Biaka & Lora’s big day (part 1)

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Sometimes, I take So many flippin’ pictures on a big wedding day, that I need 2 blog posts for it. In this case, there will be one for the day, one for the night… because yes, the dancing was THAT CRAZY. (here’s a quick example):

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This was the rare pleasure of being able to shoot a wedding for a friend; I’ve known Biaka for a good long while now, remember when he started dating some girl, and then BOOM, suddenly it wasn’t just some girl… it was love and awesomeness and there was no question to anyone that Lora was the absolute perfect match for this guy.

Seriously. cats and all.

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This couple is the kind of couple that honestly work to change the world. I think great things will happen through these two…

Here’s PART 1 of pictures; the fancy dancy stuff comes next time. :)

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Let it be known that Biaka & Lora’s wedding was something of an international event. The sweet couple skipped the wedding presents and instead asked that folks fund travel expenses for family that lived overseas. In addition, Lora works closely with international students at Missouri Southern State University… so the guest list was a beautifully diverse group of people from all over the globe.

The maps were a great & very personal touch…

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Biaka is a graphic designer as well as a fantastic illustrator… check out this little caricature of the couple…

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we joke around a lot about the whole ‘what do I do with my hands’ syndrome. I wrote a brief list of tips on how to handle this scenario, on 9art’s facebook page.

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(here’s a flashback from engagement pics)

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a quick brag on my buddy Dakota, who made the wooden ring pictured here. Dakota specializes in all sorts of handcrafted goodies, from cutting boards to pipes to rings. Check out his etsy page to see more of his stuff.

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Click through to see the rest of the pics!

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Santa is coming to (down)town

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SANTA. IS. COMING.

Well, actually he already dropped by the studio last week….

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So this year, I’m doing something I never expected to be doing… santa pictures. The first image that pops into my mind is that of the infamous grungy mall santa… no disrespect to current mall santas, some of them do a fine job and aren’t creepy at all. But you know the image that your mind/memory conjures… slovenly santa, fake beard ajar, children being mercilessly herded through, that big black boot shoving poor Ralphie down the slide in ‘A Christmas Story’. And, worst of all, TERRIBLE pictures…

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So when the Downtown Joplin Alliance approached me this year about doing santa pictures, my first thought was… NOOOO!

but then I found out how we’d be doing things, and my perception of the whole event changed dramatically. It turns out, I’d get a lot of say in how we did this. That everyone helping make this happen is pretty awesome. That the santa pictures would be downtown, in a pretty hip space- ‘traders’ church’, next to Newton’s Jewelers on 5th & main.

And it turns out, the santa that graciously volunteered himself for our event is LEGIT. As in, he’s been doing this for 20 years, playing the official santa for ‘Hallmark’ and ‘Cabela’s’, among others.

So, I said yes, and, in fact, am getting a little excited about it. :)

SANTA is a very kind gentleman named Larry Griffith… and after our initial meeting, Larry hired me to do some shots for his personal portfolio, both in and out of the St Nick attire.

I love Larry. He’s kind with a great sense of humor… he has the patience and the genuine jolliness to play the role, not to mention being a great actor that has taken him through roles that include a lot more than just Santa.

So here’s Santa, with his alter ego Larry.

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Event details::

The downtown santa pictures are split into 4 dates; two of which will have me as the photographer, two of which will be taken over by my good friend Drew from 1281 photography.

My dates are: December 4- VIP: 5:30pm // PUBLIC: 6-7:30pm
December 13- VIP: 10AM // PUBLIC: 10:30-11AM (this will be the only saturday!)

Drew’s dates are: November 20th- VIP: 5:30pm // PUBLIC: 6-7:30pm
December 11- VIP: 5:30pm // PUBLIC: 6-7:30pm

The bonus? If you’re reading this, you can get in on the ‘VIP’ timeframe… friends of 9art (or of 1281 on Drew’s dates) get in for their pictures 30 minutes before the main event begins on each of the dates. If you’d like to ‘reserve’ your spot for that early bird status, all you have to do is e-mail me at markn [at] 9artphoto.com

And full pricing/other info on the downtown joplin page (click the PDF for the order form).

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Last but not least, thanks in orchestrating this event goes to:

-Santa (Larry)
-Trisha from the DJA
-Drew with 1281 photography
-Donna & crew from Traders’ Church

See you there, parents!

-Mark

Madison’s senior session

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I don’t do a great number of senior shoots these days… but when I do, I have FUN. And so does the senior. :)

Madison is an artistic girl and both she and her mom were looking for something different, since she’s anything but typical. That was great with me. We all had a blast, and, yes, Madison got in quite a few ‘outtakes’ since (after my own heart) she’s a little goofy….
 
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now for the ‘serious’ stuff! :)
 
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I LOVE this ‘grungy’ location and have been secretly waiting to use it for just the right client. I’m pretty sure the wallpaper is from the 40s, and it’s just got such a cool vibe. We even got to play some great music during this portion of our shoot…
 

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Rockwell comes to life:: phase 2

You might remember this image I captured awhile back, the first in a series intended to both pay tribute to Norman Rockwell, and to make a comment on the effects of technology of our post-Rockwell generation.

 

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That image was also intended to promote a 2nd idea brought to me by my good friend Shaun at Spiva Center for the Arts. The local Joplin, MO art gallery had a norman rockwell ‘saturday evening post’ exhibit coming to their way, and Shaun asked me… ‘what if people re-created their OWN ‘Saturday Evening Post’ covers and you took the pictures?’

So… we did it. :)
 
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It’s always a little scary taking on a new idea like this, one whose success specifically hinges on whether or not other people will DO IT… but I’m so, so glad we did, because the community came through. We had 15 final images from 12 teams; and that was pared down from a much larger group of interested folks (some of whom just couldn’t make it that night).

Each team- whether a business, a family, or group of friends- had the option of interpreting a Norman Rockwell illustration (we expanded the guidelines past just ‘post’ covers) in whatever way they liked. They had the responsibility of pulling the props, outfits, and models together for their final image.

 

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All images were shot in one evening. Since we had so many people to work with and since part of the idea of creating-your-own-rockwell-tribute meant also creating your own set, we left our background very simple with a plain white paper roll, and used a paint splattered drop cloth (fitting?) as our ‘floor’. I pushed the perfectionist in myself to the side and let people arrange their own ‘sets’, helping them tweak things as we went.

Because this project was different…. it wasn’t about MY photography. It was about people taking part in something different, paying tribute to art by making their own piece. People were super creative, and it was fun to give them a reason to be. We were just there to help them do that.

You can see the whole series on Spiva’s facebook page by clicking the link.

[copyright limitations prevent me from being able to post the full batch of ‘side-by-sides’ w/ the original illustrations on my blog. Here’s the link to the full gallery: SPIVA]
 
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If you feel moved to do so and live in the Joplin area, you should totally go vote for your favorite. Votes are being taken AT spiva (third and wall, downtown) until this Saturday evening.
 
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Way to go, Joplin. Let’s keep doing fun stuff together.

More to come….

-Mark

The latest scoop

AAHHHHHH! There is so much going on I can hardly contain myself. I am so, so excited- and, yes, a little overwhelmed- but after spending much of the summer worrying about not being busy ENOUGH, this is what I get, right? ;)

So I have two crazy images to share today- yes, just two, from two different projects- and they have only one thing in common. I’m not going to tell you what it is until the end, though.

We start with a teaser image for an upcoming project that… well… I can’t really talk about much yet. (Those are kinda my favorite sort of projects).

This is one of my first experiments with night photography…. painted this scene entirely with LED lights (and with the aid of an i-phone stuck down inside ‘Mother Nature’s crack’). It was 1AM, we were cranking some ‘Daft punk’ in the middle of nature via portable speakers, we were exhausted, and it was a blast.

 

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Now here’s what I can tell you about the project:

-shooting begins early 2015
-I get to collaborate once again with the one and only Lance Schaubert
-it will be another ‘photo novel’ format, like what we did with ‘Cold Brewed’
-this project has a real budget and an art director/producer, with an online serial release and an end goal of printed copies.

ohhhh the suspense!

Now for project 2…. an image made to visually accompany the brand new single form local ‘powerpop’ band, Of Course Not. I plan to dedicate a post to this shoot later, because there’s plenty more fun shots of the band, but this specific concept shot is one of my favorite images from this year.
 

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Want to know how we did it? Well you’ll have to stay tuned for the full post to find out.

Ohhhhh the suspense (x2)….

Now, how are these shots tied together? Family.

Oh, not mine… as in, family to each-other. Caleb (shot #1) and Jordan (shot #2) are siblings, artists, and both friends of mine, and I got to use each of them as models. They can model like no-one’s business. Let’s give it up for those Murdocks!

Til next time….

-Mark

Ellie Ann writes… but only in magical forest glades.

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nerdy tweenage boys, randomly blocking running path: ‘you shall not PASS!’

Ellie Ann, thinking quickly in the middle of her jog: Clearly the love of the halfling’s leaf has clouded your mind. I am a mortal, not a Balrog!’

That’s Ellie. Pretty sure she’s one of only two people I know that could respond that quickly and fittingly in such a situation. (Yes, the other person is also a writer).

Some of you have already met her, and might recall that she excels at making nerds look COOL. Ellie is a good friend and bestselling author of many fine, leather-bound books (or maybe sometimes paperbacks or e-books but those are cool too). While the leather-bound is not entirely accurate, the best selling part is.

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What else has this lady done? Ellie spearheaded a one-of-a-kind multimedia book awhile back that combined the work of several artists into one beautiful, cohesive, story… something that fans of Lance Schaubert & I’s own ‘Cold Brewed‘ should really appreciate. She’s written comics, sci fiaction… she’s spoken at sherlock holmes conferences, she’s appeared at numerous comic cons, and she’s one of the few (meaning 2) girls I know that smoke a pipe.

Besides that, she’s an encourager in the artistic community and has an awesome family- I get the honor of being friends with both her and her husband Michael, (a man who shares my infinite love for the soundtrack to ‘Tron: Legacy’).

For the shoot, Ellie wanted something different, of course… she wanted to add a little of that otherworldly, fairy tale adventure feel to her OWN shoot… and why not? It seems like authors never have fun with their pictures. That’s a shame. They should.

WE did…

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the final photobooth:: preview

Our final ‘third thursday’ photobooth of the season, here in downtown Joplin MO, was a grand success.
 
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The october photobooth is always my favorite, because the theme is simply ‘costumes’ and I LOVE seeing what folks come up with. This month’s attendeeds certainly didn’t disappoint… our costume contest from this month has some serious contenders, with references from ‘Monsters Inc’, ‘Walking Dead’, ‘Dr Who’, ‘Lord of the Rings’, Will Ferrell-era SNL, and the list goes on.

Special thanks to my awesome regulars for making this so fun, and for following me all over downtown for the last 4 years as I’ve moved from spot to spot. Thanks to the new folks who dared to try something new and donned a silly costume for a picture.

And, thanks SO much to Spiva Center for the Arts for hosting us this year. We’ve really enjoyed being in Spiva in 2014 and I think we may have found a more permanent photobooth home there. If you’re an attender, don’t let the end of ‘third thursday’ stop you from visiting spiva regularly. there’s always awesome work up there…. right now, for instance, all 330+ Norman Rockwell ‘saturday evening post’ covers, as well as some pieces by one of MY personal favorite photographers, Julie Blackmon. And tonight is another long awaited collaboration between Spiva & 9art, in which we give folks the chance to create their OWN Rockwell covers.

Here’s a few of our favorites from third thursday, while you’re waiting on the whole batch to be ready on facebook….
 
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MY crazy family dropped by…
 
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Where’s Waldo?
 
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Daryl Dixon, from ‘walking dead’. He showed up. He’s shorter in person.
 
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this last photo is from my mother. this is what happens when I try to get a picture of her by herself.
 
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see you next year, photoboothers!

-Mark

Stepping into a F A I R Y T A L E :: session 2 (the chicken steeper)

A story no-one else can duplicate…

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It has been a minute since the first entry of a big project that my friend Lance & I dreamed up. But the project was not forgotten…

The thought was simple; a series that custom caters stories in words and photographs around the personality of your child. This isn’t something I’ve seen done before… and I’m all about trying new things. The idea to tie a customized story to a set of special photographs made for a child…  so. much. fun!

I’m not going to get into all the details of what one of these fairy tale packages entail in this post, but if you’d like to find out more about it, all the information is here.

For now, I’d like you to enjoy the images & the poem, part 1 of this entry into our series. Next week, Lance will release part 2, the story, and we will share that with you as well.

Pictured, by the way, is miss Kendall. I have taken pictures of her big brother Roman since pretty much the beginning of 9art…..I am so thankful to their mom Christina for being such an incredibly supportive and faithful client over the last few years. And also, Christina… thanks for having stinkin’ cute kids. :)

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The chicken steeper

When Roman goes in for his nap
Miss Kendall finds her trail
of bows so big and brighter straps,
of glittered grass and snails,
of upturned high-heeled shoes entrapped
in paintings hung with nails
reading, “This aways! That aways!
Follow invisible paths!”

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Deep down into the woods
Miss Kendall’s tucked some chairs,
a table, cloth and teacups, spoons,
and bags for her affairs.
She always leads her old hen out
and borrows little feathers.
She adds tea kettle heat to them
in cups like bottled weather.

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(And while she waits, her puppy guards
the table, chairs, and cases
from monsters, mice, the shades and shards,
and all the unknown faces).

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The steeping lasts an hour long

but when she’s through, cups quicken,

rattle, shake. From each she

pulls a baby chicken.

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One last thing… a big thanks to Aimee & Tracy Danner for letting us use their property… and specifically to Aimee, for serving as on-set Chicken wrangler. It was a very important job for the shoot… not even kidding. Here’s Aimee in her own moment of photo-glory…

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last photobooth of the season… costume contest & all

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Last one of the season! If you live in Joplin- or within a 50 mile radius- this is the one to come to. The theme is ‘costumes’ (how original?) and yes, there WILL be a contest for best original costume. Lots of other great things going on for Joplin’s third thursday art walk as well, so I hope to see you there.

If you don’t live in the area, stay tuned anyway to the blog & fb page to see some ridiculous upcoming photos. :)

-Mark

Rockwell Comes to Life in Joplin: a chance to make art as a community

pairing #1- original norman rockwell cover

THE SHORT STORY:

I’m doing a project with local art gallery Spiva. Community teams (which can be any family, business, group of friends, or individual) will have a chance to take part by creating their own ‘Norman Rockwell’ scene based off of a Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover. The scene can be interpreted any way the team likes- and that can be as outlandish as you want. :) It will be entered in a contest for best scene, and I will photograph each of the ‘scenes’ the evening of October 21st. All teams will receive a photo of their Post cover interpretation.

My own example scene is pictured below, next to the original. If you live in the Joplin MO area and would like to do this, please register ASAP with Spiva (e-mail me for info or Spiva at sconroy [at] spivaarts [dot] org)…the deadline to register is October 14. Go forth! Do it!

ELABORATION: 

I recently talked about a new project in collaboration with Spiva Center For the Arts here in Joplin, MO: an idea that I think could spark a very fun new movement. THESE are the kind of ideas I get excited about. :) And I think this one is important… because our  art culture here is poised to explode, but only if people join the collaborations and set an example for future projects.

So here’s the synopsis of the project, once more, from Spiva: ‘Teams select a Rockwell illustration to interpret, provide their own costumes and props and pose for a photo October 26. Mark Neuenschwander, 9art Photography, will photograph the reenactments and display them in Spiva’s 3rd Street window gallery. Winning image will be selected by popular vote and will receive a Norman Rockwell prize package. All teams receive one complimentary copy of their photograph.’  [there will be a $25 fee for each 'team'].

First things first… I actually made a mistake the last time I posted this. the registration date is OCTOBER 14th:: that’s… yep… 5 days away. But all you have to do in that amount of time is decide if you are doing this and e-mail Spiva or me to register.

The next step is to brainstorm on an idea, and collect the ‘props’ for it… and you can totally do that!! Then set aside the 21st as the actual shoot date… images will be taken that evening AT spiva, of the different ‘scenes’ that participants have created. Remember, these scenes do NOT have to be exact replications of the originals. The project has more to do with interpreting that original image in whatever way you like. And if you are indeed doing this with human models and don’t know yet who your ‘models’ are (assuming they are not your own team members), remember that many of the covers are centered around just one person.

Steampunk? Wild West? Modern times? Sci fi? original time period? Whatever you want to do. :) Just drop by Spiva to get ideas by perusing their current Rockwell exhibit, or do an image search for ‘Norman Rockwell Saturday evening post covers’ right now. I promise something will spring to mind once you start scanning through these fun images.

And, as a final thought for participants, this could end up being a very fun ‘art piece’ for your own home or office, if you do this as a business, a family, or even an individual; you’ll receive a print of your scene (and can purchase additional if you’d like), and you can pair it, as I’ve done below, with a print of the original piece.  Post prints can be obtained directly through Spiva, or through the Norman Rockwell museum website.

My image:  So, to properly illustrate the concept, I needed to do my OWN shot so you could see what we’re talking about. The image here is hopefully the first of a series that will (humorously) explore these classic scenes from old Saturday Evening Post covers, and how those scenes might be re-interpreted in our time with the introduction of invasive technology. Here it is, image #1 in the series, together with the original cover on which it is based.

Its a very simple image…. but so is the original. And the purpose wasn’t just for myself with this one,

 

norman rockwell 9art photography technology series, image #1- age of romance

 

but also to demonstrate to possible participants how easy it can be to come up with an idea and props for this little series.

Notes on the image:

Firstly, thanks so much to my ‘model’ Josh and his mom Jessica for agreeing to let me use him as the subject here. I think he was just perfect for this.

As for exploring the concept, I deliberated for a bit on whether to project a graphic behind the subject, depicting a ‘video game’ scene to replace the original adventure image. I asked Shaun from Spiva his opinion, and his thought was clever: ‘Books fire the imagination and that is what Rockwell was saying. Video games…nothing.’ And that’s exactly what I wanted to say about technology in our time. So by intentionally leaving out the graphic, I think it says more in the end.

I’d love to hear what you have to say… whether thoughts on this image, or questions or ideas about participating. You can e-mail me at markn [at] 9artphoto [dot] com, or leave a comment. And you can register right now for this project by e-mailing Shaun at spiva… sconroy [at] spivaarts [dot] org.

Can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

 

-Mark