Odette Leonelli for the AARP Bulletin

I’m attempting to catch up with and blog all of the assignments I’ve shot this year so far, so I plan to blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday when possible.

I photographed pharmacist Odette Leonelli who owns and operates a pharmacy in Redondo Beach, California.  She says the pharmacy is on the verge of closure due to the state attempting to cut reimbursement rates to Medicaid providers.

I’m a small business owner and things are difficult enough, but I can’t conceive of trying to run a brick and mortar establishment.  In the course of American history, it seems like now is a pretty lousy time to be an entrepreneur outside the tech sector.

Read the article here.

As usual, I got to the location, spent a few minutes getting a feel for the place and then went to work shooting a variety of setups.  The obvious location was back in the pill shelves, which were set up with some nice leading lines.  I wanted to convey Odette’s story, which contained elements of drama, urgency and sadness.  Odette actually had work to do, so I shot her as she organized the bottles.  I played around with some dramatic lighting in the back of the store, but once I moved her toward the front and the big windows, the quality of the ambient light was really lovely and fit the feel of the shoot well.