Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Going, Going, Gone!

Friends Without A Border is a not for profit established since 1996. The founder is photographer Kenro Izu. He began the group after seeing and feeling the need for children's healthcare while visiting Cambodia. The Angkor Hospital for Children has existed since 1999 because of Kenro and Friends, and to date has given care to over 560,000 children.

This past Dec. 9th FWAB held their 12th annual Friends of Friends Holiday Auction. For the past 4 I have volunteered as event photographer for them. It's a party that centers around a live auction of fine art photography. The photography is truly world class and often sold at a steal compared to what it could be had in the galleries. One of the more impressive items auctioned this year was a portfolio of National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry.

A first this year for Virgil Stephens Photography was an ad that ran in the auction catalogue. I had the help of my friend designer Suzanne Doig to create the layout. I've been really happy with the way it turned out and have been contacted for photo gigs because of the ad.

The auction is a great New York City event I'm proud to be a part of. It's for a great cause and helps kick off the holiday season with a positive consideration.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

We Want the Funk!!

The C.M.J. Marathon in New York City is an action-packed, creatively-energized 5 day event in the city's greatest month October.

My good friend Rosemary is the head of marketing and communications for the event and has hooked me up with photo passes for the past 2 years. It's a ton of music, films, panels and more for the duration. I made sure to be available for at least a few happenings so as to put the opportunity to use.

Got shots of the bands The Dears, and Eulogies at Maxwell's on Wednesday night.

Thursday evening I spent in the company of George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars. I saw them once before at my schools Quadmania Festival. Once again it was extremely entertaining to see this band!
Friday night would be characterized less successful than the previous nights. I wanted to shoot the roots-reggae singer Luciano at the Fillmore Irving Plaza. After being denied my photo privilages, I was disappointed to learn that the Luciano billed was different than the Jamaican born Rasta artist. After that confusion I'd lead myself, Malissia, and artist Onedae down to the Knitting Factory for what I believed to be a Hip-Hop night with D.J. Babu, the Jungle Brothers, and Prince Paul's Stetsasonic but would never actually find out. The person at the door denied our badges and the only music we did catch was chaotic but the entertaining 1960's looking noise performers that did their show surfing the audience -instruments and all! I did also run into Mike Vorrasi and my friend Chris from the Jamaican wedding 2 weeks ago. Unexpected!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Welcome to the Carribean!

JAMAICA 10-11-08 Vicki & Dave married in Negril. The first wedding I have taken a plane to. Jamaica is gorgeous plus Vicki and Dave are 2 of my coolest friends, so what we have is one amazing event! They got hitched in style..

Malissia and I are friends with all of Vicki and Dave's friends and family so it was a tremendous social-fun atmosphere at the Tensing Pen Resort. Spending time with friends swimming and relaxing. What does a person do 5 nights staying on the Cliffs in Negril? Eat amazing inexpensive food, sleep for 12 hour stands, and drink $2 Red Stripes listening to the greatest reggae (it's all good) is only part of what it's perfect for. The photography is the other. The lush Carribean jungle and clear aqua blue sea, I was in for my memory cards worth. I packed a polarizing filter because of all the water and sky I wanted to capture.

The wedding was Saturday and planned for sunset on the cliffs. Watching the sun go down into the Carribean and having the warm breeze set the stage. I spent some time with Dave and Vicki in their separate quarters. Although laid back is the vibe, the excitement level was tremendous! These friends have been together since we all hung out in their 2 adjacent Williamsburg lofts around 2000. A lot of great matches come from those times, and Malissia and I are another one. To see them at this momentous occasion in their lives was touching and important to us all. The story with the happy ending.

Photographs were shot, speeches and dances happened. The revelers had their wedding and toasted this couple from Philadelphia for their love, friendship, and bright future.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Trinh + JR

Trinh and JR are good friends of mine that have always said they'd like to have me do their wedding photos. So, when they had a private wedding in Key West, FL this past September and only the 2 of them and an officiant attended, it looked like I had missed my chance forever. These two are creative thinkers though and called me a few weeks later with an idea to do their wedding photos, going back down to Florida, and capture this special time for them before the seasons changed.

They flew me from Newark to Orlando International where we could use a nearby friends mansion in Winter Park, an uncle's beach house in New Smyrna, and spend 2 days getting portraits that they could share and tell their story with.

Winter Park, FL is beautiful. The name makes you think of ice-skating or smoking chimneys, which it it not at all. More like golf courses that can be played wearing shorts in winter. The home we used was a gorgeous lakefront home that belonged to JR's friend's family. Arriving there I was excited with the possibilities. I wasn't lying when I exclaimed that this was the nicest house I'd ever been in! It's outdoor spaces were landscaped meticulously, and it seemed like anywhere I pointed my camera the results were stunning. It didn't hurt either that Trinh and JR are a great looking couple that make everything fun.

We shot for a few hours there first outside on the patio, then by the boat house, and finally using the interior for some bridal portraits. It was a luxury to do these photos with out the constraints of a schedule or audience. It was more like the commercial shoots I'd worked on in my earlier assisting days, but casual with friends. We wrapped at sunset, locked up, powered-down, and made way for Carraba's Italian Grill for dinner.

Saturday started with a more leisurely approach. We spent the a.m. driving out to New Smyrna Beach, stopping at Stetson University to see JR's old haunts, then logged some hours on the sand and in the surf waiting for the light to get perfect. Around 3, we took off for the pictures, and got nice shots using the natural beauty of the panhandle state making our way to Canaveral National Park. I'd never done wedding photos on the beach before. I really enjoyed the warm colors, the crisp atmosphere, and the romantic desolation it offered. Success and Cheers!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008