December 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
Despite countless movies, television shows, and public perception to the contrary, photography is not always a glamorous job. I don’t wake up, put on a snazzy outfit, hang out with beautiful women, go drinking at exclusive clubs, sleep with a supermodel, and do it all over again the next day. Okay, some days are like that, but not every day, and they are definitely few and far between. And it’s been a long time since a supermodel has seen the inside of my house, much less spent the night there. And there certainly wasn’t any champagne involved. My drink of choice is Ouzo, anyway, which I’m pretty sure the Greeks invented on a dare (as a side note, the best Ouzo is usually poured from a rusty metal still in yiayia’s backyard).
So if it isn’t the lavish lifestyle and the promise of a late night with a supermodel, then what is it that gets me up in the morning? What inspires me to create images and to pursue photography not just as a simple pastime, but as a full time profession and source of income?
Expressing myself has never been easy. I’m not a great writer, I can’t paint, and I have fewer drawing skills than an 8 year old with a can of finger paint. My 8th-grade art project was entitled “Teepee On The Plains,” and was a watercolor landscape of a brown triangle on a similarly brown and grey background. I got a D-, and thus ended any aspirations of ever becoming a true artist. A feeling that I think, in many ways, I still fight to this day.
So for me, photography has become a way to express myself. While I have a hard time putting the thoughts in my head into something coherent, photography gives me the outlet to create meaningful images that express the beauty that I see in the world. Hair, makeup, styling, location – these things become the grammar and punctuation that make up the sentences, paragraphs, and stories I want to tell. I am inspired by beauty, and by the opportunity to present something beautiful in a new way. The look in someone’s eyes, the subtle changes in pose and position. To me they are like notes in a song, or quotes from a good book. And when others see the images and get inspired or excited about what I’ve done, it pushes me to do more. To borrow a phrase from one of my favorite movies, I love the smell of hairspray in the morning.
December 10, 2012 § Leave a comment
Once a year, Austinites emerge in their most gruesome zombie attire, ready to walk the black carpet and take on the night as members of the walking dead.
The event is called Zombie Ball, and according to Austin photographer Steve DeMent, it’s just about the closest thing to stepping into the Halloween Party from 1993 cult classic Hocus Pocus.
The ball itself lasts about 6 hours; but, according to DeMent, the planning, rehearsal and set up starts months in advance to convert the Moody Theater into a zombie’s paradise.
“I honestly think it’s one of the most interesting and creative events in Austin,” said DeMent. “There are so many creative people who work together to put on this show.”
Just like a silver screen production, the Zombie Ball searches each year for the perfect cast of performers, videographers, lighting and sound technicians, DJs, musicians, dancers, costume designers, creative artists, and makeup and hair artists.
DeMent has been shooting the Zombie Ball since 2009, when a friend approached him about helping put together a photo booth for the event. “I leant them my lighting equipment in exchange for an opportunity to shoot the event,” said DeMent.
The exchange paid off. “I’ve been back every year since, and it’s become my favourite event of the year. It doesn’t feel like the holiday season until Zombie Ball.”