September 12th, 2010

So a lot has happened since the last post. I have quite a few updates to make and share, but a very brief summary is that the Maine Media Workshops was fantastic this year. I have a lot of upcoming images to share, from group portraits, to some particularly amazing student images. All around, a great way to cap off a cross-country drive.

And it doesn’t stop there. I jumped straight from that to Cecil College (with a drive to Louisiana and back to Maryland in-between). I’m starting my third week of teaching here and having a blast. If I’m not in the classroom or preparing lesson plans, I’m in production mode on the images I made during the first half of this year. All total, there are 28 new images coming soon. The need to finish everything is highly important right now, too, because… I have a show coming up…

show

The solo exhibition is coming up October 4 in the Milburn Stone Theatre, at Cecil College in North East, Maryland. It will run into November 10. The reception will be October 22, to coincide with the first performance of the “Bat Boy” stage production. Refreshments will be served.

I’m showing the majority of new work created this year, either while in Louisiana or made while traveling around the country on the “Shootapalooza,” in addition to select earlier work from the Beta series.

Cecil College is just off I-95 in Cecil County, Maryland, right before you enter Delaware. If you can’t make the reception but want to come by during a normal day, contact me. I’m at work on campus when it’s open and would be happy to meet up and discuss the show with you.

A week in Maine

June 21st, 2010

So in case you missed it from the workshop class photo, I did make it to Maine! This post is my attempt to wrap up the immediate imagemaking that happened right as I arrived. Images from the class will follow in an additional Maine posting!

When I arrived to Maine, I met up with Kari and said hi to all the familiar faces. Felt like I had never left! I think she and I went to have a pepperoni and jalepeno pizza from Camden House of Pizza, literally within an hour of arrival. Some things never change.

While there and after experiencing absolutely no cell coverage from AT&T during this time, I knew something was up. So using her phone, I called customer support. It took about an hour of both customer support and tech support to work out the problem for why I had no service, but in the end I had cell service for my time here. I should point out that Christina, in customer service, and April, in tech support, were both wonderful people and went above and beyond to help me get back to communication! Seriously, I give AT&T a hard time because, honestly, their service and support line often leave a lot to be desired, but I tip my hat to these two workers for their help and I have nothing but praise to give AT&T here due to their efforts.

Saturday was supposed to be my day to relax, but instead I was right back in imagemaking mode. In addition to the class photo and student portraits from a session with my class, I’ve also made six portraits from some sessions with friends around here. Plus, Kari’s roommate, Marta, who is the darkroom lab tech, along with Aja, a darkroom intern, goofed around with some various lighting setups on that busy Saturday, too!

It’s great being back and only a week has passed. Looking forward to the rest of my time here, both the moments of relaxation in addition to the exciting classroom time!

Kari, my friend here now for three summers straight at MMDub…

Marta…

Aja…

Warren…

Lindsey…

Rae, here in 2008 and back in 2010…

Some photos of Marta while playing with light…

Aja, taken by Marta…

And my uber-sexy GQ photo, by Marta…

Photoshop for Photographers

June 18th, 2010

What a great week this has been! Up above is the class portrait from my “Photoshop for Photographers” workshop at the Maine Media Workshops. It has been a busy, long, but fun and exciting week of discovery, both for students in addition to myself.

Credit for the photograph goes to the participants of the workshop, from left to right: Kevin Prior, Charlotte Donaldson, Deb Tharpe, Mary Gene Myer, and Paul Wagner. Assistant for both the lighting tests, in addition to running the shutter release, was Lottie Hedley.

If you are interested in being in future workshops I teach while here, please visit my MMW faculty page.

Hello Maine!

June 18th, 2010

So I arrived in Maine a week ago. Sorry for the lack of updates since then… it’s been nonstop since GO! I’m currently teaching what has been an amazing “Photoshop for Photographers” workshop here. Lots of great work and discussions going on in this class, and we even made a constructed photo earlier today for our class portrait. For those who read the shot lists, it’s the “ChaChaCha” photo.

I’ve also added another upcoming workshop to my schedule to teach here. On July 4, I begin teaching “Transition to Digital Photography.” The class is aimed at those who have recently began the switch from the analog world to digital. We’ll be scanning negatives, discussing the differences between the two mediums, and introducing the digital workflow available to people and making final prints from images created via field trips throughout Maine from during the week.

For those interested in registering for this exciting workshops, please follow this link.

Stay tuned to the blog for updates from Maine. I’m sitting on a stack of new portraits made after arriving here, and plus there’s a really interesting -fun, even- story about AT&T from my very first day here. I’ll be writing more once the weekend hits!

Entertainment and Luggage

June 13th, 2010

For your viewing pleasure, here is some video of the entertainer I came across in Old Montreal. Never caught his name, but it was great!

And here is some video Carly shot right after the photo with she, Roody, and me. I believe at this point I’m on the phone calling Denise to tell them I’m taking them up on their offer and crashing over at their place later that night.

A note to those viewing this on Facebook: You must view the original post on andybloxham.com in order to see the video files. Facebook doesn’t import this with the Note.

French Portrait

June 13th, 2010

So as I mentioned in a previous post, my portrait shoot with Jasmine was conducted in bad French on my end, a little English on her end, and lots of translation being provided by Alex and Anne. Alex recorded some video of the event and it’s now available online to view.

For those who have been photographed along this trip, you might recognize the attempts at what I’m trying to do in the process!

This is the longer, general session…

And here’s the punchline to “What color is this?” delivered in French!

A note to those viewing this on Facebook: You must view the original post on andybloxham.com in order to see the video files. Facebook doesn’t import this with the Note.

Montreal to Vermont to Boston

June 13th, 2010

(Thursday, June 10)

I headed out of Montreal pretty early. I think 8:30 AM was my departure time. Took about an hour, maybe an hour and twenty minutes, to hit the US/Canada border. At Customs, the guy asked me why I had so much stuff in the backseat of my car, so I told him it was a lot of clothing and camera equipment, and that I was on a photography road trip. I offered him a postcard, but he had to decline. Something about not being able to receive gifts. Either way, that was about the extent of our conversation. Easier coming into America than going into Canada, in a comparison of 30 seconds to 1 minute.

My goal was to head back to White River Junction, Vermont, and do a portrait with Savannah, who I had previously worked with a few days prior in the car photograph. Also, I was going to photograph the Main Street Museum, who loaned me the car and is where she works, so they could add new images to their website.

Again, Vermont is beautiful. It was raining and overcast when I came back through, but here are a couple snaps from the quick travel.

When I arrived at the museum, she had some errands to run so I went and had a cheeseburger with David, the owner, and some of his friends. I can’t remember the name of the shop… I think it was the lower floor of a bar, but that cheeseburger was fantastic!

Back at the museum, I began roaming around making images of the interesting little objects that are contained inside of it. It’s hard to describe what exactly this museum is, other than it hosts an assortment of quirky things that were found or could have been found in traveling side shows in years past.

Afterwards, I met back up with Savannah and we started making portraits. It was a bit different than when I photographed other people who I was meeting for the first time on the trip, since we had very recently already made an image together. Got to hang out and chat about life, and then for the first time on the trip, she grabbed the shutter release cable and made a few portraits of me.

And just for variety, she had a funky wall in her studio area of the museum that she had painted, so we made a few portraits to showcase this as the backdrop.

Afterwards, it was off to Boston for me. I wasn’t able to hang out with my friend, Marissa, last time I came through, so we were going to meet up and make a few photos. Lots of rain all the way from Vermont to Boston.

I arrived to her house around 6:30 and grabbed a bite to eat before jumping into photo setups. We started off with a portrait. She drives a moped and it was her idea to have her portrait made with her helmet. Adorable. Afterwards, we mapped out one of the living room spaces in this huge house and started to work on the “pharmaceutical princess” image, a photo I’ve made before but was never quite satisfied with the result, despite great effort from everyone involved.

I approached this version a little different… probably could have used a third set of hands for the shot, but it still worked out pretty nicely. Also, maybe it was because I knew this was the last night of my trip, but my body was exhausted. I was taking this scene minute by minute, just trying to keep energy to finish it out properly. It’s been a great trip, but with the nonstop go-go-go, weariness can set in at times.

Marissa’s awesome portrait!

Setup and takes from our constructed photo…

And the cast!

I crashed over at Emily’s again that night, where I stayed last time I was in Boston on this trip. Next destination spot: Maine.

Montreal – Day 2

June 12th, 2010

(Wednesday, June 9)

I woke up to a wonderful breakfast from Anne. I can’t remember exactly what they were called, but it was a golden waffle pancake type breakfast, complete with homemade syrup from her family. Absolutely delicious!

The plan for the day was to meet up with Carly and Roody in Old Montreal at 4:45 for a tourist-themed photo. While eating breakfast, I received a call from Denise that she was game for the day, starting at noon! So things were rolling!

Anne had to head out early, so I packed up my bags and said my goodbyes. Before leaving, she gave me the name of a gallery downtown, Musee’ d’Art Contemporain. She said it’d be a good place to stop by and see if there were any future exhibition opportunities. With the address in hand, I set out to there before going to Denise’s apartment for our photo. Upon arrival, I realized it was a huge museum! So, I walked inside, postcards in hand, and left my promotional materials and a note for the curator. We’ll see what happens there. Outside the museum, people were working hard on setting up a stage for a big concert coming through on Friday. Wish I could have stayed to see the performances. When I returned to my parked car, I think a ticket writer had just arrived. I think I was parked legally and in the clear, but still, he was close to my car and I was uncertain. A construction worker motioned a big sigh of relief to my timing, as I guess he had watched the situation unfold.

Hopped on their version of the interstate and met up with Denise at her place. The original photo we were going to do didn’t look possible, because we needed another male for the scene. So, we drove around her place for a bit looking for parking and discussing some other options we could do. When we arrived back at her place, we were surprised to find her boyfriend, Jake, whose class was let out early. Perfect! So he’d be the other male in the photo, and I could finally make this image that’s been in the drawing board for a year now!

First we made portraits for both of them, a process I find to be the best icebreaker upon meeting new people. If I have the time, it’s great.

Denise…

Jake…

For the constructed photo, we were originally going to use their bedroom for the location, but their living room and into their kitchen was so amazing, the idea was morphed a little to fit this spot. The living room walls were blue, with a purple kitchen. Really nice vibes in there.

It was actually a tricky photo to light and angle, and I took an extra amount of time to get it right. More than the usual photo, honestly. But in the end, I was super stoked with the takes we ended up with. I’ve included some of the test shots made while setting the scene up.

Here are some test shots while sorting out how the image would happen…

And the cast…

At this point, it was past 4 PM, maybe even 5 PM. I had to meet Carly and Roody in minutes, but was at least a half hour away, and the sun would be setting relatively soon. So as soon as we shot the image, we started breaking everything down and packing the car. My plan was to drive to Boston after shooting in Old Montreal, but Denise and Jake said if plans changed, I was welcomed to crash on their couch and instead head out the next morning. Not knowing what the near future would hold, I held that out as a possibility but still said goodbyes just in case.

And then off I was to Old Montreal. Parking was amazingly hard, and since I already had one ticket from there, I had to make certain I was parked legally. Montreal is crazy with their expensive street parking and vulture-like ticket givers.

I met up with Carly and Roody about an hour and a half late, though we had been in touch via phones, alerting them of my scheduling holdups. They had thought this was the only shot I was making in Montreal, and seemed taken back that I had already made two others, along with six portraits beforehand.

The sun was starting to get low, and would be even dimmer because of the tall buildings between it and the streets. So, I had to work quick. We dropped lights down in the street and got to work. Luckily, everything was pretty mapped out ahead of time, from the concept to composition, to even the exact location, so all I had to do was set the camera up and we were pretty golden.

There was a woman across the street who kept interrupting us by barging in on the shot. At first it was funny, but by the fifth time it became obnoxious. Despite her interruptions, the show went fairly quick. Quick as in, probably the fastest shoot of the entire trip.

Here are some test shots while setting the scene up…

And some takes…

With the hustle and rush of everything, it completely slipped my mind to take a cast photo. And since this was on a city street, we weren’t able to make blue portraits but I did take a few portfolio images for Roody and Carly…

Afterwards we went back to that square where I had stopped the previous night to watch the entertainer. Around this time I realized there was no way I had enough energy to make it back to Boston that night so I borrowed Roody’s phone and called Denise and Jake. They were cool with me crashing over at their place for the night, so after food and yet another round of goodbyes (it sucks making friends so quickly, and then having to turn around and depart from their city) I went back to Denise’s. They had to leave at 8 AM so I mentally prepared myself for the lack of sleep that would soon come to me.

Ended up staying up until 2-3 AM or so, chatting with Denise and checking out her handmade clothing. They’re pretty fantastic. She even had a robot suit, which made me think of the robot photo I made with Kari a few years ago. And actually, that image was what Jake was using for his desktop wallpaper awhile back! Time when I finally closed my eyes: 4 AM.

Montreal – Day 1

June 12th, 2010

(Tuesday, June 8)

Oh Montreal. Where to even begin?

So I crossed the border into Canada around 1 PM yesterday. When asked where I was from and where I was going, the border patrol officer goes “You’re driving from Louisiana to Montreal to take photos?”

“Well,” I said, “this isn’t my first stop.”

Took me about 20 seconds to find the equation of kilometer speed limits. A bit longer to realize that Quebec isn’t exactly a bilingual province. It’s French. Street signs are in French. It’s the normal conversational language. Even my Garmin GPS lady dropped into a French accent while attempting to pronounce some of these streets.

The first photo of the day took place on an island, basically a huge park which contained a metal dome called the Biosphere. I met up with Anne and Eymen, to make a photograph centering around a dodge and evasion field war involving eggs. I was never sure if the Biosphere would actually be in the shot, but it was a nice central meeting place for everyone.

http://andybloxham.com/shootapalooza/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/MG_2524.jpg

As it turned out, the fields surrounding it created the perfect backdrop. We overturned a trash can and got to work. Except the rain eventually caught up to me, I’m guessing a straggler from the Boston storm? So we had to quickly move everything out of the open and under trees, and then eventually under a roof. But just as Anne and Eymen predicted, the rain stopped as soon as we moved everything away.

Soo…. we moved everything back!

Here are some test shots while trying to compose the scene in different areas…

After almost an hour of moving gear around, back and forth, we were finally able to perform the action sequence, very aware of the time because Anne had work soon. Eymen received multiple egg splatters to the chest, while Anne and I rallied against the onslaught in a show of support for our fallen comrade. Fun shot that will turn out nicely! Sadly, during this shoot I lost not one but TWO lighting umbrellas. In the hurry to unload equipment, I neglected to bring the sandbags out of the car. Paid the price.

The cast photo…

Anne had to leave, so Eymen and I loaded the car. At this point, I should mention that my cellphone had absolutely no coverage. I had assumed that I would start roaming once I entered Canada, but instead I only saw the “No Signal” at the top of my bar. Sooo… in Canada for awhile, still scheduling photo shoots with local people, mapping out where to shoot, and where I’ll be staying… without cell access. Fun times.

Eymen had to go home and shower the egg away, but we decided to meet back up via facebook in an hour. I’d go into downtown, grab a bite to eat, and locate a WIFI spot. So we separated and I set out for this downtown that I had never been in before. Complete with French road signs.

Instead of the usual sinks, the Biosphere bathroom contained a circular faucet system…

And although it isn’t funny, here’s another convenience store photo…

I have never seen so many bicyclists before in my life. Once I actually arrived downtown, I wasn’t concerned with the other drivers. Instead, it’s the bikers you have to watch out for. Making a simple right turn (which by the way, I learned tonight that it’s illegal to do at a red light here) wasn’t always so easy, not because the pedestrians were crowding each turn, but because cyclists here speed into those spots, seemingly oblivious to both cars and the speed at which their blindspot-prone, nearly invisible self are traveling. And I say this as a biker myself. Almost hit a few people while navigating to a Subway restaurant but in the end, no casualties.

Once I found WIFI, I saw that Eymen added me on facebook so I was able to chat with him and tell him my location. Half an hour later or so, he stopped by the Subway and we started looking for hostels in the area. He was a great help in offering suggestions on which ones would be the best areas to stay in. Also, he loaned me his phone for a few Montreal-based phone calls. So began the start of hopping from one Montreal cellphone to another in order to keep in touch with people I’d be shooting with. I’d be curious to see the number trail I created while here.

Luckily, one of those phone calls was to Anne, who informed me that it’d be fine to crash at her place. She lives with her boyfriend, Alex, and their roommate Jasmine. I planned to do make some portraits of her, possibly with the others in the house. It was also cool if Eymen dropped by, too, for a portrait. I could come by in an hour and a half.

Eymen took off for a bit, so I decided to check out the city during this time, and also visit Old Montreal and pick out a location to use for the next day’s shoot. Of course I got lost a few times while driving around, but the city isn’t so bad. I was able to figure myself out pretty easily. I did ask one girl if she knew where I needed to go to find Old Montreal, though. Turns out this girl, Sophie, was from the Netherlands but was a great help. Pointed in the right direction, I set off.

If you’ve been to Paris or the French Quarter in New Orleans, you have a decent idea of what Old Montreal is like. They are all unique in various ways, of course, but the architecture is somewhat similar, and the main roads inside of it are cobblestone. Great to look at, but an even better massage to your bottom as you drive over them. I parked my car in front of a restaurant and hustled back a few blocks to get the address of a church I had recently passed. Along the way back, though, I cam across a street performer who is one of the most entertaining acts I’ve seen in a long time. I hung out for a good 7-10 minutes watching him, as the crowd grew and grew. Took some video of his show for you guys to see, too! It will be in a post dedicated to video files.

But when I got back to my car, I was greeted with a parking ticket. Apparently I was parked in a residential area? It’s a 50$ ticket that I’ll have to pay relatively soon. So… two busted umbrellas and a ticket, all in the first day in Montreal. I guess things could be worse… I could have never made it there.

So I get to Anne’s house, meet everyone, and unload the car. I set up a portrait station in their living room and started with Anne. Something I noticed while making these portraits: my corny jokes are regional. “What did the 3-legged dog say when it walked into the bar? ‘I’m looking for the man who shot my paw.’ ” No reaction. I guess paw is a phrase too Southern for Canadians. But things went well. I even managed to do a portrait session in stuttering French, because Jasmine is primarily a French speaker, whose English is only marginally better than my French. Alex recorded some video of this session! Sidenote, Jasmine is currently a student studying Sexology… I had to ask her if she meant Psychology, but nope, Sexology. Sounds fun, didn’t realize there was a whole major dedicated to it. I wonder if that’s a hands-on major.

During this time, I also received a phone call from Denise (via Anne’s house phone), someone I was trying to schedule a shoot with the next day. We were trying to set up a time, and also seeing which shot would work best with the location and available other models we had, and also working around her work schedule. We wouldn’t know if it would happen until the next day, though, so she was going to call the house the next morning and give me a definite yay or nay on if we would be able to shoot together.

The portraits went easily into 1-2 AM. Plans were to wake up at 9 AM since everyone had to depart, so I broke everything down the night before and went to the room Anne had set up for me. Overall, a pretty great, productive first day in Montreal!

Eymen…

Anne…

Alex…

Jasmine…

Everybody, except Eymen, because he had to catch the subway beforehand…

Update

June 10th, 2010

I’m still working on the HUGE entry for Montreal. Currently traveling back through Vermont. Song at the moment: “Come Sail Away” by Styx, at full volume. Until the next post I’ll leave you with a funky shower curtain from where I stayed Tuesday night!