The Model Child

This is part of my Forever Grateful project.
As I was selling my home and placing my business on hiatus for a period of time, I took portraits of about 30 people who influenced my career over the past 12 years. This was my way of saying “Thanks” and letting everyone know that I couldn’t have done it without their support.


Did you know that you inspired a series of photos? I met your parents years before you were born, back when your father used to deliver Sushi to my photography studio and your mother was an actress who was referred to me for headshots. I photographed their wedding, headshots, maternity photos, and then they asked me to take some photos of you when you were very young. I honestly wasn’t too fond of the idea of photographing children… but I’ll tell you what, if I thought every child would be as photogenic and easy to work with as you, I would do nothing else but photograph kids.

I wasn’t really setup to take photos of babies, at least not the kinds of photos I see online where babies are in wicker baskets or laying on a white pillow surrounded by white blankets. So I looked around my home and the only thing I thought would look nice in the shots was this big yellow arm chair that I picked up at a thrift store recently. I sat you down in that chair at it was magically. Your looks and expressions were of an old soul. You were patient, playful, and would look straight into the camera upon request. I’m pretty sure you were a model in a previous life.

Kaya - photos by Blake Gardner Photography
Kaya – photos by Blake Gardner Photography

After that, whenever a friend or client asked me to photograph their kid, I’d say “Yes, they can be a part of my Big Yellow Chair series.” I would say the same thing for people who had dogs instead of children… or as I like to think of them, furry children. And one of my closest friends, Dawn, came to me month after month to take photos of her son, Benjamin, in the big yellow chair so we could look back and watch him grow up.

Just take a look at all the cuteness that followed:

This series has been so much fun and it has a lot to do with my first experience shooting photos of you! Thanks for inspiring this series!

Forever grateful,


The Story Behind the Shoot:

Kaya’s parents, Elizabeth & William Bradley, left L.A. many years ago and are currently living in Thailand. I ask Elizabeth if we could Skype and I could take photos of Kaya through my computer. It was not ideal, but at least I could still include them in this series. At the last minute, I decided to sit my iMac in the Big Yellow Chair.

Kaya Bradley - photo by Blake Gardner Photography
Kaya Bradley – photo by Blake Gardner Photography
Elizabeth & Kaya Bradley - photo by Blake Gardner Photography
Elizabeth & Kaya Bradley – photo by Blake Gardner Photography

You can read more from my Forever Grateful project HERE.

2 thoughts on “The Model Child

  1. Pingback: Forever Grateful |
  2. Pingback: The Companion |

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