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Faces:  London & Lonnell

Places:  Champaign, IL

Oh, My!:  A magical shoot of my friend and local hip hop artist, Lonnell Hayes, and his baby boy.

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Introducing London & Lonnell:

London & Lonnell was my first father-son duo.  It was an absolutely magical shoot, capturing their beautiful father-son interactions on camera.  Definitely one of my most rewarding photography moments so far.

Lonnell (the father) and I met in an extremely random way.  Last year, soon after I bought my camera, I was outside on campus playing around with my new toy with a couple of friends.  Out of nowhere, Lonnell came up to me and mentioned that he noticed my gigantic camera/lens and asked if I could shoot some promo pictures sometime for his music group.  I told him I was no pro, but agreed to meet up with him to do it.  This is what we came up with:

(Please forgive the very amateur, strait-on, wall, head-shots.)  🙂

After meeting up a few times for artistic collaborations, I began to learn that Lonnell is no ordinary guy.  An extremely resilient individual, he started his life in a dumpster outside of the hospital, where his mother left him soon after he was born. Fortunately, a janitor found him, and brought him to a woman who took care of him until he was three-years-old.  By the time he was three, this woman was having difficulties making ends meet. She struggled with poverty and was already trying to raise her own children.  Unable to continue caring for him, she dropped Lonnell off at a McDonalds and never came back.  Since then, Lonnell has been in and out of over a dozen foster homes, most of which were abusive.  When he finally managed to escape the system, he found hope and restoration at Cunningham Children’s Home, where he was able to enjoy life for the first time.  Since finishing high school, he has managed to establish himself as a successful musician.  He also owns and operates a recording studio for local artists, where he does sound and video recording, and he takes care of his two children.  I am truly impressed and thankful for all that he has shared with me, and I look forward to more music, video, and photography projects in the future.

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