When Allyssa’s mom Kris contacted me to set up a photo shoot, I was immediately excited when I heard about some of her ideas. Allyssa is Native American, and so they had several things that they wanted to incorporate into her senior photos that have value and meaning to them. We had a fantastic time taking photos, starting at her house near the birch tree before heading to the ball diamond at the high school and finally Lakeside Park. I love the freedom that I have to incorporate the unique aspects of each person into the photos I am taking for them, which you just don’t get in the same way in a studio.

I asked Allyssa’s mom to write a bit about their heritage to explain the meaning behind the photos. Here’s what she sent me:

“We are members of the Turtle Clan of the Menominee Nation.  The Menominee are indigenous to Wisconsin and are considered Woodland Indians.  The land the Menominee have inhabited for thousands of years is a heavily wooded area and the birch tree holds a special importance to the Menominee.  Early ancestors used the birch tree in the making of canoes, cradles, wigwams and even decorative baskets and bowls.
Allyssa is a Fancy Shawl Pow Wow dancer, and the purple and black shawl was made for her by her aunt, a teacher of Menominee language & culture, and is appliquéd with a Turtle, a symbol of our Clan.
The Pendleton blanket is often used for ceremonial purposes – naming ceremonies, blanket dances – and is often given as a gift to someone to show gratitude and respect.  I got this Pendleton blanket at the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow (the largest Pow Wow in the U.S.) in Albuquerque, NM when Allyssa was about 2 ½ yrs old.”   (Kris, Allyssa’s Mom)

If the photos below aren’t enough to satisfy you, you can see the rest of her images by clicking here. Enjoy!


~ by jmsphotography on August 31, 2008.

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