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That ole' Razzle Dazzle

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

I fell in love with Daniel Mark’s beauty one night while watching him as the stage manager for a Southern Rep Theatre drag show. I don't remember who was performing that night but I do remember staring at him the whole show. I decided I had to photograph him (bucket list). He’s an ethereal beauty with a sculpted face and glowing skin. He is a unique Joey Arias and Holly Woodlawn beauty with a voice somewhat of a Brooklyn accent that’s soaked in whiskey that’s quite erotic while speaking to him on the phone.

I spent many hours bugging the shit out of him trying to get him to let us work together. Roy Guste, one of my favourite people, also a photographer, has photographed him in every pose I could have thought of. When I got the opportunity to help plan the models for the workshop last week along with Joshua Smith who taught the workshop along with Greg Gorman wanted to photograph at the Allways for one of the class projects, “Danny Girl,” was the first person I asked.

He is quite the artist. He is patient for the shot to be just rIght. He was everything I dreamed of and God he is such a beauty!

The Allways Lounge is a performance space with a stage that has drag, burlesque and everything in between. There’s even a community theatre in the back. On some nights, it hosts a wild party called Jock Strap Lube Wrestling where hot guys from the Marigny and Bywater and the lower ninth wrestle in jock straps while smeared in lube. I went once to see what it was like, but I left before it was over because of the aromas that the hipster boys had to offer,

The owner of the Allways Lounge is a woman named Zalia who at one time was a Shim/Shamette. She was the first model for me of the day. We became friends in Facebook messenger and I was quite nervous setting the shot up because I wanted the day’s shoot to be of quality with well thought out portraits capturing my subjects and the lounge itself paying them both the respect they deserved. The Always is gorgeous with great lighting and beautiful decor and I wanted my shots to be cinematic and tell a story.

One of my favourite muses to work with is Midori. She is the utmost professional and always on time with great makeup and costumes and brings a collaborative vision. She is quick to capture and delivers every time for me. I was tickled when I walked in the bathroom and there she was doing her makeup. I was so wound up in the shoot that day that I forgot she was coming.

In retrospect, the week was a lot of work yet a whole lot of fun. It lasted 5 days with the days sometimes lasting 12 -14 hours ending in editing that day's photos for the next day. before I would crash and fall to a dead sleep. We started each day with photo reviews in the morning of the day‘s prior shoot and then went straight into our assignment for that day. In the beginning of the week I was focusing on model coordinating while putting little effort into the shots that I was doing . On Wednesday, we broke into groups with Greg taking half of the students and Josh taking the other half of us to set up our shots. Josh started working with me and asking questions about framing and what I saw in my lens and what if I tried different angles of the same set up and model? Over the course of the intense workshop, something changed in me. When I woke up on Friday I realized I wanted something different for the Always shoot and wanted to really refine my style. I set this as my intention for the day. I was grateful to photograph these models and to be in a place that I always wanted to photograph in with this kind of access is rare. Most of the photographers came and got their shots early to get ready for the final dinner/photo review that night. It was nice to have some space away from the other photographers who finished early that day. They are really nice but in the end we all want our shots and we get in each other’s way because we usually work alone.

Everyone of the models from the week were amazing. Not only were they beautiful,they were all so patient and engaging. They may not have understood what we do as photographers or where our heads are. We objectify our subjects them telling them to turn this way or that, to smile but not that big of a smile. I giggled when I heard one of us asking them to put themselves in their head somewhere on a mountain all alone and what that would feel like. The model had no idea where that place was or looked like or what the hell they were talking about. I remember doing that kind of directing when I first started. You can imagine what that photo looks like. I guess it was something like a deer in a headlight.

Thank you to Stacy Hoover, Mary Pappas, Bruce and Debra,Bethany and Zalia for providing us with great locations and modeling yourselves.

I will never forget my experience with this workshop and working with Greg and Josh, the students, and the models. They have changed the course of my art of photography forever. I will forever think about what I am seeing through the lens and be reminded of this week and them.


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