Vivian Elizabeth’s graffiti and beach portrait session in Oswego, NY.

She had been on my list of people I wanted to work with for a long time.

While I moved to Virginia eight years ago, I still keep tabs on my hometown of Oswego, NY and the surrounding communities. I have a half dozen websites based from there that I check every morning. This includes model and photographer up and comers as well as seasoned vets.

Once or twice a year Oscar and I make our way up north to visit family and friends, catch some local vibes and, if time allows, do a couple of sessions. I try to mix  it up with a blend of people I’ve worked with before and some new to me. Miss Elizabeth had been on my photographic radar for two years now but our schedules never jived up until this trip.

The wait was well worth it.

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Her pale skin, tattoos, and piercings put her in what some would call the “Alt Model” category but I hate labeling people in such a way. In order to call something “Alt” we must first establish a “Normal.” Anyone want to take a stab at that? No? Some day those that don’t sport such adornments might be considered “Alt.” Chew on that for a while. But I digress.

When she told me she was going to dye her hair blue two days before our first session I was, inwardly, a little concerned. Dying hair a new color just before a session is fraught with so many potential outcomes – one good and a lot of “uh ohs.”

By the graces of all deities it came out spectacular. I mean it perfectly suited her look and set off her features wonderfully. Those lovely, sapphire blue eyes really stood out now when surrounded by a mane of teal.

We got right to it and soon found out that we were two peas from the same pod in terms of likes, personalities, ideas and such. Her choices of outfits was spot on and she moved naturally from pose to pose. Time slipped by so quickly at the graffiti location that we almost didn’t make it to the lake for the beach portion.

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It was all over far, far too soon. You know a session goes well when you end up with more ideas than you started with and just didn’t want it to end. But it gets cold very quickly in Oswego when the sun goes down plus we had been at it non-stop for almost 3 hours. It was time to part ways. We talked about what was to come in the flowing days, what to expect when, et cetera, and then the traditional post-session hug.

I’ll end this entry with some words from Miss Elizabeth.

My session with Mark was great as he made me feel very comfortable. It was a learning experience as I’m used to being directed on how to pose a certain way now and then. I enjoyed how he would explain why I should pose a certain way and how it would make for a more flattering picture. Seeing the pictures on the back of his camera during the session, seeing how I looked, made me feel confident.

Mark Knopp is a Virginia Beach-based portrait photographer covering the Hampton Roads community and more. Contact him today at for portraits and photography lessons.

7 Replies to “Vivian Elizabeth’s graffiti and beach portrait session in Oswego, NY.”

  1. Beautiful photos Mark and such a nice article. I’m curious, why you call her Miss Elizabeth a couple of times. Thought it was cute.
    Anyway, enjoyed your article and love the photos; can’t wait to see more in the days ahead!

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