FAVE PHOTO: Mirror Mirror on the Porch
What a fantastically fun day I had shooting behind-the-scenes photography during the music video production for Patterson Trash. My good friend Derek Vaughan Brown is the lead singer for this Baltimore-based rock group. He also was the host of my podcast Fifty to 50. I connected my creative colleague Matt Adams to be the Director of Photography for this wild party-like shoot as Derek, the band, and the band of dancers strutted down Guilford Avenue in the Charles Village neighborhood of Baltimore City.
We dodged the rain drops and managed a productive day’s shoot that ended in a live outdoor concert. I was thrilled to snap 3,000 photos...500 of which I edited. So, it’s pretty difficult to narrow down my favorites, let alone thee fave. So, instead I picked the one above and the nine below keeping with the theme of, “Watching you watch me watch you.” If you want to see a bunch more, check them out here.
My muse for the day was the inimitable Blair Hagan. She helped style the dance crew and made my lens glow with excitement. Also featured in these pics are Morgan Amanda, Marissa Dahl, and Judy Kurjan-Frank.
As I walked up to the porch, hours before the music video recording began, I knew it was going to be a rockstar sort of day. I still struggle with posing models for my photos...so having people to shoot who wanted to be seen and have a keen eye for what will look good in camera made my life oh so easy. I love getting to be a fly in the room (or on the porch).
I also love capturing people when they’re not looking at me but are caught in their own moment. It feels a bit like spying...but, out in the open. Everyone knows I’m there to make photos, but eventually, they forget I’m there. Well, almost everyone 😉.
VIEWING RECOMMENDATION: American Idol
MY RATINGS: SCALE OF 1-4
Intensity: 😮😮 Comedy: 🤣🤣 Drama: 😢😢😢
Writing: 🤔🤔🤔🤔 Originality: 🧐🧐🧐 Cinematography: 😍😍😍😍
I have to first give credit to a show I’m not recommending...The Other Two on HBO Max. The first season was pretty funny but the third which just came out--sucks. That said, in episode 2 (Night Nurse) of the 3rd season there’s a great line of a character who is dying to get people together to watch him acting in his first movie. When he finally gets a crew of friends together he plops himself down in front of everyone and faces them while they watch the screen so he can watch them watch him. As an artist, I know that obsessive desire...to see people react to your art.
Okay, on to my real recommendation. My secret guilty pleasure is American Idol. Feel free to hate it...as Taylor Swift would say...Haters Gonna Hate. In the most recent episode (#17) of season 21, two of the regular judges, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry were in England for the coronation of King Charles III. So, they had special guest judges Alanis Morisette and Ed Sheeran fill in. Not only did they sit as judges, but every solo song from the 8 remaining contestants sang a Morisette song and they paired up to sing duets from Sheeran’s catalogue. The two famous performers noted how cool it was to hear their music be reinterpreted by these young singers. Sheeran even added that often others sing them better than he does.
I know you’re dying to know who I think will win 😉. I’ve always got a favorite and this year is likely everyone’s. His name is Iam Tongi and he is originally from Hawaii. Check out his duet from this episode. If you’re looking for a good cry, watch his audition. And if you’re still with me...check out my second fave of this season. Do NOT let her speaking voice throw you. You’re in for a wild treat.
MY DAD’S VIDEO PROJECT: Ageless Love
My dad died in October of 2019. My mom died in 1997. Dad spent his remaining 22 years after my mom’s death in a depressed state. During that time he wrote and performed two one-man plays about their courtship and his attempt to deal with her death. His goal was to turn the plays into a screenplay to be filmed on the big screen.
When he received the news about his declining health, he decided to hire a director and get the movie made before he died. Over the course of a month, the director managed about a dozen shoot dates mostly at and around my dad’s house. Dad got to help choose the actors and be on set for most of the making of the film. Before he died, he was able to see about 15-minutes of snippets from the edited film.
And now, 4 years later, the movie is available on most of the streaming platforms. You can rent or buy the full length feature film, Ageless Love, and learn the unique story of Yale Schwartz’s courtship of Nina Lemisch (my mom) who was 13.5 years older than him, and a widow with five children (my half-siblings). I make a very short cameo around 45-50 minutes in. It’s been an interesting journey to see others watch and learn about my parents’ story. It's a fun indie film for the whole family. Feel free to ask any questions.
I had nothing to do with the making of the movie...but I suppose the making of me is an outcome of their saga.
ART GALLERY: Reach
I sold my first piece of art to someone I didn’t know! When I heard a friend of a friend was looking at bidding on my framed photograph on display at Maryland Art Place’s Out of Order gallery event I got pretty excited. When the final bell rung for the end of the bidding, I learned my photo named “Reach” was indeed bought by this person. I turned to a friend and said, “I feel two inches taller!”
I know being an artist is not my full-time gig. Most of my income comes from creating videos for non-profit organizations. I often wrestle with folks (not literally...most times) about whether I’m an artist or not. I tend to think of my video production skills as more of a technical support in the storytelling process. It certainly is not telling my story from my perspective.
However, my photography and especially a series like the one sold at the show is art. And having someone put money out who doesn’t know me to acquire that art...well, damn it, I can now say, I’m an artist. It’s not so much the money, but the idea that someone values my creation without having a connection to me personally brings a validation I had been looking for.
Special thanks to my first-ever nude model Scott Burkholder who posed for this series called Home Body. And Greg, my first art patron outside of my friends and family...thank you! I’ve got one more in the series already framed and ready for sale if you’re interested.
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 email@example.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.