BERWYN – You might say that Daniela Gonzalez is in the business of preservation, not of buildings or artifacts, but of memories. She's also been known to rekindle romance at about a zillion degrees in the lives of lovers, some separated by thousands of miles.
Gonzalez just celebrated the grand opening of FlashMe Photography, Inc., 6930 W. Windsor Ave., Berwyn, where the self-taught photographer specializes in maternity, newborn, child and family portrait photography. She also shoots boudoir and pin-up glamour shots. In fact, that's how she got her start in the photography business about eight years ago in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
"I started when my husband, Mario, was in the Navy," she said. "I was doing pin-up photos for serviceman's wives and lovers overseas. Then it became, 'Hey would, you take my baby's picture?", and it grew from there."
From North Carolina, Marine Corpsman Mario Gonzalez was stationed at Great Lakes Naval Center. Having completed his service, the marine earned a degree in accounting and is now an accountant. The Gonzalez's now live in Cicero and have three "wild, energetic and crazy boys," Daniela said.
Back to business, Gonzalez said it's important for people to have photos that can be passed on to future generations of family members as a way of not forgetting those from the past. She knows the importance of that from experience, she said, as she has very few photos of herself growing up.
FlashMe shoots by appointment only, so there's no rushing, no pressure, she said.
"I like my clients to feel at home, like my family," she said. "It's especially important for clients coming in for pin-up or boudoir photos."
"It takes a little while for women to be ready for taking a picture," Gonzalez said. "About half way through we're girlfriends. It takes time to get comfortable in front of the camera."
Are the intimate shots popular? Absolutely, Gonzalez said. Gonzalez hosts "pin-up" parties where women can get dressed up and take photos.
"It's a lot of fun," she said.
While Gonzalez gets great satisfaction when she sees the results of her craft, the real payoff is found on the faces of those she photographs.
"I just like the fact that I can make somebody happy," she said. "I can change someone's world, with women especially. I love that I can boost their confidence and they can leave my studio feeling like a brand new woman."
What: FlashMe Photography, Inc.
Where: 6930 W Windsor Ave., Berwyn