Cynthia's Story

Cynthia’s Triumph Over Advanced Ovarian Cancer

The Background:

CLIENT: NorthShore University HealthSystem
LOCATION: Evanston, IL
DETAILS: NorthShore asked me to take photos of Cynthia for the cover story of Connections Magazine.  Since we knew we wanted to do a video as well, we coordinated with Cynthia as to the best date and time.  The date of the shoot, the weather was terrible and we’d be shooting at high noon, terrible light.  So we postponed a week and were starting to run up against the photo deadline for the magazine.  Luckily, everything came together like magic.

The Concept:

Jesenia Ramirez, Kat Quintian gathered together some fantastic ideas for b-roll and printed it out and put it into a production shot list.  The plan was to go to the Lund house, shoot the cover while Kat and Senia set up for the interview, and then we’d shoot photos and video for the B-roll and other parts of the magazine inner pages.  The design of the magazine cover calls for a few specifics such as square framing, a white or light-colored top-right corner (to serve as the background for the NorthShore logo), and some sort of action that makes the viewer want to examine the picture.

The Execution:

As soon as we arrived, I knew the shoot would be something special.  Cynthia was very vibrant and camera-ready and was excited to participate.  Since we usually only have two hours with anyone to shoot everything we need, people’s attitude toward the shoot makes a huge difference.  Kat and Senia scoped out the many possibilities for interview spaces in the beautiful house and I sat down with Cynthia and we figured out some ideas for the cover.  I wanted a moment, something special between her and her daughter.  So after seeing Cynthia standing in the doorway of the kitchen screen door talking to her family outside, I knew that was the magic spot.  I got the cover along with a backup option at the table and we moved on to the interview.

The interview went great.  Cynthia was open and honest and gave us a lot.  She spoke of her fears and hopes and philosophy behind her experiences that gave us much more than what had hoped for.  It’s such a privilege to allow someone to their their life changing story.  It’s a responsibility I take very seriously.

We moved on to shooting Cynthia and her husband and kids in the background.  The kids were perfect, out of central casting for cute children.  They were interested in what we were doing and wanted to help.  It was the perfect situation and they got to have a lot of fun playing while we got to watch.  The hardest part was keeping up with them.  I tried to grab as many different types of shots as I could in the short time we had.  This was the sort of shoot that was a big technical challenge and tested my knowledge of photography and videography in pretty much every way with no room for error.  I’m happy to say that I’m thrilled with the results!

Kat cut together the footage and posted the video to YouTube and Facebook where it was shared several dozen times right away.

The Photos:

The full story can be viewed in Connections Magazine here:

View The Magazine



The Video: