personal work

Belleza en las Ruinas

This is something Leslie and I love: working with a gifted model in an intriguing location with beautiful light.
When we learned that we would be visiting an historic hacienda during our trip to Mexico for the wedding of our dear friends Calvin and Andrea, our first thought was: let’s find a model who will love and understand this decaying mansion.
With the help of the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and local talent scout Paul Rodriguez, we were introduced to Elsa (pronounced EALzah), who turned out to be the perfect accomplice for creating these images.
Elsa is a ceramicist living in San Miguel de Allende who loves modeling and was quick to understand our vision for these beauty in the ruins images. Leslie did an entirely separate set of amazing images, which I hope she’ll share in a future blog.
The mansion, which is the centerpiece of a sprawling estate granted by the King of Spain in 1774, was the largest in Mexico. Once owned by the wealthiest person in the country, it is now slowly going back to the earth.
Yet its original beauty is still hauntingly evident. The peeling French wallpaper, the tattered silk ceilings, and the fading frescoed walls hint at its past elegance.
When we first arrived, Elsa, Leslie and I went off in different directions exploring the place (which was huge—we spent an afternoon there and never got into all the rooms).
We were looking for intriguing locations and beautiful light. I loved how this alcove framed Elsa, and the afternoon light bounced all around the white plaster walls, creating soft highlights and shadows.
Elsa was fearless. The back of her dress was covered with white plaster after this shot, and there were bat droppings everywhere. But she, like Leslie and me, was having so much fun making these images, nothing else mattered.
Elsa is five rooms away in this image, and there are as many rooms behind me.
The top of the servant’s circular stairway.
Oh the light. I love how Elsa’s black dress melts into the stairway shadows.
What a different look by just coming up one step into the light. I expressed my concern about Elsa being on the stairs, which were extremely rickety, to which she blithely replied “Oh, I’ve already been up it several times when we were exploring.”
A third stairway portrait. Three very different looks, just by shifting slightly in the light.
Elsa, bailando en la luz.
The beauty of this hand-frescoed wall captured our hearts.
At the end of the afternoon, Elsa rests on the second-floor promenade overlooking the central courtyard. Special shout outs: thanks to Calvin for arranging for us to be here, to Elsa for being so much fun all day, to mentors Keith Carter, who taught me to make images with heart, Cig Harvey, who taught me to make images from my heart, and to Bobbi Lane, who taught me how to see light. All of their influences are evident in every image I make.

Circus Arts

I'm blessed to have a number of New England Circus Arts alums as clients, and Megan, Ferne and Kalina are three of my faves! Here they are in their changing room behind the barn.
I’m blessed to have a number of New England Circus Arts alums as clients, and Megan, Ferne and Kalina are three of my faves! Here they are in their dressing room behind the barn. I used to bring our RV so they could change, but they never used it. They’re so flexible they can change outfits in public without a problem. They are wardrobe Houdinis.
Some friends lent us the use of their beautiful barn for the evening. Megan starts off with a beautiful routine on an aerial hoop.
Megan starts off with a beautiful routine on an aerial hoop in the old post and beam barn some friends let us use for the evening.
The strength and balance required for this move is not in my DNA.
The strength and balance required for these moves is not in my DNA. Not to mention the height thing.
I love the light coming in through the wide barn door as well as the symmetry of Megan's positions on the hoop.
I love the light coming in through the open barn doors as well as the symmetry of Megan’s positions on the hoop.
Look mom, no hands. These artists can find anything and make a routine up around it.
Look mom, no hands. These artists can find anything and make a routine up around it.  I’ve gotten to the point where I just ask, “Is there something you can do with this?” And there always is.
All the images from this shoot are for Megan, Kalina and Ferne's portfolios, so we did a mix of circus arts images as well as portraits in the beautiful Vermont evening light.
All the images from this shoot are for Megan, Kalina and Ferne’s portfolios, so we did a mix of circus arts images as well as portraits in the beautiful Vermont evening light, all in and around the barn.

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Kalina on a single-point trapeze. Wikipedia comments that "the difficulty on a static trapeze is making every move look effortless." Kalina has that part down.
Kalina on a static single-point trapeze. Wikipedia comments that “the difficulty on a static trapeze is making every move look effortless.” Kalina has that part down.

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I mean, really?!?
I mean, really?!?
There were a lot of spots in the barn that had beautiful light. I could spend a week here doing portraits in different locations.
There were a lot of spots in the barn that had beautiful light. I could spend a week here doing portraits in different locations.
It was a perfect evening and the light kept getting better and better.
It was a perfect evening and the light kept getting better and better.  And this dress was so right for this shoot.

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Ferne has graced my blog before, but I'm not sure you've seen her hanging upside-down by her ankles. It's one thing to hang like that, and a whole other thing to get in that position in the first place.
Ferne has graced this blog before, but I’m not sure you’ve seen her hanging upside-down by her ankles. It’s one thing to hang like that, and a whole other thing to get in that position in the first place. Abs required.
Balancing effortlessly.
Balancing effortlessly.
An old tractor becomes a platform for a handstand. Of course.
An old tractor becomes a platform for a handstand. Of course.
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Or that.

 

A beautiful old barber's chair in the barn, with light from an adjacent door.
A beautiful old barber’s chair in the barn, with light from an adjacent door.
I asked Ferne to stand in the doorway for a portrait. No so much. Thanks Ferne, Kalina and Megan for another amazing portfolio session. You all amaze me with your strength, grace and good humor about the places I find to do these shoots!
I asked Ferne to stand in the doorway for a portrait. No so much. These women don’t stand in doorways.
Thanks Ferne, Kalina and Megan for another great portfolio session. You amaze me with your strength, grace and good humor about the places I find to do these shoots!

 

 

Vintage Processing

In my recent blog about Lizz and Eric's beautiful Victorian Steampunk wedding, I mentioned that we'd done a lot of research about Victorian portraiture and wedding photography.
In my recent blog about Lizz and Eric’s beautiful Victorian Steampunk wedding, I mentioned that we’d done a lot of research about Victorian portraiture and wedding photography.
We were also looking at how the photographs were processed, because we wanted to emulate the Victorian style on some of the portraits.
We were  looking not only at how they were posed, but also at how the photographs were processed.
The only way to add color to a portrait in the 1800's was to hand-color it.
The only way to add color to a portrait in the 1800’s was to hand-color it.
Often the early lenses were very soft around the outside, and the hand-coated glass film plates didn't have clean edges.
Often the early lenses were very soft around the outside, and the hand-coated glass film plates didn’t have clean edges.
One of Leslie's images with her vintage lens.
One of Leslie’s images with her vintage lens.
At the Phineas Swann Inn.
At the Phineas Swann Inn.

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Back in the day, wedding poses were symmetrical, unlike today's portraits in which we try to avoid being symmetrical so the images don't appear so formal!
Back in the day, wedding poses were symmetrical, unlike today’s portraits in which we try to avoid being symmetrical so the images don’t appear so formal!
One of my fave's from the day, Lizz posing in front of a Victorian home across the road from the Phineas Swann. It was such a gift to be able to do this Victorian-styled wedding with Lizz and Eric!
One of my fave’s from the day, Lizz posing in front of a Victorian home across the road from the Phineas Swann. Thanks Lizz and Eric! It was such a gift to be able to do this Victorian-styled wedding with you both!