Friday, October 29, 2010

Busman's Holiday

Woo! After that last post, I'd say we're due for something a little less er...macabre? Whatchu fank? Aaaand since it is nearly Halloween and all, I figured - what better time to do a piece devoted entirely to the lighter side of costume and theme.

(Snapped on 8/12/10)

You might remember me mentioning in a recent post, that I dressed up as a beauty pageant winner (minus the "Miss Something or Other" sash) and did some self-portraits at the local county fair - while things were nice and quiet during the off-hours. This may have been the first time that I had to explain to folks in detail, the deal with dash photography - in order to then ask for permission to take pictures with their this case - the dairy cows entered in the livestock competition. And every single time that I ran through my spiel, mouths fell open, and a quizzical look contorted the faces of the people I was petitioning. These were hard-working farmers, their wives and their kids, and they simply could not conceive of why I would want to do such a thing...they looked at me as if I was nuts. Nevertheless, they politely acquiesced to my unusual request to photograph myself with their prize-winning animals, and by the time I was through - the children were vying for me to take pics. with the animals belonging to them specifically, and some of the grown-ups were smiling...

(Snapped on 8/14/10)

One Saturday morning a friend of mine texted to say that he was going to the thrift store at the Old Chapel and did I want to join him. Of course I said, "YES!" because for one thing, I had no prior knowledge that Old Chapel even had a thrift store, but also - I am always on the hunt for inexpensive garb to wear in my pics.. 

I could not believe the massive load of treasures that I took home with me, and as I recall I spent only $5 - $3 of which was the change that I should've gotten back, but I just felt too guilty...and so I told the lady to keep it as a donation. It was fabulous! Not only had I scored major booty, but I also felt a bit philanthropic - double win!

Anyway, one of my purchases was a little girl's pinafore (size 5T, haha! Can you believe that?) and the minute I had it in my hot little hands, I began mentally putting the pieces together for a shoot that I could stage in my kids' playroom...

Doesn't it look like we keep it all neat and tidy? Well don't be fooled, because just behind where the camera sat on its table, was a mammoth pile of all the crap that had been right where the pictures were staged...

(Snapped on 8/15/10)

While shopping at Gabriel Brothers (yet another reliable haunt for finding really cool costumes for cheap) I happened upon a pair of leggings that I would never dare wear as part of a serious outfit - but they instantly brought to mind, "ZOMBIE SHOOT"! 

I pictured the decay and the wreckage of a junkyard to be the perfect backdrop for the theme, but when I called the only junkyard that I could find in the phonebook, and told them that I'm an artist and that I take photos of myself, and that I was hoping that they'd let me do my zombie thing at their place...there was this long pause...after which I endured a fairly rigorous Q&A session, which led to added confusion and ultimately an irritated, "NO!"...*bah*

All right, no problem - I knew just who to call. My secret source really delivered! He totally hooked me up with the most killer junkyard where I was granted run of the entire place for hours...I had an absolute blast climbing on and around the junk cars and splashing and stomping through muddy puddles. But the best part was that the people who worked there, were astonishingly pleasant to me...even going so far as to extend an open invitation for me to come back and shoot any time - yesssss!

(Snapped on 8/23/10)

DinosaurLand is a local attraction that is so old that it's practically prehistoric. I've always delighted in its cheesy mid-century kitsch, and my kids and I have messed around there, many times. 

I guess it wouldn't be too hard to imagine, that for me to wanna shoot there would be something of a no-brainer. And I reckon the only thing that held me up from actually doing so, was devoting the time to making my outfit. Turned out my little cave-girl ensemble was very easy to fashion, honestly the hardest part was scrounging around my back field for the bones that I needed to sew on the top and to use as an accessory in my hair.

Knowing that I'd have to run it by the manager, instead of waltzing in and acting like I own the place - I wore a shift over top of the revealing costume. I approached a woman behind the counter who turned out to be the owner, and gave her the lowdown about my slef-portraits. After punctuating my monologue with, "So, is it cool if I take some pictures with the dinosaurs?" she responded, "No thanks. I'm really not interested"

I was like, "Wait, wha? I'm not trying to sell you anything..." I dunno, she was obviously completely confused (maybe the bone in my hair threw her off? Who knows) but her way of handling it was to tell me (in so many words) to hit the road, take a hike, beat it - SCRAM! But when I assured her that it was my intention to pay the admission, she quipped in this sassy, smart-alecky tone, "Well. I guess if you pay to get in, I can't stop you from taking your pictures" Jeez, sorRY! She was way worse to deal with than those ole junkyard grumps on the phone...

The DinosaurLand pictures were much tougher to get than one might think just by lookin' at 'em. I mean for starters, I wasn't wearing undies, so every time the wind blew (and believe me - it blew!) all my girl stuff was fully exposed. AND since it is a "family" style destination, and there were kids and their parents swarming the goddamned place, I was constantly ducking and hiding and darting from one spot to the next...trying to be where no one else was. Just as soon as I was sure I'd have a minute to myself, another group of people would appear...grrrrr...

I had thought doing DinosaurLand would be a rollicking good time, but it wound up to be highly stressful...

(Snapped on 8/31/10)

The first week that my kids were back in school this fall, I dropped 'em off and drove over to the post office. On my way there, I glanced over at the fire station, and saw a cluster of 8 or 9 horrifically demolished cars. "Ooh, ooh! I wanna shoot THERE!" I thought. So I rang the bell by the fire station door and when the assistant Fire Chief appeared, I plead my case. Without hesitation he said, "Knock yourself out. Just be careful...Lotsa sharp edges" I was elated!

I already had plans for that day and so I asked, "Is it ok if I wait and shoot tomorrow?" He nodded "Yes".

The next morning after taking my kids to school, I stopped by my mechanic's shop (conveniently, right across the street from the fire station) and asked if I could borrow their BIGGEST wrench, and not only did they loan me that monster of a wrench, they let me use some old grease to smear on my face and gave me a red rag to dangle from my pocket..."You can't be a mechanic without one"...Love those guys!

Two days later, I realized just how lucky I was to have done the mechanic spoof with those irreparably damaged vehicles...cuz the lot where they once stood, was now empty...

(Snapped on 9/28/10)

When I found this kimono thingy at my favorite thrift store, I couldn't have been more delighted. I had filed it away in the back of mind, that someday I should take self-portraits amid the gorgeous Asian gardens on the grounds of a nearby historic landmark, but for some reason nothing had ever materialized...that is - until the thrift store find acted as a catalyst.

Once again, I asked permission, and once again I was interrogated like a detainee, about my specific intentions...good lord. But! I was given permission (after paying admission) to help myself to the gardens  for the sake of my pics....and fortunately no one ever caught me stepping over the caution tape and ignoring the "DO NOT ENTER" signs, which were meant to keep folks away from this irresistibly charming, little structure (I never could determine exactly why it was roped off)

The bummer about these pics. was that - I had worn a pair of my daughter's (very small) sweatpants since as usual, I was sportin' an unfurnished basement (cough) and when I peeled 'em off to get ready for the pictures, the derned elastic at the bottom had left deep grooves in my legs - a mistake I will not make again.

(Snapped on 10/16/10)

I drive past this fantastic, miniature house - nearly every single day of my life...And since I am perennially scouting out nifty locations, the tiny dwelling has spoken to me for awhile. It whispers, "I've got an idea - you be Red Riding Hood, and I'll be Grandma's house?" I habitually salivated over the thought of it, but was remiss about making the necessary arrangements...until...

...a few weeks ago! I was driving home from my daily visit to Sheetz, when I saw the dearest old man working on a tractor in the field on which the little house sits. I parked in the road and got out to ask how he felt about me taking pictures there sometime. Oh my god, he was the most adorable thing. I swear, I don't think he ever stopped smiling! Chuckling, he agreed that a Red Riding Hood theme would be pretty damn perfect...

Now you have to understand something, this house is in plain view of the northbound traffic that travels the two-lane highway close by. Like, if someone driving by had thrown a rock outta their window, chances are better than good it woulda hit me. I was well aware that folks could see me, but I banked on the fact that they would be moving so fast, that what I was doing (and wearing) would not fully register in their minds (hope, hope)

But then...a man pulled up right out front of the little house, blew the horn on his idling truck, and through his window I could see him motioning angrily as if to say, "HEY! What the hell are you doing?!"...uh oh...

I walked over, he rolled down his window and I explained that the older gentleman who owns the property had given me permission to be there. Mellowing out a bit he said, "Oh, that's my dad...he's 83" and then he said, "I drove past and saw you, and thought - "What is that crazy woman doing?!"" We both laughed as I assured him that I wasn't actually crazy...maybe just a teensy bit weird, that's all. 

I was happy that we worked it all out fairly quickly, because it was kind of awkward to be standing there so close...talking to him through the open window...wearing the outfit that I happened to be wearing...

I stopped by the little house again (just the other day) to put one of my Red Riding Hood photos (along with a "thank you" note) in the old man's mailbox as promised. But as luck would have it - he and his son were out working in the field, so I was able to give it to them in person...(they both seemed to really like the picture!)

Lately when people ask me what I'm gonna be for Halloween, I say, "Are you kidding me? I celebrate Halloween every week. I'm thinkin' I might sit it out"...

ONLY JOKING! Hell, me not doing Halloween would be like Charlie Sheen being faithful or staying sober...BLASPHEMY! Such things are simply not in our genetic make-up.

This year I'll celebrate Halloween as one of the characters featured in this post...but I'm not sayin' which one! So, if you wanna find out - you'll have to find me Saturday night, down in good ole Richmond, Va....K, ta ta...I'm out!  

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