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.

 

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. Continue reading “By Popular Demand”

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. Continue reading “Tossing, Turning And Talking In My Sleep”

Save The Last Dance For Me

Save The Last Dance For Me

This is a sampling of photographs I made for the “Crazy Couture” photo shoot in Peoria, Illinois.  These were shot in an old warehouse near the riverfront using an inexpensive studio strobe in a large parabolic umbrella with a diffuser. The fill light is simply ambient light from the large windows. On the shots by the steel door I added a gelled Nikon SB800 as an accent.  The most valuable piece of gear I had with me was a borrowed step stool and my assistant who loaned me the step stool. It was around 40 degrees in the warehouse, tougher on models than photographers. No access to power except in the one working bathroom. All our gear works from battery power and the windows provided plenty of cloudy day diffused light to work by. Continue reading “Save The Last Dance For Me”

A Small Tea Party… Une Petit Partie de Thé

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The holidays are over and the New Year is in full swing. Gone are the shopping excursions, gift wrapping and inevitable trips to exchange things for other things that probably won’t be remembered by the next round of holidays. Last year was full of triumphs, disappointments and far too many would-be internet philosophers. In fact 2012 could be called the year of the would-be, could-be everything. The land is littered with self proclaimed experts and to make matters worse the actual experts (people who actually get paid to tell us this stuff) are often no better than the amateurs. So I’m not going to tell you what or how you should do things, I’ll confine myself to showing you what I do and you can decide for yourself if it has any value or not. As Brian DeMint says, “Hey I never said I was any good.”

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So last weekend I invited a few friends over to play a little dress-up and make believe. We had a several silly ideas to use as starting points. One was based on the idea of an imaginary Tea Party based on something Caroline said about warm tea being a cure all for just about everything. It was a very cold day so we took photographs in the basement, which was also very cold. Steve brought his LensBaby portrait lens and took some really cool blurry photos that inspired me to try recreating the same look using photo editing software.

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The best way to get a serious photograph is to have someone do something silly first. It’s a sort of photographic warm up and gets everyone working together and feeling comfortable in front of the camera.

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We started with the idea of recreating a 1920s prohibition speak-easy where the patrons go to have some fun without revealing their identities. After hours of drinking and partying they get sleepy and imagine themselves attending a child’s pretend tea party. The tea party moves ahead in time to a more surrealistic version with tasty treats and warm tea that makes them forget their everyday lives and reveals their inner performers.

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Whirlwind Days

October was a blur of many photo shoots. Car shoots, Costume shoots, Baby shoots, Fall Foliage shoots, Vacation shoots and chilly outdoor location shoots. Then Super Storm Sandy hit the East Coast and made everything else trivial. Big storms always make me think back to my own disaster days and all the places I have traveled to in the aftermath of earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes. Television coverage is a pale representation of the actual event and nothing can prepare you for the emotion of seeing large scale destruction first hand. There is nothing you can say to people in the first hours or days following such complete loss. I’m fortunate because along with all that I have also witnessed the resolve and determination that follows. People are simply amazing when faced with adversity. A lot of things will be rebuilt and reinvented in the months to follow. In many ways I wish I could be there to see it and to participate in the experience somehow.

October is over now, it’s time to begin new things and to give thanks for everything and everyone we love.