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"June of Arc" - short film (2015)

I don't shoot much video. I do a bit of documentation video for a couple of corporate clients, but nothing too set-up, planned or produced. Sandbox Theatre has been one of the Twin Cities more intriguing and successful theatres here producing mainly original work for over a decade. One of my oldest friends in Minneapolis (going back to my office temping days!), actress and founding member Heather Stone has had me shooting for them from pretty early on. Sandbox specializes in collaborative new work, often deconstructing some well-known story or biography, often with an overt physicality that flirts with dance. One of their more successful works was an exploration of 1950's America and as mainly an interior monologue but not a one-person show, showed the dilemmas of that era's June Cleaver - always well-dressed and composed mother from 'Leave It To Beaver." Seeing it on stage blew me away, particularly Heather's performance with it's longing, regret, optimism and her sense of being trapped.  This was a great performance, and I really hoped it would be captured on film

It took a couple of years, but eventually a script was pared down by member, and director of this shoot, Matthew Glover, and a weekend was booked where everyone could shoot. Doing away with the other cast members and embracing the obvious theatricality of the piece we shot for one day in my blacked out studio, and the next in a high school theater.  The budget was non-existent, equipment was begged, borrowed or rented out-of-pocket (MY pocket!). I tried to have three cameras shooting, one static head-on and one on either side or her standing in the spotlight, a little bit more free-form.

The finished product is something I'm very proud of.  I know it's not the most technically accomplished photographically, but I believe Heather's performance shines and hopefully I didn't get in the way of that!  The film is a slow burn, and I think it rewards the patient viewer.

These behind-the-scenes were shot by Sandbox's Danielle Siver

Image Library - Science Museum of MN

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Long-time client Science Museum of Minnesota was in need of updated imagery, mainly to be pulled into brochures, web-blasts and any number of promotional materials about their everyday permanent displays. Working on the museum's days off, and around maintenance construction,  we were able to the areas we needed.  Our talent pool was an all-volunteer group made up of friends, family and museum members who were very generous with their time and patience.

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flashes of hope summer camp at Camp courage

Flashes of Hope is a photography based charitable organization that raises funding for fighting children's cancer.  One of the main purposes of Flashes of Hope is to provide pro bono portrait photography for local pediatric cancer patients. As the founders realized (parents of a child with cancer) many families who lose their children don't have any good portraits of their child after they pass, just various snapshots and camera phone pictures.

The Minneapolis chapter, led by Pat Barry, had an on-site environmental portrait session this July at Camp Courage, outside of the Twin Cities along a lovely lake.  There were several campers and their families in attendance, and one of the great things about this program is the campers were allowed to bring families and friends with them to enjoy their time at camp.  There were around 10 photographers who came out, and between us all, we were assigned camp areas to cover. And then it was a very casual, fast-paced and low-gear environmental shoot.  Which was fun!  If the camper wanted to be with a friend in his picture, no problem!  I tried to keep this relaxed for them with no pressure to pose in any way or be anything other then what they were, a kid having fun on a lovely summer day.

I heard about this project from Steve Niedorf, one of the greats of Minneapolis photography, and jumped at the chance to be involved.  One of the things I've struggled with as I've made a living (somehow) as a photographer, is the idea of making an image just to be used in some type of promotional way - whether adverting, retail, personal promotion, whatever - and not getting to use photography much on something with real meaning.  When I read about the organization, I thought of my own young children and realized I couldn't imagine in any way what this would be like to deal with.  I was lucky to have my friend John Guthrie with me to help out, as much as an emotional support as a photo assistant. I, frankly, feared that this would be a depressing experience, which I know makes me sounds shallow.  Once there, and seeing all of these families able to spend time together, away from hospitals and doctors, I saw how relaxed and happy everyone was, which of course, became contagious to me as well.