I was with my (awesome) bride in NYC over the weekend and telling her how awful I have been about keeping up with my blog. She said, "I know! Every time I click on your blog link and that oyster comes up I'm like, UGH, not the oyster again!" My assistant all too eagerly agreed (she's fired...KIDDING). Hmmm. I guess after 20 times of visiting for some scoop and seeing, again, how to shuck an oyster, you're pretty ready for things to move on. So thank you ladies, for that much needed reminder.
To catch you up quickly, here's what's been going on. My son has ESP, Lordhelpme school is almost over, my daughter still wants a dog and we are healthy, aside from the effects of the sea of pollen that we swim through daily, but no real complaints there. I'm still not a very interested cook, I have only blown up one additional set of hard boiled eggs since my last egg entry, and I am probably going to be kicked out of my book club. I am good at the wine part, but my book reading time is challenged. Phew, OK, so that's that.
Work-wise, wedding season is heating up again and I am ready! In addition, my editorial and other jobs continue to get increasingly diverse and I am no longer even surprised at what the next potential client phone call brings. A prison? An underground alcohol-brewing operation of questionable legality (funnily, not related to the prison story)? Girls in bathing suits on the beach on the Caribbean? A stunning country home? I think my new tag line is going to just be 'shoots people and... stuff'. But I can say this, I think it's really making me a better photographer. I walk away from every single shoot I do having learned something. Every. Single. Shoot. And all of this I bring to your shoot, so just look out. I am bringin' it.
The article in this post is in the current issue of the always beautiful Virginia Living Magazine. On a brisk morning in April I headed up to Lorton, VA not quite sure what to expect out of a visit to an old abandoned prison built in the early 1900s. Accompanied by a guide and two security guards (I think to make sure I didn't accidentally lock myself in a cell) I made my way around the peeling paint, rusted cots, and crumbling brick. Cold and creepy? You betcha. Oh, if those cinderblock walls could talk.
The article explains much better than I can (I work in pictures remember, so bear with me), but basically Teddy Roosevelt built this prison as a model for a reformatory penal system, where inmates would be rehabilitated and taught skills. Largely a low-security workhouse for short-term offenders, they could serve time while learning to become bakers, farmers, ummm and I think dental assistants. Not kidding. Later, the good old-fashioned penitentiary was built for the more serious offenders and of course, that was creepy as all get out. Mwaahahahaaa. I loved it.
But the coolest part of the story is that the prison was shut down in the early 2000s and the first parcel was taken over by the Lorton Arts Foundation and turned into sweet artists' studios and galleries. The brick exteriors were fixed up but kept in the original barracks configuration, and the interiors were gutted and turned into these incredible, well-lit, friendly and beautiful spaces. What will come of the other two sections I got to see remains to be seen, but what they have done so far is really impressive.
And here at the bottom, well this is quite another story. A fun one for sure. More to come, but basically yep, shooting a 2010 calendar in the Cayman Islands. You can learn more on the Vanity Fair Magazine Blog (I know, right??) which featured this snapshot of us hard at work. Yes, permission granted to roll your eyes, but it really was work. No, really!
photo credit for Cayman photo: Mark Chaloner