The Year in Review — The Edgy part 1

As I mentioned in The Year in Review — The Pretty, I made a New Year’s resolution to work on my photo artistry by producing more edgy works, perhaps push the boundaries of controversy and shoot things outside of my comfort zone.  I didn’t realize when I started this that Facebook would become the primary location for displaying photos and with their incredibly conservative moderation policy, that I was going to be pretty limited to what I could show off and what I could not so I somewhat backed down.

When it was said and done, I had 10 shoots I classified as pretty only, and 19 shoots (not counting private sessions) that had edge to them. So I feel I was pretty successful in shooting more arty shoots.

Edgy Shoot #1.  Randi Smith

Crystal De la Cruz Hopper and I started off the year kicking some major photo behind.  This shoot was to be one of the better shoots that we collaborated on.  As is frequent with many of my shoots, I over-planned what all we could get done in the time we had to shoot.   We shot everything from a cowgirl look, to some esoteric concepts to fabric play.

Randi was a real trooper as we put her through more looks than a model gets during a normal shoot.  It was fast paced and we produced many photos.

In this photo, we took some red fabric, and using speedlights, projected a knife shadow on the background and lit the cloth from behind to create a Hitchcockian look but with a clear sense of blood.


Edgy Shoot #2. Hillery Alley.

While February was filled with Pretty, my one and only shoot in March was a hybrid shoot, somewhat pretty, somewhat edgy.  This was really Crystal’s shoot.  We brought in stylist Knox Slooop to style Hillery.  Crystal’s main vision was to do something Victorian, but we couldn’t stop there.

We mixed in some simple fashion in a studio setting and we ended up with an edgy, emotional photo of Hillery dripping wet like she was crying or stressed in the rain.

Edgy Shoot #3. Heather Mercer.

March and April were disasters in scheduling due to weather.  Most of my planned shoots were for the outdoors and a wet, cold and windy spring made getting these shoots done very difficult.  But with the help of my friend’s Will McEwen and Baron Baker, we setup a makeshift studio at Baron’s warehouse and planned a Steampunk shoot on April Sunday 17th.  We had two models booked but the weather would find a way to mess up even our indoor shoot.

As mother nature would have it, on Saturday April 16th an EF3 tornado would hit the Triangle area, dancing up South Saunders street and wrecking the lives of many.  This prevented one of our two models from being able to make it, so with only Heather on hand, we went forward with our Steampunk shoot. The Flickr set is here.

Edgy Shoot #4. Jean Morrison

This shoot was the brain child of Tom Winstead.  He produced one of my favorite photos of the year of Jean from this shoot.  He invited myself along with Rob Kinnan along to help as VASL or “Voice Activated Light Stands”….  It was our job to hold the off camera lighting instead of trying to setup our own light stands.  Both Rob and I got to take our turns photographing Jean.

For those who don’t know, Jean is popular Rock singer along the east coast and is known more for her music than her modeling, but she does a great job modeling as well.  The shoot was planned at the light walls just off Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh.  Weather and schedule had been postponing this shoot for months but we finally got it in.

Edgy Shoot #5. Lilu Jael

Lilu Jael is one of the models that I’ve had the pleasure of photographing the most.  She’s always up for just about anything and can generally pull off whatever needs to be done.  She is one very versatile model.  This was a big crew shoot.  I had both Crystal De la Cruz and Tom Winstead along to help with the shoot.  We brought in makeup artist Daniel Hamlin to manage the styling.   This would be Daniel’s last shoot with us as he was moving to Miami.

The main them for the shoot was “Black Widow”.  Ad some creative makeup, do some cool stuff with her hair, paint a red hour-glass on her belly, play with some spider web and away we go.  

I also had gotten a gift from my sister Sue.  Sue, is known globally as “My Grandma Wanda Sue” to those who follow America’s Next Top Model.  My great-niece Laura Kirkpatrick had finished 2nd on ANTM’s petite season was putting on a swimwear fashion show.  Her grandma “Wanda Sue”, who just happens to be my sister, was making the swimwear for the show.  She sent me two pieces, a black leather bikini and a pink and white mono-kini to play with.  

The black leather fit the Black Widow theme, though it ended up not fitting quite right and we could only use the top.  But we got to shoot some shots for my sister as from the shoot.   We also got a little fabric play in too. A few photos from the shoot are in this Flickr set!

Edgy Shoot #7.  Carole B.  Take One

Carole was another very popular model from our Sketch-n-Shoot days and after Sketch-n-Shoot stopped, she really didn’t do a lot of modelling.  After several Facebook message exchanges, I convinced Carole to shoot.

The weather in May was finally working with us and we had a lovely day to shoot.  The shoot was all outdoors and included her in her new mono-kini, some other swimwear and a couple of dresses. 

One would of course lead to one of the best shots of the day as she took a fairly formal dress and went swimming in a river to produce a lovely “Trash the Dress” moment.

Edgy Shoot #8 The Geisha – Samurai Love Triangle Shoot

This shoot had been percolating in my mind for a couple of years.  Give me some Kimono’s, some Kitana’s and a couple of models and see if I could produce what is best described as my Quinton Tarantino moment where an oriental love triangle turns Kill Bill before turning into Romeo and Juliette and Jane.

The story sketched itself out like this:

Ami and Kimi have long been more than BFF’s and well past friends with benefits as Ami has fallen deeply in love with Kimi. One day while walking through an oriental garden, Ami see’s Kimi with Eiko. Enraged by Kimi’s infidelity, she draws her katana and slays Eiko on the spot.

Shocked by this action, Kimi draws her katana and an epic sword fight between the two commences. Kimi gets the upper hand and slays Ami.

Armed with models Mandy Watson, Spike Mayer and Joanna Seipel with Cori Lee providing the styling, Crystal De la Cruz Hopper, Emily Johnson and I set out to “Super Secret Location #2” to produce this work of art.  While I produced close to 30 photos detailing parts of the story and with Emily and Crystal’s contributions, I assembled a slideshow that tells the story.  You can view it on YouTube. The photo above somehow got left out of the slide show and yet is one that sums up the shoot the best.

Edgy Shoot #9 Fiona Rose Take One

Having worked recently with Carole B, her friend and neighbor Fiona had seen the photos and contacted me to shoot her.  We planned out a couple of shoot.  Fiona had no modeling experience and we worked out some concepts.  We decided to do some urban grunge looks, then transition to some Film Noir looks and finish up with a Zombie High School Prom Queen look.  We enlisted the help of  Cori Lee to provide the styling magic and headed down to the warehouse district and found out that this mom of two transformed into a fairly functional model.

She rocked out the Film Noir and the Urban Grunge worked well with her.

Edgy Shoot #10 Danni Bizarre

Dani and I had been trying to setup something for around six months.  We finally got a date and with the help of Cawanua Keeling and using her studio. 

While we had some fun with fabric and produced some beauty shots, the main photos were turning Danni into a fairy using Cawanua’s beautiful fairy wings and a borrowed sword.

We also got in a couple of gothic looks too. You can see more from the shoot in this Flickr set.


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