The summer before my freshman year of college I had an opportunity to be a photographer’s assistant to Kenneth Chen a young, up and coming portrait photographer.
Back in the day (no, we’re not that old but 10 years in the world of media might as well be 100) being an assistant still involved actual labor i.e. schlepping.
I was the official schlepper of lights and tripods and multiple cameras and lots of film for Kenneth, as he zig zagged across the city, booking gigs out of his Hotel Chelsea office (which also housed allergy-friendly snacks for me).
At his feet, I learned more than just photography but how to make one's subject feel comfortable. Ken is so easy and light to be around and his shot-promptings included: “Great! Keep going! You’re lovely, gorgeous, beautiful”. Who doesn't love that? (He also used these pink-orange gels on his lights that made his subjects, whether doctors or golfers, look young, smooth, warm, content.)
Flash forward a few years and I needed a nice picture for my blog. Something better than the shots friend X took in the park outside of work. I turned to my old friend Kenneth Chen for help.
A lot of you have asked me who took that picture of me with the bowl of pistachios. It was Kenneth. And when he came to take that picture of me there was no light box, no gels, no extra rolls of film. Just a tripod and a digi cam and natural light. And me. And Ken.
His work is my bio pic.
And here: Delicious portraits of babies and children and adults.
Here's one of Pearl.
And he teaches groups. And he has private workshops in NJ and NYC. And he’s gone digital. And he teaches how you can too. (I really need that class Ken, my digi pix are all wrong; there's no F-stop so I'm lost!)
So here’s a rather shameless plug for an old friend, colleague, wonderful photographer and all around nice guy for all of you who have written in and asked who took that bio pic:
Kenneth Chen, photographer.