Photo Essays

Portraits of city-dwellers in their environments.

Hazele Ozaki

Photographed with Nikon D90, 18-105mm lens, 300-watt constant color monolight, and edited in Lightroom

I met Hazele on a sticky-hot day in September outside the preschool our children attend. But other than spending a few minutes gabbing at the gate when we pick up our kids, I didn’t really know her. I always thought she was very unique-looking. She's a Japanese-American momma with a tan and freckles. And she has a kind of and laid-back stylishness that I think of as glamourous.

It takes a lot of courage for me to ask a person I don’t know very well if I can photograph them. But Hazele has a natural tendency to give a warm smile to everyone. So one afternoon, just before the school-year came to a close, I was walking toward the gate and telling myself, “Just ask her. She might say no, but she also might say yes."

Flushed with embarrassment, she couldn’t believe I wanted her to be my subject. I explained that most of my subjects tend to be artists and musicians, people in the creative community, but that I was hoping to expand. But I was out of luck there, because as it turns out, she is a former fashion designer turned stay-at-home-mom.

I’m so glad I asked her because it helped me get over my fear of rejection, and it helped me grow my community.

Hindsight Lesson: I wish I had photographed her near her chicken coop. That was definitely a missed opportunity. 

Sarah JonesComment