film noir photobooth

The ‘film noir’ theme is probably my favorite for the photobooth. I get to pay tribute to film noir and also prep for a NEW SHOW (this is my sneaky announcement) in October featuring work from the project ‘cold brewed‘. The show will be up for the entire month of October at the Post Memorial Art Library, located in the Joplin library.

For the ‘booth, I used bare bulb flash for that shadowy look, lots of trench coats and fedoras, and some willing regulars… thanks, as always to Spiva Center for the Arts for graciously hosting the event.

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I love that my buddy Shaun looks like an insane Dicky-Tracy-villain-mugshot here…

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We got bored at one point when there was a lull in people traffic.  So using available models (Shaun, who works at Spiva, and Tatum, my delightful assistant for the night) and taking advantage of Spiva’s amazing retro doors, we took a few stills…

….which proggressively became less moody and more cartoonish as time went on…

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S U M M E R

School starts this week… whoa.

Let’s back up.

for my family, summer was…

getting little hands dirty.

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Popsicles.
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Chasing fireflies.

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fireworks (‘the poopy puppy’ becomes the pinnacle when you have young children).

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vacation bible school (and reluctant posing in their matching shirts).
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lots of water.

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boredom.

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floppy hats.

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extra time with mom and dad.

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sunshine.

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fishing.

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and sheer, un(ADULT)erated joy. That’s what you get when you can just be a kid…

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NEWS // NEWS // NEWS

While, I kinda dropped off the face of the earth there for a little bit… ok, not really… but that’s certainly how it feels when you’re off for two weeks and are missing your phone for most of it.

The time off was planned, the phone absence wasn’t… I learned a great life lesson, which is never to underestimate the power of a kiddie ride at worlds of fun. The tiny semi I stuffed myself into (because my 4 year old daughter was 2 inches too short to ride anything on her own) may not LOOK like it’s going to go very fast. But that doesn’t mean it can’t suddenly lurch forward with incredible velocity, throwing your phone out of your hand and on to the tiny tiny track where it it will run over said phone 5 times before the ride is over…

But that’s not to complain. It was no FANCY vacation, but taking two weeks with my family- some of it away, some of it at home- was much needed and very good for me and mine. I read (like, a whole book), water parked, swam, fished, played board games, introduced my kids to Andy Griffith and ‘Star Trek:Next Generation’ and ate more greasy spoon breakfasts than I care to confess to.

Anyway. I’m back in business, literally and figuratively, with a new (old) phone in hand and plenty of work in front of me to catch up. The first thing to catch up on is letting you guys know what’s going on. So here’s a couple of announcements, especially for folks in the Joplin, MO area this week:

#1:: I HAVE A SHOW! 

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I’ve kept pretty quiet about it until now, but I have my first solo show in over 10 years (yep, since college), hanging RIGHT NOW at Joplin Ave Coffee Co in downtown Joplin. I’m so excited to be able to say that. A big, big thanks to Cleo’s framing, Cherry’s framing, and especially to Shaun Conroy from Spiva for helping me get everything matted and hung.

So yeah. Stop by and see it. I would post pictures, but then you wouldn’t have to go see it, would you? 😉

The show will hang for the entire month of August, so if you don’t make it in for the art walk, you’ve still got plenty of time to take look at it.

#2:: PHOTOBOOTH!

Tomorrow marks the second ‘1st thursday’ art walk this year, and I’ll be present at Spiva Center for the Arts with my photobooth. This months’ theme is ‘superhero’… an old favorite of everyone’s, with a prize this time going to the best original costume idea. Of course, we’ll have plenty of props on hand, as always…

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#3:: NOW BOOKING FALL SESSIONS!

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It’s crazy to think that school is almost here and I’m even mentioning anything about fall, but… well, it’s not too far away and it wouldn’t hurt to start thinking about it if you’ve considered booking a portrait session this fall. You can take a look my main site for more info about that.

That’s all for now… new shoots and announcements are rolling in soon, so keep an eye out!

-Mark

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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Mom takes photobombing to the next level

I cannot tell you how much FUN I had on Kjersti’s (sort-of) senior session. She graduates from college here in a couple of weeks, and her mom wanted to commemorate the event with some pictures.

When mom came along on the shoot, her presence yielded some interesting results. Some very interesting results indeed…

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I’ll be back with more ‘serious’ pictures next time. 😉

-Mark

the Caldwells

The Caldwells are another family I’ve been working with for some time now, watching Caegan & Leighalla grow through the sessions. Mom Lisa & dad Corban moved the fam to Kansas City last year, but being amazing and incredibly sweet clients, they still come back to Joplin for photos every few months to document their little family. I couldn’t be more honored.

We took these in the John Wise mansion, a beautiful historic building in downtown Joplin, that the the owner was kind enough let us borrow for a couple of hours.

I think I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking… the chaos, laughter, tears, climbing, kicking, hunger, discovery, and 100 other beautiful emotions that come during a 90mn session with toddlers. 🙂

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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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Let’s make a cyberdeal… with your local photographer!

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So in the midst of all that craziness ‘out there’ (this is assuming you are, as you should be, reading this while shopping online in your cozies w/ a cup of fuzzy cocoa and a warm cat), let’s not forget your oh-so-favorite photographer.

And don’t forget me, either.

For reals… if you ARE interested in the beautiful gift of photography… well, I certainly do have a deal or two for you.

Going to keep it super simple this year. Each of these deals is good as long as you send me an e-mail between friday and tuesday. You can TOTALLY do that! Who needs another X-box, anyway? Will you ever hang that x-box on a wall for your children and grandchildren and great grandchildren to see?

Alright, alright, on to the deals.

#1: 20% off ALL DOWNTOWN PRINTS.

Check out the details on our downtown series here, and just take 20% off all pricing you see on that page. These images come in everything from small postcards to large canvases; they make pretty sweet gifts (and nice decor for your walls).

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#2: 15% off commercial rates (for the first session) for any business, publication, or marketing firm that has not previously worked with us.

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#3:for every $1 you spend toward a gift certificate, we’ll add .50. ($100 spent = $150 credit).

only stipulation is that you can’t use it on yourself. 🙂 And think on this… fantastic gift, ya know?

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#4: wall portraits (16 x 24 or larger) & high res disks at 50% off. (for PRE-orders from sessions that have not yet taken place; and for ‘catch up’ orders on sessions that took place before September, 2014. Not applicable to sessions that took place after August & before December).

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#5: ALL third thursday photobooth prints, 50% off! ($20 order minimum).

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That’s all folks. Don’t forget to spend some family time and all that jazz. Hope you all had an awesome thanksgiving… talk to you soon.

-Mark

‘back to school’ photobooth theme from the 9art photobooth!

I was excited this month to have props loaned from Joplin schools, Missouri Southern, and several kind individuals so those that stopped by could sport their favorite school colors.

Here’s a few of my favorites, while you’re waiting on the whole batch to show up on the book of faces!
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We also launched our new downtown joplin print series… thanks to those who made purchases!! If you’d like to snag some downtown images of your own as prints, canvases, or postcards, you can check out more in our previous blog post about it or on the new section of our main website.

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baby Kate @ 6 months

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I joked on facebook when I first posted this photo… 20 seconds after the last cry. .5 seconds before the next cry. 10 minutes before the sun set. Timing is everything.

photography often = 10% technical skill, 90% timing, at least with little ones.

And speaking of timing… seems like only a few months ago I shot Emily & Matt’s wedding… and maybe a couple of weeks ago that I shot newborn pictures of little Katherine.

Nope. Time just seems that way. It’s actually been years since the wedding and 6 months since this little girl was born. Now she’s ‘Kate’ through and through and what a big smile this lady has and brings to her parents.

May she bring one to you too! 🙂

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