Soraya Rudofsky Photography » | Capturing the American Dream

I am thrilled to introduce a new project that is very near and dear to my heart — My Imagination Sessions for children. These are sessions that celebrate the magic of childhood and transform it in unique, custom works of art. Each session starts with a questionnaire that helps me to get to know the child — his or her favorite things, dreams, and imaginative ideas.  I collaborate with the parents and child to design a session concept taken from these ideas and then bring it to life — with behind-the-scenes magic and a little pixie dust!

Introducing our newest superhero, Super Reading Girl!

Super Reading Girl Northwest Arkansas Child PhotographerPin Image

Super Reading Girl is the alter ego of eight-year old Jasmine of Bentonville, Arkansas.  Jasmine loves to read (even as we took breaks in shooting she had her nose in a book), and to play with her little sister, Jianna.

This session felt uniquely personal to me, because when I believe it’s the closest I could ever come to a conceptual self-portrait of when I was 8 years old. Decades have passed, but working with Jasmine brought me back to when I was 8 and reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume and the Beezus and Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, and so many more. I remember writing in school, just like Jasmine did, about the super powers that I would have if I could. Super Reading Girl can fly and can be invisible when she wants to be.  I wanted to be able to run really fast and to have a photographic memory.

I also loved seeing Jasmine and Jianna playing together. Jasmine read to Jianna as Jianna clutched her special Teddy, and they played together — acting out the story of the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse from the Aesop’s Fables book given to them by their beloved Aunt Jessica, and with Jasmin as the doctor tending to Jianna’s “injured” ballerina doll.

Super Reading Girl - AesopPin Image

Super Reading Girl Series - Northwest Arkansas ChildrenPin ImageSuper Reading Girl and Her sister throw paper in the air Northwest Arkansas ChildrenPin Image

Here’s the video of our session highlights:

But perhaps my favorite part of working on this series was that I often found myself picking up old favorite kids books and getting lost in their pages. It turns out I still love reading them just as much as when I was a kid. (Apparently I’m not alone –  I was thrilled when best-selling author and former Supreme Court Clerk Gretchen Rubin confessed her secret love of children’s literature — and that she had started an underground Kidlit book club with other adult friends who shared her passion. Bentonville friends, I would love to do this if anyone is interested!). I have a new appreciation for them as an adult, and find they inspire me as much as ever.  Some of my favorites were The Phantom TollboothNo Flying In The House, and the Anne of Green Gables series.  I must have read A Little Princess at least 100 times by the time I was 10, and Little Lord Fauntleroy holds no less appeal for me now than it did then! I was in college when the first Harry Potter book was published, but when Books 6 and 7 of the series came out, I waited in line for my pre-released copy (among dozens of children) — and made sure my husband had his own (because I was NOT sharing). In these pages I could fly, cast spells, fall in love, make new friends, and visit distant lands.

Reading them still makes me feel like a superhero. Thank you, Jasmine, for sharing your magic with me!

Do you love to read? What were your favorite books as a child? What are your favorite children’s books today? Share in the comments!

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Today Lensbaby announced the launch of its new Creative Mobile Kit for Mobile Phones!

You know that I love everything Lensbaby, and particularly the Lensbaby Mobile LM-10.  So I was absolutely THRILLED when the wonderful folks at Lensbaby invited me to test out the new LM-20 — one of two awesome new phone lenses in the Creative Mobile Kit! I am traveling in Brazil this summer, and I couldn’t think of a better way to document my trip than with this fun new lens.

Now that the launch is official, I’m bringing back my Lensbaby 365 and can finally share the photos I’ve been taking with my iPhone 5s and this adorable new ‘Baby!

Lensbaby LM-20 Mobile Lens Flowers in Brazil Northwest Arkansas PhotographerPin Image

Flowers at an upscale supermarket in São Paulo, SP, Brasil.

Lensbaby LM-20 Mobile iPhone Creative Lens Festa Junina Decorations Sao Paulo Brasil Northwest Arkansas PhotographerPin Image

Table decor for “Festa Junina” at a party store in São Paulo, SP, Brasil. Festa Junina — June Festival — is a country harvest festival with traditional foods, costumes, and bright colors. We’re in the Southern Hemisphere, so it’s Winter here now, and June is in the fall.

Lensbaby Mobile LM-20 Creative iPhone Lens Beach Scene Riviera do São Lourenço Brasil Northwest Arkansas PhotographerPin Image

My favorite beach in the world, the gorgeous flat white-sand beach of Riviera do São Lourenço, a gated community of Bertioga, SP, Brasil.

Lensbaby Mobile LM-20, Coconut vendor at Riviera do São Lourenço, BertiogaPin Image

Coconut vendor on the beach at Riviera do São Lourenço, Bertioga, SP, Brazil. One of my favorite beach activities in Brazil is to have a fresh coconut! You drink the water from it with a straw. Then you bring it back to the coconut vendor and he cuts it open with his machete so you can eat the delicious “meat” inside!

Lensbaby LM-20, Girl on Beach, Brazil, Northwest Arkansas Travel PhotographerPin Image

Family is the most important reason I come back to Brasil as often as I can. I just love getting to hang out with my sweet, beautiful cousins and see them grow up!

Lensbaby LM-20 Flare Northwest Arkansas PhotographerPin Image

Check out the gorgeous flare from the Lensbaby LM-20!

Lensbaby LM-20 creative phone lens. Motorcycle on the road from Bertioga to São Paulo. Northwest Arkansas Travel PhotographerPin Image

Motorcycle on the highway from Bertioga to São Paulo city.

 

The Creative Mobile Kit is a great option for mobile users who want to add some fun to their phone photography.  I think the LM-20 is a bit easier to learn and use for those new to Lensbaby and the Lensbaby look.  As you can see in the photos, the sweet spot is larger than it is in the LM-10, and so the traditional Lensbaby striated bokeh is a bit less pronounced. It also seems to be easier to get a sharp sweet spot with the LM-20.  Additionally, the lens image isn’t flipped upside down in the native Camera app (like with the LM-10).  So in addition to Lensbaby’s App you could easily use it with other camera apps (though you won’t get to take advantage of the awesome “moveable sweet spot” feature of the Lensbaby app).  I have on occasion used it with Camera+ in tricky lighting situations and it worked great!  However, it is a more traditional-style phone lens, and doesn’t have the magnetic ends on both sides like the LM-10, so you can’t use it in conjunction with other magnetic phone lenses (e.g., a zoom phone lens), like you can with the LM-10.

I’ll be posting more on my Lensbaby 365 in the days to come, but you can see lots more if you follow me on Instagram and on my Facebook page!

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I’m so excited to announce that I’ll be at June’s First Friday in Downtown Bentonville! This month’s theme is Art & Culinary.  I’ll be hosting a Photo Scavenger Hunt booth that will have you exploring our beautiful Downtown Bentonville!  All of the items can be found within walking distance of the Bentonville Square.   My booth will be located right in front of the Walmart Museum (the old Walton’s 5&10 store).

June First Friday Poster Downtown BentonvillePin Image

For the past two weeks I’ve been hard at work planning and preparing.  Now the Scavenger Hunt postcards are in, the photos are framed, and the prizes are ready!

Getting ready to host the photo scavenger hunt at June First Friday in Downtown Bentonville Pin Image

Stop by my booth to pick up the Photo Scavenger Hunt list! Once you’re done with your search, come back with your photos and enter to win two great prizes!  Find 10 of the 19 items and enter to win a gift basket filled with local goodies (the beautiful basket in the photo above)!  Find all 19 items, and you can also enter to win the Grand Prize — a custom portrait session with me and a  photo canvas of your favorite image from that session!

Also at the booth you can check out my albums, see some beautiful Imagination Session prints, and take advantage of my First Friday Booking Special.  I’m booking now for fall sessions, and if you book at my booth on First Friday you’ll receive a complimentary 16×20 studio print of your favorite photo from our session!

I love our beautiful little town, and I love going to First Friday on the Square.  It means the world to me to participate in this awesome event.  Thank you so much to the folks from Downtown Bentonville for including me in the fun.  See you there — I can’t wait!

 

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One of the things I love most about being a photographer is that it continuously challenges me to learn new things.  A project that is near and dear to my heart are my new My Imagination Sessions. They have pushed me to grow creatively and expand my skill set.  I am so excited for an upcoming Cinderella-themed My Imagination session with two gorgeous little girls — and of course have been having a fabulous time scouring Northwest Arkansas looking for props and costumes!  But, no matter where I went, I couldn’t find a child’s purple “fairy godmother” cloak.  So… I decided I had to make one.

Sewing Bentonville ChildrenPin Image

The perfect excuse to use that beautiful fur pincushion I got in Alaska years ago! Fabric, scissors, pincushion, pins, and my pattern…

How hard could it be, right? I mean, it’s just kind of a draped piece of fabric that you tie, right?  When I asked the saleslady at Hancock Fabrics how much purple fabric I’d likely need, she suggested looking at a pattern.  A pattern? My mom (who was visiting for Mother’s Day) and I peppered the saleslady with more questions.  She opened the directions and pointed them out to us.  “Don’t forget to make sure you put the fold on the right side when you lay out the pattern,” she said. “Wait,” I asked, “there’s a fold in the fabric?” “You two scare me,” the saleslady said.  She kindly gave us the name and number of a seamstress, but I knew there wasn’t really enough time to call her — the shoot was only two days away.   So, I thanked her and took the material and pattern home.

YouTube is amazing. You can learn anything – like how to read a pattern, how to lay out a pattern on your fabric, how to cut your fabric using a pattern.  And then you can throw all that knowledge out the window and just wing it.  The saleslady’s explanation about the fold proved invaluable — I realized that instead of cutting out two pieces for the back and then sewing them together like the directions instructed, I could fold the fabric in half and put the pattern along the fold and just NOT CUT THE FOLDED SIDE and come out with one beautiful back piece!  Huzzah!  When the cutting seemed to turn out well, I was encouraged.  Twelve hours of hand stitching later, however, I realized that I probably needed a sewing machine for this project.

But thankfully, it all worked out!  The seams and stitches aren’t perfectly straight, but you’ll never be able to tell in the photos. I figured out what bias tape is, and why I needed the double wide type.  And now I have a beautiful Fairy Godmother cape that matches my beautiful Fairy Godmother dress!  I’m so proud of me for making it all myself.  I found it extremely satisfying, and maybe even slightly addictive. Hmmm… might be time to look for a small used sewing machine for my office…

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