Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Meet my Pappa Mike Di Domenico.  We are a family with a long line of veteran pride. But on this Memorial Day we spent our time making sure this WWII veteran made it to a special honor in Sierra Madre.  We weren't sure he would make it to the flag draped cemetery ceremony, he had been in the hospital for a week. But as luck would have it,OK my sister Pam really wanted him to be there, because he was going to be honored. So it wasn't luck, but a sentimental sister and doctor who thought, this soon to be 96 year old, shouldn't miss this Memorial Day Service.  Time was ticking, he was discharged and went from the halls of the hospital to the scene at the cemetery in 30 minutes. 
As attendees wondered the small cemetery glancing at the tombstones marked with with flags, wondering about the lives of those lost, Pappas face appeared deep in thought.  
Not sure about what, but soon his fellow VFW members from post 3208, lightened his load. Their faces show a special bond, held together by pride, camaraderie and stories in the trenches.
For WWII vets there is also the ever present reality that too few of "The Greatest Generation" remain. 
 A post commander whose patriotic elegance is clearly seen as he salutes the flag...
The jarring sounds of a 21 gun salute...
This Memorial Day was filled with American Pride everywhere we looked at this hillside service. But for Pappa, a shy quiet man, it was about to become more memorable than he ever imagined. You see as his fellow veterans held their frail friend up...
 ...one speaker was preparing to mention Pappa by name.  The time is now to honor those members of what Veteran News Broadcaster Tom Brokaw coined "The Greatest Generation" before they are all gone. as Pappa heard his name he wasn't sure what was going on.  His buddy Bud said they are talking about you Mike. 
I think Pappa responded Oh NO!!  More attention that he is comfortable with.
Then a smile that I won't soon forget grew across his face.
Yep this is what I think my sister really wanted to see, and for me tears melted across my face. In true Pappa fashion today he held court...
sang the Star Spangled Banner as he waved his broad stripes and bright stars...
 and then at the end of this once in a life time moment, his smile grew even wider as his Priest, the Mayor, friends and strangers alike came up to say THANK YOU for your service Mike. This is why I'm a photographer.
My sister was beaming, my brother in law held him lovingly and I just kept photographing what I knew was a moment in our family history, one that I wanted to freeze in time. Was he happy that he came to this Memorial Day program straight from the hospital, you decide.
THANK YOU VFW POST 3208 for you truly represent the "Land of the Free and The Home of The BRAVE!"  It was a privilege for this Veteran TV Journalist and creative force behind Debra Snell Photography to witness and capture these important images for Memorial Day 2011.

"Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul."
                                                                                -Michel de Montaigne

Friday, May 20, 2011


"Primping" for the Prom was certainly one of my favorite things about prom night.  Leah and Ben were perfectly coordinated for their prom night.  I'd say "Poly" Perfect. They decided to have their photo shoot at the classic San Fernando Mission in Mission Hills.  We had a blast and they looked like they were ready for the cover of a magazine.  So that's what I decided to do, a shoot that was like a cover shoot.  A favorite style of shooting here at Debra Snell Photography.When it came to getting into character, Leah and Ben were well ready to impress.

Trends in Photography today are a flash back to the past.  When it comes to photography Vintage, Lomography and Antique colorizing, are all the rage with today's young generation.  Also our setting was perfect for these types of looks.  So here you go.

  It helps to have models who are confident, and Leah and Ben became more and more confident as the shoot progressed.


 Leah & Ben thanks so much for making this Prom shoot so much fun for me.  As a photographer I really love being creative, and if the people I'm capturing images of are also willing to take things to the next level, that's even better.

I hope everyone at Poly High School had a fantastic prom night.  The intriguing part of your lives has only begun. Bye for now.

They are Red Carpet READY!!!!