ERIKA ANDERSCH [LIP]
Back to my stint as free-lance photojournalist. From circa '86 thru '91-'92, I spent a great deal of my energies covering bodybuilding shows and contests, mainly in New England, but a few out New York/Connecticut way; Rhode Island, etc. Northeast basically. One of these shows in particular was quite significant for me, as I spotted a woman; a contestant, and one whom everybody spotted that evening, as she was so far and above the others in terms of physique, poise, natural beauty, and personality. I took as many pix as I could, and concentrated on her stage presence the most. She won the show, and once I was sure she was done with her performance, I swooped in. As it happens, when I introduced myself to her and her then-fiancee Brian, they told me they had been noticing me all night, and were really interested in getting a peak at all the photographs I had taken of her. Cut to their place a few nights later, where we studied my results, spoke of mutual goals and dreams, and decided I would be hired to be her official photographer, and also use whatever skills I possessed for promotion/PR, and try to garner her the attention she so obviously deserved. We all worked hard, took many more studio pictures over the next few months, and designed a complete promotional kit, including a selection of my best photos. Then Brian somehow got the name of a very influential producer out California way. Hollywood. George Jay was his name, and after we sent him the kit, Erika was offered a big contract with the production company who made The American Gladiator series. She was given a starring role, and this opportunity branched off into many other arenas where she could show her stuff. I was also blessed to be given a national award by Parade Magazine, who, with Kodak, sponsored a photography competition centered on The American Woman. Family and friends pushed me to enter one of my portraits of Erika we took that winter at her hometown gym. The magazine had tens of thousands of entries, and my Erika picture was one of only a handful to win, which also included publication of the photo in a Parade/Kodak hardcover compilation of the winning entries, and inclusion in a traveling photography exhibit which travelled all over the U.S. The pic was eventually published by Womens' Physique World, Boston Magazine, and a few others. I received letters and phone calls from all over the country congratulating me, and offering praise and encouragement for my work. Relatively speaking, the whole thing was small potatos, yet for me, it was an extremely proud time, and the opportunities which arose out of it all, for both Erika and myself, cannot be overstated in terms of our respective careers and our artistic expression. Hope you're doing well, Erika! And thanks for all your trust and faith in me and my talents. My best to you and your family (she was also, at the time, the mother of two incredibly beautiful kids; a boy 8, and daughter 12; daughter having had inherited Mom's incredible looks). Later on, Erika commissioned a family portrait, and we got some wonderful black and whites of the three of them. Erika loved the art of black and white photography; also a passion of mine at the time (and still is today).
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