The Fountain of Youth: Parade

Posted on June 27, 2016 in Long-term Project, Personal Work

(First off: I haven’t blogged here in 6 months. There are a couple of good reasons (excuses) for that and they are: First, I post a lot on Instagram in realtime, follow me there, second off I have been very busy shooting for and running my other photography business with my husband David Walter Banks — we work as a team and photograph celebrities and do commercial lifestyle work, which you can see here at However, that doesn’t mean I’m not shooting anymore, I’m still doing personal work. This is a first attempt at catching up.)

The first time I went to Sun City with my camera they had their 50th annual anniversary parade. The second time I went to the Fountain of Youth they had their 50th annual anniversary parade. (You can see my first trip to the Fountain of Youth HERE)

So I’m out of the closet on that topic now: yes, I like retirees. Yes, I like taking photos in the desert (bright! harsh! light!) and I really like parades (hey, my second internship was at a series of community weekly newspapers and I adored the kids and dogs and parades beat). So it should come as no shock that I headed back to The Fountain of Youth with two film cameras for another round. Read More

Blake Mycoskie, TOMS Creator for Harvard Business Review

Posted on January 7, 2016 in Portraits

I photographed TOMS creator Blake Mycoskie in his office at the TOMS headquarters in Los Angeles for the Harvard Business Review. It was for a really interesting story about how Blake became disillusioned about his super successful business with a generous business model. Read it in Blake’s own words HERE

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Pro Surfer John John Florence

Posted on November 21, 2015 in Portraits

I photographed surfer John John Florence for The Wall Street Journal on the beach in Santa Monica. It was the same day I photographed actress Rebel Wilson so I went straight from this shoot to the studio to photograph Rebel. The story was about John John’s work-outs after an injury, and also to promote his upcoming film View From a Blue Moon (watch the trailer — I got chills it is so beautiful and believe me that I have never in my life cared to watch a surf movie… until now). Read More

Vietnamese-American Journalists and Unsolved Murders for ProPublica + Frontline

Posted on November 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

I photographed Nguyen Tu A (a former Vietnamese American newspaper publisher who had to close after harassment and advertisers pulled out) and writer/activist Doan Van Toai for a story and an investigation by Frontline and ProPublica into the five unsolved murders of Vietnamese-American journalists from 1981 to 1990.  Doan Van Toai was shot, even in his face, and survived the attack in 1989.

You can read more of the story here and see Frontline’s piece here. Read More

Eli Broad and The Broad Museum

Posted on November 21, 2015 in Portraits

I had the great pleasure to get a sneak peek of the beautiful brand new Broad Museum in Downtown Los Angeles back in August before it opened. I photographed the collector himself, Mr. Eli Broad for The New York Times. Read More

The Glamorous Eva Chow

Posted on November 10, 2015 in Portraits

I photographed Eva Chow in her insanely stunning and enormous art-filled house. My first encounter with her was when I photographed Art+Film at LACMA, which is her grand doing. Don’t know who Eva Chow is? Read this Read More

Rebel Wilson for The New York Times Styles

Posted on November 9, 2015 in Portraits

This shoot was just me in an empty studio with one on camera flash. No assistant, no set, no props (other than a stool I dragged from a corner seating area), no complex lighting, no fuss. Me, my camera, and of course, the lovely actress Rebel Wilson (and her team), who was there to promote her new clothing line Torrid. (Story HERE)

The photo below, with the cellphones, wasn’t planned. Rebel walked over to the cyc wall and I was testing my flash when her makeup and hair guys (who were really great) came over for finishing touches and then started taking photos of Rebel with their phones. When you photograph celebrities, often they give you very little time so first I worried that this was going to slow me down a lot but then I stepped back and thought, wait, this could be fun to do intentionally, so I shot them shooting her and then asked for a few other people from her team to step in and worked with it. When I got home and told my husband David about the shoot and showed him some images on the back of my camera (including these phones with her shots), he said, “Go look at our fridge.” And on the side of our fridge is a postcard from our friend photographer Melissa Lyttle and this photo of hers. So I suppose this was an accidental homage to that photo she shot.

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A Troubled Group Home for ProPublica

Posted on November 6, 2015 in Editorial, Portraits

I am so behind on blogging that I fear I may never catch up with all the work I’ve been busy creating the past few months (take a look at to see some of that). Nonetheless, this story was very important to me so I am finally sharing it (while on a flight from LA to Miami for a 3-day shoot).

I teamed up with a remarkable ProPublica writer Joaquin Sapien (seen in the final image with a neighborhood cat we named Dog) to work on a very important story in a small community. The Level 14 (highest level) group home in a neighborhood in Long Beach was reported as being volatile by the residents who live next door, first by a neighbor who emailed Joaquin because she had become desperate. One neighbor led to another and the ones closest to the home each had binders with copies of letters they’d sent to officials and lists of time and date of incidences they’d witnessed. One even had security cameras installed at her house to feel safe. Read More

Christy O’Donnell and the Right to Die

Posted on September 4, 2015 in Editorial, Portraits

I met Christy O’Donnell in her home. She was warm and welcoming. When I arrived, her friend was just leaving. “She insisted on bringing me lipstick,” Christy said with a beautiful mauve covering her smile, “because she says I always look washed out in photos.” Her eyes then darted to me, “Well, I AM dying.”

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