Last night was my showcase in Hollywood, at Playhouse with RAW Artists. As many of you know, I was contacted by RAW Artists a little over a month ago. They had come across my photography and were interested in having me showcase with them. Well, that event was last night and the support I received from everyone was overwhelming.
I was really touched by how many people came out to support me and my work – and even the goofy shot of five of my subjects and myself above is awesome!
So often I tend to look at my work as just photos.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe in my work and stand my imagery. I’m confident in my abilities, but I still will look at my images as something that my subjects allow me to very easily create with them.
What I’m trying to say, is that often I forget that the portraits I’ve created of people mean more to those individuals than I realize. And nearly every person from my collection in last nights showcase proved that by showing up excited to see their photo on the wall, give me a hug, congratulate me on my work, and thank me for allowing them to be a part of it.
I’m surprised I didn’t get more emotional, but as I go through these photos and see what a great time everyone had talking and meeting one another, it compounds the amount of love there really was last night. Again, Thank You!
A couple things that stand out, before I get to a huge assortment of photos…
My cousin drove up from San Diego to be there even though he had to work at 4a the next day, thank you Gianni!
My Mom and step-dad flew down last minute from the Bay Area.
Adam, who turned into my poster-boy for this whole event, came out on his 25th birthday to be there.
Lauren, my best girl friend here in LA, celebrated her birthday last night with me at the show AND took tons of photos for me because she knew I wouldn’t have time.
Everyone else that attended, texted, called, emailed, posted on facebook, etc. Thank you all for the support!
Please check out the rest of the images after the break, I’ll have a lot more to say about the event and people that attended.
Mark Fightshark Miller, Shelby Jones, Rita von Riot.
Three new amazing additions to my ongoing portrait series and the last additions to my upcoming showcase this Thursday!
Mark Fightshark Miller has had one of the most inspiring stories behind any of my portraits so far.
Heavyweight kickboxer Mark Miller is the only person to get back into the ring after open heart surgery. Here, check out this video about his story..
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
The opportunity to meet and photograph Mark was actually offered to me by Shelby – a model-turned-fighter who I was talking to about photographing for my series as well. But I’ll get to her story in a moment.
After Shelby told me a bit about Mark, what he’d gone through, and then reading more about him online, I knew his was a story I had to have in my series.
The idea for his portrait was simple. The image above is exactly what I envisioned too. Mark, pointing to his scar, with an expression that said “Yep. I came back from THIS.”
This was the very first image I took of Mark.
Honestly, I love this one as well because I think for this brief second, his personality and humor came through in the shot. He did this pose and expression on his own and it’s a funny, creepy, and still powerful image. Admit it, you would NEVER get in the ring with him.
Shelby Jones was someone I was introduced to through a mutual friend of ours. I was told by our friend Lisa “You gotta shoot Shelby, John. She’s hot. Has bright red hair and tattoos. She’d be amazing with your work.”
Sweet, redheads intimidate the crap out of me. Probably because I’ve never worked with any. Ever.
But, Shelby and I started chatting and were discussing shooting “at some point”. Then, when I mentioned my portrait series lacking women, she volunteered herself for it. And after seeing some of the images I’d created for the series, said she would definitely be down to be in it. She also volunteered Mark (above) for it as well.
The funny thing was that I didn’t realize Shelby was now training to fight until I explained more of my series and the concept of creating portraits of people and a side of their life. Shelby’s background includes modeling, burlesque, dance, etc. I honestly thought that alone would be a cool concept.
But come on now… How awesome is it that she fights? Anyone who says otherwise is lying.
I played around with a few variations of this image. Ultimately I went with green, to contrast her bright red hair.
But seriously the concept of “hot girl who is also a fighter” will be cool to anyone… so I wasn’t worried about backgrounds at all.
The last shot we did was with some blood and scrapes makeup (Thank you to Samantha Ward our MUA!)
This was an idea that Shelby had. I didn’t want her to look completely beat up, so we kept it light. Because honestly you never want an image that looks like you lost… You want something that looks like you got knocked around a little bit.
Last, and certainly not least, is my dual-portrait of Rita von Riot.
Some of you who follow my work might remember Rita from the K&N Filters Calendar that I photographed a little over a year ago. Rita and I talked about shooting again last Spring, but timing just never worked out for us. Then she became pregnant with her daughter Rylee! So, of course, that kept us from shooting as well! Haha!
I was hugely flattered when I received an email a week ago from Rita who said that she’d been following my portrait series and loved all the images that were coming from it. She said she would love to be a part of it and had an idea for a mirror-image type shot that showed both sides of her life. One half would be the plain mommy-side of her life, and the other half a dolled-up model side.
I loved the idea and was also very interested in the challenge of creating such an image. I knew certain factors had to remain constant for the photo, but that there would also need to be major hair and makeup changes. Rita used her favorite MUA, Maria B. Muah, who was also used for the K&N shoot.
Adding Rylee into the photo was something I didn’t plan for or expect. And while it made things a little more difficult because Rita had to adjust her body a bit to hold her daughter, honestly, it really is what made the shot great. Plus it helped that Rylee was completely mesmerized by my light.
For those curious, this is a composite of five total images, and over 20 layers. It took quite a while to edit, but, was entirely worth it.
To give you an idea, here’s the Mom-photo from that afternoon.
All three are awesome new additions to my series and each one of them a great story, too!