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Focus Northwest

Visual stories from the Eastside and the Pacific Northwest by Chad Coleman

Kenechi Udeze

June 14th, 2010 at Mon, 14th, 2010 at 11:34 am by Chad Coleman

Kenechi Udeze, a former NFL defensive end and first-round draft pick, had his professional football career cut short by cancer, but continues to work around the game as an assistant sterngth coach for the University of Washington football team and hopes to help others with cancer. I had the privelege to photograph Kenechi last week along with the task of converting the Bellevue Reporter office into a “studio.” More images after the jump…

It was great to chat with Kenechi during our photo shoot, listening to him recount his bout with leukemia and his life in football. The first photo of Kenechi catching a ball was an unrehearsed shot, as he orginally joked about throwing the football around our office and I said, “go for it.” From there it is making your own luck in catching the ball in the frame.

I noted to Kenechi as I was finalizing my lights that he need not look directly into the light, since it is not particularly easy on the eyes. His quick response was, “Why? Will it give me cancer? ‘Cause I’ve already had that.”

For my set, I made two background choices — a white seamless and a photo gray tag art board. I could quickly just move a single light to switch between sets. It allowed me to quickly and efficiently get different looks in a short amount of time.

Above left, a wide shot of our simple, yet, cramped space for our photo session. Simple two light setup on the seamless, a beauty dish high right and a little fill light from a white umbrella low and left out of frame. For the gray art board backdrop I used just the beauty dish for light.

Kenechi also noted that even as a football coach it was hard to find a football for a prop, and that the ball pictured above was borrowed directly from Huskies head coach Steve Sarksian‘s office. Kenechi was fun to work with and his story a good lesson about overcoming obstacles.

And as UW alum it would be in poor form for me not to take a the opportunity to give a big “GO DAWGS!” and show an aerial photo I took last fall of Husky Stadium. The selective focus was acheived with a tilt-shift lens.


I'm a photojournalist. Check out my blog, Focus Northwest, follow me on Twitter or find my work on the Bellevue Reporter, Mercer Island Reporter, Kirkland Reporter and Redmond Reporter.

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