I met my friend Eight (that’s her modeling moniker) years ago while I was helping out as a photo coach at one of Trey Ratcliff’s Austin photowalk events. At the time, I was mostly into photographing urban landscapes and I tried my best to keep people out of my compositions. It was an extension of my extreme introversion, I suppose. Several models had been invited to accompany us on this photowalk for those who wanted to learn more about photographing people. I spent my time helping others with capturing multiple exposures for HDR processing, lugging my heavy tripod around downtown Austin, pausing to tediously setup shots along the way. At some point Eight struck up a conversation and asked me if I’d take some photos of her. “No thanks, I don’t really photography people much”, I replied. I would learn over the next couple of hours as our group wandered around Austin that she can be quite persistent.

Eventually our walking workshop wound down and a small group of us ended up at one of the dive bars on 6th Street. Eight had been gently pestering me for a couple of hours by then. Some of my photographer buddies were working with Eight and the other models in a corner of the dimly lit bar. I was recruited into helping hold flashes for a friend of mine, while Eight was still working on me to take some photos of her myself. Maybe a drink or two helped loosen me up - eventually her insistent encouragement got me to snap a couple of photos of her with another model. I didn’t think much about it at the time. She seemed to like them and I thought they weren’t too bad considering I knew virtually nothing about directing models or working with strobes.

Eight said she wanted to do a photoshoot with me and we ended up exchanging information. I bought a flash and we did a shoot. Then another. Over time, we got together regularly and even did some fairly complex concept shoots. I learned a lot through successes and failures. No matter the outcome, Eight was always upbeat and encouraging. I fully credit her for helping me learn a new photographic skill through her encouragement, persistence, patience, and creativity. For whatever reason, she seemed to see something in me that I didn’t see in myself. These are a few of the images we created together over the past several years. Most of our work together was actually in color. For this retrospective, I’ve opted to present in the timeless look of black and white.