Being a Photographer has a lot of perks because as you grow you begin to network and associate yourself with some phenomenal people. As I woke up this morning I kept saying to myself, “Damn, I wish I could go out and shoot in the rain, however I’m still awaiting for my household goods to ship here, I don’t have my business license yet, and I don’t have any fitness clients (models) to go out and test with. I’ve gotta be patient because I have to ensure that I’m doing all of this right while I’m here in Germany. So, I want to make the time to talk about my lawyer and client WBFF Pro Johanna Hess.
Bare with me…this is going to be a little hard to swallow because I’m going off of my own memories. It all started on May 27th, 2016. I was in Kansas City at the registration for the WBFF show on the top floor of the hotel. I decided to go downstairs and take a small break from being around the athletes. As I was entering the lobby area, I turned my head to the right and there standing was this tall (1,80m 5'11) , gorgeous, Amazonian looking woman sporting #125 on her waist. She looked fierce, and more than ready to win. I’ve got an innate instinct for selecting winners, and Johanna fit the mold. Now be advised, I don’t have a problem walking up to anyone to strike up a conversation, but this time, I was a little taken aback from all of her fierceness. She was seriously sporting the, “Eye of the Tiger” (cue up the Rocky music!) Me being me, I was thinking, ‘Well, she’d definitely look amazing in my portfolio (I was still building it at the time), and it’s rare to have a tall woman that ripped and beautiful.’, so I walked up to her and introduced myself. She introduced herself, but didn’t smile, no laughter, no emotion at all…I honestly thought she was from the planet Vulcan! I recall then asking her if she’d like to do a photo shoot with me, and she said something to the effect, ‘I don’t know, but what’s your social media information, and give me some time to think about it’. We exchanged information and I never heard from her again that weekend. I do know my instincts were right…she won her Pro card that night.
Most people with fragile egos would have been like, “Man forget that lady!”, but me…NAH!!! She’s German!!! German’s aren’t all, “over-hyped” and “over-emotional” like American’s are. I grew up in Heidelberg and Bamberg Germany, so I had a good clue as to why she seemed so standoffish, besides, she was focused on her show and not doing a photo shoot. Also, I strongly believe in, “Let your work speak for itself”. As time grew, we spoke and interacted a little more and more on social media and got to know one another.
Now that I’ve spoken all about her physical features, let me get down to the brains behind this beauty. Johanna is HIGHLY intelligent!! She has attended the following schools:
Johanna is qualified to practice law in Germany, England and the United States!!! In Germany it takes at least seven years to get a law degree. That’s no easy feat! She’s currently practicing law in the UK.
In December of 2016, I had put on my travel schedule to make my way back to Kansas City, MO to do photo shoots. The WBFF wasn’t doing shows there any longer, however I reached out to Johanna via social media if she’d like to shoot together on my visit there. Sure enough on 29 July 2017, we made magic!!! I coordinated with my Muse Tessi Conquest to do Johanna’s makeup for this shoot. This time, I knew that I had progressed a little more in my style, and I wanted Johanna to be showcased as amazing as she is.
As I’m shooting with Johanna, I noticed something. Something very unique about her than I had only seen once before with another client. I noticed during a quick 5 minute break that you can get better shots of Johanna if you just let her be herself and not pose her. Like, just let her be natural and you just have to quickly capture the moments as she moves around.
We did our photo shoot at the Historic West Bottoms. That’s one of my all-time favorite places to shoot in. There’s a lot of gritty architecture and great natural light that just flows throughout the area. In July, it’s definitely a hot month, however I believe we made it even hotter that day with the work that we produced. I’m blessed to have worked with Johanna, and we’re going to do a lot more since she lives closer to me now that I’m located in Germany. Eventually, I’ll be shooting with more fitness athletes here in Germany and telling their stories as well. Thank you Johanna for allowing me to tell ours.
Mike Conley of MikeCon Photography