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Behind the scenes

Erickson Living residents take center stage in new photo shoot

Created date

July 26th, 2011

Like most Baptist pastors, Richard Blanc feels more at ease preparing sermons than modeling for a photo shoot. But when Jennifer O Reilly, sales director at Highland Springs, an Erickson Living community in north Dallas, tapped him for an upcoming marketing campaign, Richard was happy to oblige. We needed new photos for brochures, newspaper ads, and print materials, says O Reilly. And since our residents are vibrant, engaging individuals, it only makes sense to feature them. They really are the best ambassadors for the Erickson Living lifestyle. A month before the shoot, Richard and his wife, Katherine, along with 15 other residents, attended a meet-and-greet to learn more about their debut in front of the lens. I don t think any of us had ever modeled before, so it was a whole new experience, says Richard. The crew told us to bring three outfits to the shoot and they would choose which ones looked the best based on color and theme. When they arrived on set, the residents sat for hair and makeup before reporting to their assigned locations. Richard and Katherine were photographed together in the greenhouse, then after a quick change of clothes, Richard headed over to the putting green. For the putting green shot, two professional models posed as my son and grandson, says Richard. The crew spent a lot of time setting the stage, positioning us, getting the lighting just right. They were very meticulous.

Attention to detail

Tish Pickens, who was photographed with her husband, Myron, in the living room of Highland Springs Hillcrest Clubhouse, was astounded by the attention to detail. I had no idea it would be such a production, says Tish, a retired forms designer for Texas Instruments. With the camera hooked up to a computer monitor, the photographers were able to view the pictures instantly and make on-the-spot adjustments. They thought one of my necklaces was too short, so they added a few safety pins in the back to lengthen it, says Tish. I have a new respect for professional models and the things they go through to get the perfect shot. I smiled until my face hurt, but it was a neat experience. Coordinating the entire cast of models, including Casper, a West Highland Terrier belonging to resident Shirley Lochridge, was quite an undertaking. But with everyone s cooperation, the shoot wrapped up with several hundred photos to choose from. A few of the residents were a bit nervous at the outset, not knowing what to expect, says Stephanie Carr, art director of photography. But by the end of the photo shoot, everyone was having a good time. As those who participated in the shoot eagerly await their first glimpse of the new marketing materials, many expressed their approval at the use of residents as models. It s honest, says Tish. We re real people who live here. That s how it should be.