Saturday, January 24, 2015

Exhibit BE

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past month, no doubt you've heard of Exhibit BE.  I won't try to explain what it is, or what it was.  Just watch the video below for that, or check out this article

Its last day open to the public was MLK day, and upwards of 10,000 people showed up.  By the time I got there with my mom and aunt (which shows you just how big the hype was) the gates were closed and they weren't letting anyone else in.  I was disappointed for sure, but glad I had seen it a few days earlier when no one else was around.  In fact, Rebirth showed up for a photo shoot while we were there, and we were treated to our own private show.  Talk about being at the right place at the right time.

So here are a few pics a few days before its last open weekend.  Sadly, these pictures just don't it justice.  I'm sure it will still be around for a little longer if you want to check it out, but you'd better not wait long.

"Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better." - MLK

Monday, January 12, 2015

"They shall not sleep on our soil!"

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard that the Bicentennial Anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans took place this week, which is a pretty big deal.  It's a classic underdog story, and was truly one of the most important battles in the history of the United States.  A ragtag group of American militia, Indians, pirates, Creoles, free men of color, civilians, women, and people straight off the streets of New Orleans were recruited by Old Hickory to fight...and fight they did.  It was 4,000 scraggly mutts vs. nearly 10,000 British.  It should have been a bloodbath.  Vastly outnumbered by the greatest army in the world, the Americans held strong and defeated the British, sending them back down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.  

People are quick to dismiss this battle as being relatively insignificant because the Treaty of Ghent was already signed by the time the battle took place, but just imagine for one second if the British had been victorious.  The Treaty itself wasn't ratified for another two months, and the British would have never honored it anyway.  It would have literally changed the course of history.  

It's truly amazing to think of what Andrew Jackson did with such a ragtag crew.  Talk about a motivational speaker- presidential stuff for sure.  And forget 1776.  We didn't win independence from Britain until January 8th, 1815.  By beating the British (again), America proved that it was here to stay.  

Rather than action shots, I wanted to get portraits of the men who reenact these battles.  They come from all over the world, spending years and thousands of dollars to represent themselves as authentic as possible.  Some of them never break character, which is especially interesting to watch in the medical tents.  Grown men will play "dead" for the better part of an hour...  Safe to say they take it seriously.  It's actually really fun to watch.  

The look of these images was created with the Helios 40-2, an 85mm f/1.5 old Russian hunk of glass.  Optically speaking, it's horrendous if you're shooting test charts, but its crazy unique boken and old school petzval look is exactly why I love it, and exactly why I brought it out to the battlefield.  It's a heavy hunk of metal and glass, and manually focusing is certainly not the easiest thing in the world with the 5DIII, but I love the way these images came out.  Definitely worth the trouble.  So, here it is, the year color!    

Hit play and enjoy.

Ashokan Farewell by Jenny Oaks Baker on Grooveshark