america’s retro geek

August 3, 2011

Last week, I got sent to the new County Fair here in Denver to take a portrait of one of its headliners, Charles Phoenix. The assignment sheet read “the rides are set up and Charles will be wearing a suit you can probably see from several miles away.” On paper, it sounded really promising, but when I got there, I had the hardest time with this assignment.

The idea was to get a portrait of the guy that also said “fair.” I tried several different locations, among others an old merry-go-round with horses, but wherever I went, I was struggling to find a good frame. Sometimes the background was cluttered with other rides, ugly white pavilions and random trash, sometimes the contrast between shadow and highlights was way too high and sometimes it was both. Nothing I tried worked, and I started getting really frustrated. Finally, I just had Charles stand on an over-sized cooler box in front of the Ferris wheel, and ended up with this shot:

Charles Phoenix calls himself America's Retro Geek. Dressed up in a suit airbrushed by a street artist, he sautés a mix of people's favorite breakfast cereals in butter in his test kitchen at the Denver County Fair. "I'm putting the kitsch back in kitchen," Phoenix said. Wednesday, July 27, 2011.

Charles Phoenix calls himself America's Retro Geek. Dressed up in a suit airbrushed by a street artist, he sautés a mix of people's favorite breakfast cereals in butter in his test kitchen at the Denver County Fair. "I'm putting the kitsch back in kitchen," Phoenix said. Wednesday, July 27, 2011.

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