Ashley Tombrello is an 18-year-old high school senior who has always had the dream of becoming a fashion model. Recently, she had the opportunity to travel to New York with her family, to have her fashion-model dream realized. Ashley has the life-threatening illness Cystic Fibrosis (CF). CF affects the lungs and digestive system and individuals with CF are very susceptible to all kinds of infections in the lungs, to pancreatic cysts, and many times there is great difficulty in breaking down and absorbing food. Treatment for CF is a lifetime commitment as there is no cure for the disease yet.
Recently Ashley Tombrello’s dream crossed paths with New York City-based photographer Ken Jones. For over 30 years, photographer Jones, owner and creative director of Fulton Studios , has allowed his passions in life to steer his mind’s eye. Although the majority of his shoots are commercial and for advertising campaigns for beauty, fashion and celebrities, Jones took on Ashley’s dream-wish assignment through the organization Magic Moments. Magic Moments is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1984 in Birmingham, Alabama that fulfills the non-medical wishes of chronically ill children in Alabama.
A few years ago Ashley's mom sent an application to Magic Moments, but then decided to wait a bit until Ashley was a little older in order to fully appreciate the Magic Moment experience. In late 2012 just before her eighteenth birthday, Ashley's application was reopened. Her wish of going to New York to be photographed as a model was going to be realized.
After all the travel arrangements were made, Magic Moments needed to find a photographer for this special assignment. Allison McClellan, the statewide coordinator for Magic Moments did a Google search for fashion photographers in New York. “I believe I was one of a few different photographers that they spoke to but they felt that I was moved by the situation, and that I truly wanted to help so they booked me on the spot,” says Jones. Even though Jones urged them to search around a bit more to get a feel for different people, they insisted that they found the right photographer for the job.
“My reason for doing this type of shoot is not to gain extra marketing for a new client base. Its more to help promote awareness for Ashley's illness,” explains Jones. He felt this was an opportunity to make someone happy who has physical hardships and also to make others aware of the disease and how debilitating it can be.
© Ken Jones
Before Ashley got to the photo studio, Jones considered whether he should do all studio images or to go out on location. Some people are naturals and love the idea of going outside in public to shoot, but a lot of people need to get comfortable with themselves first. Jones always makes it a point to assess the comfort level of his subjects before he shoots. Although Magic Moments paid for the shoot, Jones supplied his own staff stylist, T-Cooper, for makeup and hair styling. As Ashley was being made-up, Jones was able to talk to her, put her at ease and find out what favorite looks were and what she wanted for her photographs.
Ashley Tombrello on location, New York City/ © Ken Jones
He started her off with a few beauty portrait shots in the studio. Using daylight and Kino Flo's, he had the makeup artist keep her makeup simple and clean, since Ashley had beautiful skin. Jones also supplied all fashions for the shoot and was able to get clothes from a stylist friend, Nancy Kwon, who also helped with styling. “I looked over the clothing to decide what I thought would look good on her and how to style her hair and makeup for each look, so at this point I had a good idea of the looks I could pull off. It was just a matter of not making her exhausted so she can do as many looks as possible,” explains Jones.
Jones is drawn to light and shadow and the way these values interact with each other to create perspective. He uses many mediums and likes to experiment with varied lighting techniques, all taking his work to new levels. His creativity, technical aptitude and above all his passion to help a worthwhile cause, created stunning results. In the short time since the shoot, doors have opened for Ashley. After seeing some of the photographs, Ashley’s driver during the New York trip connected her to a client interested in having her modeling for them. Magic Moments was thrilled with their photographer choice, and Ashley got far more than her dream wish thanks to Jones and his staff.
Ashley and her family in New York City./ © Ken Jones
The ability to connect with his subject, his client and his audience helps Jones understand and portray each individual story. Whether shooting fine art or working for advertising, PR, fashion or a client as Magic Moments, Ken Jones brings experience, marketability and passion to every image he creates. You can see all of that and more at his site, www.kenjonesnyc.com