Photo Hunt: Find the Horror Scene

(c) jcs 2021

“Your mum and I were hiding in a house. A wee cottage. There was an old couple that owned it. And they were there, too. Three other people. And we were, uh… just trying to stay alive, I suppose. We were doing okay for a while. And then we were attacked. They came in through the kitchen window. They were really fast, you know? Chased us. Chased your mum. And we were trapped. Trapped in the bedroom. I… I seen them… biting. I couldn’t do anything. I tried to go back. She was already gone. She was already gone.” ~ 28 Weeks Later, 2007

(c) jcs 2021

“My asshole brother bought her back in September ’57. That’s when you got your new model year, in September. Brand-new, she was. She had the smell of a brand-new car. That’s just about the finest smell in the world.” ~ Christine, 1983

(c) jcs 2021

“In October of 1994, three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland while shooting a documentary. A year later their footage was found.” ~ The Blair Witch Project, 1999

Crystal Visions ~ The Art of Mindy Lam at Berkshire Botanical Garden

As galleries slowly reopen, my list of hopeful weekend engagements continues to grow. It’s one I was worried would start late due to my ongoing injury recovery, but I was able to begin the return to culture this weekend with a show after my own heart: Flights of Fancy: The Botanical and Bejeweled Universe of Mindy Lam.

On display in The Anna and Frederick Henry Leonhardt Galleries at the Berkshire Botanical Garden in West Stockbridge, Mass., the exhibit is an intersection of several different things I already love: modern art, vintage pieces, fantastic elements, haute-couture jewelry… all hosted in the rooms of a slightly ominous garden house constructed in the 1700s.

Lam works with crystals and semi-precious stones, repurposed, vintage costume jewelry, and metal wire — including weaving metal lace out of gold, copper, and steel. Her art is inspired by and reflective of nature, and has been displayed within the clapboard walls of the Leonhardt on moss beds, willow branches, and squares of unbleached linen.

Separated into three rooms, the exhibit includes a selection from Lam’s Homme Couture brooch collection; a “man-made ornamental garden” of twigs and brambles adorned with pins, necklaces, and earrings; and a curated menagerie of pieces created for once-in-a-lifetime events, featuring Lam’s signature metal lace gown: “a wearable sculpture originating with a single, delicate thread of wire,” as described on the BBG website.

The real piece de resistance for me, however, is a cool-metal crown in a mirrored bell jar that appears to be telling an entire tale in-the-round.

Lam is also a decidedly philanthropic artist, working with charities large and small including the American Heart Association, American Theatre Wing, and St. Jude’s Research Hospital. She has extended sales on her website to support BBG’s education and horticulture programs throughout Flights of Fancy’s run, until June 6, 2021.

All photos (c) jcs 2021 ~ view the full set here

Film Noir: Five photos given the Horror-movie treatment

It hasn’t been a good year for photo field trips for myriad reasons, but I was able to explore (as much as my broken limb would allow) an empty campground this weekend — a prime spot to capture a few images of desolation and edit in a horror-movie cue or two.

Here are five favorites, captioned with film dialogue for good measure.

Marty: It was the pioneer days. People had to make their own interrogation rooms. ~ The Cabin in the Woods, 2011
“There’s a legend around here. A killer buried, but not dead. A curse on Crystal Lake; a death curse.” ~ Friday the 13th, part VII, 1988
Noah: I can’t imagine being stuck down a well all alone like that. How long could you survive?
Rachel: Seven days. ~ The Ring, 2002
Amelia: Well, I’m not scared.
Samuel: You will be when it creeps into your room at night. ~ The Babadook, 2014
Louis: That morning I was not yet a vampire, and I saw my last sunrise. I remember it completely, and yet I can’t recall any sunrise before it. I watched the whole magnificence of the dawn for the last time as if it were the first. And then I said farewell to sunlight, and set out to become what I became. ~ Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, 1994

Photos taken at Camp Bonnie Brae, the nation’s longest continuously operating Girl Scout Camp, in East Otis, Mass.

Blogtoberfest Guest Post: The Tattooed Ladies of the Mohawk Trail, by Ralph Brill

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 3.27.59 PMMANY BEAUTIFUL AND INTERESTING TATTOOED LADIES LIVE ALONG THE MOHAWK TRAIL – FROM BOSTON TO ALBANY. WE WILL MEET SOME OF THESE SPECIAL WOMEN IN A BEAUTIFUL BOOK AND TRAVELING EXHIBITION.
WE ARE SEEKING TATTOOED* LADIES OF ALL AGES, SIZES AND COLORS WHO LIVE ALONG THIS ROUTE 2 REGION.

NUDE WITH ONE GREAT TATTOO OR MANY IS OUR INTEREST. CONTACT BRILL GALLERY PRODUCTIONS IF INTERESTED IN BEING INTERVIEWED FOR POSSIBLE INCLUSION. MAYBE YOU KNOW SOMEONE?

*In 2014, about four-in-ten females aged 18 to 29 years old have tattoos. This Look-At-Me phenomenon along The Mohawk Trail was not in place in 1914. Lots of other things have thankfully changed as well for these ladies over these past 100 years: Women were allowed to vote for Presidents, Women were allowed to study at Williams College, Minority Women were allowed to enjoy the resorts in the Berkshires, Women were allowed to buy their own cars, etc.Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 3.24.12 PMMost of the Five Nations Confederacy Chiefs of the Iroquois including the Mohawks were Tattooed as were the Chiefs of the various Atlantic Tribes. It was like their personal signatures. The above is a detail of Mohawk Chief Sa Ga Yeath Qua Pieth Tow’s portrait by John Verelst painted in 1710. Some Native American women were also Tattooed. For the first time in American history, in 2014, more women than men along The Mohawk Trail are Tattooed. Our Tattooed Ladies are a connection to this historical art form along The Mohawk Trail.

The Mohawk Trail started out as an important Indian Trail connecting the Atlantic Tribes around Boston with those in Upstate New York. In 1799, the Massachusetts Legislature established a toll road along this Path – officially known as The Fifth. Eventually, cattle were driven from Western New England Farms to the Boston Markets along this Path as were wagon loads of various goods. Horse coaches brought visitors from Boston to the Berkshires via The Fifth.

In the early 1900s, as more families owned Model T Fords and wanted to take long country drives, The Fifth began to become known as the scenic road to explore. In 1914, The Fifth was widened to accommodate the increasing number of vehicles and was officially designated as the Mohawk Trail by the State in that year.

Ralph Brill owns the Brill Gallery in North Adams, Mass. Have a Blogtoberfest Guest Post you want to submit? Email it to writerjax – at – gmail – dot – com.

A New England Autumn Wedding and tips for ‘Guest Photography’

We attended a fall wedding this weekend, one of my favorite things to do!

I’m a sucker for any wedding, but as autumn is my favorite season and October my favorite month, weddings this time of year are sort of a nuptial hat trick.

This ceremony and reception were held in two different Berkshire towns — the ceremony by a small private pond in Hinsdale and the reception at the quaint and totally New Englandy Morgan House in Lee.

Emily and Jay's Wedding

In addition to posting some shots from the big day, I thought I’d share a few of my guest-at-the-wedding photo tips in the process. Most of us are armed with the cameras on our smartphones these days, and guests taking photos at weddings is a ubiquitous affair. Throughout every moment of the ceremony and reception, guests will be glued to their devices at varying times, snapping photos, editing them, and posting them online faster than you can say ‘cheese.’

The very first rule of ‘guest photography’ is to be a guest first, and a photographer second. The professional who’s been hired to capture images that day will thank you, too…go ahead and have fun, and if taking photos and video is part of the fun (it is for me), snap away. Just make sure that, when your nose is two inches from the cake as you try to take an artful shot of the rosettes on top, the professional photographer isn’t behind you trying to do the same thing.

That leads me to tip number two: not all of your photos need to be perfect. The urge to delete that picture obscured by Uncle Bill’s giant noggin immediately is great, when the little trashcan icon on your camera is right there egging you on.

But don’t delete. Not only can you edit photos later, the moment is more important than the composition when it comes to guest wedding photos. The professional photographer is in charge of capturing the money shots… you’re in charge of capturing memories for yourself and the couple. There’s nothing visually special about this picture I snapped of the ring bearer, for example, but the bottle behind him — and the little hand in the right of the frame — serves as a reminder of the babies in attendance that day.

Emily and Jay's Wedding

Because of the over abundance of the aforementioned smartphones and other gadgets, it also bears mentioning that a lot of your photos might end up being pictures of people taking pictures. That’s fine … I call them paparazzi shots, and in a few years, it will be interesting to see what kinds of phones and cameras we were using.

Emily and Jay's Wedding

It’s also an interesting angle to take a family photo from behind another person taking the same photo:

Emily and Jay's Wedding

Things the bride and groom aren’t likely to see while they’re bustling around in their own wedding haze are great things to look for when taking pictures… guests arriving, the ceremony space before it’s filled with people, candids of the people around you, etc. Not only will these be pictures they’ll want to see later, they’ll stand out once the barrage of photos from every guest begins to flood the social networks, and help to create a full, detailed timeline of the day.

Emily and Jay's Wedding

There’s something to be said for snapping pictures of little touches at the ceremony and reception. Chances are, the couple put a good amount of thought into their colors, decorations, and location; a snapshot of the flowers at your table, for instance, is not just a burst of color in your set of photos but also a great marker of the season.

Emily and Jay's Wedding

Share your photo tips in the comments!

More Reading:

Getting Social with Wedding Planners

Nice Day for a White Wedding – Carrie and Kevin

The Art of the October Wedding – Rob and Sara

Shooting from the Hip with Lou Jones – Travel photography tips