Earlier this month I participated in an awesome cultural event in Downtown Windsor, The Maiden Lane Alley Art Show.
This was my second attempt at an outdoor show this summer, and this time went much better than the first.
I was set up on the corner of Maiden Lane and that sweet alley with all the graffitti, in between a henna artist and another photographer, across from Buuntz & Co. ice cream. So basically, a totally excellent spot.
I had a book of my photos on display for people to flip through, as well as a background and some lights set up so that I could take portraits of some of the event attendees. While a lot of people were not so into having their photos taken, I managed to find more than a few who dug the idea and were happy to sit for me. I was doing this all for free, just for the chance to meet some new people and practice a bit more with portraits and lighting.
It was a great experience for me, I walked away from the day with some cool photos, ideas of what to change for next time, and a bunch of new contacts. Win!
Pat was my very first subject. She couldn't believe that I was just taking photos for free. Generally, she doesn't like photos of herself, but didn't mind this one when seeing it on my camera monitor. Being the sweet lady that she is, she bullied my next subject into agreeing to a photo.
Mike, originally introduced to me by Pat as Chris, was actually working during this event, and required a bit of persuasion to take a seat for me. But eventually he did, and in so doing introduced me to my first big hurdle of the day - sunglasses. These reflective sons of bitches were something I foolishly looked over when planning my setup, and I definitely wasn't prepared for what they were going to show. In this case, the audience of Pat and her friend, and my goofy ass taking the photo.
But at least now I know for next time, if it's outdoors and sunny, expect and be ready for sunglasses and all that comes with them. Duh.
Andrea didn't take as much convincing to pose for me, and she was super rad. Originally she just stopped by to take a look at some photos, but eventually we got to chatting a bit about how she's getting into photography as a hobby, and a bit about my lighting setup. She was rad, and I'm into how her photo turned out.
Rick has been my homie for a few years now, and I was super stoked when he stopped by the show while on his lunch break from Sutherland. We were able to catch up, he acted as another model for me, and we had a good time! Unfortunately, this didn't turn out to be a very food-intensive lunch for him. Sorry about that bro!
Again with the damn sunglasses. I still like this shot of event organizer Joey, but I really wish I had been able to deal with that reflection a bit more. But unfortunately it is what it is, and this is still a cute photo.
These ones here are some of my wonderful family members. My cousin Annie and her two little monsters Nolan and Liam. When the boys weren't actively punching each other in various bodyparts, they were very into the idea of having their photos taken, and I think they turned out beautifully. These are some adorable kids, which makes my job super easy.
Annie also requested a family photo with the lights and backdrop stand all visible, so sure man, there you go! Too bad she wouldn't sit for a solo shot though...
I was so happy that Chris, Paige, and Bijou made it out to the event. These three are a few more longtime friends, and there's just something that makes shooting people I know even more cool. People tend to be more comfortable with a photographer that they know, which can make for some more natural-looking photos.
By this point though, I was realizing that my backdrop, while wonderfully portable, was maybe a bit small for these group shots, resulting in some uncomfortably close cropping. Another lesson for next time.
Rima works at the ice cream store that I was set up across from, and I was able to watch her run her ass off all day. I never expected that she'd have the time to pose for me a bit, but I'm super happy that she did!
While her glasses weren't dark tinted or as reflective as some others, they did have an anti-glare coating, which shows up as those green streaks through the lenses. While I wasn't able to get rid of that completely with that day's setup, I was able to reduce it a bit from what it might have been, and found another unforeseen issue to plan for in the future.
RJ was a super cool dude. We had never met before, but ended up having some sweet conversation about his involvement with the university and how rad the event was.
I chased Steph down to get her to model for me, and was very happy when her friend talked her into it. Between her sweet makeup, pink dreads, and awesome flowered dress, she had an amazing look that I really wanted the chance to capture. I'm very happy with how these ones turned out, and am grateful to her friend for convincing her to take part!
Zach was out skateboarding with his friends, and happened to ever so gently bump into my tent after talking with the vendors across the alley. While apologizing for this very serious infraction, I told him he could make it up to me by posing for a photo. And surprisingly, it worked! I'm happy that it did too, because with that shirt, hair, and smile, I think this turned into a great shot.
Also, mad props to Olga from The Henna Boutique, who was telling the ridiculous anecdote that prompted this face.
Jamie was my neighbour to the left during the event, and it was super intimidating taking his photo. Working with other photographers like this always makes me extra conscious about everything that I'm doing (or not). But he was a chill dude, we had some sweet conversation during the show, and made some plans for potential collaboration that I really hope pan out. So keep your eyes open for that!
And here we have the previously mentioned Olga from The Henna Boutique. She was stationed to my right, and after seeing me take Jamie's photo she decided that she was, in fact, into the idea of getting her picture taken.
This chick is one of the sweetest people I've met, and she has some stunning eyes. She also does great henna work, the staining from which you can see on her hands in the second shot.
After this she took a few minutes to give me my first ever henna piece, and it was great! I loved the way that it turned out, and was getting compliments on it for days. If you're in the market for some temporary bodyart, definitely look her up.
Katie and Christine were a couple of referrals from Olga, which resulted in some pretty neat photos. Having just had glittery henna applied, it only made sense to get a shot of that, and their portrait is definitely going to end up as the cover for their new indie-rock/EDM album (which I totally just made up, but how sweet would that be?).
Adam is a local musician and model who was actually at the event to help out another photographer, but was still more than willing to work with me for a few minutes near the end of the night.
This guy was a riot. After the short session with him I had so many of the surrounding vendors tell me how they loved watching that shoot, as he was so into it and clearly enjoying himself.
Adam also told me about his eyewear collection, which, if I'm remembering right, is somewhere in the thousands. So of course he was another one to show up with the dreaded sunglasses, and this time the glare was even worse. Night had fallen by this point, so the reflection of the bright lights was ever more harsh than in previous sessions. I tried some blurring of the lenses in post, but that just resulted in a rather cartoonish look. Neat shot otherwise though, so I still had to post it.
You might recognize this handsome fella from Dr Disc.
Nick had just finished his shift at the iconic record store and was on his way to the equally notable Acapulco Delight when I accosted him and forced him onto my milk crates for a picture. But he took the whole thing like a champ, and rocked the fuck out of that CJAM shirt.
My final subjects of the day were actually some that I had been not-so-sneakily capturing all day.
These three were set up across the alley from me, hocking some spectacular cannabis-themed art under the moniker Chronic Canvas.
Their work was unreal, and their dog was adorable, so I was more than happy to get a family portrait before packing it in for the night.
All in all it was a super fun day, and I can't wait until next year so I can take part again. Huge thank you to everyone who volunteered to have their photo taken, or even just took a look at my work.
The maddest props of all, though, go out to Joey for organizing the whole thing and letting me take part, Sarah for helping me set up on the day of, and my folks for all their help with the advance preparations!
I almost forgot the best ones!
Joey brought his Dad out to play some accordion and sing a few tunes, and it was fantastic! A highlight of the day for me, especially when he did the Skye Boat Song. And what a nice guy, too!
I really can't get through much without including some band or music related photos, but it's fun, so whatever!