Cirque Noir

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Anita Wolf at the Cirque Noir. For one reason or another the circus made a lasting impression on my childhood memory. I think it was mostly due to Sunday nights spent watching the Wonderful World of Disney where Mickey Mouse, Dumbo and Toby Tyler were all planted firmly in my young brain.

 

Mostly Hot & Humid

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Summertime fun in the sun (and shade) while trying to stay cool.

Hanging out at the pool with all the cool kids or at least the kids who want to look cool. It seems like these days everyone is trying to be someone or something they are not. Life has become all about Selfies and self validation. CBS News host, Bob Schieffer did a brief story on the dangers of Selfies this Sunday. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/face-the-nation-transcripts-july-13-2014-netanyahu-perry-gutierrez/

The definition of Selfies are, “Self portraits typically taken at an arm’s length.” This brings to mind an old idiom, “To keep someone at an arm’s length.” Meaning to to avoid becoming connected with someone or something. In this case the someone is ourselves. We are keeping our own true selves at a safe distance while trying to portray our social self as someone for others to envy. Look at me, I’m drinking champagne by the pool. Look at me, I’m dancing with the DJ. I’ve got no problem with self portraits or having fun in general but sometimes it would be nice if people would just be who they are instead of who they are not. 

 

By Popular Demand

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I have never been popular or in demand except by people who wanted to sell me something. It seems like the question I get asked most often is, “Will you be my friend… for a few dollars?” Usually the offer of “friendship” ends up being for many dollars. Come and join the party. You can’t miss this and it only costs $$$. Where else can you get this sort of inspiration (and friendship) for less? Well, it turns out you can get it just about anywhere. Inspiration and friendship are available all around you at no cost. The tricky part is choosing friends and inspiration wisely and then acting on it instead of constantly looking for more of the same.

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Don’t be scared… just do it. Don’t expect instant success either. Just keep doing it and growing. The simple act of doing something will teach you much more than all the endless hours of watching someone else explain what will become obvious as soon as you start doing things yourself. Instruction is fine but at some point you have to put into practice what you have been taught. You may think you are not ready but you can never be completely ready. Things just don’t work that way.

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The act of creating something is good for the spirit and you shouldn’t necessarily have to pay someone else for the privilege of doing it. Yes, cameras, art supplies and fabric are expensive but there are ways around that as well. Find yourself a real friend who doesn’t demand payment for their company and share costs and resources. You can often borrow things you need, you just have to summon the courage to ask. Most of the time people will be more than willing to help you out or even join in the fun. Now get moving.

 

Tossing, Turning And Talking In My Sleep

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The sun sets, the moon rises, the world keeps spinning around. People keep having the same problems and making the same mistakes. It helps to have clear vision and to look at things from the correct perspective. When we are young we gladly take risks and try new things without much thought but after living for a good while and miraculously dodging many things that would do us great harm, we get a little more cautious and actually worry about things beyond our control. The funny thing is that whatever finally does us in will be something completely unexpected. We spend all our time worrying about the wrong things and ignoring those that will actually harm us. I’ve got no solution, just do the best you can and don’t be foolish. Look around, pay attention, take sound advice but be wary of people trying to sell you something. Dream big and sleep well.

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Back to photography… This  is a photo shoot that started out based on some ideas from Helmut Newton’s “Polaroids.”  It ended having more in common withWilliam Eggleston (at least to my way of thinking). Like most people I never really knew much about the photographers behind many iconic images and because of the way images are presented in the media we often keep seeing the same few “famous” images over and over. Digging deeper has great rewards.

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I did a lot of experimenting on this shoot, in part because the models and conditions did not fit my original concept as well as I would have liked. In this image I have switched from brutal glaring midday sun to slightly less brutal dusk.

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In this shot I switched the color of the small fur rug and extended it on the left side. I like vertical stripes so I added an alternating blue  overlay to the fence. There is also some texture thrown in to add depth. This image was shot in the shade of the fence so it was a bit easier to darken it down even with my puny 150w strobe… Steve was shooting next to me and my strobe was causing his to fire in sync. Steve’s is on the right with a beauty dish and mine is towards the left with a 7″ reflector. I’ll take an occasional happy accident when I find  one. Steve was not as happy when he discovered that I had been draining his batter pack all day.