Archive: February 2012  |  View all recent posts

Wed. Feb 29, 2012 by Mary    Portraits

Meet: Mary Ann

Welcome back!

As promised, I am now ready to share with you the story of Mary Ann & the video of her that we showed to kick of our WPPI Platform last week.

We first met Mary Ann about a month ago, when she was introduced to us by Ann Nyberg as part of my "lunch program." I set this goal for myself almost two years ago, and this year I finally decided to do something about it. The idea behind the lunch program is pretty simple: take awesome people out to lunch (on us!), soak up all the wisdom and life lessons they care to offer, do a shoot of them, and then at the end they suggest and help connect us to our next person to have lunch with. And so on and so on, it keeps building that way. I can't tell you how excited I am for this project, because so far we are only on our second lunch and it has already been completely life changing.

The first lunch we did was with Ann Nyberg. It was a two hour coffee actually, and by the end it was Ann's amazing heart and not the immense amounts of caffeine that had us absolutely buzzing. You might remember the shoot of we did with her shortly thereafter at The Kate Theater which we posted HERE. When it came time for Ann to suggest the next person in the lunch line up, she did what Ann does and totally went above and beyond. She connected us to not one but two new people, and she came along herself to the lunch to make sure the connections took root. It was in that lunch that we first met Mary Ann.

I sat across the table from her, as she smiled and chatted away over crusty bread and lemon water. She talked about being a cop, an actress on a soap opera, getting discovered as a model at the age of 17 (where she got to shoot jobs alongside Whitney Houston) and.....about her book. Next month, Mary Ann's first book "A Diary of Healing" will be hitting the shelves and it's all about her being diagnosed with and overcoming Stage II breast cancer in 2004.

Ok, a story of survival, of overcoming....I get it. I bet there's a lot to be learned here. She had my full attention.

She talked about how as she was going through her treatment, she had realized that there were no programs in the school system to teach young girls about breast health & self exams. So... she created one. A non-profit called the Get in Touch Foundation that is now in 56 countries worldwide. 56 countries in the world full of women who now have a better chance of survival because this one woman took action. A program that, in 2010, had Mary Ann selected as one of Oprah's Giving Beautiful Back recipients. And in 2011, over the course of two twenty-four stints of writing, Mary Ann had finished her first book about her journey and seen it picked up for publication. As far as I could see, she was on top of the world. And living the proverbial dream.

I sat across the table, and thought to myself now there's a lady who gets it done. Someone who doesn't just dream big dreams, but who actually goes out and makes them happen. And wouldn't she be the perfect fit to make a surprise guest appearance at our talk out at WPPI next month. Which is exactly what I said to her over our salmon cakes and lemon vinaigrette salad, when I asked how would she like to fly out to Vegas for a few days. And that right there, that's when it all changed.

That's when she looked me in the eye and told me that she'd absolutely love to, but that she'd be starting up her treatments by then and wouldn't be able to travel. Treatments? What's this? What are we talking about here?

As it turns out, Mary Ann found out recently that her cancer is back and this time it is Stage IV. She had already finished her rounds of chemo, and she was just about to start into radiation when we met with her. As these words sunk in, I sat staring at my lemon water and blinking back salty, stinging tears. Here was a woman some would say was in a fight for her life (although don't let her catch you saying that!), and yet.....and yet, I have never seen someone more alive. More joy-filled. More positive about what the future might hold. She was maybe the happiest person I've ever met, and when I asked her how that could be she said this:

When you have five minutes left to live, are you going to waste a single one of them being unhappy? Not me.

I left that lunch that day rocked to my very core. It was like someone had held a big, shiny mirror up in front of my face and showed me exactly how many of my minutes and days I had been wasting. Counted them out for me. Let me know that I hadn't really been living, just coasting...floating through my days. It was at that very moment that I knew, I had to tell Mary Ann's story, in whatever way possible.

A few phone calls later and some quick planning. and we were meeting up with Mary Ann on Valentine's Day morning as she was about to undergo her 15th or halfway point dose of radiation. Cameras are usually strictly forbidden at the cancer center, but all it took from Mary Ann was one request and we were granted full access. Access with a few members of the staff constantly at our sides, but access nonetheless. She just has that kind of power over everyone who meets her.

We were able to go through the day with Mary Ann from getting her treatments to the two mile walk she does on the boardwalk after, picking up a rock- one for every day of her treatment, taking a picture from the same two spots so she has a chance to remember, and then heading back to her house for an interview and portrait shoot. I'll be honest with you, I was not prepared for what this day held....meeting all these women who were spending their Valentine's Day coming in for cancer treatments. Seeing how they laugh together and build one another up. Spending the whole day with Mary Ann, who must have been so exhausted from the radiation, and yet watching her pour out everything she had into encouraging all of us who were there to not waste a second of this life.

We were so lucky to have our friend and phenomenal film maker Jeremy White along with us for most of the day (although video wasn't allowed in the center) to document and tell the story of our day with Mary Ann. And I'd like to share some of the photos and the video with you now.

I will tell you this: I walked out of that lunch that day like someone had shaken me hard by the shoulders. Woken me from a deep, deep sleep. And from that day on, I haven't wanted to waste a single second of this life. What I said to Mary Ann when I asked her to do the video with us, was that if she could do that for me-for just one person- imagine the ripple effects it could have if a thousand people at WPPI could see it. Or who knows how many people on the web. How many of us could really be alive. And go out and do that thing we are most called to do. How much could the world be changed just from that? Because when you think about it, what if the world- or y'know at least 56 countries- is waiting on us?

I ask that you watch Mary Ann's story. Let it shake you like it shook me. To your very core. To get out there and really start living this life. To not waste a single second of the few precious minutes we are given. Let it sink way deep down. And then I ask that you go out and share it with someone else. Someone else who might need the wake up call too. And then let's all get to really living....together.

When you have five minutes left, are you going to waste a single one?

Meet: Mary Ann

Justin & Mary . Mary Ann . Really Live from Jeremy White on Vimeo.

Wed. Feb 29, 2012 by Mary    Weddings

Las Vegas Pop-Up Chapel Wedding: Ashley & Jeremy

Ok, so.

Remember yesterday how I said that when we came downstairs for the Sunrise Shoot Out, we were met with some crazy exciting news? But I was going to go ahead and put a big ole' scripty bracket around all that until today? Well, now we get to go back and Bill & Ted ourselves. Y'know Dude, don't forget to bring your off camera light set up....and say hello to the princesses. Or like that movie Vantage Point (quality save the world film, by the way, if you're ever in need) where we get to rewind and show the story from a different viewpoint that suddenly makes it all make sense. Are you with me?

{Ok, so insert rewind button scene here. Picture me walking backwards across the lobby. Hair swaying in the reverse & opposite order. And, y'know, the Starbucks cup getting fuller.}

That's more like it. Now, here's what *really* happened.

When Liz, Ryan & I came downstairs, we saw all of the attendees just up ahead of us in the lobby. But before we could get there, Ray & Joyce from Still Motion and Jen Jar (the first time WPPI attendee from the Still Motion video and best friend/business partner of Ashley Barnett...don't worry it will all make sense) grabbed us and said they had something really important to talk to us about. I'm not going to lie, in that moment with as serious as they were all being and the looks on their faces, I thought someone had died. Legitimately. And I was getting really worried.

But then they said they had something to ask us.

See, the night before we had been hanging out with Jen, Patrick from Still Motion and Ashley & Jeremy (our Shoot Out couple from last year, who we've since become really good friends with). We tagged out early though to get some sleep for the shoot out. And it turns out that after we were gone, they were all sitting around talking....Ashley had gone to the bathroom, and Jeremy was saying how he'd really just love to propose. Where Patrick (being Patrick and the make things happen kind of guy that he is!) said "if you do & you get married out here, we'll shoot it." To which I'm told Jeremy responded something like, "Don't bluff. If you guys shoot the film & you can get Justin & Mary to agree to take the pictures....I'll do it." Patrick said he was pretty sure we would, and the next thing you know Jeremy is on bended knee in the middle of Wolfgang Puck's.

Where through tears & laughter, Ashley of course said yes.

Which brings us back to the lobby on Tuesday morning, where jaw on the ground, tears in my own eyes, I of course said we would shoot it. This was Tuesday morning at 6am. The wedding would take place on Wednesday at 6pm right after our platform talk. So for the next 36 hours. while we were busy preparing for a talk, Ashley & Jeremy and all of their closest friends they had with them out in Vegas were busy preparing for a wedding. There were bouquets to be made, shoes to be bought, vows to be written, and forever to be promised.

And they pulled it off with all the beauty, simplicity and heart that only two people holding on to one another as tight as they can & choosing to make a leap together, can do.

Married: Ashley & Jeremy

A&J, there are no words for how much I love your hearts. How much I love your love. And how unbelievably honored we were that you allowed us to be there with you as you made this leap. Let your love for each other always be the soft place that you land. I am so unbelievably inspired & encouraged by you. Thank you for allowing us to capture love in its purest form. Fifty years from now when you're old & wrinkly and still holding on to one another making big leaps together, we will look back and say....we got to be there at the start of it. We love you guys!

So, so, SOOOO much love,

**HUGE thanks to Emilia Schobeiri for coming along as our second shooter, rocking it out & keeping me sane during those first few seconds of whew, how are we going to do this.

Tue. Feb 28, 2012 by Mary    The Latest

WPPI: The Recap!!

I'll be honest. Just the sheer enormity of taking on a post of this epic nature scared me.

Which is really fitting when you think about it. Because just the sheer enormity of taking on something like all that we had planned going in to this year's WPPI terrified me to my very core.

I've been thinking a lot about the best way to go about explaining to you what this past week was like. How all the parts had to fit together just right. How at any moment, any combination of a million different tiny problems could have reared their ugly heads and had the whole thing come crashing down.

And never did.

To say we were audacious may be the understatement of the year. With all the things we were hoping would come together literally down to the wire, foolhardy might be more accurate. After all, who were we to hope for so many big, BIG things in the space of just one week? But like we said in the talk, who are we (who are any of us)... not to? I believe in miracles. With my whole heart I believe in them. Not just the big, grand walk on water kind. But the million tiny little ones that make up each and every day. The ones that most of the time go unnoticed. Yet but for them, none of the big ones would ever get a chance to matter.

A shipment that was delayed indefinitely showed up inexplicably at our hotel room door right on time. A keynote that was crashing every two minutes just decided to start working and never crash again. A voice that was lost, returned. A computer that had completely died, came back to life. Friends stepped in at the last minute. And mountains of work divided up among their six steady hands, suddenly seemed more like mole hills. Prayers were said. Deep breaths and hugs were given. Faith was restored.

This past week was not a miracle my friends, make no mistake about it. It was a million of them.

And I am grateful for each and every one.

I guess it's best to begin at the beginning, which for us really got started on Monday night with our J&M Walk Through Alum Mix & Mingle. We had everyone meet up with us at Centrifuge, and somewhere around 9:30pm I looked up and we were suddenly surrounded by 40 friendly faces. People we have just met over the past year or two, but when I look at them all I see are friends. Allies. People I feel grateful to have standing in our corner. And as I took a step back to take it all in, I have to admit a few tears got away from me. To each and every one of you, I am so lucky to call you friends! And I am so, SO proud of all that you are doing. And just so you know, Justin & I are already planning next year's party....I'm thinking this time we may have to take over a whole suite!!

Huge thanks to Christy Tyler for the two pictures above and all of the production stills from the shootout!

The next morning around 4am on three hours of sleep or so, my alarm went off so we could get ready for our Sunrise Shoot Out. Liz & Ryan would be at our door around 5:30am for Liz to put on the Chaviano Couture dress, and to finalize hair & makeup. And from there we headed down to the lobby, where 20 bright eyed photographers (who are all total troopers by the way!) were ready to get their shoot on. As soon as we got down to the lobby, we were met with some crazy exciting news....but that's a different post entirely. So stay tuned tomorrow afternoon for that. :)

From there we went out into the frozen tundra of Las Vegas before the sun was fully up, and through chattering teeth Justin & I talked about The Why and redefining the word "posing" to mean something more.

Justin, aka the light whisperer :)

Yea, it was early. I was loopy.

And hilarious. Clearly, clearly hilarious.

Work it. Lemme work it.

Our GORGEOUS models Liz & Ryan working it like nobody's business. Honestly, with these two there....we were pretty much cheating.

This is most of the crew, but we did miss the first few people who had to tag out for their next class. To each and every one of you, I want to thank you for signing up, for showing up, and bringing hearts so willing to learn. You rocked my world. Through and through. And just so you never forget, you & you alone made it possible for what's coming next. I adore you for that.

Tuesday night was a bit of a blur. But the one thing that I will always remember is sitting on the floor with Liz & Ryan and Alicia tying bows for about 5 hours straight.....and talking about life. About what's next for this industry. About what it really is to be a leader. And Ke$ha....I'm pretty sure there was discussion of Ke$ha. :)

The next morning, like clockwork, I woke up at 4:30am and began the long wait to that afternoon and our platform. Around 11am, Still Motion came by to shoot some getting ready footage for their video, and then it was time to go sound check. Justin takes charge of making sure all the light & sound is just where it needs to be, so I had some time to just sit & breathe.

During the talk, there were actually going to be TWO film crews recording: Still Motion & Jeremy Mitchell (more on that to come in a second!). So yea, there were a few cameras running around. :) Which means, had I literally gotten up & fallen on my face....there would have been ample evidence of it!! Noooooo pressure!!

About an hour before the talk, Liz, Ryan, Emilia, Alicia & Stephane came to help us put everything out on the seats, bag up the gifts, and be on hand to help hand out the surprise we had put together for all of our pre-boarders: J&M custom tins of Thinking Putty since the talk was called "The Big Think." Boom. :)

After that, we gathered in the back for a quick prayer, Alicia walked me through some deep breathing, we left a few extra minutes for them to get the sound working again :), and then it was GO time!! Whew. Here we go.

I'm not going to lie, that room was big and scary. And I was really, really grateful for the bright lights so I didn't have to look at everyone right off the bat. :)

It made it a lot easier to find a groove.

These next few pictures are of people's faces during the first video we showed of Mary Ann. But that story *really* deserves a post all to itself. So for now I'm just going to bracket it, and say stay tuned tomorrow morning for a whole post devoted just to her!

Raise your hands if you hate The Office w/o Michael Scott. Thought so!

Ok, here we go!! Now it starts to get really good! :) Here is where we unveiled what that "good cause" was that we put on the Sunrise Shoot Out for. We told the story of First Lieutenant of the Marine Corps Steven Verblaauw & his wife Sonya. Steven actually got deployed when Sonya was 7 months pregnant with their first child, and stayed in Afghanistan during the first 6 months of their daughter, Grace's life. Only ever meeting her over Skype.

And then we showed this video.

Sonya & Steven - WPPI from Justin Marantz on Vimeo.

And at the end of it, we got to surprise everyone by revealing that Steven, Sonya & Grace were actually on hand in the room and we got to bring them up on stage to a standing ovation....

....where once they were up there, we got to tell them that not only were they there to surprise everyone else, we also had a lil' surprise up our sleeves for them. :)

....that since they had lost some of the magic of those first few months of bringing Grace home together, we thought what better way to return some of that magic than by sending them to the most magical, the happiest place on earth. Disney World, of course!! Where Justin & I will be flying down to join them and do a shoot of them there.

By the way, NONE of which would've been possible without the photographers who took a leap and signed up for the Sunrise Shoot Out. So, so much of the credit belongs right with them! Thank you guys again!

I ended talking about my Grandma Goldie. About losing her this past September. And about the scars that we bear. About how short & precious this life is. But how it is the scars that make us stronger. And how we can't waste a minute of the time that we've been given. This one wild & precious life is far too important for that. And standing on that stage, for just that moment right there, it finally felt like I wasn't.

We were so, SO unbelievably blessed & lucky to have the incredible team of Jeremy Mitchell & Nick along with us all week at the mix & mingle, the sunrise shoot out, the pre-board meet & greet, and the talk itself documenting how it all unfolded together. To be there to tell our story. And what they've created for us, the story that they've told for us, is something that I can tell you I will cherish the rest of my life. I want to be 90 years old showing this to my great-grandchildren...Justin & Mary, Jr. :) If ANYONE in the DC/Virginia area (or anywhere else in the world for that matter) is in need of a filmmaker for your wedding or a promo video, I can't recommend these two incredible people enough!! Without further ado... this is our story.

Justin & Mary from jeremy mitchell on Vimeo.

And fiinally, finally, finally... to every single person who was in that room with us, who took a chance in grabbing a seat.....thank you. Thank you for dreaming & doing bigger, thank you for being there, thank you for always choosing heart over swagger. And for leading the brand new era in this industry. It is because of you and what you do, that we get to chase these dreams.

And just so you know, when I count my miracles...I count each of you among them.

Mon. Feb 27, 2012 by Mary    Portraits

Editorial: The White Dress by the Shore

Good morning & Happy Monday!

Justin & I are slowing recovering and edging back into normal life after WPPI (stay tuned tomorrow for our full recap on all that craziness including a brand new film from Jeremy Mitchell!) and I couldn't think of any better way to come back swinging than by sharing with you this editorial shoot we recently did with Beth Chapman of the White Dress by the Shore, Jennie Fresa of the Jennie Fresa Makeup & Skincare Boutiquerie and Terri Coon of the Timothy Pamment Salon.

Beth & Jennie approached us with the idea of doing a whole shoot with 6 different looks, all about putting a new spin on an old tradition: the bird cage veil. As soon as we heard their ideas, we were in like Flynn (whoever that guy is!) and knew we were in for something good. But never ever, did we guess just HOW good. Although with these three involved, how could I possibly be surprised? I'll let the looks (and the powerhouse talent of three incredible women, not to mention two absolutely gorgeous models!) speak for themselves!

Editorial: The White Dress by the Shore

Dress Designers: David Fielden, Modern Trousseau, Amsale, Amy Kuschel
Hair Pieces courtesy of: Haute Bride, Bijou Van Ness, A Couture, White Dress by the Shore
Jewelry: Maria Elena

Fri. Feb 24, 2012 by Mary    The Latest

Still Motion Video: 4 People, 1 Story

So it's Friday. And today I plan on doing absolutely nothing except hugging my dog, as Justin & I try to recover from the whirlwind that was WPPI. Next week, I will fill you in on everything. I promise. But for now, I'm just going to send you into the weekend with this video from Still Motion.

Patrick called me about a week before we left for Vegas and said they were making this film. It was going to follow an exhibitor, a first time WPPI attendee, a long time WPPI veteran, and a speaker. And he asked if we would be the speakers. I think he had only gotten to "sp..." when I had already said YES! Yes, yes, yes! And so off to Vegas we went. With miles to go before we could sleep, as it were. And Still Motion was there to capture it all. The nerves, the prep, the behind the scenes. Meeting up with Jen Jar,. the first time attendee. And walking out on stage in front of the biggest sea of faces I've ever seen. That moment of "whew" before you even know if the words will come out.

I was thinking on the plane ride home about how incredibly lucky I am to have Patrick in my life as a friend, a confidant, a sounding board, and someone who pushes me to dream & do bigger. Because he is someone who dreams and does bigger every. single. day. There is nothing that he is afraid to take on. And he just finds a way to make it happen. And that, that right there inspires me. To the whole crew at Still Motion. (Patrick, Amina, Joyce, Ray, Justin, Amanda, Quenna) guys amaze me. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you do!! For making us part of the story. We love you guys! Big time!


4 people, 1 story. This is my WPPI. from stillmotion on Vimeo.

Page 1 of 5

Blog Archives


Jan  19

Feb  1












Jan  22

Feb  19

Mar  21

Apr  22

May  21

Jun  20

Jul  23

Aug  12

Sep  6

Oct  21

Nov  21

Dec  21


Jan  19

Feb  16

Mar  20

Apr  22

May  23

Jun  19

Jul  23

Aug  21

Sep  21

Oct  21

Nov  21

Dec  16


Jan  22

Feb  23

Mar  22

Apr  21

May  23

Jun  21

Jul  21

Aug  22

Sep  21

Oct  22

Nov  22

Dec  19


Jan  34

Feb  28

Mar  45

Apr  43

May  35

Jun  34

Jul  37

Aug  29

Sep  23

Oct  21

Nov  23

Dec  23


Jan  28

Feb  13

Mar  20

Apr  23

May  30

Jun  42

Jul  47

Aug  51

Sep  51

Oct  44

Nov  39

Dec  42


Jan  24

Feb  13

Mar  23

Apr  21

May  22

Jun  27

Jul  28

Aug  27

Sep  35

Oct  51

Nov  37

Dec  42










Sep  4

Oct  24

Nov  19

Dec  21

1,973 Posts  |  39,376 Comments  |    Unique Visits

© 2016 Justin Marantz Photography, All rights reserved.     Site by Infinet Design