Huzzah it is my first showing in many many years, I got invited to RAW Seattle to show off the stuff I like the most. I’ll post ticket information when I have all the data to get it to you. I have been trolling my pictures to see which ones the public has liked the most and using that as a way to determine what non-nude pictures I can use. Racy is cool, but I think in going through their web site that nude/semi-nude is not on the buffet for this one. Not that I mind, I have some awesome non-nude pictures and have been building up the list of interesting things to show off from the collection of 50,000 thousand pictures that I keep on line, winnowing them down to 25 or so that I really love, and the audience loves has been a challenge.
Overall though this one should be interesting to approach. We will be going to the one on the 27th of July at the Trinity Night Club to check it out and see what the show is all about. I’ll take some pictures to see what others are doing and what the standards are going to be like. If anyone knows what passes for cocktail dress now a days please let me know, I have no clue. I am more of a jeans and t-shirt kind of person, heck we are lucky if I am wearing pants some times.
I do think that this will be a lot of fun either way to see what the process looks like, the last time I was at a gallery show was in the 1980’s. I am sure that gallery shows have changed since then, and getting inside the Trinity is just going to be a lot of fun in the longer run. The club is wonderful, and a pretty cool place to hang out. I like the idea that this is a multi-modal show, fashion, art, music, everything, kitchen sink. That should keep things all the more interesting as they go through the process of finding people to show stuff off and add to the collection of artists that they are supporting by offering them an audience, a space, and time to get to know others in the community.
If photographers are not doing their best social media, it is really super important that you do so. The only reason I think these folks found me is that I am posting a lot, and that is what keeps this all interesting, and fresh in people’s minds. Hope to see you there, it should be a riot. September 28th, hope to see you there.
798 is changing, so much of it was missing from my 2012 trip that it was very sad to see what is happening to what is singlehandedly the most amazing place in China if you love modern art. In so many ways Beijing can be a crowded sterile city with small pockets of live amidst the high rise buildings. 798 defies everything you thought about china from the time you walk in the area, to the time you leave every sense from touch to taste (awesome food and drinks) to visual art to everything that surrounds you invades your mind and you will leave changed. 798 is a unique place in Beijing, there might be other places like it, but 798 is a legend.
The interesting part is what you can find there. Everything from all art forms are there. The wall art is the most special and amazing to me. It is simply world class, and would not be surprised to find a Banksy or other world class street artist working out of the spaces there. The other interesting part is that there is art there that can be found on the streets of Seattle. When you see a slap tag on a wall in 798 on a USPS priority mail label, you know that there is communication and sharing between Chinese slap taggers and American slap taggers. I almost fell over to see something like that, and would love to know more about how they communicate and how they share stuff happens. I would love to see some Chinese slap tags floating around Seattle.
It does look like the area is subcuming to the pressures of urbanization. Significant portions of 798 were abandoned this year. Pressure of high rises and other mass housing are everywhere in the area, and that has to be putting pressure on the galleries and artists that live and work there. I have no idea where they will go once 798 is gone, but I hope to find it when they do finish moving to their new digs. China faces incredible population pressures that Americans can only guess at. In a land that is 5000 years old, in a culture that has seen a little bit of everything, 798 manages to stand out as unique. It would be a shame if the area was eventually bulldozed for more high rise housing that few people can honestly afford. (One of my Chinese friends was telling me that it is 50,000 RMB per square meter of an apartment in a high rise, and you only own it for 50 years not forever. $8,000 roughly for those who want to do a quick conversion in your head).
798 deserves to live, but that is up to the Chinese government, and the artists that need to be there to help the community thrive. In all though, for as long as it exists, this is a vibrant and amazing place to go visit, you should soon, because it might not be there for very much longer.
St. Edwards is one of the hidden crumbling gems here in the Seattle area, located north of Kenmore on Juanita Drive, hang a left on Seminary Road, and go all the way down the windy turny back road feeling deliverance country set up to get there. There are lots of light, lots of interesting artifacts throughout the four floors and some 120,000 square feet or more of a run-down Catholic School. From cell like dormitories, to the laundry room, theater, ball room, and other things this is one interesting place to go check out when it is open. You will want your discovery pass for this one, parking is under the Washington State Parks rules, and it is 10 bucks or 30 dollars for a full year pass to all the parks. The feel in there is oppressive at times, you wonder what the stories are, and when you throw in a pile of photographers, it makes for an awesome day of taking pictures.
Urban Exploration folks are going to love this place when it is open, from the paint peeling off the walls, to the danger asbestos signs, including seeing a couple of boxes (empty) that were marked high explosives, you get a real feel for this place, and the stories that are left behind. Oppressive, hopeful, weird, wonderful, huge for exploring, windows, and booby traps on some of the dormitory doors, it is a wonderful place to go take pictures. There are much worst ways of spending your day. The interplay of light and dark within the building is unique in my experience. Well worth visiting and checking out, bringing a couple of models along for the horror show creepy feel that the building has. Zombie fans should check this place out.
Remember Phone Booths? I barely do, but I do know that they once littered the landscape like wild herds of buffalo before they got replaced by cell phone and tablet computers. Small cramped, just enough room to sit up straight in, so when you find a vintage phone booth with a vintage phone, you know you have to try to cram someone in there and say “act sexy”. Miss Merlot did awesome in bringing a whole new definition to “act sexy for me” as a photographer. Seriously the booth is maybe 2 feet by 2 feet, and how she was able to get the hot sexy look is pretty awesome on her part. The problem with phone booths is that you have to come in close; otherwise you get a lot of wall and phone booth to go along with it.
If you are taking pictures in a small cramped space you have little to no choice but to come in close, or there will be a lot of dead space in the picture that you will eventually crop out later. The back of the phone booth is reflective so if you are using continuous lighting you want a soft box, and you want to bring down the highlights in Lightroom or Photoshop. The cool part is that the background is a neutral grey so it will highlight the colors that the model is wearing. There is another set with Julliet that I will post later where she is wearing a white silk traditional Chinese costume in the same phone booth, reducing the highlights is what is going to make your pictures work.
You can visit the web site here – but they really need to update that puppy with the correct year, and the pictures that were taken last year. There are a ton of really good reasons to go, most of all because it is one of the cooler things to do in town. I know I had a blast last year with it, and got a ton of cool pictures you can see below. I think of all the things I have done, the Steampunk Ball is probably my most favorite event of the year.
There is more to come, but just wanted to drop a quick blog entry on the event, encourage people to purchase tickets and come along to the show. There is very good music, beer, burlesque, and other things that are going along with it all the time, including some of the pre-show events that you can attend all over Seattle as people get warmed up to the show. There are so few Steampunk things that happen in town, it is worth going to this one. Hope to see you there, and look forward to the pictures that will happen.
Steampunk Ball 2012 – Pictures of the show – including Burlesque Dancers
We really didn’t get to stay as long as we wanted to for the Glen or Glenda show, lots of people where there and we didn’t have the requisite paperwork to stay in the club all night long. In the mean time we were able to get a couple hundred really good pictures of the first two sets, so we hope you enjoy them. Overall this was an awesome way to shut down the Fun House, and that leaves no medium scale or large scale punk rock club in the Seattle area anymore. There are only two or three smaller punk rock clubs, so the loss of the Fun House is huge for the Seattle area. It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when the Fun House resurrects itself and comes back bigger badder and bolder. But with them selling everything including the kitchen sink and PA system, it is going to be a while until we have a larger punk rock club here in the Seattle area. That is the sad news, the good news is that the whole place was insane last night with people really having a good time overall.
In the long run though, Seattle loses a landmark, and photographers lose one of the most photo friendly clubs in the Seattle area. It is going to be very hard now for photographers who want to record the band scene to get any kind of traction. The larger clubs that bring in National level groups are not photographer friendly in the same way that the Fun House was. That is the loss, we lose something when a club shuts down and we have very little to replace it with. Maybe some of the other clubs will see this as a business advantage and bring back the large stage (with please for the love of God better lighting) for local and semi-national punk rock acts to play their music, and give the punk rock scene here in Seattle a little love along the way.
We all know the place where we got our start learning to love photography, or any other hobby. Some of my clearest memories center on cameras in second grade when I was fascinated with my little Kodak Instamatic 125 format camera. Tonight we shut down the fun house, another place where I got my start doing bands. The fun house was one of the most camera friendly venues in the Seattle area, no bribery, no needing to know someone, just come in and take pictures of the bands, sit at the bar, have some fun with it. There were always photographers at the joint working on their craft, and all of them were always awesome to each other. No one got annoyed, we all had fun, small bands got some excellent pictures of their shows in ways that they could never have afforded. Who is going to pay for a photographer to come and shoot a punk rock show? Not many bands can afford that expense.
And tonight the Fun House closes, seven years of on again off again photography for me. I know there will be a video crew down there as the Fun House documentary has been in progress for over a year now. The documentary needs to get done now, tonight is the last night ever that any kind of event will happen at the Fun House in its current location. The Fun House will probably resurrect somewhere in the Seattle area, but finding space for a club is nearly impossible in town, parking is always going to be an issue, and neighbors will always complain about the noise.
Thank you Fun House – it was love at first sight, and thank you to all the amazingly cool bands that have come and gone from all over the USA and Canada on tour. Thanks for the many nights of entertainment, photographs, and basketball.