We photographed our friend Kenn back in March for the heck of it, and because he's such a cool dude. He was super kind in letting us use him as a model and his awesome shop as a backdrop while we had some fun with different lighting set-ups. Kenn is a gear head, rocks out to good music--and gives a great haircut. He just opened up his own barber shop in downtown Blacksburg and has done a bang up job inserting his personality and vision into it, outfitting it with old car and garage signs, a retro radio he restored, a steel tool chest for all his hair cutting tools and a glass jug filled with "moonshine" in the corner. He even has hair products that are packaged like fuel cleaner. His place has a warm nostalgic feel--it really isn't like any other hair salon you'll go to, and Kenn backs it up with haircutting skillz. If you are in Blacksburg and need your do done, stop by his place for the best haircut in town.
It's the end of March, and that means Dave was itching to remove the five months worth of manliness he's grown on his face. It also means it's time for a beardy (or not-so-beardy) photo shoot. Not sure if it was the Beatles 50th anniversary, or Elton John's 40th anniversary, or all that Oscar-nominated costume design in recent films (American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club) that inspired this year's photo, but there is no question that Dave looks like his Dad from the early 80s in that third photo.
I'll post a few more of my favorites from the shoot over the next few days.
I got a call to take a super quick assignment for The Roanoke Times this week to photograph the new, incoming executive director of the Jacksonville Center for the Arts in Floyd. For the last decade, Jeff Liverman has been the executive director of the Danville Science Center, a division of the Science Museum of Virginia. Originally coming from Richmond, Jeff has a background squarely in science with both a BS and MS in Physics. I figured I'd use the opportunity to try a nice one-light portrait, but once I got on-site, setting up the gear was a no-go and time was extremely limited. When I asked him which part of the facility he liked the most so far, he mentioned the pottery studio and metal smith studio because those are places where you can really form and create things with your hands--physics of another form I suppose. So we headed around the back of the main part of the building into the pottery studio, where the sun was spilling through two single windows onto the pottery wheels and light concrete floors and bouncing light back into the room. Seeing a stool in front of a chalk board and not having too much time, I went with it. You can read the Q&A with Jeff in The Roanoke Times here: Connecting with community’s ‘creative culture’
Our friend and photographer Angel David Verde of Angel's Point of View came to us needing a new headshot for 2014 with a specific look in mind. It's always fun to photograph fellow image makers, as they (like us) aren't usually the ones in front of the camera and finally get a taste of their own medicine.
Merry Christmas, everyone! We hope Santa brought you everything you wanted today, and that you're enjoying some great time with friends and family.
“The Many Faces of Santa” is an ongoing portrait series that was started in the 2012 holiday season to explore how the iconic and quintessential image of Santa Claus -- red suit, red hat, white beard, twinkle in the eye -- is represented by the amateur and professional Santas in our region who don the transformative attire every year to bring magic and smiles to kids (and adults) everywhere.
Although we know thousands of men dressed in red suits and white beards are running around this time of year, when we see someone playing Santa we all exclaim “Look! Santa!”, not “Look! *A* Santa!”. Each Santa represents the one Santa we hold in our minds. We may no longer believe in an actual Santa that lives at the North Pole and drives a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, but (commercialism and religion aside) we still believe in what Santa represents to us and our inner child -- joy, nostalgia, magic, anticipation.
Our western tradition of Santa Claus partly derives from the very real Saint Nicholas who was a 4th century bishop of Myra in what is now Turkey, and was famous for his generous gifts to the poor. Fittingly, most of the Santas captured here have an underlying, year-round, commitment to community service, and a real joy bringing help and happiness to others -- everything that the “real” Santa represents.
All the Santas here were photographed on-location at their respective events, which were all publicly advertised. Considering their busy schedules and incognito personas, we were very grateful at how accommodating they all were in having their portraits made.
Which is your favorite?
Which one do you think looks most like the "real" Santa?
Way back in 2012, December to be exact, we photographed The Black Twig Pickers for their latest album release, Rough Carpenters, on Thrill Jockey Records. We'd been trying to get together for this shoot for a while, and finally, after playing a local show on a freezing Saturday night, we dragged them outside with no coats on. They were up for anything--which was pretty amazing since they had just played for several hours and it was after midnight--and they kept warm by continuing to showcase their energetic talents out on the sidewalk. Fully expecting our group (of under-dressed musicians, photographer on a stool, guy holding a 5-ft octa box and friend holding a tree branch out of the way) to be gawked or yelled at, passers-by and drunk college students instead stopped to listen with genuine appreciation of their music, nodding, clapping and dancing along. The whole night was a ton of fun, even though the shoot itself was quite a whirlwind.
If you haven't heard The Black Twig Pickers, definitely check them out. They serve up a boisterous and energetic collection of old-time music that will get you up and moving and listening to their albums over and over again.
Here are some others we took that evening--including a couple taken during their show and in the beer shop next door.
At the beginning of November we participated in the Roanoke Tweed Run, and also took portraits of the riders in all their amazing tweedyness. We had a great time, and can't wait to do it again next year. Here are a few of our favorites from the day:
While on assignment for the Roanoke Times to cover the Radford Highlanders Festival on Saturday, David and I thought we'd take a strobe along and grab some portraits of folks donning their Scottish garb and perhaps of some of the athletes participating in the Scottish games. We ran into several members of various pipe and drum groups who were happy to pose with their instruments and even play some for us, including this young lad, Ian. Read the story that ran in Sunday's edition of the Roanoke Times and see some more of the photos there too.
Testing some new equipment last week.
Every now and again, David and I do photobooths as a side gig--but I wouldn't call them "photobooths". Instead, they're more like "instant portrait studios". "Instant" in that we provide on site printing of 4x6 prints, and "portrait studio" in that there is no box, we have professional studio lighting and a photographer who takes the photos--not automated software. Over the last several years we've really enjoyed doing these--for events, street fairs, parties--and we just recently decided to get more aggressive in marketing this service. In doing so we thought it was high time to separate Random Found Objects Photography from the photobooth, and give it a name and brand all it's own. Enter Swell Booth. Swell Booth made it's first official appearance at the Fork & Cork Wine Festival in April and at The Creekmore Law Firm's (aka The Artful Lawyer) quarterly art opening in the beginning of May. I love the different ways people interpret the booth, interact with it and they way their personalities come through in each photo. Here are three of our favorites from the last two booths we did. The third photo is of our good friend Jeff Greenough. He's an awesome photographer and wonderful mentor. Thanks Jeff!
Here's an outtake that I am a bit fond of from a shoot I did yesterday for an upcoming annual report. I really like the expression and the way his hair is blowing in the wind, it adds that touch of personality that you don't always get in photos like these.