Every time I spend some time around New Hope, PA, where I live, I’m always blown away by the great array of talented and interesting folks we have living in town. It’s a little art community on the banks of the Delaware River, and it’s home to great music clubs, art galleries, restaurants, funky shops, artists, sculptors, actors, musicians, cabaret artists, female impersonators, brewers, screenwriters….well, you get the picture.
I’ve always wanted to document my neighbors, and I have some studio space this month (courtesy of the New Hope Arts Center) to work on a project I’m calling “New Hope: In Character.” I just started shooting this week and thought I’d share a couple with you. Right up top is Andre who runs a great restaurant called Zoubi. Andre is from France and is the quintessential restauranteur—friendly, charming, and sophisticated.
Below are Sam and Stasia, the girls from Love Saves The Day, a funky shop (the original was in Greenwich Village) where you can find vintage clothing, toys from the 50’s and 60’s, and, um, all kinds of other stuff. There’s always a wacky mannequin outside the shop, and so we just had to include her.
And finally, Brendan the master brewer (so young, and so accomplished) and his associate, Dan, from the Triumph Brewery, where I often rush the growler to bring home some fresh, delicious suds that really make it hard for me to even pretend I’m leading a low-carb lifestyle!
As part of this project, I also spent last weekend offering pro bono portraits for area families with a member serving in the military. We photographed 45 families in two days!
It was an incredibly busy and rewarding weekend. We met some amazing folks who have put a lot on the line for us all, and it was a real pleasure to give a little something back.
My friend, Rich Kennedy, photo editor of the Doylestown Intelligencer, volunteered two days of his time and did all the computer work (plus some excellent art direction when I started to melt down on occasion…like when 13 people from one family showed up)!
We also had help from photographer Arun Paul and Rose Gutekunst, not to mention Peggy (aka SWMBO).
For a look at the studio space and a quick discussion of my basic light setup, hit the jump.
It’s times like these that I’m glad I never sold my big strobe gear and light modifiers from my annual report shooting days. We’re only using one light so far, a DynaLite Uni 400JR in a big 4×6 foot Photoflex softbox on the left. We’ve got a black cutter card to feather the light off the background a bit, and a couple of 4×6 panels with white material as fill.
Behind the 9 foot painted paper backdrop, we’ve got a huge 12 foot wide painted canvas backdrop for when we get into the larger groups. For that, I’ll probably use the big umbrella you see on the left and bounce into it and then through the big 6×6 foot white panel you see on the left as well, for that beautiful double diffused look, using one head and a DynaLite 1000 pack.
Attsa one big huge soft light source, and I know I’m showing my age, but with apologies to St.David of Baltimore, I personally love the look of a giant, soft northlight. Got the idea from my old drinking buddy, Vermeer. Talk about rushing the growler, boy could that guy put away the Heinekens….