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Tribal Markings: Interview with Hands of Kali

clock December 30, 2010 22:30 by author Amber

I've been enjoying this project a lot. I get meet with and talk to interesting people who happen to perform and have a rich history to share. This evening I was fortunate to sit with Kendra, Deidra, Death Ann, and Seraphina of Hand of Kali. I'm not going to go into too much detail right now, but the interview went over 40 minutes of recorded interviews. There were some great laughs and more than a few insightful moments. We have a target date that we're aiming to shoot on. The question is whether I can get the space I want to shoot in. We'll see how that goes.



Favorite Photos of 2010

clock December 26, 2010 09:07 by author Amber

The year has less than a week left to live so I thought I would do some looking back at a few of the many photos I've shot this year. I've got a lot to choose from and in some cases, the choice what to take was really kind of difficult. Without any further delay, here are my favorite photos from 2010. [more]

It seems only appropriate to begin this post with one of the first photos I took of 2010. The place is the Edison in downtown Los Angeles. The date was January 1st at 1:10 am in the morning. The event was the Nautilist's Ball featuring Abney Park. One of the things that I love about shooting a live performance are those moments that just happen to occur and you're there to catch that candid moment. This particular moment Onyx AbodyOfWater, a tribal fusion belly dancer, was dancing to Airship Pirate, if I remember correctly. This is not only one of my favorite shots of her, but one of my favorites from the evening as whole.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

I'll be one of the first people to admit, I'm big gaming dork--I tell myself that I'm a classy gaming dork however--and I like to play in my live action role playing games, which are like improvisational theater where you assume the role of a character and improvise the script for your character. Of course there are rules to prevent everything from falling into chaos, but I'm okay with that. One of the things I love about playing in a LARP are all of the friends I've made through the years and the stories that I've had a chance to help tell. One LARP I play in Emerald City Chronicles, a vampire game based on the 3rd edition of the White Wolf Game Studio's Vampire: The Masquerade. And because we're a lot that likes to get dressed up, we run special events several times through out the year. Early January saw the event "Hell Freezes Over". We took over the Wallingford Boys and Girls Club for an evening, decorated the place, and threw a party. Me and my trust worthy Voice Activated Light Stand, Beca, wandered around taking candid photos of the players in character.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

Creating images for the Edge of Propinquity and other fine art projects sometimes requires models. A lot of the time, the models are paid in trade. Not only does the model get copies of the images from the shoot, he or she also gets studio time to shoot anything he or she may want. This shoot with Stagename Calico is one such example. She needed some shots done for her resume. And I provided them. Over all, I am really quite happy with the quality of the overall shoot, but this smirking head shot makes me crack a smile every time.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

Seanan McGuire was one of the new universe authors for the Edge of Propinquity in 2010. For Seanan's second story in the Sparrow Hill Road series, "Dead Man's Party", I had envisioned latte art originally with the skull floating in the coffee mug. However, my latte art fu had failed me. Especially when I spilled the steam half-and-half, which formed the upper left quart of the skull. Inspiration took a left turn on me and shifted gears. I shot 6 variations on this and submitted three. Seanan chose this one for publishing.

Copyright null, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

I was a very busy photographer in February, but I took time out to go to a workshop hosted by Scott Church--some of the images on his site are not be work safe--where I was able to flex my creative muscles with some very beautiful men and woman. I took many of the photos I took aren't safe for work either, my favorites is though. The model here is Evan McConnaughey and he was a trooper, right down to getting in the shower with his clothes on. Fortunately, the space we were shooting in had a dryer right next to the shower. This particular shot primarily lit from a single SpeedLight, one of the big hot shoe flashes, on a stand to left of the shower and from above in the shower stall. I love how everything just comes together in this shot. When I went to one of the local art events, I ran into Evan and he gave me his card. This shot was used for the background of it. Now that's a compliment.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

My introduction to Irish punk is the amazing Ockham's Razor and hear is an amazing photo of their fiddle player, Matt Haverly. There are a lot of things I like about this photo, most notably the sense of calm dedication, the strong jaw line and the shadows cast by them, and the lucky moment where the flash was at just right angle to my left that you see it reflected off of the plate glass window just below the fiddle. For such a small venue, the Shipwreck, in West Seattle, had a boat load of character.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

I am biased. I love my little girl and sometimes she comes out with me on photo jobs. We were in the water tower at Volunteer Park, in Seattle, trying some concept photos for an Edge of Propinquity guest author story. We were goofing around trying to get the shot I wanted I started snapping a couple pictures of her. This look says that's she not the one goofing around. Hmmm. No matter, I loved the photo anyway.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

The ladies of Skin Deep Dance, a belly dance company specializing in American Tribal Style belly dance, performed a show called "Murder at the Orient Express" at the Orient Express Chinese restaurant. From left to right is Katrina McCoy, Kristen Beifus, and Caryn Vaino. The thing to remember about the Orient Express is that the restaurant is constructed out of old rail cars, so the areas are narrow and not well lit and they were doing a group performance. The photos for these shots were accomplished through a wireless flash sitting in the luggage rack to the right.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

All of those shots my daughter and I took in the water tower at Volunteer Park? Yeah, I didn't use them for the story. The vantage point wasn't high enough for the effect I wanted. I am nothing if not prepared as I had my Plan B ready to go. I give you "Wearing Down the Sin" for the short story "Purgatory" by Alma Alexander. If you look at the eye of the gargoyle, you may notice something is not quite right about it: It's the right eye of my eldest child, Donovan.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

Since moving to Seattle, I've fallen in love with the independent music scene and going to these small, intimate concerts. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the big stadium shows growing up, but these are far more personal. In this picture, from right to left, because I like mixing it up, is Paul Mayden, Tim Armstrong, Mel Vinn, and Robbie Taboo, and they are Civita. Their sound is vibrant and alive. In short, they rock.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

As if I don't have enough to do, I volunteer my time at conventions. It's fun, it's exciting, and most of all, it makes other people happy which in turn makes me happy. See? It's all win. The convention that gets most of my time is Norwescon and, like many conventions, there is a big party on night of the last day of the convention, where we all relax. This is party is the Dead Dogs Party because we're all dead dog tired. This year, I wandered through the party doing 5 minute portraits and candid shots. Here's one volunteer staff, posing for my camera.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

On May 7th, Blackbird Orchestra, Robert Rial's Bakelite 78, and Ockham's Razor played the Jewelbox in Seattle. Erin Jordan of Bakelite 78 serenades us, taking the lead and showing us what accordions can do. The music is indeed beautiful.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

In late December of 2009, vandals broke into the Carrols Clock at the Museum of History and Industry, stealing the inner workings and the pendulum of the antique clock that at one time stood on the corner in Pioneer's Square. Steampunks, being the nice bunch of folk that they are felt that something had to be done to pay for the repairs. That something turned out to be the Seattle Steampunk Film Festival and through event tickets, raffles, auctions, and more, we raised the money necessary to repair the Carrols Clock. I was there as a part of the fundraiser taking pictures. This is perhaps my favorite photo from that evening.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

Grants Pass is an anthology edited by Jennifer Brozek and Amanda Pillar and released through Morrigan Books. While none of the photos that make up this comic page were taken this year, the layout and treatment was produced in May. The text is copyright 2009, by Jennifer Brozek. Used here with permission.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

Just in case you haven't figured it out, I love the independent music that both comes out of town and to this town. Erica Mulkey is Unwoman and she toured the West Coast in celebration for the release of her new CD Casualties. The music at the Jewelbox was amazing that evening!

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

Weddings represent a union between two souls and love the opportunity to explore those moments and capture them in time. Toni and Aaron were married last May in a quiet little ceremony. After everything was said and done, I took pictures of the family together and in smaller groups. So much was going on, this little monument of peace caught my attention. It was Toni's altar and, as the Charge of the Goddess says, "All acts of love and pleasure are My rituals." Love was present in large quantities.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

As much as I love weddings and live music, I adore monsters even more. From the Muppets to Universal's the Wolfman, the Alien Queen to Vasty Moses of Nightbreed, the Borg to the Girl Whose Face Wasn't There, an idea that struck me one morning and Lillian Wilde helped me realize. There are a couple more shoots with The Girl in the works.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

Miss Vixen Valentine is a good friend and a very talented burlesque performer. How could I say no when she asked me to take a few photos of her for a show she was doing. This particular photo works for me on several levels. I love the richness of color, both from her makeup, hair, and the background. The slightly playful look doesn't hurt either.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

July 10th was the Abney Park concert at the Little Red Studio as a part of its Erotic Steampunk Weekend. There were a few out of town guests, including Onyx and Dana Hill. Dana is the artist behind Abney Park plushies. The most well known plushie out of the lot is probably the Nathaniel plushie. During set up, Dana decided to put the Nathan Plushie down, next to "the Metal Mandolin". When a photographer looks at a scene and the lighting is right and framing is a must, well, you have to follow your muse. So I give you Nathaniel Johnstone, the plushie.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

The very next day after the Abney Park show, it was off to Beacon Hill in Seattle to photograph the students of Skin Deep Dance. The ladies here had just finished getting into their tribal costumes and makeup. This particular photograph only serves to reinforce why I love shooting American Tribal Style belly dancers: The vibrant colors, beauty that comes in all shapes and sizes, and the camaraderie that grows out of performing as a group.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

SHINE: The Burlesque Musical had it's Seattle opening in July before going to New York for its run there. Not only did SHINE pull from the local acting talent that Seattle has to offer, but SHINE also tapped Seattle's diverse burlesque community. The show is witty, sexy, and full of songs that you'll find yourself singing to, even if they cause awkward looks around the office. This photo is a favorite of mine for several reasons. The first of which is the deeply saturated light that back lights the set and the actors on stage. The actors held the stance that told the audience that the stage was theirs. You could balk at it or you could enjoy the ride, but they weren't giving it up. Last, but not least, I also love how the image suggests symmetry, but doesn't actually deliver on it.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

Jennifer Brozek, an award winning author and editor of amazing work, hosted an Evening with Authors at the Wayward Coffee House in Seattle. I love this shot as it's a beautiful long shot of the space where we were set up in that evening. The Wayward is presently closed due to damage caused from a fire in the unit next door. The Seattle Browncoats have started the Wayward Phoenix Fund to help raise money so the Wayward can fly again. If you can give, please do so.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

September was a busy month for me, as I'm sure you can tell, but sometimes you just need to stop and look at the stars. Here in Seattle, the light pollution doesn't let you see all of them. On the 5th of September, I headed out to Roy, WA, for some time away from the city lights so I could try my hand at shooting the night time sky. It was nice to see the night time sky not looking so desolate for change. That lighter strip of sky going from the upper left to the lower right is a band of the Milky Way. My awe was inspired. From a technical standpoint, the photo was shot on my Nikon D700 with my 50mm lens at f2.8 and an exposure time of 10 seconds while my ISO was cranked up to 3200. I didn't want to do much longer than 10 seconds because I didn't want to capture the earth's rotation for these photos.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

One thing I've learned, if I've really learned anything at all from journeys with a camera in hand it's never be afraid to experiment and play. For instance, I put out a call to my friends that I needed a willing volunteer to let me take photos of them while I played around with the light. Caylean, who I met through Nathaniel Johnstone, was the first one to step forward. She studies theater at Cornish College of the Arts here in Seattle and was a joy to work with, being both expressive and subdued when it was needed. During this shoot, I moved my lights all over the place, lighting her in different ways and directing her in a fashion to build out a character. This particular photo stands out to me in simply what it implies. The shadow is bigger than the girl. Don't mess with her.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

Seanan McGuire's Sparrow Hill Road, like all of her works, is an amazing play ground of ideas and details. When working with an author for a project, I'll read the story and make note of all of the mental images I get. Shortly there after I go out and shoot them. In September, Torrey Stenmark and I headed out to Dr. Maze's Farm in Redmond to take photographs of Rose Marshall walking among the rows of corn before the masses arrived one Saturday morning. After I shot the photographs, I wasn't able to edit them until late into Sunday evening and I picked the three photos that my exhausted brain thought was the best. Seanan, however, went looking through the rest of the photos from the shoot and picked out this one. I blame exhaustion for over looking this striking image the first time around.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

The end of September was not only my birthday but also my first time being invited to the convention as a panelist, courtesy of Foolscap 12. While I was there I met a plethora of talented and cool people and even got to photograph a few of them. My favorite among that collection is one I took of the author Emma Bull. This photo also has the distinction that I didn't take it with my Nikon digital SLR, my iPhone 3GS was the camera of the day.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

Early October took me to Studio 7 to photograph the Dread Effect show. Andy Mayor plays the keyboard for the band. Unlike a lot of keyboardists I've known through the years, this man has a sense of stage presence so that he's not only good to listen to but he's also an entertaining performer.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

September also saw the genesis of a book project called Tribal Markings exploring the relationship between belly dancers and the tattoos they adorn themselves with. October 24th saw the official launch of the project and photography begin in earnest. Two of the belly dancers I photographed that day were Tayissa Blue and Jessica, or known through her stage name Yeshika. Until Tayissa's shoot that day, all of the dancers had been photographed separately, and Tayissa was no exception. Towards the end of her shoot I wanted to try and catch some of that tribal belly dance spark that you find in Tribal Fusion and American Tribal Style with its focus on group improvisation by having Tayissa and Jessica dance. Nothing was choreographed between them nor did words flow but they spoke the same language of moves and the cues that preceded them.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

On December 3rd, we celebrated the 40th birthday of my good friend Jennifer Brozek. She told her husband she wanted him to make a big deal out of it. And boy did he pull out all of the stops. Of all of the cool things that happened that night included a private performance by Nathaniel Johnstone and the Wastelanders. I've taken a lot of photos of Nathaniel over the years since I started following Abney Park and his solo projects, but this is my favorite candid shot of him to date. He's relaxed and goofing around before Jenn arrived at her surprise party.

 

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com



Over the Edge: Hoping for Sanctuary

clock December 15, 2010 23:45 by author Amber

Copyright 1600, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

"Hoping for Sanctuary" for David W. Landrum's story "Avenging Earth" appearing in the Edge of Propinquity.
Model: Torrey Stenmark



Over the Edge: Midnight at Buckley High

clock December 15, 2010 22:09 by author Amber

With the month of December, Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire comes to a close. Rose Marshall confronts Bobby Cross and the outcome is no less than epic.

Copyright 1600, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.com

Torrey Stenmark takes up the mantle of Rose Marshall one more time. The headlights are a custom rig built from a 2x4 with a pair of plastic light sockets and 120 watt lights. My biggest fear that evening was the continuation of the severe rains Western Washington had been hammered with over previous days. Fortune, or perhaps the Queen herself, smiled upon us with a break in the rain. Pouring rain and concrete aren't, as I see it, the Sparrow Hill Road aesthetic. I'm sure Torrey's loved ones would be more than a tad upset with me if I managed to electructe her.

Sparrow Hill Road: Thunder Road by Seanan McGuire on the Edge of Propinquity.



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