditions Alive
It has been so much fun photographing these beautiful young women who are actively keeping alive the honored traditions of their culture. Ramya was there at every photo session helping the dancers perfect their poses, some of which were very difficult (these girls were able to get their bodies into some very challenging poses!). Hair and makeup was done by Saru Janahan, who was always there with a smiling face and ready to jump in and help. Over the past few months, we have enjoyed getting to know all of them and to work with them individually. Each of them is so accomplished - with many other talents in addition to their mastery of dance. They are truly inspiring!
Here is a video showing some of amazing images of these girls. Enjoy!
We were honored to be invited there to take photographs of many of the couples and families attending. As you can see, the AFSC set up a backdrop to go along with their theme of a "Garden Paradise." We brought in our lights and camera equipment and went to work (or should I say, "Play!")!
One of the beautiful folks we were honored to photograph was Dr. Cordula Dick-Muehlke, Executive Director of the center. She is undeniably dedicated to the well-being of her participants, helping them to age successfully in the context of Alzheimer's Disease and other dementia. She is such an extraordinary person and has touched countless lives doing what she does. What a beautiful soul!
Our team was fantastic - thank you, Hayley, Adam and Dave! They were also excited to be there, helping others, and helping everything to run smoothly. We could not have done it without them. We photographed over 60 groups of people during the two hour cocktail hour. So many warm, friendly and simply wonderful people - what a joy!
A little bit about the organization: Alzheimer’s Family Services Center is one of the most inspiring nonprofit organizations we love to support. AFSC is located in Huntington Beach, California and offers a warm and welcoming environment where people living with Alzheimer's and other dementia are able to spend each day. The people who run this organization (many of which are volunteers!) are absolutely phenomenal. They are gracious and so devoted to helping make their participants' lives as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. It truly brought me to tears, seeing how dedicated they are to their members.
Here's Prasad working with several of the AFSC staff:
After cocktail hour was over and our job was finished, we attended the elegant dinner where the organization honored their "Participant of the Year," honoring her with a slideshow and her beautiful story. We were all brought to tears, it was such a lovely and moving story. It really brought home the fact that most people with Alzheimer's and other such illnesses are normal, often brilliant people who can no longer function as they once did. AFSC is the only Alzheimer's Day Care Resource Center in Orange County, and many people we've spoken to about this have expressed their wish that they had such a place in their area, with its state-of-the art facility, expert staff, and programs based on the latest research.
Everyone we met was just phenomenal and we are honored to have worked with them!
Our sincere thanks goes out to everyone that participated in our fundraising event last weekend! We were able to contribute greatly to the relief efforts in Japan thanks to all!
We adore each of the families that we worked with last weekend. One family, in particular, stands out when we think about how narrowly they escaped tragedy.
The Galvin family came to us on Saturday after just picking their Obachan ("grandmother"), Junkosan, from the airport. Her family had been in Sendai, Japan, just hours before the tsunami hit! They happened to leave scarcely one hour before the tsunami ravaged the city. We get chills thinking about how close they came to such calamity and we are so grateful they are all okay.
To the Galvin family and all of the other wonderful families that participated last weekend we say THANK YOU SO MUCH for being a part of this fun and successful event. We hope you will each treasure the photos that came from this session, and every time you look at the portrait you can be reminded of the wonderful deed you did, helping those in Japan that have undergone such tragedy and turmoil.
We are grateful to have had the opportunity to do our part to help with the relief efforts in Japan and we are so appreciative of our clients that participated with us. We had such a wonderful time and can't wait to see the photos!
We truly enjoyed spending our weekend photographing beautiful families, darling little children, lovely grandparents, hunky guys....(you know who you are!)
The news of the tragedy in Japan has really been on our minds. It is heart-breaking and devastating to think about each individual that has been affected - those that were lucky enough to survive. We have been longing to do something to help but we are not in a position to fly over there and assist in relief efforts.
So we came up with a plan.
On Saturday, April 9th and Sunday, April 10th we are donating as much time as is necessary for a series of $50 mini portrait sessions to photograph you and your immediate family! These 30-minute in-studio sessions will provide you with an everlasting gift for the one you love, however, even more exciting, is that the entire session fee will be donated to the victims of the recent Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami!
If you are interested in participating in this event, please contact us right away and we will set up your 30-minute session for Saturday, April 9th or Sunday, April 10th. This is a gift that will touch countless lives. There are only a few spots left! Don't miss out!
An Arioso is a song, and there are two women out there who know how to make quite a song.
Cindy Ellis and Michelle Temple are two of the most gifted musicians we know. Both Cindy and her husband Tony (who plays trumpet) play for the Pacific Symphony Orchestra in Orange County, and have been friends and clients for many years. Cindy is a blast. She keeps us laughing the entire time we are photographing her. We always have such an amazing time with her!
Cindy brought her incredibly talented musical partner, Michelle Temple, a harpist for the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, for a session,prasadphoto.com/headshots.html and not only do these two make beautiful music, they make beautiful subjects! We had such a great time photographing these very talented and very fun gals!
Their portraits were stunning, and everyone was extremely pleased with the session. However, getting that humongous harp up the stairs and into the studio was no small task! But leave it not for us to be daunted. We love a challenge...even one as, er, huge as that!
Women as gorgeous and playful as these two make our job entirely too easy. I think that's why they brought the harp. They wanted to make sure we earned our keep.