Queenie Von Curves is such a delight to photograph and to watch perform in the burlesque community. I recently shared a few of my favorite black and white images from our recent shoot. Here are some of my favorite color images, all created on my Contax 645 with Kodak Portra 400 film. Look at her hair!
I recently photographed the incredible Queenie Von Curves, a burlesque performer and ballet dancer in the Twin Cities. Here are two images I love, both created on my Contax 645 with Ilford 3200 black and white film. I absolutely love the romantic, dreamy quality this film creates and it seemed a perfect match for Queenie in this outfit. I will be sharing many more from this shoot as I finish editing them.
When I first met with Kathryn and Mike, I was immediately drawn to Kathryn’s warmth and their excitement about getting married. We did their engagement session at Lake Calhoun in Uptown which was the perfect warm up for their wedding and a chance for me to see how they are together (which is adorable and sweet). Their wedding was at Morgan Creek Vineyards in New Ulm, Minnesota which is Kathryn’s hometown. They only host 4 weddings a year so they got super lucky! The day was sunny and warm…no HOT…but so lovely. They incorporated so many personal touches throughout the day, which I loved. Kathryn had such a strong vision for the day and it turned out perfectly. I miss the warm summer sun, especially this week in Minnesota! We had a dream team of vendors working together on this wedding, which makes all the difference in my opinion. Most images are shot on film, of course.
AND I’m thrilled that Style Me Pretty featured Kathryn and Mike’s wedding today!
Wedding Planning : Fab Event Design
Flowers : Munster Rose
Hair & Makeup : Amber Rose
Calligraphy : Rosann Konieczny
Desserts : Cocoa & Fig
Vankham and I have been friends for awhile thanks to that partner of mine, Libby (they went to high school together). She owns the amazing Thai restaurant Lemongrass in Brooklyn Center which you should definitely check out if you live in the Twin Cities. She contacted me about doing a shoot with her husband and her giant puppy Teddy at their new home. We started in their house and then went to a beautiful wooded area where they take Teddy on walks. This was such a fun and personal session, definitely one of my favorites yet! I also had a really hard time not stealing Teddy…he is a giant fluff ball of love, I mean just look at that face! Enjoy some of my favorites.
My sister loves ice skating, she has since she was little. She used to watch Figure Skating obsessively and knew so many details about the sport and specific skaters. When I was home for the holidays this past year, we went ice skating on the lake that my parents live near. The ice was perfect and the entire lake looked like glass. We did lots of tricks and goofed around and felt that simple kind of joy when you just have fun. I made this image on a Hasselblad with Kodak Tri-X film.
I had the pleasure of photographing the lovely Frenchie Kiss from Chicago while she was in town for the Minneapolis Burlesque Festival recently. She walked in with this super long orange and pink boa and I knew we were going to make amazing images. She’s so lovely and warm and I knew that my photographic style would blend perfectly with her style. I loved how the warm light came through the windows and wrapped around her. We listened to the Amelie soundtrack while shooting, which set the perfect mood. I have many more images to share, but for now these are two of my absolute favorites from the day.
For a long time I have been interested in and fascinated by alternative photographic processes. When my friend told me about this tintype studio in San Francisco, I started researching more about that specific process and found it so intriguing (you can read about my experience taking a Tintype workshop here). I searched for someone in Minneapolis who specialized in alternative processes and came across Dave Molnar’s work. He was teaching a class called Photo Polymer at the Minneapolis Photo Center. I had never heard of Photo Polymer but decided to sign up and give it shot a couple months ago after really craving some new mediums to work in. I LOVED IT. It is an amazing blend of Printmaking and Photography. Like I said in my earlier post about Printmaking, I’ve always been a very tactile person. I also love processes – artistic adventures that involve many detailed steps to get a result. This is partially because of my years of working solely in digital photography and feeling such a lack of passion and connection to that specific process. There’s no soul to it (for me anyway) the way that film has soul and a rich history that I feel connected to every time I use it. That’s how it felt to work in this medium too. I won’t get into the full process but it does involve creating a transparency positive in Photoshop, exposing a plate in the darkroom multiple times, washing it and drying it. Then you get to ink the plate (my favorite part), place a wet piece of paper on the plate and run it through an etching press and then pull the print. Amazing! I love how ethereal the prints are. They become so much less literal than photography, which is what I’m more and more drawn to. I made a series of 5-7 prints of each of these as I practiced with different ink application to get different effects. I’m going to keep experimenting and making prints, which I’ll share as I go.
As I look forward and think about some changes I want to make to my creative life, I am finding a lot on inspiration and insight from my past. This is another one of my Printmaking experiments that I made in college that is resonating with me right now. This was a wood cut, a much different material to carve into than linoleum (which I shared here). At the time, I was really interested in ideas about community and self-perception which is where this print came from. It happened very organically, which is how I always work. For me, I can’t come up with a complete concept and execute it creatively – I have to work with and respond to the materials and the environment in the moment. I started to move the carving tool along the wood and loved how it felt and how I could make a subtle, suggestive line that looked like a figure. I loved the texture of the white ink on the blue paper…I’ve always been a very tactile person – I love how things feel in my hands (from wine glasses to rough hands to papers and pieces of charcoal ) and what I can create with that kind of sensory and emotional awareness. I made probably ten prints of this on different papers and with different inks before I felt like I was done. That part of art making is so interesting to me – the moment when you just know you’re finished with a piece. Yesterday, as I was scanning these prints, I decided to pull out a box of charcoal I hadn’t touched in years. I opened a big sketchbook (also from college), turned on some Ray LaMontagne and started to draw this pieces in charcoal. It felt like a dance. So, here’s to more creative days like yesterday and making space in our lives for the things that make us feel most alive and connected to ourselves.
This week I’ve been going through a lot of my artwork from college and remembering what I loved back then. I took a Printmaking class that I found so inspiring and so much fun. This tree was the first successful linoleum cut that I made. I remember when I started carving into the block and it just…worked. The subtle lines and textures in the trunk were (and still are) my favorite part. I felt this rush of creative expression when I made those cuts. It also had a lot to do with trees and what they represented for me at the time. You see, I had convinced myself that I wasn’t an artist from a very early age because I couldn’t draw a perfect tree. I thought that was a true sign of artistic talent. I would try to draw or paint them and they always looked strange and not right. When we started working with linoleum in my Printmaking class, I had done a few sketches of different things (George W. Bush’s face being one of them for some reason) and nothing was working. I was getting frustrated. Then, I thought about a tree and how much I had always wanted to create one that I liked. So I drew with pencil on the linoleum and started to cut.There it was, emerging from the block! It was incredible. I became obsessed with this tree. I made probably 30 prints on different papers and in different colored ink. I loved every second of it. At one point I decided I would try to add the left half of the tree to balance it out but when I did, it totally ruined it. I realized that I loved the imperfect, unbalanced tree I had originally made, it resonated with me. This is MY perfect tree.
Over the years I have given a few of these prints to dear friends. I have one framed in my studio and one in my home and still have 10 or so prints which I scanned yesterday. I keep thinking about getting it tattooed on my arm because I love what it represents. It was such an artistic breakthrough for me and feels like a self-portrait in a lot of ways. This year has already involved a reconnection with this medium in new and exciting ways and I’m excited to keep moving in that direction.
I have to say, the Keatings are one of my favorite families I work with every year. Tricia asked me at our last shoot if they were my most photographed family and they totally are! I just finished up an album of Colbie’s first year and loved looking through their photos again. Here are some of my favorites from the last year with them. Enjoy!
I love photographing burlesque shows because there’s not rehearsal, (like everything I photograph actually) I am watching the act through my camera and photographing. There’s no do-over or second show that I shoot, just that one. It’s invigorating and exciting and challenging to follow a performer and catch those beautiful or funny or stunning or powerful poses and moments that pass so quickly of an act I most likely haven’t seen before. The first time I watched Elektra Cuete perform, I was mesmerized. I was photographing The Best of Midwest Burlesque Festival last year from the wings of the theatre. When she came on stage, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. She is alluring, captivating, sensual and an incredible artist. It’s rare that I feel a strong connection while photographing in the way I did watching her perform-it felt like a dance to me. I wasn’t just trying to follow her and document, I felt like I was responding to her movement and the music through the lens. It just made sense. When I went through the images, these were my favorite from the entire festival because they feel like (and are) an artistic collaboration between the two of us – something that doesn’t happen very often when photographing events. Recently, we did some portraits of her in my studio and it was a similar experience – I loved every pose she struck and felt like the images were a true collaboration between us. If you get a chance, you should watch her perform in the Minneapolis Burlesque Festival next weekend or at one of the regular Black Hearts Burlesque shows around town. You won’t be disappointed.