Jose Pagan Photo Tour!
Early in 2016, I started traveling to cities in the U.S. I wasn’t going on a vacation, but I was on a mission. My mission was to go into cities that had plus models ready to make an impact in the industry. I wanted to shoot plus models that had the potential to become great, but for reasons such as life, bills and demographics couldn’t afford professional work. I wanted to offer my services to those women and now men, and the opportunity to play on an even field. This idea quickly morphed into what I call the Phototour. People tend to think that the process is hard to get me out to a city, but it’s not. It all starts out with a model or non-model reaching out to me via social media and email. That person ends up being my Ambassador for that city. They always get one free extra hour of shooting because they are the ones who sound the alarm in their perspective towns and make sure that everyone knows I’m coming! I began visiting mostly Northeast cities but the demand quickly started to spread all the way to Florida and then the Midwest! To me this tour was never a novelty, it was a genuine effort to make magic with many of the struggling models that have what it takes to make modeling a rewarding job. However, I did end up with many participants who weren’t models. Many women who just felt they needed to live their dreams of being shot by a professional photographer signed up and I was delighted to make that fantasy come true.
This year things started really picking up steam. I had the pleasure of having FabUplus as my sponsor for the Atlanta tour, and boy was that an amazing event! Atlanta was two days of shooting on August 26th and 27th, 2017. On day one we shot in Piedmont Park, located one mile from downtown Atlanta. I studied the park map extensively and knew it would be the perfect place to make magic with all the participants for day one. The day started at 10am. I had my Ambassador Rob Robinson, a plus male model from Atlanta; kick off the day with a fine selection of fall looks. It was hot that day but he definitely kept a cool look going! Rob was instrumental in reaching out to the plus models in the area that were ready to take their craft to the next level. After that I shot Korisha Curtis a Georgia native with dreams of making it big in modeling. Vicarra Adams from Atlanta was next. She was a seasoned beauty that wanted to elevate her curvy modeling game. Up next was Shonda Renee. She drove all the way from Louisiana to make sure she did not miss this event and she came ready to create! Last but not least on this day was past photo tour ambassador Nedra Phillips. Nedra is a beacon for the Atlanta models who are up and coming. She’s signed with IPM but still loves to shoot with me whenever I’m in town. (Blushing photographer here LOL.)
When I planned for the Atlanta tour I figured I’d plan a 2nd day for just boudoir. Would you believe that my boudoir day sold our first! Most people would assume that plus sized women would not like to be in front of the camera with only lingerie. That was found out to be a lie. Plus women are just that, women! They feel sexy and confident and I was ready to show the world how they look and feel. I’ve always been a person who encourages people to love the skin their in but I was pleasantly surprised to see the demand for this type of photography. I’ve even had my Ambassador Rob Robinson coin the event ‘Boudoir Plus.’ I booked a hotel that had a good subtle tone and room to work. The day started out with a sizzling duet with Alexus Rackley and Rob Robinson! They wanted to create scenes showing two plus sized people can look hot, sexy and classy. The posing was steamy but classy and I loved that Rob’s wife was on set making sure that the posing was true to the eyes. I love it when models have that kind of support from their significant others! Put it this way, we put out a sneak peek and it left a lot of open mouths… The second session was another sultry duet with beautiful curvy model Alex Kairington and Big and Tall blogger Rah Mosley. These two sessions really set the tone for the rest of the day indeed. I thought that the rest of the participants would have it rough after the first two but I was deeply mistook. Stephanie Gibson was next and she was a special session. Stephanie is a cancer survivor and she wanted to make one of her dreams come true. She came into the hotel room with zeal and lit up the whole room with her beautiful energy. Shonda Renee who was at day 1 came back for more. Shonda is a natural and is definitely confident in her curves. We had such an awesome session and her outfit selections were beautiful. Plus is beautiful, did I mention that? Shelly Hanson was one who figured out on a recent trip to Hedonism in Jamaica, that her plus sized body was beautiful and was ready to show off her newfound confidence in her body and mind. She came with outfits that were even more revealing than the other participants and I was so happy for the look on her face when she stepped in front of my camera. Her face and posing spoke of happiness, peace and fulfillment. Last but not least was Tenedra Gardner. Tenedra actually came in from New York City, my hometown to shoot with me! She couldn’t make it to day 1 in time so she opted for some fashion work in the hotel room which actually came out great with the selection of clothes she brought.
Would you believe that all of the boudoir participants never shot boudoir? If you see the images you would never believe it. This was a pleasant surprise and made this one of my more memorable tour stops to date. Now the reactions to the images after I sent all of them their links is another amazing story on its own. Needless to say, some are still trying to figure out which ones to post. I love to help other make their dreams come true. The confidence and happiness I see through my lens is what brings me joy every time I press that button.
The story doesn’t end here. On September 9th, 2017 I had the pleasure of traveling to St. Louis, Missouri for my next Phototour adventure! I love this city for its hold on history. You can see the industrial architecture left as a reminder in new city structures and parks. For this city I had Jessica Tucker as my Ambassador. She worked so hard and diligent to make sure that my visit went on without a hitch. She made sure we had a changing station, water and transportation for the awesome day we had in store. I was also proud to have co-sponsor Qristyl Frazier of Qristyl Frazier Designs Inc on set providing beautiful dresses for all the participants! Yes, she came stocked with new looks for the coming year! Jessica and I settled on Forest Park. It is a beautiful park at over 1,300 acres. With its fountains, structures and waterfall I knew it was the perfect place to make memories with St. Louis’ finest. The day started off at 9am with Terra Lynn Johnson a native from Missouri. She came ready to take advantage of the beautiful fountains at the Grand Basin. Those are some beautiful views indeed. Ryane Renne was next and she was primed and ready to create. She pulled off at least 4 looks and one of Qristyl’s designs as well. After that I got to work with my Ambassador Jessica Tucker. She came ready to rock with her own styled looks. One memorable shot was by the art museum. There is a giant electrical plug and it was the perfect backdrop for this electric individual! Actress and Voice-over talent Sarah Galbraith met me at the World’s Fair Pavilion. At this location we did numerous looks as well as a sport set in which we did some fun exercise posing. Sarah also wore a sexy number from Qristyl’s line. At 3pm we had Jessica White take the stage. Qristyl Frazier herself styled Jessica in QFD originals never seen. Jessica was just such a natural and also shot in a first time lingerie piece but most of the collection is still under wraps. New model to the game was Paige Stemm. She didn’t have many other shoots under her belt but she came to shoot ready to turn heads. She was a pure natural, so much that she won Qristyl’s contest for model of the day! Last but never least was Kansas City, MO model Amber Curve Botros. When I finally met her that day, I couldn’t believe how tall she actually was. Social media made me think that she was smaller for some reason. Well, Amber surprised me when she said she wanted to show skin for her set. She first wore some pretty short dresses and one of Qristyl’s outfits that looked amazing on her. Then she turned up the oven with a hot red lingerie number by Qristyl Frazier. Then she wore a BDSM inspired body con one pieces near the waterfall. For Amber’s last look she pushed the envelope with a long black soft tulle and nude panty for shots in the waterfall. The look definitely brought out the artist in me and we created magic. Her confidence, poise and grace closed out the day in form and fashion. Till the next tour, cheers!