The Embarrassment of Photography Riches Week

It seems like everything is arriving late in Chicago this year. We’re all still wondering if we’re done with rainy 50 degree days yet and it’s mid June. And I finally got a few days of freedom for the first time in I can’t remember how long. My Memorial Day Holiday had to wait until mid-June as well.

But I’ve been making up for lost time, with what else, personal photography work. The business of photography is always wagging it’s finger at my like my 8th grade teacher, so finding a few days to stretch my creative vision is always welcome.

Jillian Ann and Grant Chambers arrived in Chicago last Sunday to stay with me for few days while they were in town for their Heavyweight Dub Champion show at the House of Blues on tour with Sly and Robbie. I love their music and this was the first time I was going to get to see them preform live. Although I was photographing the show at the same time, so my ears were only half paying attention. What I heard was very good, and what I saw was excellent.

HOB agreed to let me have access to pretty much wherever I wanted to be, which was nothing short of incredible. The band wanted me onstage with them to get lots of interesting angles and it was great fun to be on stage with them. I just tried not to trip over any cables or step on anything important as I made my photographs.

I really enjoy shooting concerts. The lighting at venues like this is always first rate although usually a little dimmer than cameras like, but my cameras do very well in low light and I never use a flash because I don’t want to ruin the ambience, both for the musicians and the photographs.

The next day, the band, crew and I met up at Chicago Diner for a nice mid-week brunch. It was great spending time with everyone, including the other members of HDC, Totter Todd and Stero-Lion. Good food and conversation and a nice moment of relaxation before everyone headed out on the rest of the tour.

Heavyweight Dub Champion will be back in town later this summer at Wicker Park Fest, and I would encourage anyone in Chicago to come to the show on July 25th. Good music and brilliantly talented people.

Jillian and I have been working together for about 8 years now and I have been fortunate enough to spend time photographing her during that time. She and I always end up with great photographs. She’s a very inspiring model to work with.

We spent some time in my studio the day after the show and shot a few nice sets and I even shot some HD video of her to use for a spec spot for my director’s reel. Lovely, classy and beautiful. I’m anxious to begin cutting it all together.

Before we knew it, she was off to another part of the country and I had a half day to catch my breath before the next wave of photographic bliss. And get the studio in shape for the next round.

Asphyxia is a model I’ve been wanting to work with for some time now and she was arriving from the East Coast just as Jillian Ann was leaving for more modeling projects and to catch up with her band. Asphyxia showed up at my studio with Amiria Divine, a great beautiful Chicago model. We had dinner on my roof and then got to work.

We all hit it off immediately. I love when shoots are equal mixes of fun, laughter, collaboration, and beautiful work. It’s a rare thing when everyone manages to find their groove right away upon a first meeting and this was one of those times.

Asphyxia is a tremendously expressive model. She shows up with enthusiasm and great ideas. Her expressions are always spot on and she has a host of emotions that make any photographer giddy.

We all went through my wardrobe collection looking for things that seemed inspiring to us, playing dress up and trying out different looks. Great fun.

Amiria was tagging along to help Asphyxia navigate Chicago, but before too long she was jumping into the fray after finding one of my New Orleans masks. She too has a great series of expressions and I’m looking forward to working with her again, now that we have discovered each other here in Chicago.

We’re just about ready to begin our third shoot in three days in a couple of hours, so this little tease of photography will have to do for now. This has been one incredibly productive photography week. I always appreciate creating time like this. I always feel alive when I have such generous and amazing subjects to work with.

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