I share with you the first edit from our photo shoot at Eastern Sates Penitentiary (ESP) on Tuesday June 16th. If I had only one word to describe ESP it would be “patina”. The whole structure is in a state of decay, some parts are so bad they are blocked from the public and other parts are in a rather suspended state of decay. While the site remains open to the public for daily tours there are only three evenings a year that the old structure is open to photographers. On these nights photographers are allowed to bring in props, lighting, models ect…
For this shoot I wanted to go with a rather vintage/ghostly look and feel. I was not trying to recreate a specific era, but just a look from days gone by, so-to-speak. In my planning I knew we would be under the grips of the hot, humid and sticky weather that June in Eastern Pennsylvania usually offers up. And I was 100% dead on with my prediction. So makeup and wardrobe has to be kept simple and to the point, unless I want a melted model 10 minutes in to the shoot. I chose a vintage late 60’s early 70’s lace dress and we built the look around that.
Our model was the lovely Nicole Gallagher and being a fitness guru she held up extremely well in the heat without one complaint. Yay Nicole! Our makeup artist Jasmine Benton from Philly gave us a great look that was perfect and was not over-done for the humid weather. We also had photographer & friend Mark on hand as a lighting assistant and he too did an awesome job positioning the softbox while I controlled the Canon 600EX-RT’s from camera. We traveled lite and worked as a team, as it should be. Everyone gave some input to the shots at some point and I really do welcome others input. Nicole and I have built a great relationship as model/photographer and I will always welcome her input. She did have a great idea for scene showing just her legs and a bare foot that I thought was worth pursuing. (Photos to come soon)
So as I stated before “patina” truly describes ESP and I felt that Nicole’s look fit most of the scenes I put her in. Although there are all these decrepit prison cells I am more drawn to the overall character of the location. The stones walls, windows, doors, gates and most of all the chipped paint. The place truly is a photographer’s dream come true, although navigating and shooting in ESP on photographer’s night is not as easy as one would imagine. There are many teams and photographers so finding a location is not always that easy, however most people I have encountered are always courteous and pleasant and will move along after they work a location for a few minutes. Our team would do the same; we work a location for 10-15 minutes and then move on. This I find to be fun and challenging because you kind of set a limitation on yourself and must get your shots quickly.
So in the coming days I will have some edits to post from the shoot and I’ll also be planning next month’s shoot.
Thanks for reading.