“My responsibility as an artist is to think as creatively and outside the box as possible,” Elizabeth Kinahan shared. “That skill of visual art is valuable to other people. That is where I struggled the longest–in seeing there is value in painting pictures. He was powerful in teaching me a lot about that. He would say, ‘Let’s walk around town and go into the shops and see what art they have up. If they don’t have art up, we can say, wouldn’t it be nice if you had art on your walls? We’re artists. We can put some art up. And if it sells, we can give you 10-15% of that piece.’ I said, ‘That’s crazy. We can’t do it.’ He said, ‘Nope, let’s go.’ We got our art up all over the place.”
Valuing her input as a senior who has completed the program, Allison and Matt asked for suggestions on how enhance the experience. While Senora has noticed that potential clients are nervous about the cost, she has experienced herself that participation in the program is worth much more than the money value. Included are multiple shoots, which can include headshots, couture session, family session, senior session, and custom sessions, depending on the model level a senior chooses. Hair and make-up are also included. “It’s really worth all of it,” Senora said, “and it’s documented the end of junior year to the end of senior year and you change a lot, so it’s cool to document the entire time instead of just senior photos.”
Ellis found that Allison was able to work magic with her stoic father and two small dogs. “She was able to get my dad to smile,” marveled Ellis. “She’s amazing with animals, she was amazing with my senior, father she was great with my daughter and with my camera-shy husband. We couldn’t be more pleased.”
Colin’s participation in the Senior Model Program began a life-long friendship. “I don’t consider them photographers who work for me. I really consider them our friends,” shared Lisa. “The photos are so beautiful, but what’s more important to me is that they bring out a very natural beauty in my children. The pictures I love aren’t standard pictures of them for their senior photos. They’re looking down. They’re looking away. That’s what I love. They’re the moments we’re going to cherish forever.”
Being behind the bar and managing the bar staff are only part of Ryan’s responsibilities. He also creates new cocktails using local, fresh and sustainable ingredients, designs educational seminars for his staff, maintains inventory, and helps with whatever else is needed for the restaurant. “I get to use some of my background from school and apply it, but it’s still customer service and I still get to talk to people,” said Ryan. “It’s such a small place that you can’t just have one title. You’ve got to do more.”
Then another blow came. Shortly after Chris moved to Taos, he committed suicide. “I was even more devastated,” revealed Mary. “That’s why caring for all of these people is so wonderful. It got my mind off of myself and onto caring about someone else. He used to call me his shining star, so that’s how I came up with the name for my company. I felt like he was guiding me.”
Their first date was a few weeks later at the old Solid Muldoon, where Laurie had her first drink, a hot buttered rum. More dates would follow, and one night, they stopped on a back road to sit on the hood of the car and look at the stars. Laurie would only later learn that the road was just above the Barker family ranch.
“I genuinely cared about him and not about who he was and what he represented,” said Laurie, who continued to work at the Strater in various departments. “I wasn’t putting together the magnitude of what it all meant. At the time, the Strater had singing waiters and waitresses. I liked the singing part. I didn’t know about the legacy or all that. I don’t think I knew the whole picture yet.”