One fine day, my Photo Editor at the ever-awesome Garden&Gun magazine called and said they were fiiiinally ready to do a city profile about Richmond, Virginia. YAY! I had been creating a list in my head forever, waiting patiently for this fantastic opportunity to show off my town. Of course I know this place so well after living here for 16 years, what a breeze this would be to shoot, right? I practically had the article written for them! Uhhhh-huh. Then I got the shot list as long as my arm and I hadn't even heard of some of them. Tricksters! What was this BBQ place I had never heard of? This pub? This bookstore? The adventure had begun.
Like a Type-A scavenger huntress I google-mapped all the locations on the shot list (what you see in the final article is a mere portion, as the images I took could have filled a coffee-table book). I broke the locations down into navigable chunks, designated shoot days for each with the owners (thanks to Margaret's help), coordinated them with the appropriate good light for each, packed up my stuff and hit the road. While I enjoyed seeing some familiar faces and places, what I found were even more delicious dishes, more of the kindest people you could want to know, and really cool new-to-me places and spaces. I fell even more in love with this city I now call home.
My friend and author Dean King wrote the wonderful introduction and the list of locations came from the writer Donovan Webster with a few ideas sprinkled in from Dean and me. While it would have been much simpler if they had just asked my opinion (I mean, just ask my husband, I know EVERYthing), we all would have missed out on a lot these great spots! Apparently I don't get out as much as I thought I did, but that would soon be remedied.
Some highlights of my shoot (and yes, it is a job folks, but it's a really fun one) included visiting some favorites of mine, Comfort, Lemaire, and Midtown Acacia restaurants. Comfort sent me home with a large bag of food (shoot it, eat it is my policy), and yes that banana pudding is DIVINE. I loved catching Flogging Molly at The National with my husband and shooting from a safe distance (have you seen a drunken Irish mosh pit? their fans are wonderfully nuts), and taking my kids to Belle Isle (you can see them running away from me on the bridge below... kids... kids... come back!!). Shockoe Slip and Bottom are areas I just don't get to enough, and next time Rosie Connolly's Pub is a must visit. It feels like a small pub on some side street in England, and they made me try a dark ale (I do suffer for my art) that was delicious and the owner could actually pour a perfect four leaf clover print into the foam. The good luck was all mine.
Another fun shoot with Garden & Gun. Check! More to come...