hi there! i'm michelle, southern california based photographer and curator of the coco gallery.

welcome to my blog where i share my life, my latest adventures, photo projects, random nuggets and the occasional stray thoughts.

for clients: to view my portfolio just click on this link - theCOCOgallery.com. to book sessions please send me a message through theCOCOgallery.com or contact me via michelle@thecocogallery.com | 949.734.0604

Thursday, February 25, 2010

mila | newport portrait photographer

sometimes the stars are aligned and i'm surrounded by angels.

i have soooooo much information crammed in my head about anything and everything.  some of it is useful and some of it is just silly.  but just like a good garage sale, another person's junk is someone else's treasure.  and me... i'm a pack rat that likes to "share".

i met michael arick at one of the photog shootouts.  and he was heaven sent fo sho!  i don't even remember what he was picking my brain about one day but i guess whatever it was, it was useful to him.  to say thanks, he offered any help in future for printing.  talk about timing!  i was stressing about how to get ready for the bridging the gap exhibit and here was the answer!  michael-godsend-arick lent me a mega giant pro printer and i was able to put together my first exhibit ever!  

  • a moment for the shameless plug..
    • the exhibit is still up (all of feb).  stop by the tranquil tea lounge.  take in the vision.  contribute to the cause.  all proceeds go towards the charity.  also, i had to buy supplies for the exhibit and to fund the expenses i'm offering a few people the opportunity to print out enlargements of their work.  get your photo printed onto a 24x36 luster sheet for $25.  the offer is only good if you are local.  i'm too scared to deal w shipping that ginormous print.  email me if interested michelle@milaphotography.com
back to the topic at hand... my godsend michael.

michael called me a couple weeks ago to say he needed head shots for his blog.  two hands up high i volunteered for the job.  he's so photogenic i didn't even need to spend 5 minutes to get 120 great pictures.  it was easy peasy!  he's a budding photographer and an accomplished artist.  check out his work at 26 gallery.  also, if anyone needs a 2nd photographer he's looking to shadow people for weddings.  give him a holla!

here's some of the 120 great photos.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

mila | sideshow . shaadi studio opening

a good friend of mine, ahmed of AACreation, just opened his studio in orange!  i'm so proud of him.  he, along with a crew of vendors have just setup a one stop shop for all your south indian and pakistani wedding needs.  he invited me to setup a sideshow at the grand opening.  everyone was sooooo nice and accomodating about doing fun crazy stuff for the pregnant lady with the camera.

here's some of the shots from that night... of course, i always test out the lights on curtis first ;)

these two really made my night.  

Thursday, February 18, 2010

mila | mission san juan photographer . omar + alexis engaged

california missions.... from the first date to the proposal and now the engagement session.  in the time they've been together they toured all the california missions.  the san juan capistrano mission was the last one on the list to visit and it was the location omar and alexis chose to have their engagement photo session.  i love full circle stories don't you?!?!?!

btw... the cream shirt that omar is sporting in some of the pictures is called a barong tagalog.  it is the formal garment worn by men in the philippines.  alexis is filipino.  i love that omar is taking on the tradition.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

mila | newborn . dylan

i've told you guys about one of my bestest friends jenny.  the one who spiked the water and spread the preggo germs.  as in.... 7 out of the 16 girls at her baby shower were pregnant!  she was the first to release one into the world....

meet dylan.  he's gonna be kaya's regular play date ;)  jenny had dylan last month and we finally got to visit!  isn't he just ADORABLE!?!?!?!?

to my clients, if you fall in love with these photos i can't blame you.  he's super cute.  i am however, no longer available for newborn and maternity photos.  i decided late last year that it was time to narrow my photographic scope.  i know some amazing photographers that specialize in both maternity and newborn photos.  if you are interested in that information just drop me an email and i can direct you to their amazing talent.

michelle can be reached at 949.734.0604 or by email michelle@milaPhotography.com  |  www.milaPhotography.com

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

mila | MY baby bump week 37

almost done cookin!  

today i'm posting pictures for week 37 of the bump series.  i thought it was appropriate since i just celebrated my 37th birthday this past valentine's day.  i can't believe we only have 3 weeks left!  ... well.. give or take.

so let's take a quick look at how far we've come.  the picture on the left was taken back in september at 3 months pregnant and then of course the one on the right is where we are now.  a few "things" have grown ;)  some of you may have noticed that the list includes curtis' beard.  he has this thing about growing out his beard for life changing moments.  he'll be shaving off his "abe lincoln" when the munchkin is born.

speaking of munchkins... we had a wonderful baby shower a week ago and i'd like to take a moment and thank everyone that put it together and also attended.  my friend gerlie hosted the shindig at her beautiful home.  tanvi, who just had an adorable son herself some 8 months ago took care of the games and my superstar chef of a sister katrina took care of the menu.  we couldn't have asked for a better day.  we were surrounded by friends and family that day and really... it was a joy.  this little girl is going to be so loved.  we also decided to announce her name that day .... KAYA SIMONE FORD. 

curtis loves bob marley and there was an album called kaya.  kaya also means "able to" or "can do" in filipino.  we thought it was beautiful and appropriate.  as for simone, curtis and i came up with that name separately but on the same day. sometimes we're totally on the same page.  it's kool and weird at the same time.  i don't know how he came up with it but one of my best friends in hs was named simon and i happened to be thinking about him that day.  

so there it is... the alarm should be going off soon.  we've got the house in order.  a few things still need to be purchased but thanks to the generosity of everyone we've got the majority of the things we need.  next week i'll be posting my favorite photos from our maternity session shot by our good friend and awesome photographer becker.  if you want to take a peek at the photos he's posted on his blog you can view them on his blog and scroll down to the one dated 02.08.2010.

just watching and waiting.. and curtis likes to listen to kaya stretch out in there.

Monday, February 1, 2010

mila | photo exhibit

  • ·   Art will be up for the month of February at the Tranquil Tea Lounge in downtown fullerton | 106 w Wilshire ave fullerton, ca 92832
  • ·   All proceeds go to the assumption missions in the slums of the Philippines
  • ·   Artist’s reception: 02.09.10 @ 7pm
  • ·   first 30 guests will receive a voucher for tea


I was born and raised in the Philippines, land of plenty and yet impoverished, a Catholic country mired in superstition.  I lived in opulence but was raised by nuns who hammered in humility, simplicity and sacrifice.  I was in want of nothing and yet something in me wanted to make a difference.  My life has been a life of contrasts.  This body of work is an attempt at bridging the gap.
Half my life has now been spent in the US.  Explaining the poverty situation in the Philippines to my American friends is like telling them about the oppressive giant in the fairy tale.  It’s not real.  When I took Curtis (my fiancĂ©) home for the 3rd time I wanted to make sure that he experienced more than just the beauty of the Philippines.  I wanted him to go past the vacation.  I wanted him to see what was behind the fairy tale.  I took him to the slums.  We invited some of my old high school buddies for the ride.  The biggest surprise for me wasn’t the horrors of the conditions.  I knew what was out there, what was a surprise was that my Filipino friends who came along had forgotten what was beyond the gates of their lavish homes.  The story was just as much a fairy tale to them as it was to my American friends thousands of miles away.  Being there jogged their senses, it marked a sense of awareness in Curtis and reminded me of my life of contrasts. 
25 families living under a bridge, wading through sewage and water, living their lives, raising their children on nothing.  All their belongings stacked on pieces of plywood and yet their smiles were more genuine than the one I would paste on my face as I greeted a co-worker “good day”.  Again, I was reminded.  I seek now to be constantly reminded and I choose to share the reminder with you

Michelle Cunningham, a wedding and portrait photographer based in Anaheim is the camera clicker girl behind milaPhotography.    She chose to name her business after her mom to whom she attributes her love for flair and fashion.  Her journalistic style is touted as quirky, fun and genuine.   A native of the Philippines she makes every effort to go “home” as often as possible; as a citizen of the world she endeavors to travel as much as she can.  See more of her work on www.milaPhotography.com or read all about her on www.frexngrin.blogspot.com.