Creatives Series – Mona Suphero

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Mona Superhero is an artist whose medium is, believe it or not, duct tape. When I visited her studio in Portland, Ore. a few weeks back I was surprised to see how non-duct tape it looked – I never would have known the vibrant colors and lines were created with only duct tape. The pieces are large and can take hours and hours of intricate and back-breaking work – you can check out some of the prints for sale here.

Mona was raised in Texas and landed in Portland after her car broke down there when she was driving across the country, working in strip clubs along the way to earn money. I asked how often she got back to Texas and she replied, a bit mysteriously, “I don’t go back to Texas.” I immediately thought of Thelma and Louise – I’m not sure whether it was Thelma or Louise that said something similar about avoiding Texas but Miss Mona had a similar vibe of toughness and vulnerability of both characters. Her work has a similar outlaw quality about it as well.

I asked about how all of this affected her work – being a stripper, not going back to Texas, and she replied, “It’s all just made me who I am. It’s made me tough and angry and sad but it’s also slowed me to see beauty in the bad and ugly things in life.”

(You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook – if you’re inclined to do those things! Or you can just check out my web site on hipphoto.com.)

Intuitive Counselor and Astrologer Melinda Peterson

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I recently had the pleasure to photograph intuitive counselor and astrologer Melinda Peterson in Pocatello, Idaho.  I was fascinated by how this yogic philosopher ended up in such a conservative as well as Mormon town.  Turns out she was raised Mormon in Salt Lake City, only two hours south of Pocatello.

Her mother held very deep spiritual beliefs of her own though, beliefs she did not necessarily share with her church friends.

“My mother appeared to be very conservative. But, there were almost two sides of my mother.  She had the friends that knew her as the Mormon housewife raising children and then there were the other friends she had that were the mystics, the psychics, and the people that did yoga.”

In fact, it was an Indian doctor that was staying at their home that told her mother she would have a gifted child in terms of psychic abilities.

“For me I wasn’t predicting the future, I was just stating what I knew about what was happening or was about to happen in my physical reality and I was very accurate.”

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She realized early on that the church she was being raised in was not exactly open or receptive to her abilities.  She recounted a story to me about telling her bishop when she was 9 or 10 about the visions and the dreams she would have that would come true.  He looked at her and pronounced that she couldn’t be telling the truth because only men could hold the priesthood, that what she was experiencing must clearly be coming from the devil or that she was fooling herself.

She says, “And I remember that triggering something at the very core of my being…that made me say look buddy you think you have all the answers, I don’t care how old you are or what you believe, you’re wrong. So there was a severing that happened in terms of the ability of the church to indoctrinate me into their belief systems.”

While listening to her story, I found it really hard to believe this woman was living in the very conservative and out of the way town of Pocatello, Idaho. The short answer is that being in Pocatello allowed her the peace and quiet to raise a new son.  On a trip to nearby Lava Hot Springs, she found herself exhausted from her work and commitments and the challenges of raising a new life.  While there, she felt guided to go to Pocatello and things seemed to fall into place for her there.  Even now, though, things change and move and there might be new places the Spirit tells her to jump.

You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook – if you’re inclined to do those things! Or you can just check out my web site on hipphoto.com.

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Creatives Project – David Carson

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I still remember my college roommate bringing a copy of Ray Gun Magazine home one day and how we pored over its pages  – wondering both why couldn’t we read the text and in the next second, marveling at how brilliant it was.  These first issues of Ray Gun were designed by the legendary David Carson and I’ve loved his work ever since.  I’m honored I was able to photograph him.  Though I am not a designer, I like to feel his own independent spirit has inspired me along the way.

It’s fitting I also got to photograph him the weekend Apple named him as one of their 30 Most Influential Mac Users on their 30th anniversary.

You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook – if you’re inclined to do those things! Or you can just check out my work on hipphoto.com.

The Future List for City Arts

I was lucky enough to recently get the plum assignment of shooting 12 of Seattle’s top innovators for the January issue of City Arts – their Future List. The artists and innovators included Joselynn Tokashiki Engstrom, Gifted Gab, Linas Phillips, Aaron Huey, Markeith Wiley, Sharon Arnold, Justin Huertas, Sam Anderson, Olivia McCausland, Alex Osuch aka DJAO, Matthew Parker, and Jeri Ellsworth.

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It was a lot of work in getting all the portraits shot but it was an amazing experience getting the opportunity to meet and work with these incredibly talented people.

We shot tons of images for this and, of course, lots of good images get left behind. I’ve included some of my favorite outtakes below. Check out the images that ran in the magazine, on newsstands now or online here!

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You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook – if you’re inclined to do those things! Or you can just check out my work on hipphoto.com.

 

Rose Marcus, Evolutionary Astrologer

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Rose Marcus is an evolutionary astrologer/teacher/clairvoyant/tarot card reader based just north of Vancouver, British Columbia. She’s been practicing for over 30 years now and is focused on evolutionary astrology studies, which she describes as “the past lifetime dynamics that have brought the individual to present circumstances and level of personal development.”

Rose was raised in eastern Canada in the Eastern Orthodox church and as she told me, “It is very patriarchal – I didn’t take on any of that as I child but my senses were on overload with the mystical components – the multitude of candles, the incense, the Gregorian chants and solemnity of the rituals, some quite Pagan – (i.e. praying to all 4 directions), my favourite was looking up at the cathedral’s ceiling – it was painted as the night sky, with whisps of clouds and iridescent stars.”

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The yellow-gold stone in her rings is the Citrine stone. Its healing properties are that of empowerment, and amplification of mental clarity, confidence, and the creative/transformative process.  It is also known as a success stone.

It was such a pleasure meeting Rose Marcus!  She is as kind as she is wise!

You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook – if you’re inclined for those things! Or you can just check out my work on hipphoto.com.

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Jim Barker, Palm Reader

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Continuing with my psychic series, I met with Jim Barker, palm reader in Seattle.  I was curious as to how one discovered they had talents in palm reading. Jim told me he discovered a book on how to palm read in his grandparents’ attic in Ohio.  He, of course, wanted to try it on someone and his older brother was his first guinea pig.  His older brother immediately went and told their Catholic mother who was horrified of course.

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Jim has come a long way from reading his brother’s palm in the attic. He’s studied and practiced his art for over twenty years now.  His readings tend to be on the more optimistic side and, if my impromptu reading was any indication, pretty accurate.   His mother no longer considers it evil, she now considers it a gift from the Holy Spirit.

You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook – if you’re so inclined for those things! Or you can just check out my work on hipphoto.com.

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Creatives Series – Austin Kleon

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I’m a little late on posting this one, I had the privilege of photographing Austin Kleon, a “writer who draws,” back in March when I was in Austin, Texas.  I’m a little late on posting a bunch of the Creatives series stuff so I’ll try to catch up!

I think I first saw Austin Kleon’s Newspaper Blackout pieces on the 20×200 site and, ever since then, I had seen it here and again on the web.  I totally loved the random but not really random aspect of it.  Check out his book, too — Steal Like An Artist – a nice easy read that is awesome in how brilliant it is.  Looking forward to his new book, Show Your Work, that will be out in March 2014!

I Shot A Centerfold

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I recently had the pleasure one late afternoon to photograph the comedy troupe The Habit for the local magazine City Arts.  I had known John Osebold before and I kind of knew this group would be game for anything we set out to do.  Hence, we brought in a mini trampoline and proceeded to have one of their members, Luke Thayer, throw himself into the arms of his comrades … again, and again, and again.  The facial expressions and height had to be just right, you know.  We shot a bunch of different versions of course (throwing troupe members around, putting some upside down, etc.) and in the end, all that was left was a heap of bodies.

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You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook – if you’re so inclined for those things! Or you can just check out my work on hipphoto.com.

Creatives Project – Heather Hart

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While in New York last year, some friends suggested we go check out a piece in the Brooklyn Museum a friend of theirs, Heather Hart, had done. It was called ‘The Eastern Oracle: We Will Tear the Roof Off the Mother’ and it was a pretty amazing piece to see and experience — and I say experience because this is not a painting on a wall but a life-size roof of a house laid bare on the museum floor that you can walk on and inside — I remember even having to sign a waiver.  It was a beautiful piece of work — going inside to place gold leaf on the inside walls felt almost transformative.

Recently, I saw she was doing a piece here in the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park for the summer.  I was excited not only because I have been loving the temporary pieces SAM has installed there (loved loved loved last year’s ‘Air Below Ground’ by Carolina Silva) but because I had seen images of the construction of The Western Oracle: We Will Tear the Roof Off the Mother’ and it just looked so at home there.  You really should go check it out if you’re in the area.

Thanks Heather Hart for braving traffic and rain to sit for a portrait in the Creatives Series!

You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook – if you’re so inclined for those things! Or you can just check out my work on hipphoto.com.

New Work for Village Theatre

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I had been meaning to write a post about this for some time but it always seems things have gotten away from me….family, work, and an ill-advised move to California in the middle of all that!  But, this past year I have had the pleasure with working with the Village Theatre on some of their marketing and promotional efforts.  We shot some great images for ‘Big River’ (which I shot while perched precariously on a small boat and photographed while successfully NOT falling into a river!), got soaking wet on Tiger Mountain while shooting for ‘Trails,’ and had a lot of fun shooting stills for ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’  I was most excited to shoot the images for ‘Chicago’ though – such an iconic production.  Taryn Darr (aka Roxie Hart) delivered amazingly and I had to try and not sound like a totally clichéd photographer. Some great people over there at Village Theatre and I hope you get a chance to go check out one of their productions – ‘Chicago’ runs in their Issaquah location through June 29th.