Friday, November 27, 2020

For the love of cats and cameras

Wedding photos by Mila are not your average “Say Cheese” style. PHOTOS BY MILA BRIDGER

Wedding photos by Mila are not your average “Say Cheese” style. PHOTOS BY MILA BRIDGER

By Natalie Strom
natalie@coastalbreezenews.com

With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to get the family together for the usual holiday greeting card photo. Sick of the same old “Say Cheese” photo year after year? Thanks to Christmas Island Style and local photographer, Mila Bridger, Marco residents will have a chance to take unique, professional holiday photos – of their pets.

As one of its many planned activities throughout the next two months, Christmas Island Style will host “Holiday Pets on Parade” at CJ’s on the Bay at the Esplanade on December 4. From 5:00 until 7:00 PM, Marco residents will have the chance to show off their pets in their finest holiday attire.

Mila Bridger will be on hand, shooting professional portraits of the four-legged variety. The sitting is free and prints or canvas may be purchased from Mila directly. Her one request: “No snakes please!” Despite her fear of snakes, Mila, an avid animal lover, will donate ten percent of the

Mila will be shooting pet photos at Christmas Island Style’s “Holiday Pets on Parade.”

Mila will be shooting pet photos at Christmas Island Style’s “Holiday Pets on Parade.”

proceeds to For the Love of Cats, a local no-kill cat shelter based on Marco.

Mila’s concern for the cat population of Collier has caused her to also lend a hand at Brigid’s Crossing, a unique, non-profit cat rescue and holistic sanctuary in Naples. The no-cage, no-kill, nature-oriented center utilizes Mila’s photography skills to help adopt out its cats. “I adopted two black cats from the shelter because they are not as easily adoptable. That’s how I began to donate my time with Brigid’s Crossing, taking photos of the cats for their website,” explains Mila. Most recently, she shot a series of “Halloween Kitties” which can be viewed at www.brigidscrossing.org.

Mila Bridger’s photography expands far beyond the pet population. Her initial artistic influence came from her mother, an Art History Professor in Poland. “I was introduced to art basically when I was still in her belly. Since I can remember, she would drive me to every possible exhibition.” But it was the gift of a camera

One of Mila’s favorites; local photographer Jim Freeman “paints” the sunset.

One of Mila’s favorites; local photographer Jim Freeman “paints” the sunset.

by her grandfather at age seven that brought her focus to photography. “He built me a dark room in his cellar. My pictures were very grainy and foggy because I didn’t know how to use the chemicals, so my mom signed me up for photography school. There’s something about being in a dark room and the smells of the chemicals that takes me back to my childhood.”

In 2006, Mila made the jump to full-time photography after shooting her first wedding. Living in Canada at the time, she became well known for her “outside the box” wedding shoots. Her photos have even been printed in the magazine, “Bridetastic Canada.”

Moving to Marco Island, Mila has been making her mark on the winter bride world of Southwest Florida. One recent engagement photo shoot taken at a racetrack was published in “Poptastic Bride” magazine. Mila now splits her time between the summer Canada wedding season and winter Florida wedding season. Her one request for her brides: “No bridezillas, momzillas

Holiday season at the edge of the earth.

Holiday season at the edge of the earth.

or groomzillas, please!”

Mila’s true passion, however, is her “MB Projects” as she calls them. “I love to just go totally crazy, shooting what I consider to be stories. I love controversy and shock value. If my pictures don’t create an emotion, then I haven’t done my job. Many of Mila’s “MB Projects” have been published in local magazines such as “Gulf Shore Life.”

“One of my favorites is a photo I took of local photographer, Jim Freeman, painting the sunset at Cape Romano,” explains Mila. “Since I first saw Cape Romano on a visit in 2004, I became obsessed with the dome home and the architecture. It is my favorite place for site projects and it is quickly disappearing.”

Those who are looking for an “outside-the-box-not-your-average-say-cheese-photographer” will surely appreciate Mila’s style. The “Holiday Pets on Parade” will not only showcase Mila’s passion for animals and photography, but will offer many pet lovers a chance to see their favorite furry friend through a whole new lens.

To learn more about Mila’s projects, visit www.milabridger.com 

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