Winter sunset — Lorton, Va., January 2018
Less than two weeks left to see my exhibit, The Resilience Project, in the Arches Gallery at the Workhouse Arts Center (building 9). The gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday.
Next month, I will be the featured artist in the Arches Gallery at the Workhouse Arts Center. My show, "The Resilience Project," will be up from March 7 to April 1 and will include work by the students I'm teaching at Holmes Middle School. An opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on March 10.
The Workhouse was kind enough to issue a press release on the show, which will feature 28 photos that focus on how people adapt in the face of day-to-day stress, adversity, trauma, or tragedy. Resilience often is associated with cataclysmic events, but it is knitted through the web of everyday life.
Here’s the quote they used: “These photos, taken over the past several years in multiple states, tell the stories of recovery from some of our nation’s worst natural disasters as well as dedicated artists and athletes who have been faced with obstacles while pursuing the craft they love. They also illustrate the determination of historically marginalized populations as well as the struggles families go through in day-to-day life.”
To see more on the show, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/resilience. #artsfairfax
My featured artist exhibit, "The Resilience Project," is on display in the Arches Gallery (building W-9) at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton through April 1. A reception will be held as part of the center's Second Saturday Art Walk from 6 to 9 p.m. on March 10.
Included in the exhibit are 28 photos focused on the theme of resilience, as well as photos taken by students from Holmes Middle School in Annandale. The student work is part of the Artist in Residence program I'm participating in thanks to the Arts Council of Fairfax County.
Come see my work! To read more about the exhibit and get a preview of the photos on display, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/resilience
Falling sun and cold front clouds — Lorton, Va., January 2018
Another new set of headshots: Lucia, a high school senior applying for colleges now. Check them out at http://glenncook.virb.com/lucia.
Over the next couple of weeks, I'm posting a series of headshots and senior photos to my website, starting with these of Kayla. See more at http://glenncook.virb.com/kayla.
It's been a memorable Fourth of July weekend, in part because we've been home, a rarity given schedules, conferences, and summer travel. Nick and Conner joined us on Friday and we went to see Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit at Merriweather Post Pavilion, then went to the Workhouse Arts Center for their annual Fourth fest and fireworks show.
Despite my long association with the Workhouse and the Arches Gallery Artists, we've never attended the celebration. To see more photos of the fireworks, go to my Facebook album here.
Hope you have a happy 4th!
The Metropolitan School of the Arts Academy, which opened in 2013 with 15 high school freshmen and sophomores, graduates its second class this June. With the first class, I did a series of portraits at the Lorton Workhouse, incorporating the students’ chosen art form into the aesthetic of the former prison.
This set took a new, though somewhat familiar, path. In all but one instance, the students wanted to use the Workhouse, where the soon-to-be graduates spent three of their four high school years. The familiar setting, however, lent new opportunities for creativity.
The result is “Multiple Exposures.” I’m interested in hearing what you think.
To see the photos of all the MSA graduates, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/msa-grads.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’m posting and sharing a series of headshots taken over the past couple of months. Now that spring is officially coming, it’s time to schedule full or mini sessions for your performers, high school seniors, families and corporate work. Send me a personal message via Facebook or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your session soon.
Let’s kickoff the series with Sofia, a lovely young lady from Northern Virginia, whose headshots were taken at the Workhouse Arts Center in January. You can check out her headshots at http://glenncook.virb.com/sofia.
The last of the pictures in Road Show is one of only two that feature dancers. It also happens to be one of my favorites, taken of my daughter Emma in Pittsburgh last October.
The show runs through tomorrow night, when the Workhouse Arts Center holds its annual Collectors Showcase fundraiser. If you're interested in attending the Collectors Showcase, go towww.workhousearts.org to purchase tickets.
Two more photographs that appear in "Road Show," my exhibit at the Workhouse Arts Center that ends with the Collector's Showcase fundraiser this Saturday. Both photos have appeared here before.
The first, taken in October in Paris, is what you see when you look up from the ground at the Eiffel Tower. The second, "Congregation of Bees," was taken during a visit to Durham, N.C., last summer.
I hope you'll consider going to the exhibit before it closes. If you're interested in the Collectors Showcase event, go towww.workhousearts.org.
No Parking — Tustin, Calif., January 2016
On display and for sale at Lorton's Workhouse Arts Center, today's Daily Photo is part of my exhibit, "Road Show." Taken while searching for something to eat on a Sunday morning, I saw this bench in the parking lot of a hardware store. The texture and rich color of the wall had appeal, as did the bench's placement. I snapped the photo and went off to find food, not knowing until later what I had in my camera.
To see more photos in the exhibit, stop by the Workhouse from noon to 5 p.m. today. The show is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays through March 4. It is located on the second floor of Building 16 (Main Gallery).
My poster for "Road Show," now in building 16 at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton through March 4. Exhibit hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
View from the Ranch — outside Moab, Utah, August 2016
Part of my exhibit, Road Show, at the Workhouse Arts Center, the Daily Photo was taken outside Moab, Utah, during a photo excursion to four states last August. The scenery in this part of the U.S. is breathtaking, and the photos are equally good in black and white or in color. For this, I chose to stick with color because of the contrast between the rocks and the gorgeous blue sky.
To see more photos in the exhibit, stop by the Workhouse and go to the second floor of Building 16. The show is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays through March 4.
Behind the Altar — Paris, October 2016
Today's Daily Photo, part of my Road Show exhibit now at the Workhouse Arts Center, was taken behind the altar at the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres in Paris.
For obvious reasons, you can't use a flash in the 13th century Gothic cathedral, which made for some logistical challenges given the steady flow of people walking through one of the most popular tourist sites in Paris. When I saw this shot, I knew it would be difficult to capture handheld, but managed to get this with a shutter speed of only 1/15th of a second.
Now through March 4, you can see this and other examples of my work on the second floor of Building 16 at the Workhouse. The exhibit leads off the center's annual "Collectors Showcase" fundraiser.
Harlem Mural — New York City, January 2016
Another "Road Show" selection, today's "Daily Photo" was taken while walking through Harlem with my wife last January during a trip to New York City. As anyone who visits this page regularly knows, I'm a great fan of graffiti and outdoor artists, and this one in particular caught my eye for two reasons.
First, seeing how the artist managed to navigate the many textures on the metal door is a remarkable feat. You can see many doors like this in New York and other urban cities, but this one is beautifully executed. Second, I love how the sprinkler/fire alarm bell is incorporated into the left eye, giving an already surreal work a cyborg effect.
You can see this and other photos through March 4 at the Workhouse Art Center in Lorton as part of "Road Show," the lead exhibit to the Collector's Showcase gallery on the second floor of building 16. The exhibit is open Wednesdays through Sundays.
Three "Daily Photos," all featured in Road Show, my exhibit now at the Workhouse Arts Center. Go see my show, now through March 4 on the second floor of Building 16.
Rest Stop — June 2016
Nottoway, Va., is about halfway between our home in Lorton and Greensboro, N.C., where my oldest son lived when he was a child. The Nottoway Motel, located just off Interstate 85, was a pickup/dropoff point for a number of years. Still heavily rural, the area now has a combination gas station/Subway/ Dunkin' Donuts just off the interstate, but the motel and a cafe remain open. Last June, while going to see Nicholas in Durham, I stopped by the motel and captured this picture.
Natural Geyser — Caribou County, Idaho
Last August, on a day trip from Salt Lake City to the Grand Tetons, I saw a sign pointing me to this natural geyser, which goes off every hour on the hour in Caribou County, Idaho. I stopped, waited until it fired up again, and snapped this photo.
Covered Bridge — Claremont, N.C.
Located just outside Hickory off Interstate 40, the 85-foot Bunker Hill Covered Bridge is one of only two remaining in North Carolina. Spanning Lyle's Creek, the bridge was designed by well-known Civil War engineer Herman Haupt. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This photo was taken in September 2016.
Blast of Water — New York City, November 2016
This is the last week of "Road Show," my photography exhibit at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton. This piece, one of 12 on display and today's "Daily Photo," was taken at a fountain near City Hall in Lower Manhattan last fall.
To see the other photos in the exhibit, all of which are for sale, go to the second floor of Building 16 at the Workhouse.
Each winter, the Workhouse Arts Foundation holds its Collectors Showcase exhibition and fundraiser, featuring donated pieces from each of the 90-plus studio and the Arches Gallery artists. Last year, one of my photos was selected as “Best in Show” by Sarah Newman, an independent curator with past exhibits at the National Gallery of Art and Corcoran Gallery of Art.
As a result, I was invited to have my own exhibit at the entrance to this year’s showcase, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. on March 4. The exhibit, dubbed “Road Show,” features 12 photographs taken during 2016, a year in which I traveled to 18 states and three countries.
All 12 photos are for sale, with 30% of the proceeds benefitting the Workhouse’s art, education and history programs. This teaser video gives you a sneak peek at the show, which was installed yesterday. I also will feature selected images from the show — with the stories behind each — in upcoming "Daily Photos" here and on my blog.
Starting this weekend, you can see the photos for yourself during the gallery’s regular hours (11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays) and at the second Saturday event on Feb. 11.
For more information about the Collectors Showcase and art lottery, visit www.workhousearts.org. And stop by Building 9 to see three more of my photos and the work of the other Arches Gallery artists.
Nice to see one of my photos advertising the Collectors Showcase 2017 exhibit at the Workhouse Arts Center. Go see my exhibit, "Road Show," now through March 4.
College audition headshots of Rebecca are now up on my website at http://glenncook.com/
rebecca. Take a look and consider scheduling your own session soon!
Headshots of Brian, taken for his college auditions as he gets ready to graduate from Metropolitan School of the Arts in Northern Virginia, are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/brian. It's not too late for high school seniors to schedule a quick headshot session before the spring audition season.
Another set of headshots, these from repeat customer Merritt, are up at http://glenncook.virb.com/
merritt2016. If you're looking for audition headshots, be sure to check out the "Performers" section on my website. Miniature and full packages are available.
As a photographer (and parent), I truly enjoy working with young actors, dancers and performers. My goal is to take photos that capture their personality in a professional way without losing the spirit of who they are.
Last year, while taking photos of Metropolitan School of the Arts' first graduating class, I took students to settings around the Workhouse Arts Center. The goal was to integrate their art with the workhouse surroundings, and the result was a very successful shoot.
Around that time, I mentioned to Brian Perry (then a junior whose focus is on acting) that I wanted to find a way to capture his many expressions for his senior photos. When the time came to do his headshots for college auditions, I asked him to sit against a wall and give me faces.
Here is the result from a very enjoyable afternoon.
elan Magazine, a monthly publication devoted to the fine arts in Northern Virginia, has published a very flattering story on my "Art & Dance" series in its October issue, accompanied by several images from the various shoots I've been doing since August 2014. You can read a PDF of the feature here.
I'm grateful to the writer, Donna Cedar-Southworth, who spent a long time culling through the images for the magazine, which is mailed to homes and real estate agents serving the Greater Washington, D.C., area.
My only wish is that the article mentioned my association with the Arches Gallery Artists, which is where Donna found my work in the first place. Exposure of this type is critical to anyone trying to make a living in the fine arts, and I've been blessed to work with — and learn from — many of the terrific photographers, painters, and designers in this area.
It's been a while since I've taken headshots of Kate, and she needed some new ones, so it was a pleasure to take these. Here are four takes on my beautiful daughter, who turns 20 (!) in December.
It is headshot and portraits season, open to all ages. Check out these headshots of Alex, a recent college graduate now pursuing an acting career in Austin, Texas, at http://glenncook.virb.com/alex.
Senior photos and headshots of Bridget are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/bridget. Now is a great time to schedule photos for your children and your seniors.
Packages are available for prospective dance/musical theater/theater majors who need photos and videos for their auditions this fall. An accompanist also can be arranged for an additional fee. If you are interested, contact me at email@example.com.
Senior photos of Ashley are now up on my website — http://glenncook.virb.com/ashley. Take a look and schedule a session for your high school senior soon!
One of my "Art and Dance" photos has been selected to hang outside the office of Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, for the next year. I was asked by the Workhouse Arts Center to provide the photo after winning Best in Show at the 2016 Collectors Showcase earlier this year. I've been a member of the Arches Gallery Artists at the workhouse since 2014.
Headshots of Kylie are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/kylie. Check them out and schedule a session!
Metropolitan Youth Theatre, a student-run nonprofit company formed two years ago in Northern Virginia, will present the Tony Award-winning musical “Spring Awakening” in July.
Featuring a cast of 17 high school and college students, the show is the fourth MYT production since the company was founded in 2014 by Fairfax County students Sam Cornbrooks, Chad Vann, and James Woods. Students run all aspects of the productions, fulfilling the company’s mission of educating young actors and technicians about the challenges they soon will face in the professional theatre world.
Cornbrooks, who graduated this month from Lee High School, is the producer and technical director of “Spring Awakening,” which won eight Tony Awards in its first run on Broadway and was nominated for Best Musical Revival this year. Vann, a rising senior at Hayfield Secondary School, is the show’s director. The music director is Woods, a rising senior at Metropolitan School of the Arts.
Since the company started, I have served as MYT’s photographer, taking publicity photos to promote each show and then of the performances. Because the show’s themes focus on the sexual awakening of teens in 19th century Germany and the struggles they face with adults, we used the Lorton Workhouse as the setting for the promo photos. The gritty nature of the former prison — a place where I shoot frequently — served as a terrific backdrop for a series of mostly somber portraits of the cast.
Performances will be July 29-31 at 1st Stage Tysons in McLean, Va. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $15 and available at www.metroyoutharts.com.
To see more photos, go to my Facebook album here.
Ferris wheel and rainbow — Lorton, Va., May 2016
Continuing our ongoing portrait series: Senior photos of Biby, taken last month at the Lorton Workhouse, are up at http://glenncook.virb.com/biby. Take a look and consider scheduling a session today!
New portraits of Annie, taken earlier this spring in Northern Virginia, are up. Check them out here and schedule your photo session today.
Twenty-one high school seniors affiliated with Metropolitan School of the Arts will graduate later this month. Most also will perform in a special senior showcase scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the MSA studio in Alexandria.
Our daughter, Emma, has been a part of the studio since early elementary school, so this will be one of the last opportunities she has to perform in a MSA show. As a parent, I’ve been fortunate to watch many of these kids — now young adults — grow up and flourish as performers and people. As a photographer, I’ve also been fortunate to take many of their headshots and senior pictures as they get ready to go to college.
Late last month, on a drizzly Saturday morning, we went out for a shoot with the seniors that will be featured in a video to start the show. You can see some here. Come back next week to look at what I take at the senior speeches scheduled after the showcase.
A mini-exhibit of my photos of the first graduating class of the Metropolitan School of the Arts Academy is on display this month in Gallery W-9 at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton. Stop by the workhouse from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays to check them out, along with other works by the Associate Artists group.
Chasing a rainbow — Lorton, Va., June 2016
Senior photos and headshots of Lexi, a senior at the Metropolitan School of the Arts Academy, are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/lexi.
It's not too late to schedule a session for your high school senior or prospective performer. Send me a message on Facebook or give me a call!
Portraits of soon-to-be high school graduates, many of them aspiring performers, are a large part of my business here in Northern Virginia. Working with dancers, singers, and actors, my goal is to combine aspects of their art with my eye to create images that are captivating, reflective, slightly edgy, and occasionally provocative.
As anyone who follows my work knows, I spend a great deal of time shooting for Metropolitan School of the Arts (MSA), which offers pre-professional training to performers from age 3 to adult. In September 2013, MSA opened a college preparatory performing arts academy at the Workhouse Arts Center for students who want to combine academics with intensive arts training.
The first class graduates this June, so I decided to work on a series of senior portraits for those who are enrolled and attend school at the Workhouse. Nine of the 12 seniors are in Lorton; two are already working as professional performers and are not on site, while one graduated at midyear.
As an associate artist at the Workhouse, a former adult reformatory that was reshaped into a complex for the visual and performing arts, I have long been fascinated by the elements that remain of the former prison. Combining the Workhouse’s physical elements with the students’ performing skills and passion presented an interesting artistic challenge.
The result is this series of portraits that were shot last week. Throughout the month of June, a number of these images will be displayed in gallery W-9, where the Associate Artists show their work.
I hope you enjoy these and others that are on my Facebook photography page.
“Family Farm,” a photo I took while heading to North Carolina for my father-in-law’s funeral, was named Best in Show from more than 70 entries at the Workhouse Arts Center’s Collectors Showcase 2016.
Juror Sarah Newman, an independent curator with current projects at the National Gallery of Art and the Katzen Center for the Arts at American University, selected the piece from works that included paintings, drawings, photos, wood, ceramics and glass.
Each artist at the Workhouse is required to donate a piece or pieces with a minimum value of $200 for the showcase, an annual fundraiser that benefits the arts center. In all, 73 pieces were donated this year.
Participants in the fundraiser enter a lottery and are allowed to select an artist’s piece in exchange for their donation. Both of my pieces— the other was of pelicans taken on a dock in Aruba — were selected this year.
“Family Farm” was taken as the sun, unusually bright on that late winter day, was starting to set as we drove down Route 1 near Berkley, Va. I saw how the light was blasting through the house far off in the distance and convinced my wife to stop for a moment to take the shot. Three clicks later, I had this photo.
For more information about the Workhouse, visit www.WorkhouseArts.org.
Check out a new set of headshots for Anya here and schedule a session today. These photos were taken last month at the Lorton Workhouse.
Headshots of Maddie are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/maddie. Take a look and schedule a headshot session today!
Senior photos and headshots of Veronica are now up here. Take a look and schedule your own session now!
Veronica is a high school senior who was part of one of the first "Art & Dance" shoots (ballerinas in a graffiti park) in August 2014. These photos were taken earlier this fall at the Lorton Workhouse. For more photos, check out my "Art & Dance" page here.
Headshots and senior photos of Georgia are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/georgia. Why don't you schedule a session to kick off 2016?
Another night, another show: One of my pieces — a collage of photos I took during a visit to Texas earlier this year — is featured in an "Art Feast" exhibition at the Buchanan Partners Art Gallery at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. Thanks to everyone who came out to Manassas tonight for the opening of the Workhouse Associate Artists exhibit and to Kathy Strauss for asking me to speak briefly. The exhibit showcases the work of a number of very talented people who work in all different types of genres.
Metropolitan Youth Theatre will present “Songs for a New World,” its first show of the 2015-16 season, this weekend at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton. Jason Robert Brown’s 1995 musical is described as “a very theatrical song cycle” connected by a theme that focuses on “the moment of decision.”
The show features Madyson Hanton, Emmeline Jones, Jordan Sledd and Hank Von Kolnitz. It is directed by Chad Vann and produced by Sam Cornbrooks, with musical direction by James Woods, who leads a three-piece orchestra.
“Songs for a New World” is the third production by MYT, which was founded in 2014 by Cornbrooks, Vann, and Woods, all of whom are high school students in Fairfax County. The company is run entirely by high school and college students. I have been the group's photographer since its inception.
Tickets for this weekend’s shows, which will be performed in Building W-3 at the workhouse, are $20 each. Showtimes are at 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.
To get tickets, go to www.metroyoutharts.com.
Senior photos and headshots of Lauren are now up on my website. Check them out at http://glenncook.virb.com/lauren and book your own session!
Broken windows — Lorton, Va., March 2015
New headshots of Ben, a senior at Metropolitan School of the Arts, are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/
ben. Schedule a session for your senior, performer, or family member today!
With classes starting this week, students from Metropolitan School of the Arts showed off their skills during a brief demonstration Saturday at the Lorton Workhouse.
I’m fortunate to have 17-year-old twins who are dancers, and dynamic ones at that. Ben and Emma are the biggest — and best — critics of my photography. They also are the inspiration for this ongoing “Art & Dance” series. So with Ben on a break from the Newsies tour, they asked me to take pictures of a short practice session at the Lorton Workhouse.
They were dancing for the joy of dance. And it was a joy to watch…
To see more from this and other Art & Dance sets, click on the tab at the top of this page.
Senior photos of Carolyn are now up on my website — http://glenncook.virb.com/carolyn. Schedule a session for your senior now!
Broken glass, broken dreams — Lorton, Va., March 2015
Boarded up and broken — Lorton, Va., March 2015
I spend a lot of time in and around the Lorton Workhouse, the former prison that is now home to a local arts center. Periodically, I'll walk around and take photos of the slowly changing campus, hoping to catch things I had not seen previously. Here are some of my more recent attempts.
For more photos, check out my Facebook album here.
This past weekend, I was tasked with taking promotional photos for the Metropolitan Youth Theatre Company’s upcoming production of “Rent,” which runs July 31 to August 2.
Jonathan Larson’s rock opera, which ran for 12 years on Broadway and won both the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize, is an ambitious undertaking for the student-run company, which was founded in 2014 by two Northern Virginia high school students. Its mission is to educate young actors and technicians about the challenges they will soon face in the professional world of theatre. Students, most of them in high school, run all aspects of the company’s productions.
Hayfield student Chad Vann is the artistic director and Lee student Sam Cornbrooks is the company’s producer. James Woods, who attends Metropolitan School of the Arts, is the musical director.
MYT is supported by Metropolitan School of the Arts and DC Metro Theater Arts. “Rent” will be the second show produced by the group, which presented “The Last Five Years” in a sold-out run in late January.
Tickets are available at www.metroyoutharts.com. You also can follow the company on Twitter (@MetroArtsYouth).
Another set of promotional photos I shot recently are helping to promote this Sunday’s showcase by Academy students from Metropolitan School of the Arts.
The special Mother’s Day performance of dance, music, and theatre pieces will reflect the progress the students have made in their arts studies at the Academy, which is concluding its second year.
The performance will be held at 5 p.m. in the theatre at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. Tickets are $20. To purchase, visit www.metropolitanarts.org/tickets.
MSA Academy students are in dress rehearsals for Sunday's end-of-year showcase revue at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial theatre. The 75-minute revue features dance, theatre, and music selections that show the progress the students have made in their studies this year. The performance will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 10.
Two photos now on display as part of the March Featured Artist exhibit at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton have already sold. Both prints are 20x30 and were priced at $295; reprints are available.
Here are details on the photos...
Sunrise on a Frozen Potomac (top photo)
The sunrise on the frozen Potomac River was taken on an early morning shoot with my oldest son, who had come up to Virginia to visit for the weekend. We were taking the scenic route into DC and saw these beautiful rich colors, pulled over and took about 30 pictures, capturing this one.
West Texas Sunset
This photo was taken in Albany, Texas, in December 2012. Albany is a small, middle-of-nowhere town in West Texas where part of my family lives. My cousin had just passed away and my mom and I were driving there for his funeral. As the sun went down — nothing is better than a big Texas sky — I asked my mom to stop for a moment so I could take photos. This is one in a series I got of sunrises and sunsets in our two days there.
The exhibit is up through April 4 in building W-9 at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton.
Final full weekend to see my photo exhibit in W-9 at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton. The exhibit is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through April 4. Stop by and take a look before it's gone!
Thanks to everyone (and to Tom Pratt for the picture) who came out to see an exhibit of my work at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton this evening. More than 100 people passed through the W-9 gallery to view the work of my fellow Workhouse Associate Artists. I can't begin to say how much I appreciate your support!
John, a middle school student at Metropolitan School of the Arts Academy and a working actor in the D.C. area, posed for headshots recently. Take a look at http://glenncook.virb.com/john.
I spent a large portion of the weekend putting the finishing touches on my first photo exhibit, which will be on display throughout March at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Va. I became a member of the Workhouse Associate Artists group last summer, and have had several photos on display, but this is my first time as a "Featured Artist."
The show, "Landscapes, Dancers (and other things I see)," features 17 of my photos ranging in size from 8x12 to 20x30. All are framed and for sale (see list below).
An opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 14, in Gallery 9. You can see my work then as well as pieces from the other Workhouse Associate Artists, or stop by the gallery from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. weekends.
The lights showcase the photos beautifully. Photographing the photos in this light, however, is another story.
In preparing the exhibit, I developed an "Artist's Statement" explaining what you'll see and what some of the motivation was behind the pictures. While regular readers of this blog (thanks, Jill and Mom) are familiar with the story, casual passers-by likely will wonder, "What the heck was he thinking?"
So here it is...
I still find it somewhat humorous to be called an “artist.” Working in journalism and communications, I know my way around a camera, especially when it came to photographing events. But I had never done what you would call “fine art” — landscapes, portraits, etc.
In my family, my father was the artist who could work in almost any medium except — ironically — photography. I can’t draw a stick figure, but it seems I managed to pick up his wandering eye for composition. After his death in Texas in 2007, my wife and I spent a great deal of time in New York, and I found myself wishing he could walk the streets of Manhattan with me. One day, I decided to pick up my camera and see if I could capture what he would have seen, those little mundane aspects of life that we rarely pay attention to each day.
I started shooting — a lot — and found that I enjoyed it.
Today, my camera is an almost constant companion, both as a passion and as a business. As a parent of four artistic (performing and visual) children, I started capturing their performances, which led to a series — some of which are in this exhibit — that I’ve started with Metropolitan School of the Arts. I’m fortunate that people outside my immediate family seem to like what I do, and I find that photography is a way to honor my dad and keep his memory alive.
Invitation card sent out by the Workhouse Arts Center Associate Artists touting my March 2015 exhibit in W-9 in Lorton. Hope you'll come see my work displayed starting next week! All of the photos will be available for sale.
Happy 17th birthday to Jeremiah Porter! You took a flying leap into our lives a year ago and became part of our family. We are very proud of how much you've matured and grown as a person and a performer over these past 12 months and are grateful to have you in our lives. Hope you have a great day!
This is a poster concept I shot for the Metropolitan Youth Arts Theatre’s upcoming production of Jason Robert Brown’s “The Last Five Years.” The two-character show, which explores the ups and downs of a couple’s five-year relationship, is the theatre’s first entirely student-run production.
Shows will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 18 at The Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C. The show stars Kyra Smith and Ben Cherington.
Artist's window — Lorton, Va., September 2013
Yesterday, on a suddenly brisk and chilly weekend afternoon, I went to the Lorton Workhouse for a portrait session and felt like I had landed in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
A huge flock of blackbirds took up residence briefly in the courtyard, covering the grass from one side to the other.
The flock largely stayed together as it came in, swooped down on to the courtyard and then flew up and past the roof near the main hall. This happened a couple of times before I could get set up and capture a few of these shots. Then, as quickly as they came, they left.
According to e.nature.com, wintering blackbirds flock together by the thousands, if not millions, as they fly south for the winter. A blog entry on the site noted that one winter roost on the Great Dismal Swamp, located on the Virginia-North Carolina border, held an estimated 15 million birds. Generally speaking, attempts by state and federal wildlife officials to destroy or discourage the birds have failed.
Why do birds gather in flocks during the winter? Studies are inconclusive, but the blog entry said the likely reason is safety in numbers. “With many more eyes and ears to search for food and watch for predators, the chance of an individual bird surviving winter is increased.”
For more photos, check out my Facebook album here.
Senior photos of Kyra, taken at the Lorton Workhouse earlier this month. For more portraits of high school seniors, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/senior-portraits.
Catching up from some recent weekend photo shoots. Here are senior portraits of Laila, an aspiring actress from Pennsylvania.
And here's another set: Senior portraits of Thomas, a high school student from Northern Virginia.
Take a look at these and other sessions at http://glenncook.virb.com/people. Do you have a high school student who needs senior portraits? Are you a performer looking for head shots? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or inbox me to set up your appointment!
Lightning storm — Lorton, Va., June 2014
Climbing the wall — Lorton, Va., August 2014
Headshots of Marie, a 13-year-old aspiring actress, are now up at http://glenncook.virb.com/people.
Check out my photos from a high school senior session with Alex. You can find them and more at http://glenncook.virb.com/dancers.
Prison scoreboard — Lorton, Va., August 2014
New head shots and senior portraits of Lexie are now up on my website — http://glenncook.virb.com/people.
New head shots of 10-year-old Aidan are now up on my website. Take a look — http://glenncook.virb.com/people
Consider this album a merger of separate interests.
Because of my children and my affiliation with Metropolitan School of the Arts, I shoot a lot of performances. But live performances are the end result, not the work in progress.
It’s rare, in fact, that I shoot rehearsals, or the art in the process of being created. The reason, quite frankly, is that I find it to be frustrating. As a non-dancer (actually someone who has problems putting one foot in front of the other without tripping), I look at the photos I take from a “Did I capture something cool?” standpoint, not whether I caught someone at peak in a particular move. Peak, however, is what is expected.
My kids have taught me, often with some rancor involved, to check with them before posting something they believe to be inferior quality. And rehearsals are by their very nature a work in progress, where the mistakes will equal the sublime moments, so I’ve largely chosen not to take photos in those instances.
This past Sunday, however, was a different story. I needed to take new headshots of Ben, along with a few photos for a portfolio his manager asked us to create. Ben wanted to work on a dance for a camp he is participating in this week, so I decided to tag along and see what I could get.
I’ve wanted to expand my repertoire to include more “artistic” photos, not just captures of a performance in progress, and that was my aim with this shoot. I shot a lot, as you might expect, then went in and narrowed the photos down to an acceptable number (headshots still to come).
After some post processing, this is the result. I think it’s an interesting merger of art and talent coming together. If you would like to see more, go to "Art & Dance" in the Visual Storytelling section.
New headshots posted from a photo session with Alexa, a high school freshman in Northern Virginia, are now up in my "People" section
Prisoner's mural at the Lorton Workhouse — May 2014
Styrofoam peanuts trapped in a net — Lorton, Va., May 2014
For much of the past year, I have spent much of my time shooting photos in and around the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center, the former prison that was shut down in 2001 and converted into a space for artists and the Metropolitan School of the Arts.
While the Arts Center has control over a number of buildings, much of the campus hasn’t been touched since Congress closed the District of Columbia prison and turned the land over to Fairfax County. The shuttered buildings in the rear of the facility, which are rapidly decaying, are not accessible to the public, and security patrols the area to prevent you from casually walking back into what is considered a dangerous area.
On Memorial Day, however, I asked one of the guards if I could walk around back and take some pictures. The campus was closed and the traffic was light. He said I could walk around as long as I didn’t try to access the buildings or go through the chain link fences.
Here is the result… I'm really proud of this set.
For more photos, go to my Facebook album here.
Students from the MSA Academy performed Friday for parents, family, and supporters in an end-of-year showcase at the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center. The students sang three numbers, acted in scenes from the plays “Doubt” and “Crimes of the Heart,” and performed dance numbers in ballet, jazz, and modern. The showcase marked the end of performances for the first-year school, as final exams start next week.
For more photos, go to my Facebook album here.
I was there on the first day of school, and I dropped off a child on the last.
In between, I had an opportunity to follow the students at the Metropolitan School of the Arts Academy with my camera, chronicling the first year of an exciting new venture that has impacted all of our lives.
The result is this video, titled “Year One.”
Our kids have taken classes at MSA (formerly the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center) since they were in kindergarten. The studio has been and remains a huge part of our children’s lives; Ben and Emma continue to dance there and Kate works in their after-school childcare program. The instruction and life skills they all have received at MFAC/MSA is second to none.
Last year, MSA founder Melissa Dobbs decided to open a private performing arts high school at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton. Despite its fine public schools, Northern Virginia is sadly lacking when it comes to instruction that has a performing arts focus, and I believe Dobbs is a true visionary.
In part because I was between jobs, and partly because Ben and Emma are satisfied with the mix of academics they receive in school and at MSA, we did not enroll them in the academy. However, I have been working with MSA for much of this year as a freelance photographer, taking promotional pictures at the studio, in various performances, and at the Academy. You can see many of those photos on my Facebook photo page.
As a journalist, I’ve always wanted to follow a particular group of people for an extended period and chronicle some aspect of their lives. What I realized several weeks ago was that I had done just that with the MSA students, a group of high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who come from all walks of life.
From that first day in September, when I asked them to line up for the standard class picture and was rewarded with a batch of nervous, sleepy smiles, to the final showcase performance last weekend, I saw a group of teenagers grow tremendously in the areas of acting, singing, and dance. They come from a variety of backgrounds and places, some with great talent in one area and no training in another. What they have in common is a desire to grow.
One of those students, in fact, is growing up with us in our home now.
Earlier this year, we took in Jeremiah Porter, one of Ben’s friends from New York, who started attending the Academy during the second semester. Jeremiah was a student at New York’s Professional Performing Arts School, but he has not had the training at the level that MSA offers.
Bringing a fourth teenager into our home is not something any of us thought we’d do, but we’ve navigated the transition successfully. In some respects, we’re paying it forward because so many people helped us when Ben was in New York and on the road.
What’s interesting, at least to me, is that New York — especially Manahattan — offers so many chances for performers, but it can be very daunting to find a focused environment if you don’t know where to get the necessary training. Places like Broadway Dance Center, while providing terrific instruction, are more a la carte, whereas MSA offers a continuous curriculum that starts in September and ends in June. And because a number of MSA kids want to eventually move into a career that will take them to places like New York, they are more likely to be focused here than if they were already in the city.
Jeremiah, who came into performing somewhat late, recognized that MSA offered him that opportunity for focus, although he did not understand at the beginning how difficult it would be to immerse himself as fully as the school and studio require. Our goal was to give him the chance; it was up to him to take advantage of it.
And fortunately, he has. After those initial transitional bumps, he’s become part of the extended reality show that is our life, and we’re happy that he’ll be returning to the academy and our home again in the fall.
MSA has gone through a few transitions of its own during the first year, something you also might expect given that it’s a start up that was just a dream about 18 months ago. But it has been fascinating to watch and follow that evolution, to see the various kids grow with the school. I feel fortunate to have been a small part of it.
Enjoy the photos and the video…
Photos from a session with Tracy and her daughter, Anya, are now up on my website. Check them out and let me know what you think!
Metropolitan School of the Arts students and cast members from the upcoming Metropolitan Youth Ballet production of “Coppelia” performed Saturday at the Fairfax County SpringFest at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton. The abridged, narrated version of “Coppelia,” was a sneak peek for the show, which will be performed in full on May 17 at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria.
At the SpringFest, which featured groups from across Fairfax County, MSA students also manned a booth, selling homemade cookies and other items to raise money for the school. They also did tap demonstrations and several students sang during the event.
For more photos, go to my Facebook album here.
Three of my large prints are now on display and for sale at the Associate Artists Gallery at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton. This month's exhibition, "Vision & Perspectives," features the work of eight area photographers.
The exhibit and other Associate Artists work will be on display through June 1 in Building W9. An opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, May 10 as part of the Workhouse's "2nd Saturday Art Walk."
The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Stop by if you get the chance.
To see more, go to my Facebook album here.
Jailhouse keyhole perspective — Lorton, Va., May 2014
One of my jobs this year has been to chronicle the first year of students at the Metropolitan School of the Arts Academy, the new private performing arts high school in Lorton. Last week, we took individual photos and a class picture. This is the result; it's a good looking group of kids.
Brick kiln — Occoquan, Va., February 2014
A photo shoot with 9-year-old Simone, taken this past week at the Lorton Workhouse. Look for my photos in the People section of the website here.
Of all the people we have met during our family’s “reality show,” Tim Federle is one of my favorites.
Tim was one of the choreographers on staff for the Broadway production of “Billy Elliot” when our son, Ben, was part of the ensemble and the Michael understudy in New York. “Billy” was one of those shows where the kids rehearsed constantly to remain on top of their dance skills, and Tim taught a number of the classes.
Most of the time, the parents interacted only briefly with the staff, waving hello and goodbye as we did the drop off and pick up at Ripley Grier Studios, so I didn’t formally meet Tim until after Ben made his debut as Michael in February 2011. When we returned to Virginia after that heady weekend, he sent us an email complimenting our son on his attitude and his debut, which was almost unheard of in our experience.
Later, we had a chance to meet and talk briefly, and exchanged email from time to time. What I didn’t know, during this period, was that Tim was working on a young adult novel called Better Nate Than Ever.
Tim wrote the main draft of the 30-chapter book, which tells the story of a child’s pursuit of the lead role in a Broadway musical, in a 30-day whirlwind before he left each day for “Billy” rehearsals. Rooted in Tim’s own experiences and inspired by his work on “Billy,” Nate is a hysterical, realistic, sentimental story of a young boy’s can-do spirit and desire to perform.
Before it was published, Tim sent us an advance copy of the book, and we loved it. Nate’s story is a universal tale of a child pursuing his greatest passion in life, albeit with an insider’s knowledge about Broadway auditions. For that reason, it is enjoyed just as much by adults as its intended demographic (ages 9-12); think of it as “Toy Story” for theatre lovers, without the CGI.
Reviewers and audiences felt the same way we did. Nate was named a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2013, a Slate.com Favorite Book of the Year, and a Best Book of the Year by both Amazon and Publishers Weekly. The just-released sequel, Five, Six, Seven, Nate!, is on the same path. It was named a Best Book in January by Amazon and has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus.
Last week, on the one-year anniversary of Better Nate Than Ever’s publication, Tim taught master classes at Metropolitan School of the Arts (MSA) in Lorton and Alexandria. He was ending a two-week tour to promote both books, having come in from Milwaukee the night before.
Audiences on the tour have been receptive to the books, which was wonderful to hear after Nate generated minor controversy last fall. The book references the main character’s emerging sexuality (albeit in an age appropriate, chaste way), a development that led to some cancellations from schools, including Tim’s own suburban middle school in Pennsylvania.
No such problems have been reported in this area, and MSA welcomed him with open arms. The school is where all of my kids have received their dance training, and founder Melissa Dobbs connected with Tim after our family and her fellow teachers raved about the book.
For high school students at the MSA Academy in Lorton, Federle taught a dance combination, advised students on their singing and monologues, and offered audition techniques they can use. He then went to MSA's Alexandria studio and conducted a second class for about 40 students ranging from elementary to high school.
At both sessions, you could hear Nate’s voice come through Tim; yes, he admits, he was writing about what he knows — musical theater. He told stories of his Broadway experiences and provided sound advice for the students about pursuing their passion and dreams.
As much as I enjoyed watching the classes, I was even happier to see the students and teachers benefit from Tim’s knowledge, wisdom, and humor. Sometimes, good guys do finish first.
For more photos from the visit, go to my Facebook album here.
One of my favorite dance pictures ever, from a photo shoot with University of Maryland freshman Hannah this past weekend at the Workhouse Arts Center — Lorton, February 2014. For more photos from this session, go to the People section of the website.
A busy January (thankfully) continued on Sunday night as I took pictures of the Academy students at the Metropolitan School of the Arts performing in a winter showcase for family and community members at the Lorton Workhouse.
The showcase, held as the academy finishes its first academic semester, featured monologues, short scenes from plays, musical theatre performances, a piano solo, and brief dance numbers.
Prior to the showcase, attendees took part in a social hour with members of the MSA faculty, including Cheryl Wilhoyte, the new head of school; department chairs Jackie Doherty (dance), Matthew Bassett (theater), Abbey Smith (music); Michelle Collier, academic dean; and school founder Melissa Dobbs.
See more pictures from the event here.
New headshots of two college freshmen — Emily and Dylan — taken in January 2014. For more from these sessions, go to the People page and click on the images.
Jason Holley is an extraordinary dancer on the faculty of Metropolitan School of the Arts who is broadening his horizons as a choreographer and performer. Several years ago, while working with Tokyo Disney in the Broadway revue “Big Band Beat,” he became friends with Jenny and Takuya Shima, who live in Japan.
Jenny, who hails from the Chicago area, is an actress and model, while Takuya is a photographer and designer. The two came to the United States to see family and spent time in the D.C. area with Jason. On Wednesday, I was asked to do a “behind the scenes” shoot as they did a session at the Lorton Workhouse.
For more photos, check out the album on my Facebook photography page.
Family photos of Lesley and her sons, Andrew and Craig, taken a few days before Christmas. The day before, the two boys had flown 15 hours from Dubai to Northern Virginia to see their mother for the holidays. To see more from this session, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/family-photos-lesley-andrew-and-craig
Charlotte, a high school junior in Northern Virginia, wanted headshots and pictures of various dance poses as she auditions for summer clinics and prepares to apply for colleges. These photos were taken at the Lorton Workhouse in late December. For more, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/headshots-charlotte
Daily Photo: Behind closed doors — Lorton Prison, October 2013
Jeremiah — Lorton, Va., November 2013. For more head shots from this session, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/headshots-jeremiah
Seven of my photos are featured on this easel promoting The Academy at Metropolitan School of the Arts, a new private school in Lorton, Va. that is the first of its kind in the Greater Washington, D.C., area. For more information, visit www.metropolitanarts.org.
A little girl with her mom at Sunday's ROCKTOBERFEST, an event benefitting the Metropolitan School of the Arts and the nonprofit organization, One Voice — Lorton, Va., October 2013
Dancer Courtney Lapenta, the latest addition to my gallery of headshots — Lorton Workhouse, October 2013. For more pictures, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/people-courtney.
Melissa Dobbs watches her dream become a reality at the opening of the Metropolitan School of the Arts — Lorton, September 2013. For more on this, check out my Facebook album on the Metropolitan site.
Nicholas Cook, Lorton, Va. — August 2013: I am not a portrait photographer by trade. Far from it, in fact. My background is in photojournalism, and it's only been in the last several years that I've moved in the fine art direction.
So why are you suddenly seeing portraits on this website? Consider it an exercise in continuous improvement, prompted in part by the arrival of an iPhone.
Portraits and headshots are a specialized art form. Touch ups are a must, as is a certain facility with Photoshop/Lightroom/Aperture. and the people who are great at it are truly great. I can think of several off the top of my head, and feel lucky to count them as business associates/friends.
My problem is I don't have much patience with photo software. For the most part, what you see is what you get, minus some cropping, a little definition, and occasional saturation. Typically touchups are left for only the most egregious shutterbug sins.
That all changed, however, when I received an iPhone last December. Because the phone doesn't have a zoom that really works, the pictures come out exceptionally grainy unless you are using the HDR setting. That forced me to change how I compose my mobile photos, as did KitCam, Instagram and their various filters.
Once I started playing around with those pieces, I noticed I was opening up an entire new world that I had either dismissed or not previously considered, including portraits and headshots. Suddenly, the composition made sense, and the technical piece did, too.
Which brings me to the photos you've seen over the past 10 days. I started with Ben and Emma, who wanted desperately to have new headshots taken, and moved into the portraiture with the photos of the Hart/Nall family.
That brings me to Nicholas, who with Ben has been encouraging me to do this all along. The theory — one that makes sense — is that when you're a photographer with kids who perform, you should take their headshots at some point, if for no reason other than the cost.
On a cold, rainy day in fall 2011, my first born and I embarked on my first formal outside-the-house photo shoot. Nick needed headshots for spring auditions at Elon University, where he is majoring in theatre.
I secretly groaned when he asked me to take the pictures, in part because I was scared. I wasn't sure if they would turn out like I wanted; in fact, I was pretty sure they wouldn't. I worried that I wouldn't be able to make the necessary touchups, and looking back, I didn't do a very good job.
But that was then. Thanks to my photographer friends and Ben, who has had plenty of headshots taken, I've learned a few tricks. After two successful shoots the previous week, I felt confident in my ability to handle Nick's headshots this go around.
What you see — on this entry and in the People section of the website — is the result. It turns out I may have a future in this after all.
Lorton, Va. — August 2013: Matthew Nall and Sara Hart are friends and teachers at the dance school my children attend. Expecting their second child, who was born just three days after this photo shoot, they asked me to take family pictures with their adorable son, Cooper. My idea was for Cooper, who is 4 and just the right height, to kiss his soon-to-be-born sister while I took pictures. He was happy to comply.
For more pictures from that session, go here.
This summer, my teenage twins have spent most of their summer weekdays in prison. And they’ve enjoyed it.
The prison in question is the former Lorton Workhouse, an early 20th century reformatory that was converted into the Workhouse Arts Center in 2008. The Metropolitan Performing Arts School (formerly Metropolitan Fine Arts Center) has opened a studio in Building W-4 and will open a private performing arts high school there this fall.
Ben and Emma have been participating in a musical theatre camp that ends tomorrow in W-4 and are taking many of their regular dance classes there this fall. It has given me the opportunity to walk around, check out the grounds, take some pictures (as always), and learn a little bit about the facility’s history.
Originally, the Workhouse Complex was considered an experiment in Progressive era penal reform. Operated by the District of Columbia Department of Corrections, the complex housed suffragettes — women demanding the right to vote using non-violent civil disobedience — who were jailed after picketing the White House in 1917. Virginia continued to punish the women “without legal process” and house them at the complex even after Congress passed the Suffrage Amendment in 1919.
The current buildings, along with similar ones at the Lorton Reformatory, were built in the 1920s as a dormitory-style complex with no cellblocks, walls, or watchtowers. Prisoners constructed the brick buildings themselves to replace the original workhouse facilities, using materials that came from a kiln located nearby on the Occoquan River.
Buildings were added to the two complexes as the prison facility became more and more overcrowded. By 1997, when Virginia Sen. John Warner sought to close the facility, Lorton housed more than 7,300 inmates, operating at almost 50 percent over capacity. Fairfax County purchased the 2,440 acres from the federal government in 2002 and agreed to lease 55 to the Lorton Arts Foundation, with the hope of converting the Workhouse into an arts complex similar to Alexandria’s very successful Torpedo Factory.
Although many of the Workhouse buildings are now occupied, many vestiges of the old prison remain, including the metal guard towers, the warden’s house, and parts of an old ballfield where the inmates played basketball and football. Several untouched buildings, including a maintenance facility where the bricks were brought over by rail, are starting to crumble. A number have broken windows and cracked cement that is becoming overgrown.
In other words, it’s a photographer’s dream.
For an album that I posted to my Facebook photography page, I juxtaposed some of these images with others from inside the beautiful new studio that resides in W-4. I hope you’ll take the time to check them out, and check out the Workhouse too if you get the chance.
After all, teens often feel like they’re being imprisoned. This place gives them a chance to enjoy it.
Workhouse Arts Center, Lorton, Va. — July 2013: The dance studio our children attend moved this month to the Workhouse Arts Center, part of the former Lorton prison complex, at the start of this month. You can find more pictures of the complex itself in the Visual Storytelling section of this site, but here is one of my favorites from an afternoon photo shoot with my twins and one of their friends.