Castles and Graffiti

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By now most of you have received the Autumn 2015 Texture issue of PLY Magazine. This is my favorite issue so far! It is full of unique and inspiring techniques and projects, but I’m here to tell you more about the fantastic location for the shoot and one of the photos in the issue.

The issue was shot in Kansas City’s historic Workhouse Castle. The castle was built in 1897, and was originally designed as a city jail where petty offenders could work off their debt. The women repaid their debts by sewing prison uniforms, and the men labored for the city’s public works department. The prisoners mined limestone onsite and with it constructed the castle walls. The castle also housed the city’s poor and homeless during the cold winter months. Two decades later the castle became a city office building, and in the 1970s it was closed and abandoned. Without maintenance it fell into disrepair, and was subjected to such damage and vandalism over time that it became filled with tons of rubble and trash and was dangerous to enter.

In 2014 an amazing couple chose to put their wedding fund back into the community. Many volunteers cleaned up the castle (62 tons of trash!) and the couple (Daniel & Ebony) used the space as their wedding venue. You can read more about the transformation and continuing efforts here. We knew nothing about the restoration project when we chose the castle as our location, so we were thrilled to see the improvements. Meeting Daniel and hearing the story made it even MORE awesome.

Jacey’s favorite photo in this issue is the image on the back cover. I wish I knew the graffiti artist so we could give credit. The photo was captured through a tiny hole in an interior castle wall, through which the graffiti was perfectly framed. You can see the little hole in the wall in the following photo.

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I’m so glad my curiosity led me to drag my stepstool to the wall so I could peek through the hole. When we saw the final shot, we knew it was a perfect fit for the texture issue. We have had a few requests for prints of the photo; we’re working on that and we’ll let you know when they’re available.

Bernadette

Cover of the Community Issue

You’re on the cover of PLY!

The newest issue of PLY Magazine is arriving in mail boxes this week.  One of my favorite things about PLY is our covers.  I just love them.  This one is no different.  Whenever I get a new issue, I line them all up on the kitchen table, in order, and smile.  Then I stack them and smile at the spines.  This cover was more troublesome than the rest.  I was flummoxed as to what would say “Community issue”.  All kinds of terrible ideas came to mind and I was afraid we’d have to go with one of them.  That’s right, I almost had to ask Bernadette to shoot a spinning circle, sans spinners.  Just the wheels, from above.  Yeah, she would have cried (she’s sensitive like that).  Then my wonderful Levi came up with an idea.  He wanted me to gather as many spinning snapshots of our spinning community as possible and he’de make a mosaic of the world, this side and that side, for the covers.

And that’s what we did.  I begged y’all for photos, you delivered, and so did he. So grab a magnifying glass and check yourself out!  Can you find yourself (or your yarn, cat, dog, wheel, kid etc)?

Community issue of PLY

 

 

 

 

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How to Shoot a Magazine, Prelude

 

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When Jacey first told me that she was starting a spinning magazine, I said something like “Awesome! You’ll do great!” I even meant it. Next she said she wanted me to take the photos, to which I replied something like “Are you crazy?” The thing is, and if you know Jacey you will totally understand, when Jacey wants something, she usually gets it. The obvious next step was for me to figure out how to take pictures that would make Jacey happy. I had a million questions about how to face this project and approximately seven answers. I was painfully aware that I had no idea what I was doing.

My first approach was to do a lot of research. I was hoping to find a book in the library called How to be a Really Great Fiber Photographer in Four Easy Lessons. That book was checked out, so I ended up with some self-help books on coping with anxiety. I read way too many photography blogs, books, and magazines, and ultimately decided that beginners luck has to be a real thing. Six issues later, I am so enthusiastic about the future of my work with PLY, in large part because I can now at least identify what I don’t know. Each shoot is a little more relaxed, the editing workflow less frustrating.

In this series, I plan to explore each issue of PLY, its challenges and successes, and delve into what we learned in each shoot. I’ll share some photography techniques I have found helpful in getting more accurate photos of fiber and finished projects. I’ll also address some post processing work to correct common issues like color casts and blown out highlights. Of course I’ll share favorite photos, embarrassing photos, and behind-the-scenes shots of Jacey eating chocolate and Levi being Levi. I look forward to your questions, comments, and insight!