Friday, February 08, 2008

the magic light of the photobooth

because i am a photographer - and behind the camera nearly all the time, i am not a good subject in front of the camera. i make a pretty stupid face most of the time and try to open my eyes wide and as a result, i look pretty lame most of the time. i do a lame rachael ray thing with my mouth... which is big, so its a big crooked smirk-instead-of-smile that i do. big. stupid.

however.... that doesn't negate anything from the PHOTO BOOTH ITSELF. what a fantastic contraption that thing is. the lights just blow all the ugly details out of your face (that means wrinkles, blemishes, etc). you are BLASTED with bright light... and you never have red eye because the bright lights begin to flash before the shutter does. ingenious. i wish i had one in my house.

but i have embarked on a brand new project - one in which i've already gathered 100's of images... all of which i find stunning

taking a photo of a subject who is seated in and illuminated by the photo booth.

i received the most amazing compliment from this handsome gentlemen, who let me focus on his recently broken nose in this shot:

bruce overhead web

that is bruce bennett, know for both his work as a musician, a filmmaker, and a writer.

as a writer, he is gifted with a particularly witty turn of phrase whether he is writing criticism or creative... a confirmed cineaste with encylopaedic knowledge of the geeky thing that is my craft: cinematography... well, bruce knows his cameras, angles, exposures and lenses... you can't get anything past this guy... and while i went out of my way to focus on the singular physical fault upon that most handsome face (and one which i find makes him just that much more handsome), bruce was man enough to look beyond my elevation of the evidence of his injury to invoke the name of one of my favorite cinematographers (shooting elvis and bill holden in one career! i strive for that kind of thing) when commenting on this technique.

therefore, i know i have latched on to a winner.

i photographed bruce in one of our favorite bars, magnetic field. its photo booth emanates this crazy chartreuse light. at once it reminds me of carnies and of vermeer. crazy.

in a photo booth across the river, at lakeside lounge, an even darker bar.... i photographed kae who is a percussionist in the local whimsical band, mr badger.

the photo booth at lakeside lounge has a colder light and dark blue curtains that keep the cold. it would be all wrong to call this photo "hot asian chick in the cold blue light," even though in the most vulgar of worlds, that's what it is...

kae 2

instead... i call this ECSTASY.

ECSTASY not unlike that of st teresa of avila (the one who spells her name wrong but who had the magical visions), ECSTASY yes... like in adult movies. ECSTASY, that as a photographer instead of a painter, i am able to capture in a fraction of a second, rather than remembering that fraction as i paint, or asking the model to hold her pose for an interminable period of time.

i am ECSTATIC about the light...

meanwhile, kae's bandmate jim donned his pirate gear for this fun portrait


the difference between the two photo booths is clear.

lee cropped for web

this is lee, one of the owners of magnetic field, in a photo booth portrait that for me channels vermeer... one of my favorite painters. i long to someday take a photograph that channels his "girl with a pearl earring" and i believe lee's photo booth can help me achieve that.