portrait

Personal Work | Kenn

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.

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Portrait of the new Jax E.D. for The Roanoke Times

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’Jeff Liverman for The Roanoke Times

The Black Twig Pickers

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.

Ian the bagpiper

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.

Kappas and the tree

Over two years ago, life-long Blacksburg resident Chris Kappas asked if I could take some photos of him and the big Sycamore tree that resided just outside his office in downtown Blacksburg. It had just been announced that the tree would be cut down come summer. The tree had been sickly for sometime, and a lot of residents had noticed that each year it was a little less robust, standing a little less strong, and never leafing out as much as the year before. Nearly 140 years old, it had become a much loved icon and institution in Blacksburg, and Chris, a town institution himself, remembers climbing its trunk and branches when it was still small enough to do so. For many of us that have grown up in this town, the Sycamore was a constant figure, always providing a hillside of shade during our humid mountain summers and adding a burst of brilliant yellow in the fall. In most of these photos, Chris stood posed, looking straight into the camera, but I was able to sneak a frame or two of him being more reflective.