Modern Women series – Li Ling Cavanaugh.

My first foray into a new series. Join Me.

Ok, let me start off with a little disclosure. Yes, I looked at “those” magazines growing up. You know the ones. The ones that combine cars with a curvy woman or two next to them, in front of them, on them, et cetera.

As I started into my foray into the photographic world I was submerged into a world where the women were posed doing various things, typically with an open shirt, a wet shirt, short shorts and such. It didn’t take long to figure out that sex sells.

Somewhere along the way I started to think about the women in these scenes. Do they know how to use that wrench they’re holding? Do they know how to use that skateboard they’re holding? Can they even ride that bike they’re straddling, et cetera.

Li Ling Cavanaugh by the Captian america bike.


In short – are they more than just a piece of eye candy? Do they always have to be portrayed as such? Do women have role models to look up to? Are there actual women motorcycle riders, firearms experts, wrenchheads and such?

Well, of course there are but where are they? How can they be portrayed photographically?

Hence my recent call for women with “unusual” hobbies, skills, and talents. I want to work with them to create a series of images that show them off. To show that they are more than a prop. That they belong with that bike, truck, pile of weights. That they are strong AND sexy. That they didn’t fit the typical “model” mode.

Enter Li Ling Cavanaugh. She contacted me after seeing my initial proposal. She was a 40-something year old mom but she also worked out religiously. Her husband had a Harley that they rode.

It was love at first text for me. We set up a session at Green Devil Garage and went to work. It was her first sessions so she was a little unsure but warmed up to it in no time. I was amazed at how gracefully she moved from pose to pose and held herself with confidence. With assistance from Rose Benson, Green Devil owner Duke Clairemont and Li’s husband/fitness trainer, Brian, the session went smoothly.

“This photo session was a huge step outside of my comfort zone. It was a first for me and I was apprehensive initially. Mark however instantly put me at ease and made me feel comfortable and beautiful at the same time. It was an amazing, empowering experience and I am in love with the photos!!!” – Li Ling

I couldn’t be happier with the images. I truly think this is something worth pursuing.

If you want to participate in this project contact me today.

Mark Knopp is a Virginia Beach-based portrait photographer. Contact him today at for your engagement, senior portrait, fitness, or model experience session today.


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