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.
August 3, 2011
Last Friday, the TV show American Idol came to Denver to hold auditions at the Invesco Field at Mile High, the stadium of the Denver Broncos. The Post assigned me to shoot the wanna-be idols lining up and waiting outside the stadium. I had to get there early, at 6 a.m., because the doors were supposed to open at 8 a.m. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine what I saw when I arrived.
Over 6,000 frenetic pseudo-musicians camped out around the arena, shrieking hysterically whenever they saw a camera to attract the TV team’s attention. Some of them had come as early as 3 a.m. in order to be the first in line. The luckiest ones made the cut-off for a crowd of roughly 4,000 people who were rounded up and perched together like sheep on the stoops of the stadium’s south side. A guy with a bullhorn on a ladder made them yell and cheer and shout ridiculous slogans at the camera. It was the absurdest display of mass hysteria I had ever seen, and even though I had fun shooting it, I was glad when it was over and I could finally get out of there.
Potential contesters cheer in front of Invesco Field at Mile High before the American Idol Season 11 auditions in Denver, Friday, July 29, 2011.
Miranda Barness plays Ukulele while waiting in line for the auditions.
Cheerleaders fire up the crowd of potential contesters.
Sebastian Smith, second from right, tries to attract the attention of a camera team before auditions. "I'm gonna be the next American Idol," he screamed. "Not these guys! Me!"
Denver Broncos mascot Miles watches as cheerleaders fire up the crowd of potential contesters.
A short post scriptum: The first shot is also the one that finally got me my first front page play at the Denver Post:
August 2, 2011
A couple of days ago, I was sent to the Green Valley Ranch Golf Club – where the Colorado Open were about to be held – to photograph professional golfer Zach Byrd. The Denver Post was planning to run a feature on the guy, and he was playing a pro-am shotgun, a tournament in which professionals and amateurs play together on a team. I had shot golf before when I interned with the Valley News, but I never really got a shot out of it that I liked. This time, I actually managed to get a few good ones. My favorite is the first one, where Byrd has just missed a put…
Zach Byrd, right, and team mate Darin O'Shea react after Byrd missed a put at hole eleven of the Green Valley Ranch Golf Club during the pro-am shotgun, Wednesday, July 20, 2011.
From left, Tom Sanderson, college friend and caddy of professional golfer Zach Byrd, and Humana team members John "2E" Cullen, Zach Byrd, Matt Nelson and Dan Oftedahl search for a lost ball at hole fourteen.
Zach Byrd, the pro member of the Humana team, watches team mate John "2E" Cullen put at the ninth hole.
August 1, 2011
A while back I shot this band of a local author, Gregg Hill, who had just won an award for one of his novels. They played some awesome music, and I had great fun shooting it. They have a show coming up at the Lion’s Lair in Denver on July 22nd, and I can only recommend going there if you like good music.
Gregory Hill rehearses with his band The Baby Sitters in the band room in the garage of his Denver home Saturday, June 25, 2011.
An Elvis collage hangs in the Baby Sitters' band room.
July 20, 2011