Merry Christmas….

Couldn’t let this very jolly holiday roll by without a quick blog post. And to properly commemorate the season, let me tell a little story…

whiskerino dec 11 (actual nov 30)

This is a photo my wife took 5 years ago. It was my sons’ first Christmas; your first Christmas as a dad is pretty amazing, even if your kiddo is only old enough to want to EAT all his gifts rather than play with them. That’s the year that all the holiday magic starts to flow back into your life, after an adulthood sets in that threatens to overtake you with stupid adult jadedness.

Pictured in that photograph, is an ornament made in 1985. That’s right, it was from MY first Christmas. My mom passed it on to me to hang on our Christmas tree that season, 5 years ago.

A lot of things have happened since then. Terrible things, wonderful things, and everything in-between. The most recent of those terrible things is my camera having been stolen, just last week. Not a fun way to enter into your holiday season…

And closer to the date of this picture, a tornado happened. No fun either…. and because of that tornado, the ornament pictured no longer exists (or if it does, it’s probably in a tree somewhere 100 miles away). So here’s what I said when I posted the picture on Facebook:
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My point was to say that this photo matters just as much or more than the THING in the photo. And I still want to make that point; I value photos like this so much. The power of a photograph is why I do what I do for a living. There’s a power to telling a story through an image, and God has blessed me with a passion for it.

My favorite part of this story, though, is what happened just this morning, when a very sweet client (someone I’ve worked with since the very beginning, who believed in me when my work kinda SUCKED) texted me to ask if I could drop by her workplace because she had something for me.

here’s what I pulled out of the gift sack:

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My client & friend had seen my facebook post, did a search for Christmas ornaments, found a matching one (yep, from 1985) and bought it for me.

That’s the kind of clients I have. Good GRIEF that’s amazing.

And now, I have a 1985 Christmas ornament that means even more to me than the last one… not because the object matters in and of itself, but because it is so packed with meaning. It’s something I can look at and remember not only my childhood…not only my sons’ first Christmas… but also an added layer of the kindness that God and people in my life have shown to me.

Still true… things are just things. But it’s what the things symbolize that counts; just like Christmas itself. We get distracted by the STUFF, when the STUFF is meant to remind us of the gift we were given in a savior that loves us and was willing to die for us. The things only matter if we remember what they represent. And if we DO hold on to that meaning, oh how much sweeter those things are.

Yes, a tornado took my house and everything in it once. But God provided, and people helped, and it was all ok…. in fact, BETTER in the end.

Yes, my camera was stolen last week and that’s a bummer. But God provides (this time through a busy season and an insurance company that did the right thing), and people do some really incredibly nice things.  So rather than lingering on what goes wrong and the things that are missing, I do my best to thank my creator and pass on the kindness and grace to others.

(and I finally get to update my camera).

Merry Christmas guys. See you next year.

-Mark

PS: to properly close out this somewhat sappy post, here’s an over-the-top sappy picture, also from 5 years ago. pastel cardigan and feathered hair and all… yes, I can be sentimental and sarcastic all at once can’t I?

whiskerino Dec 23

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A glimpse of the season

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I’ve been kinda quiet on here lately. Me being quiet means one of two things…

A. I’m hopelessly depressed
B. I’m super crazy busy.

I’m pretty incredibly glad it’s not A… B has been kickin’ my butt, but that’s B-ok.

All that to say, I’ve taken 1,0000,0000 pictures in the past few months that I haven’t had a chance to take the time to show. A lot of those pictures were for awesome commercial projects, and a good portion of them were for lifestyle shoots for 9art family & senior clients.

Before the next year is completely up on us… which is oh-so-near… I thought I’d share a few of my favorite shots from the past couple of months from those portrait sessions (specifically, those sessions that took advantage of the beautiful fall colors). More commercial work coming soon!

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Biaka & Lora’s wedding:: part 2 (dancy dance time)

We posted Biaka & Lora’s wedding day, PART 1 a week or two back… I’d really only intended one post to begin with, but when I started looking through all the dance pictures from the reception, I realized those dance moves needed a post of their own.
 

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Quick background; Biaka & Lora have a lot of friends, a lot of family members in other countries, and know a good chunk of the international students in town through Lora’s job. Folks from Africa, Asia, Middle East & beyond spilled out onto the dance floor for an all around fantastic time.

I don’t know what it is. but I really love capturing the frenzy of a happenin’ dance floor. The frozen moments of flying hair, outrageous expressions, hands being thrown up in the air… it’s so oddly satisfying for me to be able to get those.

Enjoy….

 

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CASTING CALL

I’ve always wanted to say this…. 9art & the Joplin Convention & Visitors’ Bureau are putting out a casting call. A casting call, for those unsure, is simply a call for actors.

Remember that little project called Cold Brewed, released by Lance Schaubert & I last year? I can’t tell you a whole lot about the new project, but it will require actors as our last project did and will be an extended marketing endeavor like no other.
 
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This project is a big one, and WE NEED ACTORS. Do you need to have experience? No. You just need to be able to act in front of a camera… the fun part being, while this experience will feel much like a full film production, you won’t have to make a sound during production (since we’re talking stills rather than video).

Interested in trying out? Here’s the full press release, put out by the CVB today. Tell your friends. Tell your theater department. If you think your relatives can act… well, tell everybody. 🙂 Excited to see what you’ve got!

-Mark
 
for questions regarding the project, please contact mark at markn@9artphoto.com
 
NEWS RELEASE

December 1, 2014
SUBJECT: Marketing Campaign Casting Call
CONTACT: Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau, 417.625.4789

The Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau will be conducting a casting call for actors/models for specific roles for a 2015 marketing campaign. The campaign, which will link parts of Joplin’s history with current-day points of tourism interest, will require photographic support detailing both specific people and locations.

Details of the campaign have been outlined but not publically released. According to Patrick Tuttle, Executive Director of the CVB, “With any campaign once we have a basic theme and idea, photography and graphic designs are developed. This will be an extended story where all facets of the campaign will link in a common theme.”

Supporting the project will be 9Art and LTMS.

The casting call will be held on December 8th from 1:30-6:30 pm & December 9th from 12:00 -5:00 pm, in the Joplin City Hall Basement Conference Room. For the complete casting call (including specific roles that will need filled) click here: CASTING CALL
Selected cast members must be available for photographic shooting between the 4th and 17th January 2015.