About admin

Matt Dunn has been photographing celebrities and supermodels for more than two decades. His work has been published in more than 85 countries worldwide and has graced the covers and pages of the most influential and prestigious publications including Harper's Bazaar, W, and Vogue. His celebrity clients read like a who's who of the entertainment industry including Eminem, Dr. Dre, Jamie Kennedy, Bette Midler, and Jennifer Aniston. Commercially, Matt Dunn is responsible for developing and shooting the award-winning Vassarette lingerie campaign and has photographed the billboards, point of purchase, hangtags, and in-store posters for them. His photography sky-rocketed Everything But Water swimwear company to the most successful swimwear retailer in the world. He was instrumental from conception to completion of the exotic photo shoots for them. He continues work on a new series’ of billboards for Ron Jon Surf Shops each year for the last 8 years. He has also completed assignments for NEC, Sony, Georgia-Pacific and Coca-Cola to name a few. His photographs have been exhibited in Milan, Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta. We would like to do for you what we have done for many other clients; passionately showcase your wedding. Please look at our website and you will see some of the work we have and continue to do for our clients. If you like what you see we hope you will call to schedule a meeting to see more and decide if Matt Dunn is your photographer,

New Holt Campaign Work

This is recent work for the dress company HOLT Designs out of South Florida.  This entire catalog project was produced by Matt Dunn Photography and under a strict budget and produced and executed in it entirety in 2 days.  I hope you like the results as much as I do!

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016 by Matt Dunn Photography

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

Lauren York for Holt in Miami Beach South Beach 2016

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

MC2 models for Holt Miami Beach South Beach by Matt Dunn Photography

New Editorial from Crush Magazine in Paris

This is my new editorial from Crush Magazine out of Paris France.

Crush 817

Crush Magazine, Mega Models Miami, Pascal Swimwear,top model, miami beach,mattdunnphotography,amanda paige

Crush 818

Crush Magazine, Mega Models Miami, Pascal Swimwear,top model, miami beach,mattdunnphotography,amanda paige

Crush 819

Crush Magazine, Mega Models Miami, Pascal Swimwear,top model, miami beach,mattdunnphotography,amanda paige, www.mattdunn.com

Crush 820

Crush Magazine, Mega Models Miami, Pascal Swimwear,top model, miami beach,mattdunnphotography,amanda paige, www.mattdunn.com

Matt Dunn Top Miami Fashion, Swimsuit, and Beauty Photographer Moves back to Waverly

IMG_8080small

Matt’s Dog Rafa (Named after Rafa Nadal, the famous tennis player)

Matt Dunn, Top Miami Fashion, Swimsuit, and Beauty Photographer Moves back to Waverly in Miami Beach.  His move was spurned by his love for the soaring and beautiful bay views throughout.  “I lived here more than a year ago and after moving away I felt something was missing”.  Having quick and seamless transitions to the best and most beautiful locations in South Beach, Miami Beach as well as quick access to all of the upper Keys gives Dunn a great a great advantage to making the best of a day or week of editorial fashion shooting or swimwear catalog production.  Located at 1330 West Avenue, The Waverly offers all of the amenities of a truly high-end hotel without the production hassles and limitation.  White-glove service and on-site valet add to the ease of operation.  Matt Dunn can be reached at (954)529-1390Crush 817 Crush 818 Crush 819 Crush 820 MDP_5105 MDP_5127

Professional Fort Pierce and Hutchinson Island Family Photographer for Beach Portraits

Best Family Beach Photography Miami Beach Best Family Beach Photography Miami Beach Best Family Beach Photography Miami Beach  Best Family Beach Photography Miami Beach (9 of 59) Best Family Beach Photography Miami BeachBest Family Beach Photography Miami Beach

Professional Fort Pierce and Hutchinson Island Family Photographer for Beach Portraits We are proud to be serving Miami Beach and surrounding South Florida and Treasure Coast beaches with stunning family beach portraits.  If you are seeking a professional photographer to create lifestyle photos of your family on vacation, then you have found the right place. Our style of family beach portraits are creative, stylish, candid, and fluid.  We use natural available light that really ads a unique feel to the photos you will be receiving. Give us a call (954)529-1390 or email us at,  matt@mattdunn.com . We look forward to serving you with amazing family photography on the beaches of South Florida.
Best Family Beach Photography Miami Beach Best Family Beach Photography Miami Beach Best Family Beach Photography Miami Beach

 

Matt Dunn Photography
 
Capturing the Spirit of Life” 
 
 

FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER= PROBLEM SOLVER

To be successful, a fashion photographer must be an exceptional problem solver. As with most professions, to be at the top means one must roll with the punches and become a creative problem solver, overcoming obstacles both seen and unseen. We have learned that this is no longer no mans land and that our clients and team expect this quality from us.

Being a professional means you can consistently create an exceptional result, in any condition – not only when conditions are exceptional. We must shoot, sometimes, when we are feeling less than artistic.

Many times, whether on location or studio, problems must be expected. I know what you are thinking, “what a negative thought process”. I would think that too except I have been a professional photographer for more than two decades and I can tell you, either you are prepared or you are not.

Many of my clients come to me and ask me about why I brought so much equipment or why we didn’t use a certain piece of equipment. Just like I have many lenses and camera bodies I have modifiers, scrims, reflectors and an entire myriad of stands and configurations. Most of these are not for use in optimal conditions; quite the contrary. In Florida, as well as many places I seem to shoot, inclement weather can pop up at a moment’s notice. Also sun can end up not being where I want it or the intensity not what I need for a certain shot. Theses are the circumstances you must prepare for. As the leader of the team you are expected to solve all of life’s little problems.Susanna_C_Elite_2-2015 187_ppRTCH

Do you have some hairpins, duct tape, 2 sided tape, clamps of all shapes and sizes, Velcro, extra swimsuits, etc.? There really is no telling what can and will happen on a shoot. If you don’t cover it you better make sure someone else will. Much of the well being of the shoot depends on your team and talent feeling great and that you are in control makes everyone feel warm fuzzies. This is one reason I try to find out what everyone likes to drink. Even something that small can make someone really feel like you care and in return they will give you their best.Susanna_C_Elite_2-2015 160_pp

The other day, I was on a remote location in Key Biscayne and my model had to be up against this banyan tree, which was infested with bull ants.   Well I didn’t have any repellent but my makeup artist did! It takes a team, a trusted team, to make things happen and everyone must go beyond their expected duties to be prepared. I call this professionalism and this all goes into the final product of these types of shoots.

The following day, we had another amazing day in Key Biscayne. This day ended up being one of the hottest and most miserable days I have ever been on location. I was sweating so much that I feared changing lenses for the sweat getting into the camera body. My makeup artist and myself, as well as the crew and models had to make adjustments in our normal protocol to successfully negotiate the obstacles at hand. The heat was unbearable, sandspurs and ants, painful, and the tide was exceptionally high but we made it work.Ria_A_Elite_2-2015_pp

Make certain that your team and you have collaborated before and you all know each other’s propensities, shortcomings, and idiosyncrasies. It makes the shoot go smoothly and gives you the best chances for a magical result.

BEWARE of Gina Triolo Karlsson Platinum Magazine and Simply Elegant Platinum Weddings Magazine and Simply Elegant Linens UPDATE!

BEWARE of Gina Triolo Karlsson Platinum Magazine and Simply Elegant Platinum Weddings Magazine and Simply Elegant Linens UPDATE!

I have an update.  I submitted this case to JUDGE JUDY and the head producer called me.  I explained the entire case to her and then she agreed it would be a great case to have the Judge hear.  I gave her all of Gina’s aliases and her contact info as well.  She immediately called her and, as usual ,she was screening though her VM.  The producer called her once again and then she answered the phone.  She then made up a BS excuse and told the producer she would run the idea past her “attorneys”.  Obviously she doesn’t want to be seen, publicly on TV, as the fraud she continues to show everyone else.  It would be so fun to see Judge Judy’s reaction to all of her BS as well as the scams she perpetrates.  After all, what promoter doesn’t want free publicity for their magazine and projects.

 

October Is For Water skiers: 2014 U.S. Open and Rocketman

October Is For Water skiers: 2014 U.S. Open and Rocketman kick off in Lake Grew as well as Lake Ivanhoe and Mapple Lake respectively.  I’ve been out of water skiing for quite some time now but the performances have kept escalating as one would expect.  As a past water ski tournament competitor and collegiate skier for Florida Southern College, I was astounded by the performances by both the women and the men.  The level that this sport has moved to since I three-event skied is astounding.  Many positive changes have occurred to help the athletes to achieve the performances but what one can clearly see is that the athleticism has sky-rocketed and I must say I am so happy to see “my sport” achieving such a level of what world-class athletes should.  Also, my hat is off and much respect must be given to the organizers, coaches, parents, and sponsors as all are needed to grow a sport.

I spent the better part of last week photographing many of the top athletes in the sport.  Here are some of the images I captured of this beautiful sport of water skiing.  Enjoy the power and the grace this sport embodies is frozen imagery.

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Mens Slalom Skiing by Nate Smith

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Mens Slalom Skiing by Nate Smith

Chris Parrish Water Ski Slalom Winning Mapple Slalom Challenge Event

Chris Parrish Water Ski Slalom Winning Mapple Slalom Challenge Event

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Mens Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Mens Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Mens Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Mens Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Mens Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Mens Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Mens Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Mens Trick Skiing Cole McCormick

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Mens Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Mens Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Women Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Women Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Women Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Women Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Women Slalom Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Women Slalom Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Women Slalom Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Women Slalom Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Women Slalom Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Women Slalom Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament Trick Skiing

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament

U.S.Open 2014 Water Ski Tournament

Rocketman Freddy (The Nightmare) Kruger Water Ski Jumping

Rocketman Freddy (The Nightmare) Kruger Water Ski Jumping

Rocketman Ryan Dodd Water Ski Jumping Winning Jumping Event with 221 Foot Jump

Rocketman Ryan Dodd Water Ski Jumping Winning Jumping Event with 221 Foot Jump

 

When is a “photographer” “professional photographer”?

When is a “photographer” “professional photographer”?MDP_5364RTCH_pp

I recently followed a discussion in Model Mayhem launched by a “freelance photographer” who needed assistance with shooting a model portfolio for an aspiring model he had met recently. The supportive and caring response to the question was thoughtful and complete to the extreme. It really was a tribute to the professionals that are part of this group that shared without reservation even though I sensed a unspoken consensus of incredulity that a “photographer” would be unfamiliar with posing and lighting techniques.20346_222782166615_3224673_n

Ron Jon Surf Shop Billboards by Matt Dunn

Ron Jon Surf Shop Billboards by Matt Dunn

In the end, I suppose anyone who has ever taken a picture is a photographer and if you can get someone to pay you then you are a pro. Likewise, I know of no pro who didn’t launch their career doubtful of their readiness or worried that they would be revealed as a charlatan soon after taking their first polaroids(sorry for the reference but many of us started before the advent of digital and LCD screens).

I want to make it clear at the outset that my intention is not to demean anyone who considers himself or herself a photographer. I have had many assistants who taught me and have been willing to share techniques I may have never found in any other way.

Caroline in American Apparel Silver Swimsuit

Caroline in American Apparel Silver Swimsuit

That being said

I would really like to know how it feels to the pros out there who see aspiring photographers present and market themselves as “photographers” not to mention “professionals” when by any reasonable measure such a claim is at best a benign stretch of their own imagination,(of course, I don’t mean to include Ashton Kutcher in this set of “photographers”).

I can hit some tennis balls on the tennis court and look like I know what Im doing but I wouldn’t call myself a professional . So why is the word “photographer” bandied about so easily by so many with little more than a Coolpix and a website?

Am I just having a bad day or is this ever a minor irritation to anyone else too

BEWARE of Gina Triolo Karlsson Platinum Magazine and Simply Elegant Platinum Weddings Magazine and Simply Elegant Linens

BEWARE of Gina Triolo Karlsson Platinum Magazine and Simply Elegant Platinum Weddings Magazine and Simply Elegant Linens and Platinum Weddings Gala and The Couture Linen Collection and Platinum Weddings Group.  She has shown her dishonesty and lack of credibility in so many ways I don’t know where to start.  She and Platinum Magazine owe me and my team more than $3200 for the editorial shoot we were contracted to perform.  She has also effectively stolen that drive from me which is valued at more than $400.  They have yet to pay anyone for their work although I over-nighted ,via UPS, a Lacie portable hard-drive with all of the images from the photo shoot.  She has become a ghost by never answering phone calls and hiding from emails and texts from both my hair and makeup artists as well as myself.

Fake Magazine Platinum by Gina Triolo Karlsson

Fake Magazine Platinum by Gina Triolo Karlsson

I was first contacted by Gina Triolo to photograph her “new” magazine Platinum Fashion Magazine.  I found out she works out of her home at 32 Colonial Farm Rd Haverhill, MA 01832.  She contacted me initially on Facebook and then it moved onto calling me on her caller id blocked phone.  When I asked her about this she told me that she was being stalked and harassed by models who wanted to be on the cover of her magazines.  She talks way too much and way too fast all the while patting herself on the back.  However I have met editors like this in the past so I simply appeased her.  She constantly talked to me about all of the people she knew and how much money she had.    She talked with me over 20 times in the weeks prior to the shoot, many times 10pm and later, about the look she was wanting, locations, models, agencies, hair and makeup artists and rates for all of them.  I could clearly see, many times, she was a novice at these types of shoots.  However I just thought I knew so much more having been in the fashion editorial business for nearly 30 years.  I helped her and suggested multiple model agencies, did card pulls, called and booked hair and makeup artists, all on my credible reputation.  I let her book a hotel I suggested, The Mondrian in Miami Beach.  Thank goodness I did so I wasn’t stuck with that bill.

Gina has the following know aliases. 

Known Aliases: Gina M Durgin
Gina M Sgarano
Gina Karlssom
Gina M Karlsson
M Karlsson
Gina Karlsson

Her birthdate is October 6, 1973

Fake Magazine Platinum by Gina Triolo Karlsson who is a thief and scammer!

Fake Magazine Platinum by Gina Triolo Karlsson who is a thief and scammer!

Fake Magazine Platinum by Gina Triolo Karlsson who is a thief and scammer!

Fake Magazine Platinum by Gina Triolo Karlsson who is a thief and scammer!

Fake Magazine Platinum by Gina Triolo Karlsson who is a thief and scammer!

Fake Magazine Platinum by Gina Triolo Karlsson who is a thief and scammer!

About a week prior to the shoot date  Gina Triolo Karlsson  requested invoices from the hair stylist, makeup artist, and myself, the photographer.  She told us she wanted the invoices early so she could get them to her accounting department so we could be paid a few days after the shoot.  Of course this sounded very good to all of us so we complied to her requests and got her the invoices immediately.  The invoice I sent her was on June 18 2014, a few days before our shoot.  The makeup artist and hair stylist both sent their payment information a few days before I sent her my information.

On the day of the shoot, I arrived about 45 minutes early, a practice I have always done since the beginning of my career.  After all I wanted to make sure I had ample time to scope out locations throughout the hotel since Gina told me that we had open access to the hotel. When we arrived she was hesitant to tell us the room number since she was not even out of bed yet.  That was the first bank of lies she told me to my face.  After the models and hair and makeup artists congregated in the lobby Mrs. Triolo – Karlsson arrived, full of many excuses.  My opinion is that of excuse making and lies are her MO and you will see this throughout this story.   Gina Triolo Karlsson has given me many different names of people that don’t exist. The last person she has made up is Kathleen Humphrey but she has also used the alias Linda Ellis as well.  They are supposedly at the same phone number(781-526-1906) which always goes directly to voice mail.  I have never spoke with anyone other than Gina.  I have left messages and have never received a voice call back.  Usually what has been happening is a day or 2 later I get a BS email from her.

As I usually do, my assistant and Gina Triolo Karlsson walked around the hotel looking for shot locations.  Once again she told me that she had full run and authority to shoot anywhere in the hotel.  This was another lie that was uncovered during the shoot.

As I have demonstrated Gina Triolo is a scam artist masquerading as a magazine editor and  multiple business owner.  She claims to have been in business for many years all the while what I have learned is that she preys on those who don’t do their research or have no research to glean info from.  This is what I hope those who find this on-line will get from my experience.  If you have any questions please don’t hesitate calling me.  I will fill in the blanks for you.

As for Gina Triolo Karlsson, my attorneys have been alerted and are in attack mode.  I will get paid!

 

 

Getting Me Ready For College

Getting Me Ready For College

So as I am left alone with my thoughts I cant help but go back in time when my daughter, Bennett, was a baby.  I think about how much changed in my life in an instant.  Immediately things that seemed important became irrelevant.  My entire thought process changed.  Pam and I no longer though about us as a duo but as a family.  I got to fall in love with my wife again.  Not understanding the emotion, I didn’t know where all of this was coming from but somewhat resented such a disruptive change in the way I was selfishly living my life.  I look back now and realize I was not only growing but growing up.  For true growth some things must be left behind.  I now know this but feeling my little girl is heading off to college I don’t feel at ease.  I find I feel anxious!  Not so much for her but for me.  How will this impact my life and way of life.  How emotionally I will handle all of the changes about to come my way.

As we have done through all of Bennett’s development there has been a plan.  Rarely has anything with her been left to chance.  Yes we have always prayed about her well being and for great things to occur in her life but we have always maintained a strategic road map for the goals set before us.  For this college experience we simply are out of the loupe.  Being a scholarship athlete many of our duty’s have been taken over by the school.  This leaves me feeling like my daughter will find she doesn’t need me anymore.   I assumed this role of control and responsibility 18 years ago and now the world is saying let go of the reigns, “Ive got this”!  Really?  How can I trust everything will be alright?  As our time with her dwindles I cannot help wrestling with the inevitability that my little girl is leaving me.  She is onto her own journey.  I remember leaving for college and out into the big bright world on my own.  Maybe we need to get away from our family and all the cynicism and jadedness  to get a truly fresh take on the world and what it has to offer us and what we have to offer.

At this point, do I feel Bennett needs me to help her circumnavigate the University of Alabama?  Of course not.  However, as her dad for 18 years it is hard not to try to inject myself into everything she will be doing.  Is that my own narcissism?  I don’t think so.  I look at it simply as trying to fend off any problems and any resulting pain that could come her way.  This is what dads do!  It is the habit I created many years ago and continue to foster each and every year.  After all, I have gotten better and better at understanding her problems and how to fend off the small problems before they get to be big ones.  I have gotten better at identification as well.  I believe this is true because she has grown so much as a person we are seeing more and more eye to eye.

These last two weeks have been so much fun.  Little things we have done together, lunch, shopping, ect gives me such insight into this special young lady.  Her candor about certain things, her self assuredness about others.  Her laughter and wittiness all remind me of myself when purity of thought and lack of failure were prevalent in my life.  My prayer for her is to maintain that happiness.  People flock to her now but when she gets to college she doesn’t recognize the fan base she will have, many who will look up to her and gravitate to her since her attitude is so amazing.

So we packed the Pathfinder to the roof with boxes of everything she needed and set out on our journey to Alabama. Driving and talking, listening and advising, I am sure she will be sick of me for a good while.  But as our time together is coming to a close I feel as though I am listening and looking at her more.  Making memories with my mind that I can draw on when I need to, I guess.  I really cannot describe what I am feeling as I have never felt it before.  With my job, I was lucky enough to be able to spend lots of time with Bennett and really get to know her.   Hey, maybe that is what I am feeling.  I have gotten so used to knowing everything about her that when I don’t know what she will be doing it makes me uneasy.  I’ll get over it eventually.

Arriving in Alabama and getting her set up in her dorm I couldn’t help feeling out of place.  Several of her roomates had already arrived.  They engaged in conversation that was instantly unfamiliar to me.  I busied myself with setting up her closets and hooking up TV’s ect just to justify my being there.  As I did it finally hit me.  She is going to be just fine.  She doesn’t need me there doing what I was doing but it made both of us feel better just spending those last minutes together.  I finished up and then asked her if she wanted to go to lunch.  I think she was feeling my uneasiness.  We headed out to Newk’s, a place I’d heard Pam and her talk about all last year.  As I ordered I realized, I am on her turf now.  She knows more about these places than I did and that would be happening more and more.  As we ate she told me many things about her life on campus and what she hoped it would bring.  I found myself somewhat spellbound as I listened and watched my little girl who had become this amazing young woman.  I recognized she was anxious to step up to any responsibility asked of her.  I realized she was going to be alright.  Alright?  Alright has never been enough for her.  Exceptional is more what she is after and she is ready.

I took her back to her dorm and dropped her off.  I asked if she would like to go to a late super since I was heading out first thing in the morning.  She said sure.  Now I could really feel my grip wanting to harden but really knew this was going to harder on me than her.  I picked her up for dinner about three hours after we had eaten lunch.  Obviously this meeting really wasn’t about food.  At the dinner table I said my last prayer with her.  Still asking if she needed anything else, I could feel our time slipping away.  We ran by a store on the way back and got a few more things but honestly I don’t remember what she got.  I just paid for it.  After all, I felt like I was in a movie that was stuck on fast-forward.  My time with her was slipping away.  As I pulled in front of her building the hustle of others moving in was still going on at 10PM.  I got out of the car, walked around it and embraced Bennett longer than I felt I ever had.  It was so long I feared she recognized it.  She let me.  I think if I’d have hugged her longer she would have let me as well.  She knew what I knew.  We would never be the same.  This experience will change us both.  After a quick kiss, I told her I love her.  I got in my car and drove out of sight.

That drive in the morning was the longest trip I felt I had ever driven alone.  I’d driven, several times to Los Angeles, but this trip from Alabama to Orlando was an eternity.  The cavernous inside of my empty Pathfinder was a constant reminder that my little girl has grown up and is on her own way.  Now I must be a distant observer and let her welcome me into her world.  I look forward to that day but for now I will smile and be proud of her; Proud she chooses to do this on her own with confidence and an independence that few kids are ready for.  She has truly become a strong young woman.  She must fly alone on this journey.

When I returned home that night I hugged and kissed my wife, popped the chilled champagne, and toasted “We did it”!