Sunday, March 29, 2015

I was ‘Blown Away By Kelsie May’

My blogs are about photography.  In one way or another, everything I do is about photographer.  I will blog about the shoot itself, the techniques I implemented or my interaction with the client.  This one is a little different.  It’s a bit more personal.  It combines both my passion for creating music and my drive for creating a photograph that tells a store, much like a great song does. 

I grew up in eastern Kentucky and I’ve shared the dream of making it in music as a way ‘out’ just as so many others back home.  I had a small measure of success back in the day, but when it comes to talent in the ‘real world’ you better be one of three things; First, Best or Different.  Grandma telling you how good you are won’t cut it.  There are so many things that go into being a genuine talent that others will want to listen to, follow and be moved enough by that talent to use their own hard-earned money to buy your music.  It’s not just being a great singer or a great musician or writer even. It’s not just about having a cool voice or a hot look or hip style.  You need to have what they call in the music industry that ‘it’ quality.  There will just be something special about you.  You won’t be able to put your finger on it, but you will recognize it.  It is part charisma, part talent, part skill and part illusive magic pixie dust that somehow found its way into the gift that is that artist.  That’s what reached out and touches us when we find an artist who makes up their ‘fan’ just by being their self.

Enter Kelsie May  --A little firecracker from eastern Kentucky, about 20 minutes from where I grew up.  It is one of the most densely populated regions of America for bonafide talent, on any map.   I've had the pleasure of working with this talented young lady in both a studio photography setting and a location setting, and she outshined others many years her senior with her ability to communicate as well as her drive and focus regarding her chosen career path.  

Her parents contacted me about photographing her for her upcoming website, publicity shots and such. They told me she might be auditioning for The Voice.  I was excited for her, for her parents. And I was honored that they had chosen me to be the one to create the images that would be a part of such a journey.We shot two days, two three locations and studio, and through all that time, I saw her interacting with her parents, and all I can say is she is one of the most respectful and thoughtful young ladies I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in a long time.  

I had done my research of listening to her music, and checked her out on YouTube, Facebook and other social media, as I always do before shooting talent.  However, when you come face to face with a genuine from-the-heart talented artist you just know it.  You feel ‘it’ and that’s what will make the difference for this young lady!  From a photographer’s perspective, when she made eye contact with the camera, it was like she immediately lost that early teen giddiness and took on a more serious, mature persona.  

As we shot, I engaged her in conversations about the songs she writes. Her answers were not just introspective, but as I kept shooting, she made eye contact with the camera that made me wonder how many more ‘layers’ were in there.  And that is what it’s about.  Engaging the viewer of a photograph.  Make the outside observer want to see more.  Learn more.  That is a gift that few poses and fewer still have complete command of.  

Do yourself a favor and watch for her on NBC’s THE VOICE.  She is on ‘Team Blake’ (Sheldon).  She is winning the hearts AND votes of America with her pure voice and her distinctly fresh personality. You too will be  ‘Blown Away By Kelsie May’

A very special thanks to the entire team at PCG Nashville for allowing me to be a part of such a great project!


Marty Wayne is a one of Middle Tennessee's well-known commercial photographers. He is a freelance photographer who is recognized for his unique talent of capturing the essence of his subject in his photography. he uses his unique style and talent to create extraordinary images that will get you the attention you deserve.


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