The Joplin Undercurrent




I talked a fair amount about this project earlier last year, but it got to that funny point that I’d worked on it so long I stopped talking about it. Now, almost exactly a year since we started shooting the thing, I’m excited to say it’s here.

The Joplin Undercurrent is a photonovel- a medium originated by Lance Schaubert and myself (beginning with ‘Cold Brewed’, now free on i-Tunes)- that combines words and pictures into a unique cinematic experience (minus the motion).


[above photo is Lance & I ‘on set’, unable to abstain from trying on the legit costumes for a historical scene]

This photo novel was produced by the Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau, and tells a story for my city- Joplin, Missouri- fusing fiction and reality, history and mystery.

The first installment of the Joplin Undercurrent will be released online on January 19th. That’s NEXT WEEK, guys.

Subsequent chapters will be released for several weeks after this. It’s all free and super easy to follow…just click below to check out the  poster images and to subscribe so you’re the first to see the opening chapters.


For the moment, I’m more than excited to release this set of posters for the project. Design work by the talented Lauren White. Posters feature our leads- Lauden Baker, Kolourz Voss, and Muchengetwa Bgoni.

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Back in the saddle…

Hey all!

If you follow this blog, you’ll have noticed that it remained rather quiet the last couple of months… some stuff about Santa, and that’s about it.

It was for that ironic reason of simply being too busy.

Being busy. It’s the American way, I suppose. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it feels like our default, small talk response to ‘how are you’ has moved from ‘good!’ to


Like having so much to do that you literally feel insane is some kind of badge of honor that we’re all scrambling to wear…


I wasn’t scrambling to wear it, but wear the badge I did. It’s like that old Joe Walsh song says, ‘I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do…’ Being that insanely busy was good for business sure, and I’m certainly blessed by that business, but it was more than a little exhausting and it admittedly kept me from some things I really value.

Things like, creating personal work, spending more time with family, being healthy, and, of course, updating this blog with what’s going on and what’s ahead.
I just finished out 2 full weeks off- time to recover, rest, come face-to-face with everything that gets pushed down after months of being in “survival mode”, and come out the other side feeling a lot more like myself again.

If you haven’t done that in awhile- take time- you might be straying from your own big picture.  The best part is, the more you feel like you don’t have time to take that break, the more you probably need it.


stop social media
stop being in meetings

stop working
stop wrapping yourself up in the details to the extent you can’t see the big picture
stop running from the things you don’t want to look at it in your own heart

stop obsessing
stop being so busy that you can’t even sit down with a book


if you can’t stop for a bit, your soul goes a little sour. We just aren’t meant to run that much without taking a rest. We lose sight of who we are and what we actually care about, until we reach a point where we don’t care about anything.

I care again. It’s nice.

But that’s enough about that… so…

W’sup, 2016? 

I’m excited about this year. Goal #1 was just to slow down. Listen to see what God is telling me. I’ve done some of that.

So as for what’s next… here’s a quick summary of a couple of things  I can tell you  about for 9art/Mark 9 in 2016.


Yep. For you guys who followed my best friend Lance & I when we made ‘Cold Brewed’… we made another one, produced by the Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau. My biggest project to date. More about that tomorrow…


#2: ‘COLD BREWED’ is now FREE

For those who didn’t get a chance to read ‘Cold Brewed’ the first time around, it’s now available for completely 100% FREE on i-tunes. The only catch is that you have to have an apple device (i-pad, macbook, i-phone) to look at it. If you don’t have one, see who can borrow from for an hour or two so you can read through it. 🙂

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#3:  MARK N photography COMING SOON

I’d touched briefly on this last year… I’ve spent some time working on an entirely new business presence that focuses on the commercial/fine art photography portion of my business. The blog you are reading now will, in fact, eventually move over to the new website being created for this. Can’t wait to show it all to you guys.

joplin mo artist portraits by 9art photography10

(this photo, btw, is not me, it’s my fellow photography buddy Brian, and still one of my favorite portraits).


One thing I did make time for late last year was to have a couple of conversations with fellow artists in other mediums, about the possibility of collaborating. So far, I have 2 new projects lined up for this year that I think are going to be incredibly fun and push my artistic limits. I didn’t plan on them happening at all- they just fell into place in that beautifully obvious kind of way.

I’ll keep you posted on these as they unfold.

artists as superheroes concept series from fine art and commercial photographer 9art in joplin mo2


I won’t dwell on this one bc this post isn’t meant to be an ad. But just to let you all know, I am beginning to book sessions again, for 2016- I’ll get back to shooting as usual next week. If you’re interested in setting up a shoot for your family, business, or wedding- or if you’d even just like to sit down soon over coffee to brainstorm about working together in the future- I’d love to talk to you.

‘Cold Brewed’ gets a show


I have a new show opening this week. From NO (solo) shows in the past 10 years to TWO shows in one year… it’s a bit of a jump. I’m freshly familiar with how much work goes into planning one of these things. 🙂

I’m super excited about this one though, as it’s dedicated to my absolute favorite project to date… Cold Brewed. The show opens this coming thursday evening, with a  reception from 6 to 7:30, at Post Memorial Art Reference Library (it’s in the back of the Joplin Library, JoMo peeps). FREE ‘cold brew’ coffee will provided from the one and only Bearded Lady Roasters… Bearded Lady’s own master roaster, Adam Francis, is also an actor from the project.




If you’ve followed me for a bit, you’ll remember this project from a couple years back. But let me fill you in. As a matter of fact, I’m going to pull this straight from the artist statement for the show:


’Cold Brewed’ was a project that basically started as a dare. A dare to ourselves. A ‘you know what would be really fun?’ that actually took form.


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The idea was to collaborate. My photos, with words by my good friend Lance Schubert (writer). It would be a photo series that served as a tribute to the old ‘film noir’ style movies, interspersed with text from the story that Lance had penned.

We took the script and mapped out how it would work. And we began producing and co-directing what became an infinitely larger endeavor than expected.


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The final product is actually an i-book told in a format that we sort of made up… the photonovel. It goes back and forth between words and pictures, each doing their equal part to tell the story.


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You can find the whole thing for a whopping 4 bucks by search out  ‘cold brewed’ in the iTunes store.


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Jett Cropper is a 1940s detective caught in a world in which it was not alcohol that the prohibition rendered illegal… it was COFFEE. Staying true to both Joplin and coffee, we shot the entire series locally and used a cast entirely comprised of true-life-baristas. All slang from the period was swapped for coffee terminology, which makes for a tongue-in-cheek tale that sways from serious action to genre-honoring campiness.


I have the fondest possible memories of this project. Moments like it being 11pm, and Lance & I are directing a scene via walkie talkie, whilst a generator runs 7 lights in a warehouse-turned-set, complete with 6 actors, a coil of rope, and a variety of weaponry…


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I think that moment was one of the first in which I felt TRULY in my element. (& Lance certainly shared the excitement).


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We’re still proud of that project, even if it didn’t turn much of a profit. A print from it (also in this show) was a finalist in the national ‘photospiva’ competition. the i-book got front page under Noisetrade’s ‘books’ section.


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we ran a ridiculous grassroots marketing campaign, complete with posters on telephone poles and signs in bathroom stalls…


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And now, as a sort of final farewell, here’s a bonafide, non-virtual presentation of some of the favorite sections of our little story.

Hope you can make it. 🙂




may photobooth: a story by siblings improv + 9art

This third thursday (the day that Joplin hosts an art walk every month, as of a few years now), I got to do probably the most innovative thing I’ve done yet with the photobooth.

It’s all about collaboration… this time with the one and only SIBLINGS IMPROV, a local improv group started by some folks I know that wanted the art of comedy & and collaboration to thrive in our little city.


Eric (pictured above), Drew, and the other folks at improv meet every Tuesday night to teach, learn, hone their craft and develop camaraderie with other local improvers (and would-be improvers). Our local paper even wrote up a little article about it…

Who better, to help me host a photobooth devoted solely to story, to an unpredictable tale, told by the very folks to who populate my photographic storytelling stage each month here in downtown Joplin?

The initial idea was simple… find a way to collaborate with Siblings. These folks of course RAN with the idea, helping set up a framework for a story that would run the course of the night.

I had to be careful. I knew if I said the word ‘improv’ that folks might be weary and think things like ‘oh I can’t do improv’…. which is the very reason I announced this photobooth as having a ‘surprise’ theme.

3TH- may 2015 flyer

Once we knew were doing this thing, we set up a plan. Here’s what it was:

Each photo got one line of the ongoing epic poem, written on the spot, by the member of Siblings that was present for their half hour ‘shift’. The Siblings member furthermore stepped in and helped direct each group, telling the story through the use of those present and the weird, random props we assembled to assist us.

Here is that story.

Does it make sense?

Absolutely not.

Does it matter?


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It’s fun. It was on-the-spot. It was new. THAT’S what matters.

Have fun…


Ian went to catch a fish

to please his parents, was his only wish


his friends met him at the bayou


two dames asked “can we sit by you?”


along came two heroes to save the day


because Dr. Seuss and the Hulk came out to play


A dog and his master came by to see


how funny a different a different kind of catch can be


pick cashew apples, Truman did


defended with rackets, against the squid


[FAST FORWARD TO… chapter 3]

The hulk had decided to fish


Against his evil nemesis…


4 long haired girls screamed Action! And the fishing was on!


As the large crowd, eagerly looked on


The Hulk had a bite, but it was just some ninja turtles


Hulk and his love, Helmet Momma, also caught the scary Levi fish


Once the Levi fish is caught, he makes a delicious dish


The evil lamp head captured Helmet Momma- but Hulk won the day!


Hulk soon brought princess and lizard boy D to join his hero way



After Ian’s death, a mother/daughter team determined to fight crime


The Ratzsimuff gang could wreak ferocious havoc on a dime


Mother & daughter fought the gang with bravery, and honor, and weird looks..


To the lair the Ratzsimuffs plot and scheme, how they’ll make the public scream!


Daddy Man, Wonder Mom, Titus Boy, and Judah Boy

Break onto the scene!


With the bearded beauties TO STEAL ICE CREAM!


They threw the babies to the cops, then quickly ran away


The Dogwoods witnessed all of it, like the most insane of plays!


Alien Alex descended from the stars

to eat some lovely bars


the new members of the Ratszimuff gang

gather together to hang


Helmet Dad ang gang are stepping on their turf


the clowns are NOT happy, threatening to break out the nerf!


The town broke out in all out war!


But Ryan spoke up.

“Hey girl. No more.”


The gangs made friends at last!
They pulled together and had a blast!



The alien- Brainhead- attempts abduction


but underestimates the humans’  skills at dancing, fanny packs, and deduction


Brainheads’ alien crew tried to act sneaky, but were loud because their car was leaky


The noisy engine caught the attention of the Crusaders


So they SMASHED the aliens like momma’s mashed potatoes!41


thoughts on the trend + my kids

So I’ve been busy for sure, but not the super glamorous/exciting kind of photography that you really put in a blog post. I photographed two factories and, wait for it, a truck stop… yes, when I tweeted the other day that I was literally editing photos of a truck stop bathroom, I wasn’t joking.

Not to complain, in the least. I always enjoy photographing something new, no matter how unexciting it may appear at first. It’s an invigorating challenge to me take a subject like… a truck stop bathroom… and figure out how to make it interesting to look at. How to still make the viewer feel something when they’re seeing that image.

In this case, ‘Man. I want to use THAT bathroom.’

Since I haven’t posted in awhile and I’m pretty sure no-one is going to be enthralled to view my truck stop photos (even if it IS a very nice truck stop), I’m going to my default… pictures of my children. Because they’re cute, and we all know it. But here’s a little more thought on these photos, first…

I’ve been playing with some new editing techniques. I’m the guy that’s remained stubborn and steered clear of the whole VSCO trend up to this point. If you don’t know what that is… it’s the set of presets that make every photo look like it’s from 1965 even though it’s 2015. It’s the photographic equivalent of replacing all your furniture with mid-century-modern. [I hate to admit it, but I LOVE midcentury modern].

But I’ve been a grumpy old man and wanted to not do what everyone else is doing and said I’d NEVER use one of those damn presets. Until…

I received some advice from a trusted and very talented colleague who’s far and away in the next phase of photographic success. His advice pertained to some of my images appearing ‘too digital’. Very interesting.

After looking back through the particular project I’d showed him, I realized he was absolutely right. I’d worked hard with the lighting and setting to create a mood, but there was still something missing. Too crisp. Too perfect. Too digital.

So… I did some research. I broke down and downloaded some presets. I slapped some of them on photos and yep, sure enough…. they looked beautiful. In a sense.

A very very trendy sort of sense. As in, ‘oh. THESE are the presets that every photographer who has entered the photographerforce in the past 5 years is using.’

Love/hate relationship there. I never want to be stale. I always want to be changing, growing, learning, experimenting. But let that thinking carry too far, and you become one who is simply swept away with every new trend. (selective color, anyone?)

It reminds me of a line from a C.S. Lewis book… ‘the greatest triumph of all [for those who might work to stop us, from doing our best] is to elevate this horror of the same old thing [emphasis mine] into a philosophy.’ In other words, if we’re TOO scared of becoming stagnant in our work, we actually become obsessed with staying ahead of the curve and go from being trendsetters to being trend chasers.

I heard it best in a recent Tim Ferriss podcast: ‘when you try to chase what’s cool, you’re already too late.’

That’s always my question. How do I be ‘modern’ and ‘now’ with my work? How do I do that… but walk away with images that might still be considered timeless and original when I look at them again in 20 years?

I don’t have an easy answer. I think it has something to do with never compromising your original voice. [and if you’re a new artist and haven’t found that voice yet, read THIS BOOK].

So the question shouldn’t be ‘is this effect cool?’ it should be ‘is this effect something that helps my images say what I need them to say?’ Keep the question the same. But yes, playLEARNplay, keep learning new techniques, figure out what others have done well, just so long as you know how to then make it your own.

That’s probably enough philosophizing for now…

So here’s the first batch of experimentation. The one where I’m just using photos of my kids, and yes, these photo edits look film like and dreamy and, probably overdone and SUPER trendy. But I’m working through the experimenting to find a new look that’s all mine again… that’s what it’s all about, right?

Stay tuned.

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this little lady loves getting her hands dirty…

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this is what happens when I try to take a ‘serious’ photo of my son with his soccer medal [because, on principal, I stubbornly refuse to pay for the team photographer’s photos when I do this for a living and can take my own…]

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Goings on with spiva

I think one of the coolest things I’ve gotten to do in my career, is partner with Joplin’s local art gallery (Spiva Center for the Arts). It’s easy to look at photography as a commodity, a hobby, or even a necessity (‘We HAVE to get family photos done before our kids move out of the house’…) but not always as art. Spiva’s dedication to photography as an art form, is always inspiring.

This is the time of year when a lot of Spiva’s focus goes into photography. Not just encouraging folks to admire it in a gallery setting, but encouraging whole families to directly participate in it.

3 things I’m fortunate to be involved in right now:

#1: Teaching a class for photspvia tweens.

Here’s the description from Spiva’s website:

“If your budding young photographer was disappointed to age out of PhotoSpiva Kids, and is interested in photography, have we got the class for you! This class builds on photographic skills and introduces fun challenges that will make the PhotoSpiva Tweens exhibit in April especially fun. Two photos from each participant will be chosen and framed for the exhibit.”

The class is THIS Saturday (the 14th), from 11am to noon.  Registration is $35. I will, *gulp*, personally teach the class…. so it may be a little crazy. 🙂 I’m so excited though… this is a super fun age, and I get to help the kids think about photography in a different way.

#2: Judging the photographs from photospiva kids.

The cover photo in this post is one such photo (photo credit to Addison Teeter). Here’s another (this one will receive a ‘most likely to make you laugh’ award, which will be awarded to Kathryn Hart):

My beautiful picture

These images were from the younger age group of kiddos, and it’s always so fun to be able to see the world again from their point of view. It was a good exercise for me to ‘judge’ photos based not on technical ability, but on sheer imagination & the ability to capture what it means to be a kid.  Lots of laughing and ‘awwwww’ing and moments of surprise as I looked through them.

The reception for that event is March 8th… you should come if your’e a Joplinite, if nothing else to see the looks of pride and excitement on a bunch of little kids’ faces as they see their work on a real gallery wall. 🙂

#3: Two of my own photos made it in to the main photospiva exhibit this year… I’ve made it in before, but never with more than one image, so that’s pretty cool.

For those unfamiliar with Photospiva, it is an annual, national photography competition, the longest running competition of its’ kind, and happens to be based here in Joplin, MO. Photographers from all over the country submit work- last year’s 1st place winner was from Brooklyn, NY. It is, of course, my favorite exhibit of the year at Spiva. My pieces are being mounted and framed this week to prepare for the show, which kicks off March 7th- in the meanwhile, you can take a peek at the digital versions of the winners below.

This is a photo from a family session I did last fall, with some of my very favorite ‘regulars’. I’ve been taking pictures of this little girl (Caroline), her big sister, and her little brother since they were born; and while the madness increases with each shoot, I continue to be inspired by these little ones just as much, every time I work with them. I’ve joked about them being ‘muses’, since many of my favorite child portraits have come from sessions with them.

This quiet, ‘in-between’ moment caught my attention when I was trying to decide what to enter this year. And I love bright colors…


This next photo I’ve showed a couple of times… it’s actually a senior photo I took, of an aspiring young composer with a lot of talent. Alex wanted something creative and original for his photos- basically, portraits that didn’t FEEL like ‘senior portraits’.

When he told me about his love of making music, the idea for this image popped into my head. No photoshop, by the way, for those who are wondering… just  his mom and sister, just out of frame, throwing papers. over. and over. Until we got it…

and yes, I know, it also looks like a Harry Potter tribute photo. We’re ok with that…

joplin mo senior portrait from 9art photography1

That’s all for now. Hope to see you around Spiva! 🙂


Of Course Not…

I’ve meant to post about this for awhile… better late than never, right?

The title of this blog post is actually the name of the client I had the pleasure of working with late last year: the ‘power pop’ band, Of Course Not.

ofcoursenot- band pictures from joplin mo commercial photographer 9art photography_0001b

The group’s front man Luke approached me last  year and told me that the band wanted to work with me… primarily, because they were looking for something really different, and wanted help fleshing out some pretty ambitious visual ideas to accompany the new music they were making.

I hadn’t done anything quite like what they were asking, but I said yes, and we got to work planning. I secured the location thanks to my very good friend Jason, who had an empty old house on the market that worked just perfect for our shoot. And I called in my friend Jordan to model since I knew she had the perfect retro look that I wanted.

We started with some simple band photos… some casual, some formal…

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The house came with an ancient player piano, a very fun prop indeed…

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For the new music the band was releasing around halloween, they wanted something a bit otherworldly… yes, even creepy, to accompany a new single that told a ghost story.  So I broke my ‘I don’t do photoshop’ M.O.’ and played around a bit. The outtakes are fun, where you can see how goofy Luke is- and the items being moved around (I photoshopped Jordan out later).

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finished shot:

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Then came my favorite challenge; in which I needed to portray a girl levitating over a bed in a ghostly sort of way. This was one of those shoots where I still wasn’t 100% certain how I was going to do it beforehand; but I knew we could. Can you guess how we did it, before scrolling down? 🙂

Luke, helping me figure out how Jordan could achieve our levitation look:

ofcoursenot- band pictures from joplin mo commercial photographer 9art photography_0007

20 takes of Jordan jumping- backwards, off the chair- while Luke held the chair in place. For those who guessed I photoshopped and for those who thought I got away without photoshopping… you’re both half right. The actual position of Jordan in the picture is NOT faked; she really was in a horizontal position above the bed, that high, frozen in that split second in which her backwards jump planted her in that spot.

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But I did cheat by photoshopping Jordan into a pre-staged shot that I took before bringing in the model and chair.

You have to cheat sometimes….

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It was fun. Looking forward to working with more musicians in the future… they can be kinda crazy, and so am I. 🙂

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whiskerino flashback:: inspiration comes from the weirdest places

If you’ve known me for awhile, then you’ll remember me having mentioned this awhile back. If not, let me introduce you to one of the weirdest things I was ever a part of: WHISKERINO.

Whiskerino was an event of sorts that happened every 2 years. The originating concept was kind of like ‘no-shave-november’ on steroids… a couple of creative dudes in Nashville decided to promote creativity and beard growth by starting an online beard growing competition. The rules for ‘members’ of the online community were simple:

#1: shave your facial hair on november 1st
      #2: don’t shave (or preferably, even trim) again until February 28th. 
      #3: post daily pictures of yourself and your ‘progress’.                                                                                                                              

      #4: post the photos, comment on others, enjoy the community!

whiskerino nov 16

I started working at starbucks in Joplin in 2007, a few years after the thing had first started rolling. Somebody brought the website to the attention of the barista brotherhood, and now you know why every male that worked at the 4th street starbucks during that 4 months looked like a hobo….

There were members of the online community in Nashville, Joplin, California, the UK, Australia, and beyond. At the end of the ‘growing and showing’ time there was a big party in Nashville, with over 300 attendees.

(see if you can find me. I don’t think I have yet…)

So why was this a thing?

What made it fun?

Why did people even take part in such a ridiculous idea?

Two things…

Community and creativity. And these two things are never strangers to each other…

whiskerino nov 25

Any time you can set up a (no-pressure) community for creative folks, you are also fostering creativity. The setup of the website- with (healthy) competition, some loose deadlines, and a simple element of goofy fun- was the perfect recipe for getting a lot of folks to do something unique and original. Even if it was silly.

I still have fond memories (2009 was the final whiskerino, as it had outgrown its’ creators and was becoming a monster to admin). It got me outside of my box, and solidly gave me my first thoughts about creating a cohesive series of images. That kind of thinking and experimenting later led to projects like ‘cold brewed‘ and the current photonovel I’m working on.

There’s still so much to be learned from this ridiculous little exercise of growing a beard and snapping pictures of it.

Sometimes, as an artist, you have to stop taking yourself so seriously. Remember why creating is FUN (when you let it be). And be intentional about community, whatever the reason for its’ forming.

I’ve including a few images from my whiskerino series here, from 5 years ago in 2009, when I decided I’d just take a picture with my (then) 1 year old son each day. I thought I could hold that up for about a week… but it went all 4 months. 🙂

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whiskerino Dec 23 whiskerino Dec 19 whiskerino dec 16whiskerino Dec 31nov 2whiskerino dec 02whiskerino Feb 08 whiskerino Feb 16 whiskerino Feb 18


You can see the whole 4 months’ worth of photos here.

After the jump (just click ‘continue reading’) is a brief series featuring film noir and robots (and the accompanying captions). Hope you enjoy seeing these shots and my sons’ very chubby little cheeks from back then…

Continue reading


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!

for questions regarding the project, please contact mark at

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.

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.


norman rockwell 9art photography technology series, image #1- age of romance
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. 🙂
norman rockwell post cover contest collaboration with spiva arts in joplin mo by 9art photography_0001b
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.


norman rockwell post cover contest collaboration with spiva arts in joplin mo by 9art photography_0004b
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]
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.
norman rockwell cover intrepretation- mac vs apple debate

Way to go, Joplin. Let’s keep doing fun stuff together.

More to come….