For Niko's headshots, I had just reached out to Jonathan Canlas the week before on Instagram. I felt out of my comfort zone, but guess what? He replied! How awesome is that! Jonathan Canlas is a film photographer and owner of The Find Lab, which processes film negatives. He's also the creator of FIND in a BOX, FIND biz Guide, and FIND: family guide. I'm extremely inspired by his work. I read his book on how he photographs families called "Find: Ohana Means Family" (FIND: family guide), and I'm working on implementing more of his techniques .
Jon is also extremely giving. The image that I commented on Instagram was a portrait he did for an anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Each year he presents the oldest living survivor with a book of all the pictures he's taken. It's especially cool considering that my great-grandfather was a veteran who served in Pearl Harbor during the attack. He died a few years ago, but had he been alive, he would have been someone Canlas would have photographed during the anniversary. I asked Jon about how he captured his portraits of people looking directly into the camera. He has a very distinct look that he captures with this style of portraiture. I tried to implement it as best as I could in a few of my shots of Niko.
When James and I first got married and I moved to Washington, Niko was in his senior year of High School. It's been fun to watch him grow over the years. After graduating high school, Niko served a 2 year LDS mission in Australia. As a recent return missionary, he was home for only a short while before heading off to college.
This is such a fun stage of life! Missionaries grow so much while they are out serving. It's a time dedicated to our Heavenly Father. They face rejection on almost a daily basis, success, they serve others, and through it all, they learn to rely on Christ as they seek to draw closer to him and hopefully bring others to him as well. LDS Missionaries have a weekly service quota that they need to meet. If you ever need anything done in your area (extra hands moving, yard work, etc,) ask them for help! They'll usually more than happy to help! Youʻre actually doing them a huge favor!
By the end of a mission, it can be a hard transition back into normal everyday life. You've just been out doing service almost daily with a clear direction on how you should spend your time and why. After Niko came home this summer, I offered to do some head shots for him to help with the transition back.
Niko and his family are close friends of ours. When we went to the hospital for our most recent birth, Niko and his dad were the ones we called when we realized that our family, who are close by, wouldn't make it quick enough. They were able to arrive within 20 minutes of us calling to watch our Keoni, 10 minutes before my sister in law arrived, and 30 minutes before Keahi was born. We love these people like family!