artist spotlight:: Mr. Jorge Leyva

jorge leyva - studio joplin mo 2

I had the privilege this summer of taking pictures at a local art studio for the Joplin CVB.  A reminder of how much I love my job and working with the CVB, because photographing artists is almost a hobby for me already.

I’ve never met anyone like Jorge Leyva. He commands an intense respect in the art world… his work has exhibited internationally, with collectors from Mexico to Europe. His command of multiple, MULTIPLE art forms is beyond impressive. He just headlined an exhibit at Joplin’s Spiva Center for the Arts with fellow artist Brent Skinner.

A lot of artists hope, dream, aspire to that grand act of ‘making it’ doing what they love… and Jorge is an example of someone who has done that, plus a lot.

So you’d think that the guy would be a total snob, right?

Totally wrong. He’s the most humble,  talkative artist you’ll meet, with an easygoing- dare I say goofy- nature that immediately lets you know he’s your friend.

Carrie from the CVB and I got to enjoy a good hour and a half of conversation about the arts in Joplin while we visited with him and shot his studio. His passion and views on that subject are inspiring- taking a positive and change inducing ‘get-things-done’ approach that bands artists together, rather than complaining a bigger city is the answer or assuming the reclusive artist mindset.

That’s enough words. Words aren’t really my thing. So here’s pictures of Jorge, his studio, and his work…

jorge leyva - studio joplin mo 1

jorge leyva - studio joplin mo 3

jorge leyva - studio joplin mo 4

this was the part of the shoot where he began coming up with his own poses…

jorge leyva - studio joplin mo 5

‘More fire! Fire is always good!’

jorge leyva - studio joplin mo 6

jorge leyva - studio joplin mo


jorge leyva - studio joplin mo 7

jorge leyva - studio joplin mo 8- spiva center for the arts display

if you’d like to check out more from mr. Leyva, check out his website at

the Scotts :: commercial photography featuring… photographers

  Being hired by your competition to take photos of them is kinda cool. Especially when your competition is as fun as the Scotts.


David & Whitney, the couple behind ‘Whitney Scott photography’, are much more my friends than they are my competition.  David’s goofy sense of humor matches up well with mine to lead to pun-wars on facebook, and Whitney’s healthy sense of rivalry leads to ‘I hate you’ comments on photos she likes that I post on my business page. (all in good fun. I think).

Whitney took family pictures for my own clan 2 years ago, and I worked with the Scotts last year on a promotional shoot for Black River Imaging, for an image featured in a 2 page spread in 3 different national photography magazines. The Scotts are quickly becoming pretty hot stuff in the photog world… several recent speaking tours for big-time names in the industry like Sandy Puc.

black river ad
The Scotts called me back in this year to do a new round of fun images in their home,  for which they had some great ideas.

We began with the kitchen. They needed a ‘scene’ which showed the fullness of their lives at home… running a photography business, homeschooling their kids, and maintaining a balanced household.

The setup.  David is in ‘pancake flipping’ stance… Emma is… I really don’t know what Emma is doing.

commercial photo shoot with whitney scott photography

and, the final image (or, at least, an alternate of it):    YES, the pancake flip is real. Whitney told me we could just photoshop that pancake in, and I refused. Capturing things in midair w/out the aid of photoshop is something I’m proud of… but really, I’m more proud of David for this awesome flip.  🙂

commercial photo shoot with whitney scott photography 2

After this, we moved to…

the bedroom.

Don’t worry, no NSFW stuff coming up. Just another literal interpretation of ‘taking your work home with you.’

I DO have a shot of David in his towel though. preparing said towel took a few minutes….


commercial photo shoot with whitney scott photography 3



And we ended on a saucy note… it WAS a bedroom shoot, you know…


That’s it for now. Enjoy the rest of your tuesday!


Mr. Oliver: session 3


Oliver is the too-cute kid of one of my favorite people in the world… Matt Spiel, and his lovely wife Amber. Matt is my official designer, you could sorta say… he tweaked the logo into the beautiful visual creation it is now, and lays out my ads for me (which you can see around town on the bluestream tv’s). Amber is responsible for the neverending stream of chocolate chip cookies at the Spiel home, for which I am also extremely grateful.

This was a fun shoot with a great ‘summer feel’, which was nice to get in before the new wave of fall shoots. Enjoy!

We started off with hats. Really, putting hats on a toddler is more of a game. So I went with that….


there was ONE hat that he stuck with… the fedora. Kids’ got good taste.




Really though, he just wants to bang on his drum all day.



A picture of the Spiels with their huge S.



the crinkle! oh, the crinkle.




We decided to venture outside. Oliver was a little quicker out the door than expected.


These are my favorite shots from the shoot. I won’t take credit though, all Matt’s idea…




Then we went for a walk…



And, ended the shoot on the same note we always end it…. on a meltdown. 🙂









Joplin is delicious


I’ve mentioned my work as photographer for the Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau (henceforth to be referred to as the CVB) here and there over the last year. Now it’s time to celebrate a specific focus, and my favorite thing to shoot for the CVB…


    While I know there are areas where culture could stand to grow just an eensy bit in Joplin, our town is becoming more diverse in its’ offerings each year. And if there’s one thing we have here… it’s some damn good food.   It’s been so fun to expand my portfolio and photography expertise, to include more edible subjects.

It’s always good to learn to photograph something completely different. It’s true that I never have to spray down a human subject with water or slather them with oil for a shoot to keep them looking fresh (YET), but I also don’t have to worry about a slab of ribs tilting its’ chin up and smiling with its’ eyes, w/out looking awkward.

Ribs never look awkward.

Over the past few weeks, the CVB has been posting ‘foodie friday’ shots to highlight some of the best we have to offer in the way of culinary goodness in our fair city. There are a million more pictures I can’t show at the moment, but here’s a few of those images that I CAN show… prepare to slobber.

Also, for your convenience… if you’re from the Joplin area and want to TRY any of these places and haven’t already, I’ve added links to sites/facebook pages for each of these restaurants.

Table Mesa (downtown Joplin, gryphon building)

CVB food photography post: table mesa food and drink shot from joplin restaurant

Andersons’ homemade ice cream: Reddings Mill, Joplin.  (that’s the piggytailed head of my own little girl, by the way…)

CVB food photography post: andersons ice cream- reddings mill ice cream shop

Sawmill BBQ: downtown Joplin (located next to city hall)

CVB food photography post: ribs, salad and sides from joplin restaurant 'sawmill BBQ'.

Red Onion: one of the best known (and longest running) fine dining spots in Joplin.

CVB food photography post:  wine and lunch from long standing joplin restaurant Red Onion

Pizza from Blackthorn, an amazing local pub that also boasts a legendary ‘beer wall’…

CVB food photography post: pizza from Joplin pub and pizza spot, 'the blackthorn.'

this is a vegetarian offering from downtown’s ‘Instant Karma‘, opened by our own local culinary genius, Jason Miller.


food photography post: vegetarian dinner from joplin restaurant 'instant karma'.

Fresh baked bread and outstanding sandwiches can be found at Mohaksa Farmhouse, an organic minded bakery and restaurant near 20th & main.

CVB food photography post: fresh homeade bread and sandwiches from joplin restaurant, 'mohaska farmhouse'

the legendary ‘Eagle Burger’, which is, of course, topped with a quail egg. the ‘Eagle Drive In‘ is the 2nd restaurant installment for mr. Jason Miller…

CVB food photography post: the famed 'eagle burger' from joplin restaurant, 'the Eagle drive in'

Mythos‘ is one of our better known fine dining establishments, serving greek cuisine and cheese served on fire. You really can’t go wrong with cheese on fire, in my books.

CVB food photography post: fine greek cuisine from joplin restaurant, 'Mythos'

I also HAVE to re-post this shot of George, the owner of Mythos, who patiently flipped vegetables in a pan for 30 minutes for me to get this shot…

George, owner of 'mythos', known for fine greek dining in joplin mo

And last but not least, some fantastic seafood from ‘Crabby’s… a mysterious restaurant that sits in the save-a-lot parking lot, inconspicuously, so that when you enter the surprisingly super-classy establishment it sort of feels like you walked through the wardrobe and into narnia…
food narnia.



CVB food photography post: delicious fish & asparagus from joplin restaurant, 'Crabby's'

I’m hungry now. how about you?

More from my CVB shoots, coming soon….



Happy Labor day (it’s a new season)


Labor day is that time of year where you take a moment to recognize the passing of summer. For me, that means a glance back through casually taken family pictures… not the posed, planned, dressed up for kind of pictures, but the ones that capture a real memory, AS it’s actually happening.

As much posing and brainstorming and planning and such as I do for the sessions that are a mainstay of my photography-as-business, I always want there to still be a hint of that ‘snapshot’ feeling in every shoot I do… that this picture was part of a real memory, and symbolizes a time of your life and in the lives of your loved ones, that you never want to forget.

I encourage you to do the same. Look back through your smart-phone images, your digital point-and-click pictures, and just remember the summer. Yes, you pay people like me to artfully represent your family…but the snapshots are important too.

[and yes, just so you know, I have plenty of blurry, horribly composed, blown out, thumb-in-front-of-the-lens pictures too, that I’ll still keep and look through fondly for the memories themselves… just because I’m not brave enough to show them here, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. It’s only the best of things I show here, you know. 🙂 ]

Hope you’ve had a great summer. My family’s has included…

playing in water.


trying a sport for the first time.



jumping on trampolines.


getting worn out from playing so hard.


spending time as superheroes, fairies, ballerinas, pirates, and cowboys


learning how to do new things.


hanging out with friends and first sleepovers.


fireworks. until police officers had to roll down our alley and tell us to stop 2 days after the 4th… (somebody told me it was ok til the 7th…when I figure out who that was…)


long car rides to get to exciting places.





discovering nature.


a lot of ice cream and other related cold, sweet products.


for me, a lot of iced coffee…



And yes, occasionally, stopping play for a quick picture…


makes me sad to know that summer is almost gone. But that is quickly outweighed by the excitement of the next season. I LOVE fall and can’t wait to see what this one holds!