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JUMP TO SECTION: 1. Isabel Posed 2. Love Has Won 3. Nelly’s Echo

 

FAVE PHOTO: Isabel Posed



As one does at the beginning of a new year...I reflected a bit on the past 365 days. However, I am typically one to look ahead. Perhaps it’s a glass half-full that keeps me optimistic at what’s to come rather than pause long to consider what was; and is no more.


I shot this photo of my dog park friend, Isabel, at Jefferson’s studio (another dog park friend). Jefferson gave me a couple hour tutorial using flash and continuous lighting for indoor portrait photography. He’s talented and a great teacher. I learn by watching and doing.


New to me this year is a home photo studio recently designed in my garage. I’ve been shooting documentary style photos and video for decades. I am now working on getting better at portraits. Learning how to pose people. Experimenting with flash and non-natural (sun) light. It’s been on my mind for awhile and I’m finally putting time and energy into the process. Below are mostly behind-the-scenes photos that I have become super comfortable and confident in producing. Hopefully in three hundred sixty-some days I’ll say the same about posed portrait photography.


Want to experiment with me? Help me learn and get some cool pics. I’ll be hosting “pay-what-you-want” photo sessions in the new space in January. Shout at me if you’re interested. Headshots, family photos, pet portraits, dating profile pics, artsy experimental shots, or anything else you’d like to try...I’m here for it.



 

JUMP TO SECTION: 1. Isabel Posed 2. Love Has Won 3. Nelly’s Echo

 

VIEWING RECOMMENDATION: Love Has Won: The Cult of Mother God (on HBO)

MY RATINGS: SCALE OF 1-4

Intensity: 😮😮😮😮 Comedy: X Drama: 😢😢😢

Writing: 🤔🤔🤔 Originality: 🧐🧐🧐🧐 Cinematography: 😍😍😍


I watch a lot of documentaries about cults. There’s probably much to unpack about why, but that might best be done while sipping a coffee or a harder drink in person.


What is “new” about Love Has Won: The Cult of Mother God is that the leader is a woman. This is pretty rare from my documentaries-about-cults watching experience. There’s definitely a different vibe to the power dynamic with Amy Carlson as “God” in this three-part series.


I tend to dislike spoilers, but it’s apparent from early on that Amy dies at the end. It’s a really sad story. Interviews with her followers, “Father God” romantic partners, and her family kinda breaks my heart. With so many recent documentaries the filmmakers have so much access to visual content. Technology allows us to record our lives with ease.


The content shows a wild belief system that honors a host of galactic advisors including Robin Williams, John Lennon, and Michael Jackson. The dedication of her small crew of believers feels similar to most other cults in that there is a longing for family. A new family that sees you for who you are. I can relate to that desire to be connected to a community who believes in you and helps you become the best version of yourself.


In recent years, I’ve realized that my actual family is a part of that community. With our parents gone, my siblings and I are now orphans. This has likely brought us even closer together. One of the beautiful things about family, whether by blood or friendship, is that our ability to stay connected through time is often the magic needed to make us feel the love and acceptance we sometimes look for outside of our own relatives.

 

JUMP TO SECTION: 1. Isabel Posed 2. Love Has Won 3. Nelly’s Echo

 

VIDEO PROJECT: Nelly’s Echo


My secret (though not any more) reality TV show guilty pleasure is American Idol. I love hearing stories of these talented young singers. And in recent years, the show has really targeted more musicians and singer/songwriter types rather than just the best vocalists. Last season’s winner was a tremendously talented musician with an easy going spirit from Hawaii named Iam Tongi. His father died months before the auditions and the 18 year old crushed with his cover of Monsters (by James Blunt).


So, when I saw that my friend Nelly’s Echo was opening for Iam at Ram’s Head On Stage in Annapolis...I got an idea. I’ve been wanting to work with Nelly’s Echo for awhile and love creating documentary style videos for my musician friends like the one I did for Mark G. Meadows. For me, the story behind the artist is as compelling as the music. I reached out to Nelson (Nelly’s Echo) and suggested a barter of sorts...to shoot a docu-concert of his show in exchange for getting to stay for Iam’s concert.


I love connecting my relationships to creative opportunities.

 
 

If you dig what you’ve read...please subscribe (at the top of the page) and send a link to folks you think might enjoy it. Contact me at michaelivan@loud-communications.com with any questions, comments, or if you’d like to have me produce a video or photo for you. Check out my instagram and website.


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