the Yokleys:: twins + 1!

Some of you may remember the Yokley twins… I’ve been taking pictures of them since month 1, and now, they have a new little sister… miss Emma.

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Once you get to 3 kids, life is beautiful- and also anything but ‘picture perfect’. This session reflected that, but in a fun way that mirrors the Yokleys’ wonderfully laid back attitude.

We shot the whole thing in their living room, and enjoyed many laughs between, and during pictures.

The first couple are just of the newest little lady herself… and of her startlingly adult expressions that really question my presence a bit.

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A little reality between takes…

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And then, thanks to my riveting (and also probably super creepy) grover impression, a full-family shot…

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Maggie & Harry: in the backyard

 

Every now and then, I remember to get the camera out in my OWN backyard, and snap a few shots of  my kiddos. This was one evening last week….me running around with a plastic pistol in one hand, camera in the other.  :)

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Sometimes I give Harry the camera for a moment. He always surprises me with how well he holds the huge device, frames the scene, waits for the right moment, and focuses the shot.

He generally demands silly faces of his subjects. The two below are his (I won’t pose like this for just anyone, by the way):

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These blue eyes kill me.

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CIY [arches their collective eyebrow at you]

Once again, I get the privilege of working with CIY [Christ in Youth], an organization that has nearly singlehandedly changed my perception of the dreaded word, ‘headshot’.

I used to dread doing these terrible things, these HEADSHOTS- something boring you associate with, you know, lots of hair lights & soft focus or something. But then I learned that they could be, well, fun. And they could look modern, and crisp, and awesome.

And the outtakes when I work with CIY… oh man. Shooting a large group of people whose job is to organize and create large stage events for thousands of highschoolers across the nation- well, they’ve got a goofy bone or two amongst the group.

We started with, of course, the shots that I was there to get- some really sharp, simple images of each employee, like this:

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Usually I’d opt to either go for white seamless (pure white) background, or a solid color; but in this case, we (‘we’ being Austin & I, the graphic designer on board with CIY, pictured above left) decided to leave the setup with one light on the background only, so that there would be a fun fade-into-white and then back-out-again at the bottom. I really dig it.

some group shots, the first of which features the president of the company, Andy Hansen:

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Always some great faces between takes.

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And some fun profile shots for them to use in a unique way in one of the books they put out.

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And, as usual, some folks brought their own ‘props’.

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But now, my favorite part. It’s always fun to have a ‘theme’ on these kind of shoots to loosen everyone up. This time, I told each person to arch their eyebrow in one of the pictures.

Some people couldn’t do it, some people did it almost too well, but regardless, the collection of faces from the shoot is priceless when you put them all together. So enjoy…

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baby Emma, session #2

Don’t often do kids’ shoots in the studio, but it was perfect for miss Emma’s 2nd ‘baby’s first year’ shoot.  She was a SUPER good baby, so it went by really fast. Love those big blue eyes!

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Chad tends to get a little goofy toward the end of the shoot…

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…and he firmly established a picture ‘tradition’ started in their last session…. while Amanda maintains HER tradition of the ‘why do we have this tradition’ face.

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And we’ll end on those aforementioned blue eyes. Til next time!

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#Paintwhatmatters:: Benjamin Moore on main street Joplin

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Benjamin Moore recently had a competition, in which cities around the nation would enter to have THEIR main street re-painted by the well known company. 20 cities won… and Joplin was one of them.

I was called in by the folks at MomentumWW & Blue State Digital, the marketing agencies that represent Benajmin Moore, to shoot the whole thing; the celebration, the mayor’s walk through, the businesses & their freshly painted storefronts, and the owners themselves.

It’s been such a fun project to take on. During the phone meeting with Blue State Digital (who called in from New York) I was asked if I lived near Joplin and was very familiar with it at all… it was pretty great to be able to say I actually work downtown every day.

I’ve been so excited these last couple of years to see the new developments happening downtown and up and down main street in my city… so getting the opportunity to capture some of the business owners in their environments, and highlight the newest improvements to the district, is just the kind of thing I want to be shooting right now.

Here’s some highlights… so many more photos, but these are favorites so far…

Below are shots from the ‘walk through’ with Jeff Neal, the local contractor on the project (and the generous building owner who has let me use the ‘columbia traders’ space for third thursday photobooth events the last year or two)…

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Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean with business owner Tanya Scott and representatives from Spectrum Paints & MomentumWW.

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the mayor taking a long look at the new paint on one of the storefronts.

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Small Cakes made a KILLER cake that was actually modeled after main street. Beautiful and extremely tasty. I might or might not have left with 6 slices…mainstreetmatters, commercial photography project for benjamin moore paints in joplin mo_002bmainstreetmatters, commercial photography project for benjamin moore paints in joplin mo_013b

A few of the business owners I had the pleasure of photographing…

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Dan is incredibly  nice and owns the coolest guitar shop. I kinda started wishing I played one after wandering around in it for a moment or two.

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This is Bunny Newton. He owns ‘Newton’s jewelry: a store his father started in 1938. I had fun directing the shots above, but liked the expression in the candid below.

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A couple of quick snaps of downtownians I encountered during my back-and-forth travels up and down main…

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Jane is the sweetest lady, owner of ‘upstairs boutique’, which actually neighbors my own studio here in Joplin.

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Jef, his wife, & his son at ‘M & M bistro’, a very cozy diner specializing in international cuisine.

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The closing shot might be my favorite. It’s the subtle little details that make it summarize main street so well.

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Thanks for following along, everyone!

-Mark

 

Joplin Crusaders:: 9art tries on sports

 

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If you follow my work, you know I pretty rarely shoot anything related to sports, other than an occasional senior.

I was contacted recently by 2 friends and clients who both work with the ‘joplin Crusaders‘,  Joplins’ own semi-pro football team, and 6 time Central Football League champions. Their home games are played at Missouri Southern’s stadium, but they’ve played all over- even in the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium.

What’s really great about this team is their awesome family spirit. They have a long history of community involvement, fund raising for great causes, and hosting games that the whole family can feel welcome at. The players aren’t even paid; they truly do it for love of the game.

Sam Sturgis- for whom I took pictures last fall with his lovely wife Ashley- is heavily involved with the team, both on and off the field, and helped coordinate the shoot.

Chris Auckerman, long time 9art family client and a great local graphic designer, is the one that served as artistic director on the shoot, and the fella that put the images to use in the series of posters and promotional material for the Crusaders that I’ll show below.

We started with Chris as the model, showing some of the poses he was looking for…

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Then moved on to working with the players themselves…

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One of the players brought in his adorable little girl, who ended up being the star for just a bit… couldn’t resist using her for some images. :)

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The creative team AND the actual team, hanging out in the studio between takes…

 

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And here’s a few of the posters & other spots that Chris put together.

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A ‘before and after’ … the shots became a whole lot more epic before Chris was through with them…

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You can find out more about the team HERE,

You can visit Chris’ website HERE to see more of his work.

 

…and you can refer to the image below for the team’s season schedule!

-Mark

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Finding Home

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Recently got to take an afternoon to hang out with a good friend… eat pizza, talk about the spiritual and artistic domains and where the two meet, and of course… we took a few pictures.

Here’s Derek: lookin’ like a stud.

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derek hammeke headshots, from joplin mo commercial photographer 9art photography

But more important than Derek’s studliness or my photos, is the project close to Derek’s heart: the documentary film ‘Finding Home’ that he’s spent the last 2 years of his life working on. Derek is a tremendously talented filmmaker and an artist that I’m so proud of, for getting out there and making things happen.

The film is beautiful and wrenching, handling a subject that isn’t easy to talk about… but one that we, as Americans, should not be ignorant of. It was made in partnership with Rapha House, a wonderful organization I’ve been honored to work with in the past.

‘Finding Home’ also features music from Tony Anderson, another old friend with a whole lot of talent and a big heart. His music has been featured in ads for companies like adidas and toms… LEGIT.

Check out the preview for ‘Finding Home’ here:

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/87199168″>Finding Home Trailer</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user803105″>Flying Treasure</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Then follow the facebook page for updates on when the full film will be available.

People like Derek and Tony are an inspiration to me. Using their craft to present truth and do good with uncompromising vision…. that’s the greatest honor an artist can have.

Hope you’re inspired as well. Til next time….

-Mark

L.O.V.E.

     So Valentine’s day is a cheesy holiday.  By itself, it really doesn’t mean as much as everyone hypes it up to mean. Here’s how my wife and I feel about it, as based on our text conversation last night:

           wife: ok DID or ARE you planning on getting me a card? Cuz you don’t have to and I haven’t.

          me: I was going to. But no, I haven’t yet.’

          me: I won’t.

          wife: DON’T. :-)

Yes, we’ll still celebrating the day. But without pressure… :)

That being said… while the day itself may be somewhat a commercial holiday, it’s still fun and it IS a good reminder to turn around and look back at real love in our lives. My wife and I try to spread that love out over the year, and of course I’m sure you do too with those you care about.

(And shoot, it sure couldn’t hurt to still buy some chocolates for someone today).

I’d like to look back at love in our clients’ lives over the last year.

Here’s how 9art and its’ clients captured love in 2013…

We saw some folks get married…

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we celebrated those professions of love with others.

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we let those who were hurting know how much our hearts broke for them. We reached out to encourage…

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we celebrated new life.

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We celebrated new love.

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We celebrated anniversaries and love more matured.

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We celebrated laughter and the joy of just being goofballs together.

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We mourned the loss of love, but also remembered how great it was and looked forward to the hope of seeing loved ones again.

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we FOUGHT for love…maybe a little too literally, sometimes…

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.and yes, sometimes, loved in spite of the fighting…

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we watched life and love grow.

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we were superheroes to those we loved, and we loved those who were heroes to US.

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Overall, 2013 was damn full of love. Let’s  shoot for even more this year.

LOVE you all…

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-Mark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby Declan

The Arnolds are good friends of mine. I feel like I just finished with Keagan’s ‘baby’s 1st year’… each session growing more fun than the last… and now, as soon as I turn around  it’s time for round 2 with his equally adorable little brother Declan.

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too much cute to handle.

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