All posts by Dave

It doesn’t get more personal or emotional than this

The tagline for my blog is “It’s Emotional. It’s personal”. As a photographer I have done lots of pretty girl shoots and they’re ok, but kind of meh overall. It’s been done before, and it’ll be done again. Essentially, they’re throw away photos. Sometimes folks ask me to do photographs that are important to them. I’ve done several weddings, and some family shoots in their homes. I take these photos seriously because the families are trusting me, and opening themselves up to an unblinking eye. It’s important to me to live up to that trust and capture those honest moments of love and life. Hopefully I’ll get the true essence and save it for them for generations to come.

Last week my friend Jen contacted me to ask if I could photograph a funeral procession for her father’s funeral. Wow. I’ve never done something like that, and I wanted to be sure I understood exactly what she had in mind. I knew I didn’t think I wanted to photograph anything in a church service, in particular anyone grieving for their loss, as those aren’t the memories I could imagine wanting to relive or look through again and again. I called Jen and we talked over what she had in mind. Her father was a lifetime member  volunteer fireman in the Camden-Wyoming fire company, and was also in the Delaware National Guard. They were planning on having a fire truck to escort the hearse to the cemetery and another with a flag draped to pass under at the gate to the cemetery. In addition, they had an honor guard and plans for a bag piper and to release some doves. Could I photograph those things for her? Absolutely. I was honored to be asked.

Then all I had to do was do it. There were no rehearsals, no second chances. No pressure. Actually, the pressure wasn’t from Jen, the pressure was internal. The pressure comes from the trust. Jen had told me to just do what I do, and she was sure I’d get the best possible photos. While I knew she meant every word, I also knew I couldn’t let her down, or myself down. This was a one time event that couldn’t be re-done. In addition to my new camera, I brought along an older film camera in case there were any difficulties with the new camera. I couldn’t afford to miss photos because a camera had quit for whatever reason. I got to the cemetery an hour before the entourage was expected to arrive. I wanted to be sure I understood where the fire trucks and funeral procession were coming from and what position would be best for capturing the time they came under the banner and then where exactly I needed to be for the graveside services and the honor guard, bag piper and release of the doves.  That’s when it started to rain. Heavily. I was prepared with an umbrella and just dealt with it.
With the heavy rain, I couldn’t hear a thing going on with the service. In just a few minutes, it was over. I was soaked from the rain from behind, but, the camera was fine. No need for the backup. (A photographer has his priorities.)  I felt like I had gotten the photos though. Was it personal, heck yeah. Was it emotional. No doubt.
Jen told me after I delivered the photos they were beautiful. That was all I could ask for.

The Camden-Wyoming fire company escorted the hearse to the Cemetery
The Camden-Wyoming fire company escorted the hearse to the Cemetery
The honor guard awaits the arrival
The honor guard awaits the arrival in the pouring rain
Honor Guard Folding Ceremonial Flag
Honor Guard Folding Ceremonial Flag
Three doves fly away after their release.
Three doves fly away after their release.
Bag Piper playing Amazing Grace. That song gets me every single time.
Bag Piper playing Amazing Grace. That song gets me every single time.

 

I was honored to do these photos. Thank you Jen for trusting me to get them right.

Mike Zito and the Wheel at Jonathan’s Landing, or, where’s the drummer?

Mike Zito and The Wheel came to Jonathan’s Landing a few weeks back and, as before, I decided to go down and see a national act in a BFE venue. How Craig and the Central Delaware Blues Society gets them here, I don’t know, but I sure enjoy hearing them.  As an aside, I joined the CDBS to support them bringing these acts to the area. This is kind of a big deal as I usually don’t want to join any club that would have me. I decided to shoot for just a few songs and then try to, you know, enjoy some music. I did a few shots of Mike and the Sax player, Jimmy Carpenter singing, catching the bass player, Scot Sutherland , in the background or foreground. To get the singers I decided I wanted tall photos, which kind of left out the drummer, Rob Lee. I did do a couple of shots of all 4 of them, and I made sure to get some shots of each of them alone or as the main subject. I do feel like I need to watch that I get more photos of the entire group for future shoots.

I loved the music and made sure to purchase Mike’s CD “Gone to Texas” and Jimmy Carpenter’s CD “Toiling in Obscurity” as it’s my policy to  buy CDs from bands that offer them. Musicians need to actually sell music so they can feed their families and stay on the road entertaining us all. The CDs are awesome!

Where's the drummer?
Where’s the drummer?
I got all four!
I got all four!
Mike ZIto jammin to music from Gone To Texas
Mike Zito jammin to music from Gone To Texas
Mike Zito jammin with the Wheel
Mike Zito jammin with the Wheel
Mike ZIto and Jimmy Carpenter
Mike ZIto and Jimmy Carpenter
Mike Zito Jammin
Mike Zito Jammin
Bass Player Scot Sutherland and Jimmy Carpenter
Bass Player Scot Sutherland and Jimmy Carpenter
Mike Zito and The Wheel at Jonathan's for the Central Delaware Blues Society
Mike Zito and The Wheel at Jonathan’s for the Central Delaware Blues Society
Jimmy Carpenter jammin
Jimmy Carpenter jammin
Rob Lee jammin
Rob Lee on drums!

Impressions of an artistic project; “Sojourn(als)” By Ashley Lebedev

I can’t remember if I’ve done a review of another artist’s work on my site before, so this will be my first. But, by it’s nature, the Sojourn(als) project by Ashley Lebedev is not the same for each recipient, so a review in detail of the project would be inaccurate for the next person to receive one of Ashley’s projects.

I have been following Ashley’s work for some time. Something about it resonates with me. Her photos have a painterly look to them (to me) and I assign them a backstory, which is why, I suppose, I enjoy them so much. They reflect something in me.

This is my interpretation, and subject to correction by her about this project. For the last several years, Ashley has been traveling the world, creating art, and soaking in the world in a synergistic feed back loop. She writes extensively in her journals about the trip, and her inspirations. Along the way, she has been doing photos of the locations and inspirations.  The Sojurn(als), then,  are a set of limited edition 4×5 prints in a special hand made box with “stuff” she collected along the way. All wrapped in some old fabric from the costumes she uses in her work. There are 30 sets being made, each different from the other in particulars, but not in the overall scheme of things.

Sorry for the craptastic iPhone photo of the package. This was wrapped with TLC for shipment, and made it fine through the mail.

IMG_1176This is what was inside the box. A leaf sealed with wax with the hand written certificate of authenticity in side the envelope. IMG_1175

The handwritten COA

IMG_1174 The rest of the package. There are 25 photos that took me on a journey through a mysterious world. IMG_1178In case it’s not obvious, I love the Sojourn(als)! I had to wait for almost 10 hours to open them tonight after getting them in the mail earlier today. I knew I wanted to be able to take my time and look over the photos and just take them in.  It was worth the wait. I’m looking forward to going over them again, and again…

This set is part of a limited edition, hand made, collection of meticulously crafted photos and ephemera, and, is priced accordingly. I think the value  and experience is extraordinary though.  Contact Ashley at this email to see if any sets remain: AshleyLebedev@gmail.com .

Ashely has a note on Facebook about the project here.