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Cody is the second of the Rodger boys to be in front of my lens. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to photograph his older brother, Kyle, for senior portraits—and boy, these two could not be more completely different in interests and style! But they are also two of the most respectful and kind high school boys I have ever met.

Cody is planning on attending Montana Tech with a double major in aerospace engineering. As for his hobbies, he truly embraces the “pedal to the metal” mentality in his 2007 f150. He’s also a diehard snowmobile fanatic who truly has a need for speed.

As it goes with teenagers, Cody wanted to have senior pictures with his beard and long hair and his mother wanted him clean-shaven. Well, he and his mom reached a compromise: he could take the pictures with that look as long as it went away quickly afterward for a second session. When I asked him about the beard, he just said, “There is just something about being able to grow facial hair in 6th grade that makes me like it. Having the best beard in high school is definitely an accomplishment.”

The deal was that there could be a few pictures with long hair and the truck . . . though “a few” may have turned into much more than that—oops. I was extremely inspired to capture that part of him, and one thing led to another until we had a whole portfolio to showcase! The best part was that I got a call from Jana, his mom, the next day scolding me for causing her to fall in love with so many photos of him and his beard!

When Cody showed up for the second half of his session, I couldn’t believe my eyes. A clean shave and haircut can really change how a guy looks! But of course, the next time I saw him after the shoot, the beard was back and coming in stronger than ever.

Thank you, Cody, for posing a new perspective to senior portraits and really embracing you! I can’t wait to see you take on the world after graduation.

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Maddie-Great-Falls-Senior-High-School-Session-Matt-Ehnes-Photography_0023

This past summer, Montana saw way too many forest fires, and Maddie’s senior session happened to fall on a day of an ultimate smoke out. But we decided to make the most out of it and commit with no expectation. If things turned out scary, we would reschedule for Part II.

Well, on the day of the session, we got together and made it through about 30 minutes before everything went hazy and dark. But the warm, smoky light with the vibrant orange background complimented this awesome senior, and it was more than worth it.

Maddie was amazing to work with, of course. She was super photogenic, having been her school’s homecoming queen, but she’s also incredibly smart. She’s planning to head out to Montana State University to study cell biology and neuroscience, and she’s been in the student council and National Honors Society.

Thanks, Maddie, for being willing to try and make our session work on such a smoky day. I’m so glad that we were able to pull off the great images that we did. Good luck as you take on your future—I know you’ll be amazing!

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After 40 successful years of development, Miss Linda’s School of Dance decided at the end of 2015 that they were ready for something new, modern, innovative, and possibly even cutting edge, to showcase their talents. Combine that with my training in underwater photography, and we couldn’t have found anything more felicitous for a completely different take on dancing than the city of Great Falls was accustomed to.

My relationship with Miss Linda’s Dance studio actually began out of complete fear. As many people know, the word “dance” is not something that I am usually connected to or associated with, because the concept of rhythm and I have never been close friends. But in 2015, I had resolved to push myself out of my comfort zone and participate in the annual Dancing with the Stars Great Falls Event. Through hours and hours of instruction with the talented Sarah Dassinger—and constant practice (did I mention HOURS?) with my dance partner, Schelli Bolta—we were able to pull off a hip hop routine to “Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO. I might have missed or faked a few steps here and there, but that couldn’t take away from such a new and exciting experience. We even walked away with two trophies: People’s Choice and Most Fun!

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So when it came time to showcase Miss Linda’s School of Dance, I was excited to get to try something new for them this time. We sat down and mapped out concept after concept before we finally decided that it would be best to represent each choreographer individually. I brought along my makeup artist from LA, Berenice Gallegos, who specializes in underwater makeup; and my talented sister Haylie, who is also a makeup artist, came to help out. We jumped in the pool and I was armed with my Ikelite Underwater Housing. I couldn’t have been happier with the results.

Thank you so much to all of the incredible team at Miss Lindas. These ladies have such diverse backgrounds and are so talented. We are lucky that they are helping the next generation of Great Falls dancers live up to their full potential (including me!)

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