By Lisa Neary
At the beginning of 2014, I retired from Caesar’s Entertainment and opened a small family portrait studio here in Las Vegas as photography is a long time passion! I was happily taking photos of local families when I was offered a chance to join some friends and to photograph a model practice for a big runway fashion show. There I met the noted Brazilian Fashion Designer, Aldo Mencatto, now living in Las Vegas and my life as a photographer will never be the same.
He liked what he saw in my photos and asked me to keep coming back to the practices and help him backstage with the Blue Party Runway Fashion Show, a huge event at the Las Vegas Merchandise Center. I never thought myself capable of fashion photography, one of the highest forms for photography, but Aldo encouraged me and even acting like a tutor, given me important tips and me telling how I can improve my skills through this new direction.
Few weeks ago, a fashion hair stylist I had met at the Blue Party Runway Fashion Show, Val Cetaj, asked me to do a shoot in my studio to showcase some new hairstyles with the beautiful Brazilian Ellen Alves as model and featuring some of Aldo’s famous gowns for the runway and the red carpet. I jumped at the chance. I have worked with models, but never one as talented and professional as Ellen, the 2011-12 Miss Brazil-USA Nevada and now its pageant director.
The hair styling, makeup and photography took over 6 hours, but she was positive, cooperative, complimentary and joyful the entire time and when Ellen steps in front of the camera she is life and fun and simply magic. Val’s hairstyles are incredible, Ellen is radiant, Aldo’s designs are timeless classics and I was the lucky one who got to photograph it all and try to do them justice. I have a long way to go to be as good a photographer as I want to be, but I could never have progressed this far without Aldo Mencatto’s encouragement, patience and guidance.
The happiest part for me is that I am not alone. I see Aldo and Ellen and other Brazilians here in Las Vegas treating each other and non-Brazilians like me with the same encouragement and helpfulness and patience. There seems to be in the Brazil-USA spirit a joy of life, a positive attitude about the future and each other and a willingness to work hard for their dreams and their families that I have rarely seen in my almost 70 years.
I feel blessed. I am blessed. And I am writing this article just to show my new life experience, and for you, the reader, to remember important “little” things in life like to have and express your gratitude.
* Lisa Neary have a interesting photography group called “Let’s Help Each Other Be Better Photographers” that meet twice a month in her studio and with each meeting themed on a particular type of photography. Members skilled at that type share their knowledge, techniques, experience and photos on an 8ftx8ft display screen. Membership is open with no charge and is listed under Meetup website – lisanearyportraits.photoshelter.com