Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Toss Him a Line

Excuse me sir but I think I can make you a star. There must be a million lines that have been used to ask a woman to pose for a photographer. Well now, how does an older male photographer approach another middle age man about sitting for his camera. That was kind of the case with Roy.  Roy Fauber was attending the music fest on the mountain our first night in Virginia and I was looking for subjects to use while there. I think there was a quick introduction from my friends and I just got right to the point. He took the invitation quite in stride and performed beyond my expectations when the shoot day arrived.

A kind and gentle man with a pleasant since of humor, you can see the real Roy relaxed and comfortable with himself in this shot.

Another banker by trade, he spent a hundred years working for the Fed. It seemed like everyone I met in Virginia was either a musician or a banker.  I only wish he had been my banker when I was younger.

Maybe I should have started with..."Pardon me Roy..." 

Nah, I did just fine.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Creative Masterpiece

This post could maybe become a novel or at least a long short story.  I'll try to contain myself. 

Jack Thorwegan has been the mastermind behind multiple Ad Agencies and Ad Campaigns. I've known Jack for probably 35 years.  He came into St Louis after running the hottest Ad Shop in Chicago, if not the country. Hot Buttered Graphics.  While here he birthed probably 5 or 6 more significant agencies before finally taking an offer too good to refuse and now has become a consummate wine tester.  Well, now let me not paint him as some kind of lush. He legitimately enjoys trying as many varieties as possible. 

Stand fast Jerry, don't drift off into another Galaxy. Stick to the pertinent.

We have only of late, rekindled our past relationship and I managed to persuade him to sit for me.  I must admit, it was a little intimidating photographing someone obviously superior to me in this field all the while trying to seem confident and in control. What I didn't expect was that he ended up art directing the shoot for me. He gave me every conceivable pose I could ever imagine.  I would look back to the monitor to see what direction I might give and when I turned back, he was already doing something far more interesting than what I was about to suggest.  This from a self professed creature not liking the other side of the camera.

I think we both came away with a little more insight than we expected.

Thank you Mr. Thorwegan, save a glass for me.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sallie, Dear Sallie

This lovely lady is my Sallie.  My Sallie that saved the day by renting me her storefront to use while doing my thing in Virginia.  A joy to be around and appreciative of my sense of humor- I think- she busted her kiester to make sure everything went well. Save the defective Air Conditioner that was beyond help.  I shot this in the heat of the moment, literally.  We were all pretty, shall we say, moist from the heat and she had the courage to sit for a second until the next person was ready.  I took her image into a different direction because it wouldn't be fair to turn her into the worn faced subject I'm used to. I'm pretty sure she deserves better.  Beside, the next time I do this, I have high expectation that she'll deliver some key folks for the shoot.

Thank you "My Sallie"

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Peace, Love and Longevity

Today, my good friend John Frangoulis, married the love of his life, Christine Sanford-Frangoulis. John is a fine photographer himself but somehow he has become the president of the Jerry Tovo fan club. Not only is he the President, but its only member.  Some time back he hinted around about taking an engagement foto of this couple.  While he and Christine had been dating, I had no clue that they were the couple.  I tried playing him off because he knows I don't do more than one person in a portrait except for rare occasions. Later that week they were more subtle hints about weddings and engagements and rings and I'm still oblivious as to what he's going on about. Well finally, during a moment of complete repose, it strikes me, he's been talking about he and Christine. Talk about living in a fog.

Of course, I was delighted to do their engagement picture for them, though I must admit a bit of apprehension because I really like the focus of shooting just one person to a session.

So today was their day and a delightful day it was.  They were married at the incredible St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox church in the Central West End of the city. I have never been inside but I immediately knew I wanted to get in later to photograph it. It's stunningly beautiful.  The ceremony was so very intriguing in that has a great deal of similarity to the Catholic church in which I was raised but they seem to have held much more to tradition, something I found very enticing. I have felt for some time that churches have sold out tradition to keep the young (spoiled and easily bored) people coming. That is a conversation unto itself.

As so many times in the past, I have rambled astray from my original intent. 

The loving couple will reside in the house John bought in Ottowa Illinois as an escape from the rigors of city life in Chicago.  

We all wish the best for them and bid them, Peace, Love, Laughter and Longevity.

Friday, July 9, 2010

With Little Fanfare

Unfortunately when you do some hit and run portraits as we did in Virginia, you don't always get to spend a lot of time with your subjects.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm conflicted about knowing the person better before I shoot and not knowing them at all.  If I don't know a person very well, I don't find myself trying to force the image to fit their mold. On the other hand it has proven that at least having a lengthy conversation with the victim, I mean, subject, I can break the ice and really draw the person out, based on what I have discovered.  

This is Peter. Peter O'Shaugnessy, to be more precise.  An artist himself, he works with his hands and steel and fire.  His craft, Blacksmith. 

I haven't known him very long but I can say, I've never seen him with his shoes on. I asked him if he would mind releasing his hair from the ponytail he usually wears.  From past experience, I have found, not only does the hair come down but the inhibitions along with it. A much more relaxed poser was he.  

Thanks Peter for trusting me with your face.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

So This is Finny

Elmer (Feenie) Foster is another one of those guys you just hafta call "One of the nicest men you'd ever wanna know".

They pronounce Feenie like a fish fin.  Finny.  At least that's how I heard it.

When we went to meet Feenie, he was sittin in a lawn chair out back of his house, armed with a .22 rifle and waiting for a ground hog to shoot.  Now I hope I'm not spillin the beans to the sheriff.  I just assume shootin ground hogs in your backyard is perfectly acceptable in Natural Bridge Station, Virginia.

When I asked him if he'd pose for my camera, he didn't even blink an eye.  What time and where?  Although he didn't necessarily follow my instructions, I'm pretty sure he shaved and got a hair cut.  Actually, he had this very cute little rooster tail cowlick when  he walked in.  I tried the old spit on the fingers mousse on it but it didn't seem to help.

I didn't see it at first but now that I look at this image, he strikes me as Arnold Palmer's Father.

You can look at this and just about figure there's some serious BS about to come outta that mouth.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

One of a Kind

I hope you're happy you old curmudgeon. 

This man, Virgil Mantle, has been my friend for, as he puts it, decades.  He was perhaps my best client and supporter. Although there was a time when I thought I may have killed him.  Normally the most patient man on the face of the earth, I drove him into an anxiety attack and I thought sure he was going to go into heart failure and die.  It was all because of a silly little incident where I may have spent a wee bit too much time chatting it up with a model friend of mine.  Certainly, I hadn't completely ignored him or his job, except for maybe the better part of an hour. I think maybe he needed a dose of prunes or something, because it was certainly not like him to react like that.  One thing for sure, I never ever took him for granted again.

In this image, he was the first to volunteer to allow me practice time with my new desire to become a portraitist. 

Now there have been a few people who have quietly pointed out that his eyes are closed.  Very observant. But this image, "Mr. Cute and Happy" as we call it, portrays him as he is, a very gentle man and a man who is comfortable enough with himself to let me display him in this moment of calm. His silvery hair and beard are always perfectly coiffed without looking obsessively cared for. He turned 71 or was it 72, and we'll be doing our annual vegetarian lunch soon. Now don't get the wrong idea.  We'll have steak or ribs or some fanciful hunk of meat but we will also have a couple of very dry Martinis with lots of vegetables, usually called olives.

I'm a bit embarrassed that I had to be reminded that after all these years, that I had neglected to include him in my blog.  Never let it be said that I'm the curmudgeon here. To you Mr. Mantle, you deserve your moment.  And I for one will not take part in the life's end celebration that you desire.