Photographing Kevin Kubota
He’s one of the very best in my industry – a guru, an inspiration, a born teacher, and one of the most amazing guys you’ll ever meet – honestly! He’s Kevin Kubota! I had met him informally and attended his workshops in Vegas, but I was still a little star-struck when I was given the honour of pairing with him on a Photo Walk we did on the Vegas Strip. It was an exercise in stepping outside your comfort zone, and boy, did I EVER!
It started off with the incomparable Kenna Klosterman (http://www.kennakphoto.com/) a tall, beautiful spitfire of a taskmaster and amazing human being. She instructed us to pair up with the photographer next to us and stare into each other’s eyes for 2 minutes… not talking, no laughing – look into their soul! I was standing with Kelly Brown (Renowned Newborn Photographer), all 6+ feet of her and Scott Robert Lim, (Lighting GURU and Master Wedding Photographer. There was an odd number of us, so we 3 agreed to do it together – a little 3-some… well that started the giggling! Eye’s up to Kelly (she has AMAZINGLY pretty eyes, btw) then to Scott Robert, over and over, all whilst Kelly’s blushing and Scott Robert is making silly faces. We failed miserably, but had a good laugh. Feels like you really get to know someone doing that.
I’d be remiss to not mention all the other incredible talent in our group…. We had Kevin and his beautiful wife Clare, Kelly, Scott Robert and Kenna, of course. Add to that video queen/photographer Susan Roderick, Lori Patrick , a Self Portrait Specialist, the shamelessly feminine boudoir goddess Jennifer Rozenbaum, the incredible Sally Sargood, edgy and original fun guy, Jonny Davenport and the inspiring, creative genius Brooke Shaden. If you have no idea the fabulousness of this photographic group, I HIGHLY suggest you Google a few, or all of them. In total, there were 31 talented photographers in this amazing group (Kelly had to run off to her class before we took the group photo).
Off we went outside as a group to get to know each other better. Kevin and I had so much common ground to discuss – Vegas, our jobs, our humanitarian work, our love of all things Nikon, Westcott and anything else photographic but mostly our deep love for and the desire to help the people of Africa.
For the challenge, he was to take my photo; 5 minutes, only the existing REALLY bright sunlight, in the middle of the loading zone in the MGM Grand parking lot! I hate getting my photo taken, but who’s going to say no to Kevin Kabota! So I did some of my corniest, fakest looking poses out of sheer terror. (so sorry Kevin!) “OK, Take mine” he says. ….. Ummmmmmmm, WHAT? No, I can’t – I’m not good enough, NO! But I HAD to! Dang! OK.
Suddenly, I forgot 22 years of Photographic Experience, all the years of my Post Secondary Photography Education and couldn’t remember what to do, I completely froze. I’m staring at him, fiddling with my camera pretending I wasn’t peeing my pants, quite honestly, when he started sticking his tongue out, doing silly poses, laughing out loud. He was bringing me down off the ledge – loosening me up. It worked. After what seemed like an embarrassing amount of time (more like 45 seconds) I pulled it together and took control.
When my 5 minutes were up, I was grateful. I had learned so much in those 5 minutes. He teaches, even when he’s the subject. After our impromptu session, we were off to walk the strip and wrangle random strangers to pose for a portrait. It was funny, they didn’t know me but they posed! The exercise was a challenge to step outside your comfort zone! It worked.
With big hugs and new friendships made, I left Kevin and all those incredible photographers on the Vegas Strip. They’ve long since gone back to their work and cities and towns, and I have come back to mine, forever changed and more inspired than ever.
Here are a few pics from my 4 minute photo session of my new friend Kevin! Can’t wait to see him in Vegas in 10 more months! You can learn more about the amazing talents of Kevin Kubota here: http://kevinkubota.com/