Did You See What Charlie Barker Did? (…hmmm maybe something interesting and creative, yeah that sounds about right. )

Blogging Phenom

Blogging Phenom

Did You See What Charlie Barker Did? I guess I should first ask you; do you know who Charlie Barker is? Charlie could very well be one of the most powerful people on the worldwide web at this moment. You see being influential on the internet in today’s world gives you power… and let’s face it, it can make you a boat load of cash too. So if you haven’t already stopped reading and Googled Charlie Barker let me tell you who she is. Yes… who she is. She is a young model, she is sexy (to most), she is talented and she is a very creative blogger. How creative you might ask? Ok… so you know that little thingy the young hipster crowd uses called Instagram? It’s this little social media app on your mobile device and of course I’m joking it’s not so little. IG as it is called is another social media outlet. I was turned onto it years ago by a good friend in China. We were looking for a way to communicate secondary to Skype. So one day Grace (lol yes my friend in China is named Grace) said we could communicate through IG and share photos and best of all it was free.

So that was when I entered the world of IG. Then I started to grow in IG and I posted my photography. Next thing I know I have models contacting me and to my surprise I have photographers contacting me asking for instruction. Not an overwhelming amount but interesting nonetheless.

Then I find Charlie Barker… Charlie is a blogging phenomenon to put it mildly. I will watch Miss Barker put up a post, it doesn’t matter what it is. Let me say that again “it does not matter what it is,” it could be a photo of her shoes. I will see the post the moment it goes up and I will hit refresh and in less than a minute it has 400+ “Likes” in less than an hour her post will be liked by more than 5000 people and it will top out at anywhere between 20,000 to 50,000 Likes maybe even more. She has 533k followers on IG https://instagram.com/charliexbarker/, not bad for a cute little blogger from Nottingham. But as you can tell Miss Barker is far from a cute little blogger. She has unlocked the true power of social media and who knows where she’ll go next. She is a blogger, photographer, model and most of all a creative genius. With her web presence she is unstoppable and if turned loose in the world of advertisement she could very well become a leading force in what people buy or don’t buy. What if she ran for political office? Don’t laugh!

Take the Tumblr challenge and try to scroll to the bottom of Charlie Barker’s Tumblr… have fun. http://charliexbarker.tumblr.com/

And I know you’re probably asking “why are you blogging about Charlie Barker?” I think she is amazing and I think she is a genius, I also think that she may have a great formula for a blog platform. Although I am not seeking to be the next blogging Phenom, I do however think I could learn something from what she does. Quite simply put she really doesn’t say a lot, but what Charlie does say she says with photos and the photos are interesting and creative. Now I ask you (if you are a photographer) “what makes a great photo?” …hmmm maybe something interesting and creative, yeah that sounds about right. So in essence I guess one could come to the conclusion that to be a successful internet blogger all one needs to do is know how to work a camera and be creative and make interesting photos. Sound as simple as eating pie.

Have a great day everybody and thanks for reading.

Eastern States Penitentiary (Chloe’s Test Shoot)

Eastern States Penitentiary

Eastern States Penitentiary

Ok so if you read my last post about Eastern States Penitentiary (ESP) you know I have a project shoot planned for the 19th of August. So I head back to ESP on Monday to gather more info on the dos & don’ts for the special photographer’s night. Are the locations first come first serve? Yes they are. Can I bring hair & makeup artists with me? Yes you can bring anyone as long as you pay$20 per. And if you are a “Supporting Member” you can get 20minutes with one model in cell block 14. I guess it is supposed to be some special place. I am a supporting member and I’ll get that chance.

It appears as if it is all coming together the way I would like so you know what that means? Something is sure to go not as planned. I contacted B my stylist for the shoot and she’s still a “GO.” Contacted Lisa the wardrobe designer and she say all is good. I contacted my model Reese and gave her the run down and we have our “plan B” just in case “plan A” heads south on us. What I really could use is an assistant to help with gear and holding a softbox. Also assistants are someone to place the blame when things go wrong. No, no, no… just kidding.

So I knew I was going to be at ESP on Monday it was not far from this model I had been corresponding with and I asked her if she would like to meet up and take a walk through ESP with me and she obliged. We agreed it would be a nice way to meet before we plan a shoot. Now she is not connected to my ESP project in anyway, as I had met her well after I planned the shoot. Her name is Chloe and she is a Philly based model. I did however tell her I would do a few basic headshots outside the prison after our walk through. Sort of a “micro test shoot” as I called it. I told her that ESP has very strict rules about shooting models during public hours, hence the reason for the special photographer’s night.

So the morning of our meeting there were the normal text messages flying back & forth about I’m here, I’ll be there in a minute and so on. I meet Chloe at the front gate and she’s a real charm to say the least. A rather free spirited girl and very pleasant. But it’s that “free spirit” that will make this walk through fun. I know from the word go what is going to happen. So we enter in for free because, remember I’m a supporting member. All that means is a gave a donation, so I still paid, dearly actually. We walk in and of course to me personally the real creepiness comes not because it used to be a prison but it is a place where the word “penitentiary” was conceived. You came here to serve penance in total solitude. At the time a new concept and now lost with evolution. So just to look at these decrepit old cells and door, gates and hallways and think about what once was… that is what creeps me out. Then there is the crust or patina that has over run the place and that just gives such vivid character to the whole scene that is ESP.

I wanted to go to this one particular courtyard as I wanted to see it again. I had taken a photo there on my previous trip. This is one of the courtyards that is attached to a cell and the prisoner would get his one hour of daylight there each day. I turn the corner and walk in to the courtyard a few seconds later Chloe enters the courtyard and… yup I knew it. She drops her phone and other items to the ground and like a good little Urbex model she starts climbing the courtyard wall to get into a pose (if possible) and she is giving it her all. Of course I’m shooting the whole time and knowing full well at any second we could be thrown out on our ear. This then set the pace; let’s see if we can get thrown out. So with caution we continue to find little places where I would shoot her and then move on. Was it fun? No it was not… it was a blast and I knew right then & there I found my assistant for this shoot I have planned. So I asked Chloe if she would like to come on board as my assistant. After several mental backflips… well you know what her answer was. I laid down the rule “you are assistant and not a model that day, can you do that?” You know what will happen? I could picture her pulling a Nancy Kerrigan style stunt just to get into the shoot. But seriously I will get a photo or two or ten of her that night.

So our time at ESP was coming to an end. But wait… I still had to do that micro test shoot outside with Chloe. So we walk to my car (close by) and I put on my 70-200mm and pullout the color checker get a whit balance shot and its ‘game on” for Chloe. Is she good, will she be able to pose with no warm up shots? We’re on the street in Philadelphia and all she has to work with is a big prison wall and a sidewalk. From the word go she jumps into action and starts to climb the wall. I mean climb the prison wall. She gets herself into this weird positon on this tiny outcrop of the wall and I’m shooting the whole time and saying to her please don’t fall. Now let’s just stop here for a minute and break this all down; how many times have we all seen someone who claims they can do this or that. Examples that come to mind are a musical instrument or sing. And when put on the spot they hesitate or make an excuse. Most models will just stand there till you give them direction. So as you can see dear little Chloe is “killing it” as we say. The whole shoot lasts 5 minutes and a few seconds and we’re done.

So in closing with this rather long blog post, the next step is to go over everything in my mind. Visualize and visualize again till it comes second nature as to what I’m going to do in ESP that night. After all I am not only the photographer but the director of this little project. Everybody on my team will be looking at me for direction. Let’s see if I can be as good as Chloe. I know I can, I’ll have her by my side the whole time.


Happy New Year 2014 (it’s what you “need” to do, not what you “want” to do) Make It A Great Year

New Year 2014 Facebook Cover

So this will be my last blog post of 2013. I still contend that I am the world’s worst blogger, but I hold hopes that 2014 will be a better year for both my blogging and my photography. At this time I am setting goals for 2014, both business & personal. No I am not making any New Year resolutions; I like to call them goals. Somehow that whole “resolution” thing ends up by the wayside about 3 weeks into the New Year. Goals seem more practical, realistic and obtainable. I have in the past achieved goals that I set going into the New Year. Thinking back to 1990 and again in 1996, 1999 & 2000 I really impressed myself with goals I had set and surpassed before years end. It is all about mind set, determination and want. After all I think everyone knows all about determination or the lack of, everyone has read motivational books and or sat through a super charged motivational speech. I know I have. Funny thing is in all the great goals I have accomplished in my life, a book or a speech had very little to do with it. It just seemed I had the mind set to, set out and do whatever it was I was trying to do. And maybe “trying” is the wrong word because “trying” is always a feeling of “ok I’ve had enough” and then you quite. I find it to be more of a “this is what I have to do” feeling, kind of like getting up and shaving and brushing your teeth. Don’t complicate it with books and speeches, just do it and plan to keep on doing it. Of course “life can sometimes rob us of our motivation and cloud our mindset and we end up sitting here blogging or reading about what we need to do. Some goals I have accomplished in the past were weight loss, business achievements, stop smoking and many more. I remember in 1996 I set a goal to ride 1000 miles on my bicycle and like weight loss I kept a journal of all my rides. I rode well over 1000 miles that year and it was not hard at all. That goal by the way was spawned from the fact I had paid almost $1800 for a new bike and although I felt that I really wanted the bike, I also felt I had to justify the purchase. There was a lot of collateral damage from that goal of riding 1000 miles. I lost 86 lbs of body weight. I had never set a goal for weight loss that year, but it happened anyway.  (Funny how that works lol.)

So all I have to say is spread your wings and fly into 2014 with strength and power. Think of what you need to do, not what you want to do. Think about that for a minute, what you need not what you want. Write your goals down, keep track of progress and celebrate those small achievements as you head towards the grand finally. The only real challenge is you lack of wanting what you need and of course the challenge of everyday life. We have all heard it said “don’t let life happen, make life happen.” Happy New Year everybody be safe and well.