The Circus Is Coming

I got an email yesterday reminding me that Spring is around the corner and the Circus Flora will be setting up the big tent soon. Check it out at –

I wanted to see if I could put together a circus themed photo with what I had laying around the house so I grabbed some cardboard and carpet and started taking photos. The photo of Samantha is from our November photo-shoot with the Strobist St. Louis Group

So after spending a couple of hours this is what I came up with. At some point I’ll take what I learned and do one with a more proper costume.

It’s A Good Day For A Mad Wedding!

Last night Mad Art Gallery celebrated its tenth anniversary by throwing a big Wedding Party.

“Weddings have funded the gallery’s mission for the past decade, and we are celebrating ten years by throwing a huge wedding party MAD ART style.

Come dressed as a bride, bridesmaid, groom, groomsmen, officiant, drunk uncle, or whatever role you would like to play in the party. We will have costume contests for individuals and groups throughout the night. Some of the categories are: best bridezilla, zombie bride and groom, tackiest bridesmaid, best dressed same sex couple, best shotgun wedding party, best mail order bride, best celebrity couple, best gender bending, trash the dress, and more. Can’t decide on a category? Mix it up! We’ll get you and your wedding party into one of our categories. Think vampire Brangelina.”

It was more fun than a barrel of bride monkeys. Brides everywhere I do declare. Here a bride, there a bride, everywhere a bride, bride. Oh yeah, there were some grooms too.

Today is couple’s day so here are a few of my favorites from last night.

Yes, I love a mask well worn. It’s funny how a mask does more to reveal someone’s personality than to conceal it. These two look happy and confident and that is beautiful.

A happy Mad Art anniversary to all and many more to come.

Uncovering Hidden Treasure

There is a wealth of unseen treasure all around us. The remodeling of a local storefront suddenly revealed one such treasure here last week where things are constantly changing and causing objects to become lost, then rediscovered and lost again. I wanted to create a photograph of this sign before that could happen and the only camera I had with me was the one in my iPhone. I took this photograph and ran it through an iPhone app called “Pic Grunger” to give it an aged look. You have to be careful not to overuse these types of photo filters but they certainly can work well for certain types of images. I wanted this photograph to appear as though it may have fallen somewhere behind something in a dark basement and forgotten many years ago. The people who may have taken it are gone and the memory of the day it was taken is lost. Nothing remains except for an unexplained artifact…

We also had a “Mini Meet Up” with the Strobist St. Louis Group the other day. Where we were doing some planning and just hanging out to talk photography and lighting. It was pretty low key (a pun) and not exactly what I had planned but we did put the time to good use.

This metal pear reminded me of the lyrics to “Woodstock.” I added a warming-filter afterwards to complete the metaphor but I could have just as easily used a colored gel and done it all in-camera (if I had thought of it at the time).

This is not a subject I would typically choose but we were using it as an example of how to create a photograph working with only one light. I hadn’t planned to have flare in the shot either but somehow this turned out to be my favorite version of the proverbial forbidden fruit.

We are stardust, we are golden,
We are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

– Joni Mitchell

Get Out Of Town

Maryland Avenue in the Central West End neighborhood, City of St. Louis. December 2010.

My friend Mary wrote to ask how much an 8×10 print of this photograph might cost. Hmmm… I don’t really sell 8×10 prints so I guess I’ll have to email a cropped version. I’m seriously picky about the way photographs are cropped and framed and I usually only make small prints as gifts or cards. I’m just happy that someone besides me likes this photo. I thought it was sort of generic but it still makes a nice memory of my cold and solitary walk in the snow.

During the holidays there is a mass migration to return to the a place once known simply as home and everyone seems to be going somewhere else. Several days later the whole process is reversed and the holiday departures are usually made with far less fanfare than the arrivals. Clothes and luggage are in complete disarray and there are odd food wrappers littering the interior of the car. There was a great rush to arrive and an even greater haste to beat it out of town ahead of the bad weather and winter darkness. In a few miles the car will be warm and the memories of friends and family will help to pass the many miles.

New York Reprise

It’s always interesting to go back through my photographs for the previous year. I usually don’t get very far before finding one that I didn’t have time to work on and that I would like to try making into a print. Though I’m easily sidetracked and my workflow is horribly inefficient, I press on for no other reason than to create something I enjoy. I wouldn’t mind if someone else liked it as well but I don’t think it would change the way I do things very much.

People are always talking about pushing through to the next level or becoming better photographers but I wonder if this can actually be done. I don’t know that we get better or if we just get different. Sure we can learn new things as we go along or at least we should if we are paying any attention to the world around us. My photographs are a record of who I am and where I am at any given moment in time. If I’m lucky they may also show a little bit of who I would like to be. There will be high and low points, along with a lot of experimentation and and exploration.

I’m fond of neon signs and don’t need much of an excuse to take a photo of one. The Fanelli Cafe is in New York City, where I took this photo on a bitterly cold Sunday morning in December. I wasn’t sure at the time if taking a short trip to New York on a cold overcast weekend was worth the expense but looking back now, I’m glad we went.