laverne cox

Portrait shoot: Actress and activist Laverne Cox for ACLU

The glamorous Laverne Cox ("Orange Is the New Black," "The Mindy Project") spoke at the 2017 ACLU of Washington Bill of Rights Dinner, and I was there to photograph her before. Laverne is a dynamo who commands the attention of a room with both her radiance and her intellect. If you haven't heard her speak, go on YouTube and listen. 

First, #TransIsBeautiful. That should go without saying, but we need to keep saying it until all trans people receive the respect and equal rights they deserve. 

Here is a solo shot of Laverne, plus a shot of Laverne and writer Ijeoma Oluo, who hosted the Q&A. Oh, and the orange background? Total coincidence. Sure, it's the namesake color of the famous show she's on, but it's actually just the first color that popped into my head when I started concepting the shoot. It's bold, radiant, spontaneous, energetic.

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The setup

Orange backdrop, three lights

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Laverne and Ijeoma Oluo

Here's a bonus video of Ijeoma showing her Facebook followers the photo. She called it one of the best photos anyone has ever taken of her! Pretty cool, and humbling.