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Jack Welch: Walking the Walk – In All the Ways

I knew of Jack. I mean, everyone did. He had been voted an Arizona Daily Sun Citizen of the Year, for one thing. When I finally got to know him, I could see why.

I had always looked forward to reading his Trailheads column, published twice a month in the newspaper. It was in one of those columns that he encouraged readers to join the Big Brothers Big Sisters fundraising race. He challenged us non-runners to walk it, setting a goal for the most walking participants ever. I signed up, brought some friends and sure enough, many others heeded Jack’s call as well. The biggest walking turnout the event had seen to date.

Jack Welch, Laughing in Buffalo Park, Flagstaff, AZ, 2018. Portrait by KDI Photography.

I met him that Saturday morning and told him I was there because of him. I asked him if I could photograph him, as part of a personal project. He reached out three days later to say yes. I’m so glad he did. 

Sitting on the red couch in my office, he told me his story. In 1943, when Jack was about 5 years old, he and his family moved into the St. Louis home they would occupy for 55 years. His mom had come from Kentucky, and was a phenomenal gardener. She nurtured a Victory Garden that, along with the other neighbors’ gardens, was a crucial source of food during the war. She didn’t just teach Jack. She insisted that the family participate in this important activity for feeding their family.  When Jack arrived here, he started his own, saying that food is more challenging in Flagstaff than flowers.

Portrait of Jack Welch Laughing in Buffalo Park in 2018, Flagstaff, AZ. Portrait by KDI Photography.

After retiring from Benjamin Moore, he moved here to Flagstaff in 1998 and decided to get involved in helping people see the beauty of our town. He told me “I think it’s a great place to live and I like to show people.” He volunteered more than anyone I know, especially in trails, biking, and clean up, often coming up with pithy names for his groups. Once a month he lead a group that did trash cleanup in the city. Considering themselves stewards of the FUTS trails, they called themselves PUTLRUS, an acronym for ‘Pick Up The Litter, Recycle Useful Stuff’. He was relentlessly inclusive, always leading walking groups, teaching, encouraging. A partial list of organizations he contributed to over the last 25 years can be found here.

Jack Welch Leads a Walking Group in Buffalo Park, Flagstaff, AZ in 2018. Portrait by KDI Photography.

I think he was nothing short of heroic, but he would wave me away for saying anything along those lines. He was humble to a fault, minimizing his accomplishments and contributions. He’d stepped back as he’d gotten older, he said, because “People don’t listen to you anymore.” He didn’t seem to mind. “Younger people need to find their niche. I’m OK with moving aside to work on something else”

I loved becoming friends with him, getting to know him, photographing him. But I don’t feel I did him justice, photographically. It’s a daunting task to portray someone who embodied so much. Yet, he was so grateful, so appreciative of my time and the portraits themselves, despite his modesty. His favorite was the walking away picture, he told me, not only because his face isn’t visible but he said it “just showed something.”

Jack Welch Walking Away in Buffalo Park, Flagstaff, AZ in 2018. Portrait by KDI Photography.

He passed away last month at the age of 85. His positive, generous presence is irreplaceable but I think the world would be better if we all walked the walk, like Jack.

A celebration of his life is planned for September 7th.

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Flagstaff Family Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Maternity Pregnancy Photographer • Flagstaff Newborn Photographer • Flagstaff Child Photographer • Flagstaff Senior Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Couples Photography

Kristen Dacey Iwai of KDI Photography is a full-time professional portrait photographer based in Flagstaff, Arizona with decades of experience. Making portraits of families, pregnancy, newborns, babies, children, and high school seniors in her downtown studio and on location, she serves clients from Flagstaff, Sedona, Tuba City, Winslow, Payson, Page, Williams, Prescott, Mesa, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Arizona


The Lindstroms – as time goes on {Fall Family Photos Flagstaff}

Usually there are tears. Often, we’re laughing so hard, we’re crying. Other times, a different kinds of tears – some grateful and some painful. So much has happened.

Family Photos in Fall, Golden Aspens in Flagstaff AZ, by KDI Photography.


This journey started years and years ago when I photographed Brian’s amazing grandparents as they approached their 90’s, having been married for 63 years. The minute I spent time with this family, they became treasured friends.

Since then, I’ve watched them make so many life changes. I’ve said goodbye as they moved away. Welcomed their return back to town. Photographed several members of their families who have since passed. Watched their relentlessly delightful kids grow up.

Family Photos in Fall, Golden Aspens in Flagstaff AZ, by KDI Photography.

Everything changes. Brian and Alyssa have stayed the same but their kids? Not so much! 😂

This session was a celebration after some heavy life losses. Like all my time spent with the Lindstroms, I drove home with a full heart.

Family Photos in Fall, Portrait of Family Against the Setting Sun in Flagstaff AZ, by KDI Photography.

Flagstaff Family Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Maternity Pregnancy Photographer • Flagstaff Newborn Photographer • Flagstaff Child Photographer • Flagstaff Senior Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Couples Photography

Kristen Dacey Iwai of KDI Photography is a full-time professional portrait photographer based in Flagstaff, Arizona with decades of experience. Making portraits of families, pregnancy, newborns, babies, children, and high school seniors in her downtown studio and on location, she serves clients from Flagstaff, Sedona, Tuba City, Winslow, Payson, Page, Williams, Prescott, Mesa, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Arizona


Hayden, Flagstaff High School, Class of 2023 – Big Milestone

I first photographed Hayden at 5 months old and in the intervening years, his mom became someone I love. When I asked Hayden and Margot to meet me at 6am for his senior session, they kindly agreed. I was aiming to get ahead of some gnarly weather. Truth be told, I’m not a morning person, and Hayden is a teenager AND the session landed on Margot’s birthday, no less! Everyone was lovely about it. However, by the morning, the unpredictable Flagstaff forecast had shifted. Soooo, I made us all get up early without a compelling reason!  As I drove to the shoot, I found my compelling reason, something we rarely see here; eerie and beautiful fog.

High school senior boy fly fishing in  Flagstaff during foggy day. Senior photos by KDI Photography.

Hayden was a patient and compliant subject. It was fun to show some of his many skills and hobbies in the portraits. At some point, I tried to entice him to sing “Happy Birthday” to his mom like a drunken cowboy. (He declined so, obviously, I had to do it.)

High school senior boy in blue shirt in Flagstaff, AZ. Senior photos by KDI Photography.

The Peaks refused to appear for most of our session, the low clouds and fog occluding them until the very end. As we packed up the cars, the peaks finally began to emerge and we went back for an encore, featuring our little town’s most iconic landscape.

If he follows the plan he has for after graduation, the San Francisco Peaks will be in Hayden’s rear-view as he heads off to college. I was grateful to laugh with him and his awesome mom throughout this bookend session.

High school senior boy looks out over water in Flagstaff, San Francisco Peaks. Senior photos by KDI Photography.

Flagstaff Family Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Maternity Pregnancy Photographer • Flagstaff Newborn Photographer • Flagstaff Child Photographer • Flagstaff Senior Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Couples Photography

Kristen Dacey Iwai of KDI Photography is a full-time professional portrait photographer based in Flagstaff, Arizona with decades of experience. Making portraits of families, pregnancy, newborns, babies, children, and high school seniors in her downtown studio and on location, she serves clients from Flagstaff, Sedona, Tuba City, Winslow, Payson, Page, Williams, Prescott, Mesa, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Arizona


Emory, Flagstaff High School, Class of 2023 – Grace on the Water

He casts his line, whips the pole back and forth, monofilament popping on and off the surface of the water. He stops to tie new flies when needed, his whole kit designed to keep everything he needs at his fingertips. His technique is fluid and he seems so totally at home while he’s casting.  It’s impressive to watch. But don’t let these calm, peaceful moments fool you about Emory’s lifestyle.

High school senior boy, sitting on a rock in the creek in Hawaiian shirt and blue fish socks, Sedona, AZ. Senior photos by Flagstaff Portrait photographer, KDI Photography.

He makes me feel like a slacker, honestly. He’s competitive in swimming and wrestling, loves fly-fishing, hiking, hunting, backpacking, and his dogs. And don’t forget, country music, cool quirky Hawaiian shirts, working out, trucker hats, traveling, and his 1967 Olds Delta 88. See what I mean? I’m tired just reading all of those things! 

There was discussion of incorporating a variety of his many interests in his senior portrait session. But he has so many cool hobbies and skills that we had to narrow it down. I’m afraid my portraits only start to tell you the story of Emory. There is just so much to this chill, smart, polite guy!

So it’s not surprising that he was recently signed to swim for University of Puget Sound. (You can read about it in this article in the Arizona Daily Sun.


He recently graduated from high school. Congratulations on all of your success, Emory!

High school senior boy, wearing t-short and trucker style call cap, Sedona, AZ. Senior photos by Flagstaff Portrait photographer, KDI Photography.

Flagstaff Family Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Maternity Pregnancy Photographer • Flagstaff Newborn Photographer • Flagstaff Child Photographer • Flagstaff Senior Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Couples Photography

Kristen Dacey Iwai of KDI Photography is a full-time professional portrait photographer based in Flagstaff, Arizona with decades of experience. Making portraits of families, pregnancy, newborns, babies, children, and high school seniors in her downtown studio and on location, she serves clients from Flagstaff, Sedona, Tuba City, Winslow, Payson, Page, Williams, Prescott, Mesa, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Arizona


Izzy, Coconino High School, Class of 2023 – Catching a Star

Getting ahold of her is like tracking down a politician or a celebrity. Nearly impossible. Between volleyball, club softball, high school softball, and helping coach for the middle school team, she is rarely in one place at a time. She even started snowboarding last year! It was so hard to locate her that I met for the first time in person, at our senior session

Coconino High School softball player sits against tree, Flagstaff senior photos, by KDI Photography.

Luckily, she was awesome and seemed to get used to me pointing a camera at her very fast. She makes even uncomfortable things look effortless, like when she walked across the mesa in her fresh red heels and got attacked by a random cactus. She nonchalantly plucked the painful, poky spines out of her feet. When back up was needed for a particularly tenacious one, she encouraged her mom to “Just grab it!!” No fear, no whining. Par for the course for this strong, athlete.

Izzy has big plans for this fall already dialed in. You can read about them in the Arizona Daily Sun, here.

Coconino High School athlete wearing her letterman jacket, kicks up her red high heel shoes, Flagstaff senior photos, by KDI Photography.

Flagstaff Family Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Maternity Pregnancy Photographer • Flagstaff Newborn Photographer • Flagstaff Child Photographer • Flagstaff Senior Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Couples Photography

Kristen Dacey Iwai of KDI Photography is a full-time professional portrait photographer based in Flagstaff, Arizona with decades of experience. Making portraits of families, pregnancy, newborns, babies, children, and high school seniors in her downtown studio and on location, she serves clients from Flagstaff, Sedona, Tuba City, Winslow, Payson, Page, Williams, Prescott, Mesa, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Arizona


Three Generations and Never a Dull Moment

At some point, everyone fell.

Well, OK, maybe not literally… but like half of the portrait party? That’s a lot, right?

I’ve been joking ever since our July session that, “It’s not a portrait session until someone falls on their tuchus!” Fortunately, no one was actually injured in the making of these portraits.

Three Generations Family Portrait in Flagstaff, Summer in Northern Arizona

But here’s what happened.

The matriarch of the family tripped over a rock and fell down.

The big kids repeatedly fell off of a big log they were playing on. Yeah, that may have been a deliberate choice, since they sure seemed to like it. 🙂

My assistant Sydney tumbled while balancing, holding a reflector.


And, THEN the best one. Mom Katie, in a dress, holding her one year old, hopped a fence and didn’t quiiiite make it!

She did what any fierce, protective – not to mention acrobatic – mom would do. She saved the baby! She held him up from the ground as she tumbled, turning the whole thing into a fun adventure for little Ford.

His only problem was wondering why everyone was laughing so hard, including his mom.


Just another great session with these guys!

Family Portrait in Flagstaff, with the San Francisco Peaks in Background

Family Portrait in Flagstaff, with the San Francisco Peaks in Background

Flagstaff Family Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Maternity Pregnancy Photographer • Flagstaff Newborn Photographer • Flagstaff Child Photographer • Flagstaff Senior Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Couples Photography

Kristen Dacey Iwai of KDI Photography is a full-time professional portrait photographer based in Flagstaff, Arizona with decades of experience. Making portraits of families, pregnancy, newborns, babies, children, and high school seniors in her downtown studio and on location, she serves clients from Flagstaff, Sedona, Tuba City, Winslow, Payson, Page, Williams, Prescott, Mesa, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Arizona


Quinton, NPA Class of 2023 – Senior Photos in Flagstaff

It wouldn’t have worked. Our goal was to show the mountains and it was one of those days where you would never know we had any in this town. The cloud cover stayed low to the ground, obstructing our beautiful peak views.

The weather relented on the day of our rescheduled session. It was especially wonderful to see Quinton in his element, with his super power. He has four self-purchased Subarus and builds, repairs and drives them like a pro.

Man! What I would’ve given to have just one of those vehicles when I was his age! Before the session his mom asked Quinton to clean his mud splashed car, but he declined, preferring to keep it in the condition it’s most suited for. I had to agree.

It was kind of an emotional session to begin with. I first photographed this particular high school senior when he was three days old. Back then, I was shooting in my garage. While it offered phenomenal light, my clients needed to politely ignore the lawnmower and crusty cans of paint sitting nearby. I have such a fondness for those who have stuck with me since those days, and this family especially. Documenting them over the lives of their children has been such a heart-filling privilege. I can’t even begin to tell you.
.

Quinton graduates this week. I’m so excited for him!


Flagstaff Family Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Maternity Pregnancy Photographer • Flagstaff Newborn Photographer • Flagstaff Child Photographer • Flagstaff Senior Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Couples Photography

Kristen Dacey Iwai of KDI Photography is a full-time professional portrait photographer based in Flagstaff, Arizona with decades of experience. Making portraits of families, pregnancy, newborns, babies, children, and high school seniors in her downtown studio and on location, she serves clients from Flagstaff, Sedona, Tuba City, Winslow, Payson, Page, Williams, Prescott, Mesa, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Arizona


Ellie, BASIS Flagstaff, Class of 2023 – Here Comes Graduation!

Ellie’s mom, Julie, was someone that I liked and admired the minute I met her years ago, so it’s not surprising that Ellie is wonderful as well. When we met to plan her senior portraits, Ellie said things that belied her visual savvy. It’s common for people to have difficulty articulating the nuances of why they are drawn to a particular photograph, but not Ellie. She sees more than most people. I loved collaborating with her to plan her session, deciding on what and who to bring, etc.

High school senior photos, Senior Portraits in summer in Flagstaff, AZ


Number one on the list? Kira the wonder pup! She was excited to be with us and had lots of energy but with Julie’s expert wrangling and Ellie’s fun, nurturing presence, they were adorable together. You can see their sweet rapport in the last two portraits. 🙂


When it came time to design Ellie’s custom graduation announcements, the collaboration continued, with Ellie sketching and designing ideas from Germany, where she’s been traveling. I wish she could come be our in-house graphic designer because I’d be happy to hang out with her and design things together every day. 🙂

High school senior photos, Senior Portraits in summer in Flagstaff, AZ

She graduated last month. Congratulations, Ellie!🥳


Flagstaff Family Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Maternity Pregnancy Photographer • Flagstaff Newborn Photographer • Flagstaff Child Photographer • Flagstaff Senior Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Couples Photography

Kristen Dacey Iwai of KDI Photography is a full-time professional portrait photographer based in Flagstaff, Arizona with decades of experience. Making portraits of families, pregnancy, newborns, babies, children, and high school seniors in her downtown studio and on location, she serves clients from Flagstaff, Sedona, Tuba City, Winslow, Payson, Page, Williams, Prescott, Mesa, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Arizona


My Sister, Author Juliette Fay is Coming to Flagstaff!

Get your ticket now for May 18th at 5:30pm!

Tickets for Juliette’s book event at Bright Side Bookshop are included when you purchase the book (at a discount) from Bright Side, or you can pay $5 and get a $5 credit for the store. A great way to get a wonderful book at a great price, shop local and get to hear some behind the scenes stories about the book. You can buy tickets HERE.

One perfect night. Forty years of buried hurt. One chance to make it right. Can the past ever be fixed?

With humor, heart, and grace, USA Today bestselling author Juliette Fay delivers a poignant, propulsive novel about settling the past, rekindling lost friendships, and discovering love when you least expect it.

Can’t join us? You can order the book and I’ll have Juliette sign it when she’s in Flagstaff! Win-win. 🙂


Flagstaff Family Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Maternity Pregnancy Photographer • Flagstaff Newborn Photographer • Flagstaff Child Photographer • Flagstaff Senior Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Couples Photography

Kristen Dacey Iwai of KDI Photography is a full-time professional portrait photographer based in Flagstaff, Arizona with decades of experience. Making portraits of families, pregnancy, newborns, babies, children, and high school seniors in her downtown studio and on location, she serves clients from Flagstaff, Sedona, Tuba City, Winslow, Payson, Page, Williams, Prescott, Mesa, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Arizona


The Smith Family- Revisiting a sweet moment from the past

I didn’t even have a real studio. When I first met the Smiths, I was still shooting in my living room, with photo equipment crammed in between my own little kids’ toys. It worked somehow because the young subjects arriving for sessions were all too happy to find the doll house and the stacking rings nearby.

I remember that I really liked them immediately. We had a laughter-filled, snuggly session, celebrating the addition of their youngest baby, their family complete. I was surprised when they only ordered one of two prints because we had made so many tank filling memories together.

Since then, there have been many more beautiful memories made with the Smiths. I’ve had the privilege of being there to document each of their kids as they reached important milestones and witness who they’ve become.

Not surprisingly, the apples didn’t fall fall from the trees. Jen and Darin are truly lovely people and guess what? Their kids are too.

Black and White Studio Family Portraits, by KDI Photography photo studio in Flagstaff, AZ

Recently, as we completed their youngest son’s senior portraits, Jen posed a question. She regretted that they hadn’t been able to get more from that initial session. Seeing the later portraits on her wall made her really happy, especially as her kids were leaving one by one, but something was missing. Could we fill in that gap?

So, we met to review those portraits and giggled hard. Man! Those littles were cute! We designed new art together from that session 18 years ago so she could see the story of her family every day in her home. More important than ever, as their kids spread their wings.


Flagstaff Family Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Maternity Pregnancy Photographer • Flagstaff Newborn Photographer • Flagstaff Child Photographer • Flagstaff Senior Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Couples Photography

Kristen Dacey Iwai of KDI Photography is a full-time professional portrait photographer based in Flagstaff, Arizona with decades of experience. Making portraits of families, pregnancy, newborns, babies, children, and high school seniors in her downtown studio and on location, she serves clients from Flagstaff, Sedona, Tuba City, Winslow, Payson, Page, Williams, Prescott, Mesa, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Arizona


Keiji Iwai & Kristen Dacey Iwai

KDI PHOTOGRAPHY

 

724 N. Humphreys St

Flagstaff, AZ 86001

 

Phone

(928) 779-4151

 

Hours:

M - F 9 - 5 by appointment

KDI Photography Portrait Studio in Flagstaff, Az
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