I was challenged recently to post seven black and white photos of my life, with no people and no explanation. Here’s what I came up with.
Currently showing posts tagged Photography
I was challenged recently to post seven black and white photos of my life, with no people and no explanation. Here’s what I came up with.
Last month, my son Ben and I returned to Hickory, N.C., where he taught master classes at Sonya’s Dance Academy and I did headshots and this new installment in the Art & Dance series.
The setting was a section of downtown that is under construction in front of the old City Hall, which houses the Hickory Community Theatre. A huge part of the arts in Hickory — many of the students at Sonya’s studio perform there — the building it is housed in has a fascinating history.
The City Hall building opened in the 1920s with a full auditorium that was rented to Paramount studios as a movie theatre in the 1930s and early 40s. The second balcony, which has not been used since the 1940s, was segregated and the seats were wooden slats. Some of the original seats remain.
All of these elements made their way into the shoot. To see more, go to my Facebook album here.
As a child, I didn’t get the chance to travel much during the summers. Most of our trips were to visit family in various parts of Texas — Longview, Waco, Albany — and I spent most of my time buried in a book as the landscape passed by. Other than a quick jaunt around Longview in a family friend’s plane, I didn’t fly on a commercial airline until I was in high school. (Ironically, that trip was to Washington, D.C.).
It wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I started traveling quite a bit, thanks to my job and family situation. Now, it seems, I’m on the road as much as I’m at home. And my camera is always with me.
On this blog, I’ve shared almost 1,500 daily photos over the past four-plus years, and started a Places section on my website with galleries and short essays about interesting sites I see. More often than not, however, the photos I shoot are of random things that catch my eye.
Here are 20 images from the past month. To see them in a larger format, go to my Facebook album here.
Check out these senior pictures of Alexa, a repeat customer from Northern Virginia, at http://glenncook.virb.com/alexa. It's not too early to schedule a session for your high school senior this fall.
Check out these new headshots of Katie, a high school senior in Northern Virginia, at http://glenncook.virb.com/katie. Now is a good time to schedule headshots for college auditions as well as senior portraits. Different packages are available.
Just added an Instagram account for my business. Follow me @glenncookphotography
Check out these headshots of Madison, taken during a mini-session last month in Hickory, at http://glenncook.virb.com/madison. Schedule your own session now!
This is an edited narrative of a presentation I gave at the National Dance Society’s annual conference on Aug. 4 in Norfolk, Va. Photos included in this blog entry were taken during classes offered to area students and attendees at the conference. My wife, Jill, also was a keynote speaker at the conference, talking in separate sessions about mental health and bullying.
The purpose of this session is to talk about the role of the dance photographer so you can capture and promote the work that you do as educators and studio owners. But first, let’s start with a bit of background — the “why” you’re listening to this person on a sunny, summer Friday afternoon.
Here’s what I’m not:
Here’s what I am: A photographer, writer, storyteller, husband, father, and the son of two teachers. I learned my way around a camera out of necessity while working as a journalist and communications professional, and was told I had an eye for it.
Like many parents, I found myself taking pictures at my kids’ major events, including their dance recitals. The limitations of my camera and lenses made it difficult get much, however, and I did not know enough about dance to capture the proper technique.
Over the last four years, since going out on my own, I’ve learned how to capture the art of dance, both in performance and in various settings that make up my “Art & Dance” series. This series, primarily focusing on young, pre-professional dancers performing on city streets, in an abandoned church, in a creek, in a subway tunnel, and under a bridge, among others, has been profiled in a Northern Virginia arts magazine and has been the subject of three exhibits at a local art gallery. You can see my photos on my website — http://glenncook.virb.com.
What I’ve discovered is that these types of photographs are powerful marketing for educators and studio owners. So let’s spend a little time looking at photography, the basic technical information you need to know, and ways you can broaden your audience.
Getting the Right Equipment
Photography is, like any art form, both independent and interdependent. Yes, anyone can take a picture, and technology has made it easy to capture beautiful shots with our phones. But if you want to shoot dancers, especially during a performance, your iPhone won’t do the trick. In fact, rather than promoting your brand, it dilutes your impact.
The reason, not to get too technical here, is cell phones do not have what is known as an SLR, or single lens reflex. This allows you to focus, click and — if your light and shutter settings are correct — stop action. Your phone camera can’t do all of those things at once, especially in dim light, and it can’t do some of them at all.
So that means you need “a real camera,” and depending on the complexity of what you’re trying to capture, the reality is that a “real camera” and good lenses don’t come cheap.
Here’s why: Going beyond composition, photography comes down to two things — light and speed. This is where photography is most interdependent. If the two are not in sync, it will be difficult to capture what you want to achieve, even if everything is perfectly composed and in focus.
In most performance settings, you will need a camera that can handle low light really well. This is where ISO, the setting for how much light you allow into the camera, comes into play.
If you’re shooting outside, you can normally set your ISO on 100 (brightest), 200, 400, 640 or 800 (getting dim, but still light out). When you’re indoors, you likely will need your ISO settings to start at 1600 (if you’re lucky), 3200 (if there’s good lighting), and 4000 or 5000 (most common).
Although technology has improved greatly, it’s still hard to find an inexpensive camera that can shoot with the speed you need at ISOs of 4000 or 5000 consistently without too much “noise,” which affects the sharpness of your picture.
This is further complicated by the speed factor. To stop a dancer’s motion without blur, you need to have a shutter speed of at least 1/200th of a second. Anything less — whether you’re outside or inside — and you will get blur. Sometimes you can get a flash to sync at 1/200th of a second, but I haven’t been to a performance yet where you can shoot photos with a flash.
So if you decide to take this on yourself, remember these things:
Shooting a Live Show
Photographing a live performance is one of the most difficult and demanding things I’ve done. You have to learn how to anticipate the action, and find ways to shoot so that both technique and emotion are captured. Yes, you want the leaps and jumps, but it’s also about telling the story of the work your students are doing.
This again, speaks to the interdependence of photography. Understanding the story being told on stage is key to capturing the big moments, and the small ones as well. Knowing generally where the performers will be positioned also is helpful.
In most cases, a photographer will not shoot the actual live performance, but a dress rehearsal. This prevents you from disrupting the paying audience and gives you time, in case anything bad happens, to ensure that you get decent shots. It also offers you flexibility because you can shoot from all areas of the performance space.
What happens all too frequently is a photographer will set up in the back of the auditorium and shoot from the same spot. This does capture the show itself, but it prevents you from getting those small moments of emotion that help you tell the story.
So what does this mean for you?
Storytelling and Photography
You have millions of ways to tell stories today. Video, stills, audio, the written word. You are in a visual medium, and social networking — despite the political wars many get into on Facebook these days — is geared toward the visual.
This should be a great match, so why don’t you invest in it? And why do you accept poor quality, or opt for the cheap stock art, rather than focusing on your performers? As you put your shows and performances together, do you think about how you will tell the story to the outside world?
Folks are interested in process, the “how” of you put something together. Behind the scenes videos, photos, and short narratives are increasingly popular because of the online world’s endless thirst for content. You don’t have to have high production values for these types of stories; simple iPhone interviews often will do.
As the performance nears, this is where you need to engage a professional photographer and talk about telling your story. Consider having a promotional shoot that can be used for posts — posters, post cards, online posts.
Finally, as the show/performance nears, have the photographer shoot the dress rehearsal. Let your cast know the photographer has free reign to walk around. Say you want 10-15 shots to use for social media purposes immediately; the additional photos can be sold or made available for download to parents.
There are many ways to do this effectively, but being willing to partner and plan is key. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been asked to shoot something at the last minute. The photos turn out decently, but they would be so much better if I had the opportunity to meet and plan beforehand.
Make It Work for All
I understand that your bottom line on these types of performances is often razor thin, and photography is the first thing to get cut when finances are tight. But you can be creative and original in ways that are fair to everyone involved.
This is my pitch/plea to you: In addition to remembering the photographer in your planning, be prepared to work out some sort of financial arrangement for the work he or she does.
Many photographers I know are willing to go the extra mile for their customers, but free is not acceptable. Think about how you feel, as a business person, when someone constantly asks you to do something without compensation of some sort.
As fellow artists, we understand the financial constraints you’re under, but you can make it work. Telling a photographer he or she can “sell” pictures in lieu of a shoot fee is, unfortunately, a nonstarter. We are in a share society, not a sell society, where consumers feel like they can get their music and media for free.
Here are some things you can do:
That’s it, really. If you know your audience, assess your needs, make marketing your story integral to what you do, and work with your photographer and your students to tell it, your audience will be much more engaged in the great work you do.
Sixty-nine of my photos, images taken throughout Virginia and Washington, D.C., now adorn the walls of Innovation Health’s new and recently expanded offices in Falls Church, Va. All but one of the photos are professionally printed and framed 16x24 images; the last, a frozen Potomac River, is a metal 36x24 print.
This project has been in the works for several months and more photos have been added as part of the company’s expansion. The last set of images were delivered last week, and I wanted to share the work here.
Innovation Health is the result of a unique partnership between two industry leaders: Inova and Aetna. Inova is a nationally recognized not-for-profit health care system serving more than 2 million people each year. Aetna, one of the nation’s leading health care benefits companies, serves more than 22 million medical members. Innovation Health also is the official health insurance company of the Washington Redskins.
If you know someone who would be interested in this type of project, large or small, for their business or company, please consider giving my name as a reference. I also am working on an expanded webpage to sell prints of these and other images that should be up in the near future.
Meanwhile, if you are interested in purchasing prints of my work, send me a private message on Facebook or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks again to the staff at Innovation Health for their faith and kind words, and to my photographer friends and family who helped along the way.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted an album featuring images taken during two walks through New Orleans last month. As I mentioned, persistent rain throughout the week I was there provided limited opportunities to take photos outside the conference I was shooting.
Here are some candids of people I captured during those two walks. All comments welcome. To see the other album, go here.
Over the past two weeks, I've:
• Shot and edited more than 1,000 photos at two conferences in New Orleans and San Francisco.
• Written a column for one magazine and a paid-sponsorship feature for another. Also wrote a blog on Fathers and Sons and posted two albums of photos on my business page.
• Officially (at least according to LinkedIn) marked year 4 of this solo business gig.
• Visited a Louisiana swamp and Bourbon Street. (I'm not talking about the same thing, despite many similarities.)
• Spent an invaluable week with my oldest son, showing him NOLA, Texas, and (long enough to snap a picture) Oklahoma.
• Saw and spent varying degrees of time with my mom, aunt, sister, first cousin, and nephews/grandnephew. (Just saw one of the nieces in a literal drive by.)
• Took a number of photos in Kilgore, where my parents first got together.
• Visited my grandparents' gravesite and showed Nick the places where my parents grew up.
• I did not leave the hotel these last three days in San Francisco, but with an afternoon to kill before my red eye back to Virginia, I went to the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park to see the Summer of Love 50th anniversary exhibit. Before leaving, I also walked through the National AIDS Memorial Grove, where I had a fascinating conversation with two college-age women.
And despite a trigger finger that is rapidly approaching carpel tunnel status, I took my camera. It was nice, after all the work-related stuff, to let my eye roam free.
All in all, it's been a great and productive trip, exhausting but emotionally recharging at the same time. I'm truly grateful to Jill (who's had a couple of interesting weeks in her own right) for having the love and patience to let me do these things.
So that's the news from this end. Look for more photos here and on my Facebook page soon, and hope I sleep well on the plane ride home.
Thanks for reading... How's your week been?
I didn’t have much chance to walk through New Orleans last week. The city has battled rain all spring, and the two times that I could be outside were mired by weather that only added to the NOLA’s soupy skies.
Fortunately, given the rain and the humidity, I spent most of my time in the hotel shooting a conference. But here is some of what I saw during those two walks, and be on the lookout for another album that is of people I randomly caught on the city’s streets.
Hello, New York. It’s been a while…
On my first trip to the city in several months, I had the opportunity to take dance photos in Washington Heights with my twins (Ben and Emma) and three alums from the “Newsies” tour cast (Josh Burrage, Kaitlyn Frank, and Iain Young).
A subway tunnel on 191st Street and Fort Tryon Park provided the backdrop for this latest set in the series.
For more photos, go to my Facebook album here. Click on the "Art & Dance" tab at the top of this page to see more galleries in the series.
Conference photography is a growing — and highly enjoyable — part of my business. Earlier this month, I shot the APMP Bid and Proposal Conference in New Orleans and the Graduate Management Admission Council’s annual conference in San Francisco. I already have three more conferences scheduled in November and December and am bidding on several others.
The best conference photos, in my opinion, tell stories using visuals rather than words. Nothing bothers me more than the photographer obstructing the views of both the speaker and audience, so I try to remain as unobtrusive as possible. Unless it is absolutely necessary, I do not use flash during sessions, because this has the same disrupting effect on the speakers and audience at a live performance or show.
APMP, which serves professionals dedicated to winning business through proposals, bids, tenders, and presentations, holds a three-day professional conference for its members. More than 900 attended this year’s June 13-15 event, the largest in the association’s history. Over three-plus days (including preconference sessions and portraits for the board of directors before the meeting started), I shot and edited more than 600 photos, completing the task before leaving New Orleans to visit family in Texas.
This marked the fourth time I’ve shot the GMAC annual conference, held June 21-23 in San Francisco. Each time, I cull through the edited photos to produce a 2- to 3-minute slideshow of highlights that is aired during the final general session.
An aspect of my journalism career — working on deadline — also has helped in my approach to conference photography. I carve out time during breaks and in between sessions to dump and edit what I’ve shot. Typically, you shoot three to five photos for every one you keep, so this approach gives me a running tally of what I’ve got, and allows time for more shooting if necessary.
This year, for the first time, the slideshow came as close to real time as possible. I had a backup from the first two days already completed, but wanted to see if I could push the envelope. I took photos from the final morning of presentations, went out, picked the best, and edited them. I then shot photos at the start of the 90-minute final general session, edited the best, and added those to the slideshow as well.
When the slideshow — see below — aired, audience members saw about 15 photos that had been taken that morning. In that respect, the photos told the whole story of the meeting.
I watched the Tonys last night in my hotel room in New Orleans, where I'm starting a two-week trip that includes shooting conferences here and in San Francisco, with another trip to Texas in between. (Bonus: Nick is meeting me here tomorrow and will be with me through the Texas jaunt. Yay!)
It was wonderful to see so many people I've become acquainted with performing and being part of the ceremony, and you couldn't help but love the speeches of Ben Platt and the Divine Miss M.
I got here early yesterday and walked around the city, dodging the raindrops to take a few photos. In the afternoon, I went on a swamp tour (why not?) and then called it a night, sitting in my bed and happily watching the Tonys.
Based on all the noise I heard outside, it sounded like the streets of NOLA were viewing the show on a giant screen, but I decided not to be part of their fun. And given the marathon of the next two weeks, I'm happy with that.
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.
Last week, I had the privilege of shooting the 28th annual Servant of Justice Awards Dinner for Legal Aid of the District of Columbia.
Legal Aid is Washington, D.C.’s oldest and largest general civil legal services organization serving low-income residents in our nation’s capital. This year’s dinner, with 775 guests and more than 40 sponsors, raised $1.2 million for the organization.
Honored with the Servant for Justice awards this year were Vanita Gupta, former head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and Donald B. Verrilli Jr., former U.S. Solicitor General. Gupta is incoming president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, while Verrilli is a partner with Munger, Tolles and Olson. David Young, an associate with Ropes & Gray, received the organization’s top honor for volunteer excellence.
For more photos from the dinner, go to my Facebook album here or visit www.legalaiddc.org.
Soggy conditions did not dampen the enthusiasm of thousands of supporters who came to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Saturday to advocate for environmental causes and science research on Earth Day.
The set up for the March for Science was similar to the Women’s March on Washington, held just three months and one day earlier. I was hired by the Entomological Society of America, one of numerous science organizations that took part in the event, to shoot members getting ready for and participating in the rally.
Throughout the rally, a broad range of speakers were supported by entertainment and a series of short films and clips. Questlove, whose Grammy Award-winning group The Roots serves as the in-house band for The Tonight Show, was one of the co-hosts. Jon Batiste, music director and bandleader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, led the house band.
The steady drizzle turned into a downpour by late morning, and I left before seeing Bill Nye (“The Science Guy”) speak or Thomas Dolby perform. These photos, however, capture some of the spirit of the day, which was mirrored in more than 600 cities on more than six continents.
To see more photos from the March, go to my Facebook page here.
Last night, in a small, sweltering room on the 18th anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School, I shot production photos for Metropolitan Youth Theater’s production of “columbinus,” a provocative and troubling play that that focuses on “the dark recesses of American adolescence.”
Suggested by the April 1999 Columbine shooting, with a script that includes excerpts from discussions with parents, survivors and community leaders in Littleton, Colo., the play was created by the United States Theatre project and performed Off-Broadway in 2006. It runs at 8:30 p.m. today and 7 p.m. Saturday in the Black Box Theatre at Metropolitan School of the Arts.
The cast of eight opens the show as teenage archetypes, without names but labels (Loner, Freak, AP (Advanced Placement), Rebel, Faith, Perfect, Prep, and Jock). Freak and Loner are bullied by their classmates and morph into Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold at the start of Act 2. The rest of the show, which takes its script from the journals and videos of Klebold and Harris, shows what happens in the days approaching Columbine and their subsequent suicides. An epilogue features survivors, parents, and townspeople reflecting on the events.
Warning: Given the subject matter and language, this is not a play for young or impressionable children. It is, however, a courageous step forward for Metropolitan Youth Theatre, which was founded in 2014 by three high school students who wanted area youth to perform in shows with adult themes. Past productions, all musicals put on entirely by high school and college students, have included “Rent” and “Spring Awakening.”
“columbinus,” is directed by Chad Vann, a Hayfield High School senior who is one of the group’s co-founders. Vann also is one of the eight cast members (Jock). The rest of the cast includes Brian Perry (Loner/Dylan Klebold), Danny Waldman (Freak/Eric Harris), AP (Joshua Mutterpearl), Rebel (Bridgette Saverine), Faith (Erin Claeys), Perfect (Hallie Friedman), and Prep (Jackson Miller). Madison Hite is the understudy for Faith.
Alyssa Denton is producing the show, with Hailey Parker-Combes serving as the costume designer and Delaney Claussen as the sound designer.
A limited number of tickets are available at the box office for the shows. MSA is located at 5775 Barclay Drive, Suite 4 in Alexandria, Va., 22315.
To see more photos from the production, go to my Facebook page here.
Fourteen of my "Art & Dance" photos are on display and for sale this month at the Kingstowne Public Library in Alexandria, Va. The library is my favorite virtual office and one of the staff asked if I would be interested in showing some of my work, so I was more than happy to oblige.
Library hours vary, but stop by if you can to see the prints, which are on foam core and available for very reasonable prices. If you're interested in a price list, send an email to email@example.com.
When my oldest son moved to North Carolina as a toddler, we lived less than a mile from the American Tobacco Company plant. Today, Nicholas still lives in North Carolina, just a mile from the place that was home to the cigarette maker’s primary headquarters.
But times have changed greatly over the last two decades for everyone involved, in oh so many ways.
For me, the move from my native Texas to Reidsville, N.C., in 1993 represented a huge personal and career risk. Over the eight years I lived there, life as I knew it took a series of seismic shifts. I got a divorce, met the love of my life, remarried, had three kids in a calendar year, bought a house, changed careers and found lifelong friends.
I also saw a town and region face a series of seismic shifts of its own, as its economic drivers — mainly textiles and tobacco — left either gradually or almost entirely during that time.
A few months after I took over as managing editor at The Reidsville Review, the town’s largest employer was sold by its parent company. More than 1,000 employees — almost 10 percent of Reidsville’s population — lost their jobs because the American Tobacco Company was no more. Today, the plant that once employed more than 1,500 people and dominated the northern part of the town is only a shell of itself, with only a handful of workers plying their trade for a company that sells cigarettes in foreign markets.
Several years earlier, in 1987, American Brands closed the American Tobacco factory on Blackwell Street in downtown Durham. This, combined with declines in the textile industry, was a huge blow to the town on many levels; the company had been founded by the Duke family after which the university nearby is named.
For more than a decade, the tobacco campus remained vacant, a gigantic hole in the center of town. But in 2004, the Capitol Broadcasting Company started a $200 million renovation effort that has led to both an economic and cultural renaissance in the city’s downtown area.
The American Tobacco Campus, as it is now known, is home to office space, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The Durham Bulls Athletic Park, one of the nicest minor league baseball stadiums in the country, is adjacent to the campus, as is the Durham Performing Arts Center, the largest of its kind in North or South Carolina. The area attracts more than 2 million visitors a year.
Today, small businesses form a strong restaurant and entertainment district throughout the downtown area, luring back 20-somethings like my oldest son and his girlfriend to Durham, where they live in a converted textile factory about a mile from the American Tobacco campus.
Durham is cool — not Kool — again.
The past two decades have not been as kind to Reidsville, located in a rural area just north of Greensboro about 60 miles from Durham. Like many former factory communities across the nation, Rockingham County has struggled economically, and is facing a population decline.
The tale is all too familiar. Within a decade after the Reidsville plant was sold, The Review was a shell of itself as well. Started in 1888, around the same time that American Tobacco came into being, it has been sold twice since 1997, consolidated with two other community newspapers, and seen its frequency cut from daily to twice a week.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve gone back through Reidsville during my trips to North Carolina. On one recent trip, I went past The Review building and the former American Tobacco plant and thought again of how their fates — caused by an almost simultaneous explosion of the Internet and the new global economy — seemed intertwined and in some ways interchangeable.
Say what you will about big tobacco, and there’s plenty to say about that, but there’s no denying that the collateral damage caused by any major industry going through rapid decline has generational impacts. I’ve seen this first hand in journalism, my chosen field, with overworked staffs in small and midsized newspapers being sliced to the bone as the institutions that served communities for decades consolidated or closed entirely. Too many of my colleagues, hard working people with an invested interest in their community’s future, present and past, have found themselves out of work and scrambling to make ends meet.
When I moved to North Carolina, I took some time to revisit You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe, the state’s most famous author. I thought again of that book as I drove by the three houses and apartment where I lived, marveling at the snail’s pace in which small towns change, and recalling the tumultuous times that so dramatically changed my path.
It is a place, like my hometown, that will always be part of my history. And my son’s.
To see more photos from this essay, go to my Facebook album here.
For the second time this year, I was fortunate to go to Boston to shoot a show at the Wheelock Family Theatre, a small regional Equity house on the campus of Wheelock College. Last Wednesday and Thursday, the cast of “Charlotte’s Web” conducted their final two dress rehearsals before opening on Friday night.
As with many shows that focus on kids, the children in the cast were split into two companies, with the adults doing all the performances. I especially appreciated Wheelock’s total sense of inclusion in casting both the children and the adults. It gave this classic children’s story an even greater sense of universality.
Also fascinating was the aerial silk choreography, which used fabric suspended from the ceiling to transport Charlotte (played by Caroline Lawton) around her web as she writes various words about Wilbur the pig (Michael Keita Hisamoto). It really is something to see.
“Charlotte’s Web” runs through May 14. For tickets and information on the theatre, its classes and its mission, visit http://wheelockfamilytheatre.org.
For more photos from the show, go to my Facebook album here.
One thing I greatly enjoy — and don't do enough — is going out with other photographers on shoots. It's a great way to talk about the art and craft of what we do, and I always learn something new.
On Sunday, just after the clocks sprung forward, longtime friend Gary Rubin and I went to Arlington Cemetery. We had no real agenda and no places we had to go. The result is a mixture of random things that caught my eye and a few takes on some of the iconic images at the national cemetery.
Traditionally we associate Arlington with its simple white markers, which are provided free to families by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. There are a surprising number of elaborate gravestones, however, which prompted me to take a look at the story behind them.
According to Robert M. Poole's book, On Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington Cemetery, privately purchased markers were permitted from 1947 to 2001. The sections with these markers, most of them near General Robert E. Lee's former home at the top of the hill, are nearly full and the cemetery generally does not allow new burials. Older sections of the cemetery have a wide variety of private markers placed prior to 2001, including an artillery piece
Arlington, which was established during the Civil War after the Union seized Lee's home and grounds, is a massive place — 624 acres — making it impractical to try and cover everything in a single morning.
Enjoy these takes by visiting my Facebook album. I hope to return for more photos soon.
Two and a half years ago, just after developing the “Art & Dance” concept, I took a group of ballerinas from Metropolitan School of the Arts into Washington, D.C., where we shot photos at a graffiti park and in the Federal Triangle. The shoot was very successful, and spurred much of what has taken place since with this series.
What was missing, however, was a second chance to take photos of MSA ballerinas in this type of setting. That changed on Monday, when five members of the Metropolitan Youth Ballet and a helpful apprentice went to Theodore Roosevelt Island and to Great Falls, Va., for the latest installment in the series.
Blessed by an early spring-like day, we navigated around an unusually large contingent of families walking around Theodore Roosevelt Island and took photos in a creek at a small park near the larger Great Falls facility.
My son, Ben, is performing tonight and Saturday as "Older Billy" in a special guest appearance as part of Wheelock Family Theatre's regional production of "Billy Elliot: The Musical."
I went to Boston during Thursday's blizzard to spend time with my 19-year-old and took a few shots at this morning's rehearsal with Seth Judice, who is playing the title role.
With appearances in "Law & Order: SVU" and the "Newsies" movie next week, the boy is well on his way to an adult career. But for a brief time at least, it's nice to see Ben return to the show that dominated much of his childhood.
Bonus photos: I took the photo below of Ben and Salma Hayek after she saw the show in Boston during the national tour in 2012. Right: Caught this picture of the boy with the “Newsies” poster during a lunch break today in Boston.
Given our family’s lengthy history with “Billy Elliot: The Musical,” it felt a little strange to see — and photograph — the show after three-plus years away. But anyone who has read my blog knows that being part of a theatre community means you will inevitably encounter circle backs, in which a show returns to your life in an unexpected way.
Circle back is what I did for two nights last week, watching from behind the lens while shooting “Billy Elliot” production photos for Boston’s Wheelock Family Theatre. On Feb. 10 and 11, our son Ben will have a circle back of his own when he teaches master classes and plays the role of Older Billy.
Moving any large show into a smaller regional house can be a challenging logistical task, but the cast and crew have done a terrific job. Thanks to Linda Chin Workman for bringing me in to photograph the show — I also took headshots for several cast members — and to everyone for making me feel welcome.
Here’s a taste of what I saw — and shot — over the two nights. Some of these photos are being used in reviews in local newspapers and online, a nice bonus.
If you are in the Boston area, you can see the show through Feb. 26. Buy your tickets by visiting www.wheelockfamilytheatre.org. Ben will perform as Older Billy at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, and 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11. He also is teaching master classes for youth ages 8 to 16 at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 11.
At last weekend's Women's March on Washington, I was drawn to the vast variety of signs and messages directed at our nation's new president. To commemorate the historic day, I decided to create a collage of the various messages and make it available to anyone interested in purchasing it.
Titled "Signs of the Times," the print also is available with a foam core backing. If you are interested, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. A portion of any profits will be given to one or more nonprofits that served as "Partners" on the march.
An estimated 500,000 people descended on Washington, D.C., Saturday to show their support for women’s rights the day after the presidential inauguration. The march, which started with speeches and performances at 10 a.m. and did not finish until late afternoon, was an incredible demonstration of support for women as well as traditionally marginalized groups.
The large number — organizers had originally predicted 200,000 — of people overwhelmed cell towers. The Metro system set a record with more than 1 million riders on Saturday alone.
That said, the event was peaceful and largely positive. More important, no arrests were reported the day after 230 were jailed during protests by self-described anarchists in D.C. for the inauguration. #WomensMarch #WomensMarchOnWashington
For more photos, go to my Facebook album here.
In my 30-year career, I've been fortunate to see — and photograph — the last five presidents at various events in Texas, North Carolina, New York City, and Washington, D.C. The first four times I saw the nation's commander-in-chief are from the pre-digital days (Reagan at the Challenger Memorial Service, Bush I at NASA's Johnson Space Center and at a campaign stop in Tyler, Clinton at the 200th anniversary of UNC-Chapel Hill).
I don't have any photos from those events scanned, but here are a few selections from others — Teacher of the Year ceremonies, NBC's Education Nation — dating back to 2003 and featuring Bush II, Clinton, and Obama.
For more photos, go to my Facebook album here.
My father was a visual artist who painted not one, but two large murals on the living room wall in my childhood home when I was growing up.
I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.
That said, I’ve always been drawn to large murals, especially knowing that an artist’s creation can be painted over at any time and lost to the whims of boredom, creativity, or both. This is especially true with graffiti and street art.
As a photographer, I like to find ways to show the artist’s work, but with a twist. Rather than capture just the image that an artist has created, I rarely opt to shoot straight on. Using a different angle, or taking it from another spot, can occasionally illuminate the work in an interesting way.
Although graffiti is and remains illegal, with the potential for some stiff fines, Washington, D.C., has joined other cities — Philadelphia immediately comes to mind — in supporting the growth of public art. Open Walls DC, for example, holds “mural jams” to paint the walls under the overpass at Garfield Park, but you must get a permit.
I find myself returning regularly to the bridge under Garfield Park on H Street in southeast D.C. to see what has been created since I last visited. (It’s a great place for portrait shoots, too.) These photos were taken during three to four stops I made over the past year. For more, go to my Facebook album here.
My oldest son designed these business cards and a new watermark for my work. Thank you, Nick!
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.
Fourteen photos from my "Art & Dance" series are on display and for sale at Breathe Body and Mind, a small yoga studio in West Springfield, Va. All of the prints, which range in size from 8x12 to 20x30, have a 3/16-inch foam core backing and are suitable for framing.
The studio is located at 6350 Rolling Mill Place, Suite 103. You can learn more by visiting the Breathe Body and Mind website at www.breathebodymind.com.
Photographer Lawrence Schiller took this lovely photo of 6-year-old Carrie Fisher watching her mother, Debbie Reynolds, perform at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas in 1963. The photo has received renewed attention after the deaths of Fisher and Reynolds a day apart, and prompted this fascinating New York Times story.
Also, the deaths of these two Hollywood legends reminded me that I've written a fan letter to two people — Fisher and Richard Nixon. (Note: I was 8 when I wrote to Nixon.) If you'd like to see the letter and the response, go to this blog entry from late 2010, and catch HBO's documentary of "Wishful Drinking" when it airs again next week.
A family tradition has always been to visit the Lincoln Memorial when NIck is in town (see below). This year, I decided to capture a few extra shots while we were in our nation's capital.
It's not too late to have senior pictures taken for your son or daughter. Check out these of Meryn that I took recently in Alexandria, Va., at http://glenncook.virb.com/meryn.
Metropolitan Youth Theatre concluded its second year with a sold-out winter concert, “Let the Sunshine In: The Music of Hair,” Friday at MSA’s Alexandria studio. The show, directed by MYT co-founder Chad Vann, featured the work of 12 area high school and college students and a three-piece band led by MYT co-founder James Woods.
MYT was founded in 2015 by high school students Vann, Woods and Sam Cornbrooks (now in college in Manhattan) to give area youth the opportunity to create and perform in shows while learning all aspects of theater. The group, which has drawn student performers from both Northern Virginia and Maryland, has already done “The Last 5 Years,” “Rent,” “Songs for a New World,” and “Spring Awakening” in its brief existence.
Two more shows, including a production of the Tony Award-winning musical “Chicago,” are planned in 2017. For more information, visit www.metroyoutharts.org or follow the group on Twitter @metroyoutharts.
For more photos from the concert, visit my Facebook page here.
Last week, I shot a half-day Capture & Business Development Conference for APMP, a Washington, D.C.-based organization for professionals dedicated to the process of winning business through proposals, bids, tenders, and presentations. The association then posted the photos to its Flickr site for attendees to download
A huge word of thanks to the students and staff at Academy of Dance in Reidsville, N.C., for bringing us in for a day of master classes, headshots and dance photography this past weekend.
My son, Ben, taught back-to-back classes and talked to students at the studio about his experiences as a working actor. I took headshots, did an "Art & Dance" session with several students, and talked to parents about challenges of raising a child in show business.
This is the second of these types of sessions we have done this fall. If you are interested in bringing us in for your studio, send an email to email@example.com.
Highlights from the Association for Career & Technical Education's "Vision 2016" conference, held Nov. 30-Dec. 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This slideshow of my photos was shown at the final general session.
Five recent articles published in three different magazines this fall have recently been uploaded to my "New/Recent Articles" section. You can check them out by clicking on the links below or by going here.
Act Globally (November-December 2016): Increasingly, higher education drama programs are offering international experiences for their students through academic exchanges and education abroad opportunities. This story, published in the November-December 2016 issue of International Educator, focuses on how these opportunities focus on skill development as well as social justice and global issues in the developing world.
Leading the Leap (December 2016): Online assessments are here to stay, regardless of whether your state has embraced the Common Core Standards. In this column for American School Board Journal, I look at how a toolkit scheduled to be unveiled in December 2016 will help schools and districts assess their readiness and ability to effectively deliver these assessments.
Cracking the Literacy Code (October 2016): Cracking the code on literacy, especially in majority-minority school districts, is no easy task. As this story in American School Board Journal notes, large-scale initiatives are costly and time intensive, and the needle on achievement rarely moves quickly. Earning buy-in and support from community and business leaders is critical, as is the need to provide strong professional development to teachers and a rigorous evaluation system that can accurately determine whether a program is working.
Technology Evolution (October 2016): In today's device-filled world, the tools students and teachers use can be terrific, but they have proven time and again to be no replacement for quality instruction. As this column in American School Board Journal notes, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is taking on the conundrum with its second revision of its technology standards for students.
Finding the Class of 2009 (October 2016): The latest in a series of articles written for the Minority Corporate Counsel Association's Diversity & The Bar magazine focuses on Nila Bala, a public defender in Baltimore, Md.
CareerWise Colorado, a statewide initiative that aims to place 20,000 high school students in apprenticeships by 2027, led a delegation of educators, state government and nonprofit leaders, and workforce development officials on a five-day tour to Zurich, Switzerland, last week to study the country’s apprenticeship programs.
Led by officials from CEMETS, a division of the KOF Swiss Economic Institute, the tour included site visits to Libs, CYP, Zurich Business School, Swisscom, and EWH-Zurich, which provide a variety of training programs to Swiss students. In Switzerland, 70 percent of students choose to do apprenticeships in more than 200 occupations.
CareerWise, a nonprofit that formally launched in September with the support of the state’s governor and several large Colorado companies, is inspired by the Swiss model for connecting employers and educational institutions.
CareerWise Colorado’s goal is to serve about 10 percent of eligible high school students in the state within 10 years. Starting in 2017-18, businesses and corporations in the fields of information technology, financial and professional services, advanced manufacturing, and hospitality will offer high school juniors and seniors paid, on-the-job learning experiences in high-demand fields.
One highlight of the trip was a visit to the Bern home of U.S. Ambassador Suzi Levine, a leader in the initiative to implement Swiss-style apprenticeship programs in the U.S.
Ambassador Levine and her husband, Eric, were gracious hosts and described in detail their passion for bringing the model to K-12 schools and community colleges in the U.S.
Photos taken of three dancers and Ben that were part of a weekend of master classes and shoots earlier this month in Hickory, N.C. The girls are students at Sonya's Dance Academy. The photos were taken in downtown and at the Bunker Hill covered bridge.
We also held a Sunday morning shoot at a railroad yard featuring some, though not all of the teenage dancers from Sonya's Dance Academy. The shoot produced an interesting set of images, and a whole lot of fun for everyone involved.
Seven performing arts students from Point Park University, including three Metropolitan School of the Arts alums, went with me on a cloudy, breezy Sunday afternoon earlier this month for a dance shoot. The intent was to go to a variety of locations, but the shoot ended up taking place in and around Point State Park across the river from Heinz Field.
I'm sure there will be other shoots in Pittsburgh, but for now, enjoy these and others on my Facebook album here.
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.
Last week, while in Salt Lake City, I had an opportunity to see Ryan Adams & The Shining with opener Amanda Shires on tour at the Red Butte Canyon outdoor amphitheatre. The setting just outside the University of Utah campus was beautiful, complete with an almost full moon.
Adams, one of the most prolific and diverse musicians of the past two decades, has been dipping into his extensive catalogue for the past couple of years. A lovely highlight from the show was his duet with Shires on "Oh My Sweet Carolina."
Shires, the wife of Jason Isbell (another favorite), has a new CD scheduled for release in mid-September. Nothing has been forthcoming — yet — on Adams' next project.
At 17, Tade Biesinger already has lived a very interesting life, becoming one of the youngest boys to play "Billy Elliot" on Broadway and later reprising the role in London for several months.
Now a senior just outside Salt Lake City, this very talented young man is taking college dance classes as he finishes high school. We've known Tade and his wonderful family for six years, and I was fortunate to catch up with him on a recent trip to Utah.
To see more from this shoot, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/salt-lake-city-tade.
In honor of the National Park Service's centennial celebration (#nps100), here are a few of the hundreds of photos taken during a recent trip to Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. Several are from the scenic route en route to the park, a beautiful site itself that follows along the Colorado River. The National Park Service was created on Aug. 25, 1916.
To see more photos from this album, go to my Facebook page here.
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.
The Metropolitan Youth Theatre, a company run completely by high school and college students, will present the Tony Award-winning musical "Spring Awakening" this weekend at 1st Stage Tysons in McLean, Va. The musical is the fourth presented by the company since it was founded by three then-high school students (Sam Cornbrooks, Chad Vann, and James Woods).
All of these photos were shot live during the final dress rehearsal on Thursday. No set ups and no retakes.
It has been a pleasure to serve as the company's photographer for all four shows, all of which have been interesting, contemporary, and challenging fare. "Spring Awakening" is suitable for mature audiences only.
Elementary, middle and high school students from Northern Virginia performed scenes from four Broadway musicals Friday at the end of Metropolitan School of the Arts' annual summer musical theatre camp. The first show was "Hands on a Hardbody" (above); the second was from "All Shook Up" (below).
The students learned scenes, songs, and dances during the two week camp and then performed the pieces in a two-hour finale at Northern Virginia Community College's Ernst Cultural Center.
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.
Each year around this time, I spend hours shooting and editing photos of the Metropolitan School of the Arts spring show. I had other work commitments this year during the dress rehearsals for "Alice in Wonderland," so I was able to take photos of the Saturday and Sunday casts once.
The first set (above) is of the ensemble from the Saturday show. You can see more from this shoot by going to my Facebook album here.
The second set is of class dance photos taken, primarily, of the Saturday matinee cast. I was able to go to the dress rehearsal briefly for the evening cast and took a few from different angles. You can see the rest of the class dance photos on Facebook here.
As many of you know, I have taken photos of Metropolitan School of the Arts productions since my kids were little. It is always a challenge to find new ways to capture a live performance, but I think these offer a glimpse of the quality and commitment everyone had to the show.
BTW, the reason I’m calling these albums “Alternate” is because another photographer (Laura Mann) has been capturing rehearsals since they started. Typically, I shoot only the performances and the promo photos. This year, I did more than 140(!) headshots of the ensemble.
Congratulations to Metropolitan School of the Arts for reaching its $60,000 fundraising goal to help fund a new black box theatre. An anonymous donor agreed to match any amount raised up to the $60,000 figure during the campaign, which ended on Friday.
The theatre, which will be located at MSA’s Alexandria studio, will be in place this fall. It will accommodate up to 200 patrons and will save the non-profit more than $50,000 a year in facilities rentals.
Proceeds from your purchases of my 2016 “Art & Dance” calendar helped make a $500 donation to the campaign. Several of my photos, including those in the graphic above, also were used in the fundraising materials.
Thank you again for your support of the arts!
Photos of the ensemble and principal cast members from the final Sunday performance of Metropolitan School of the Arts' "Alice in Wonderland."
All of the photos were taken during the performance. Unllike previous years, I could not shoot all of the dress rehearsals, so this was my one and only take on the Sunday cast. It was made even more special because our daughter, Emma, finished her 13th and final MSA show on that day with a host of her fellow high school graduates.
To see more photos from this performance, go to my Facebook album here.
A final set of photos from Metropolitan School of the Arts' production of "Alice in Wonderland." These are of class dances and were taken during the Sunday evening show. For more, visit my Facebook album here.
A weekend with my oldest son, Nicholas, and his girlfriend Conner in Durham, N.C. led to a walk around downtown and a series of fun photos of a cute couple. To see more, go to my Facebook album here.
Icons and portraits — New York City, April 2016
Here is a 3-minute slideshow of photos I took at the Graduate Management Admissions Council's annual conference last week in Washington, D.C. The slideshow aired at the beginning of the conference's final general session.
GMAC has been an outstanding client. I've shot the council's last three annual meetings as well as other events and staff portraits.
Send me an email or give me a call if you are interested in having me shoot your conference or event. Hourly, half-day, daily, and multiple day rates are available.
Ten graduates from the first class at the Metropolitan School of the Arts Academy participated in commencement ceremonies Friday at the Workhouse Arts Center.
Having taken pictures when the school first opened in September 2013, it was a pleasure to do so again as parents and family members celebrated the accomplishments of the class.
There were plenty of laughs, a few tears, and — befitting the performance nature of the school — a number of opportunities for the students to show off their music and acting skills. Congratulations to all!
To see more photos from the event, go to my Facebook photo album here.
Need some headshots? Check out these, taken of Ben during a session in New York City earlier this month. The photos are up at http://glenncook.virb.com/ben-2016.
Continuing our series of portraits: Check out this session with the Austin family, taken at various locations in Alexandria, Va., at http://glenncook.virb.com/the-austins.
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!
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.
Over the next week, I'm uploading and posting photos from a series of recent sessions. This from a morning shoot with the Rubin family at the Chapman Mill Historic Site on the Prince William-Fauquier County line in Northern Virginia.
For more photos from this session, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/the-rubins. And contact me if you are interested in a session of your own.
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.
Post-New York randoms a week after Tuck Everlasting opened on Broadway:
• Master of the Obvious: Well, that was a trip I won’t soon forget.
• The best part of the trip was getting to spend some quality alone time with my boys. I don’t get to do that enough.
• The second best part was seeing my son do what he loves, and seeing his siblings happy to be part of the experience. We missed Kate not being there, though.
• Watching a friend tap dance while Jon Dee Graham played an instrumental in the basement of the Hill Country BBQ was NOT the most surreal part of the trip. Close, but not quite.
• When people are obviously trying to listen to acoustic music in a small venue, I don’t know why some feel an uncontrollable urge to turn up their inner frat-boy volume to 11.
• I've was in way too many photos last week and not behind the camera enough. There is something wrong with this picture...
• Things I thought I'd never say: I agree with John Boener on something. But then he had to bring up Ted Cruz.
• Riding a bus home is OK until you get stuck in traffic and someone decides to leave the spicy burrito they ate in the bathroom 3 rows back.
• People are bipolar. Mother Nature is not. Not sure what she is exactly, but that's a different story.
• NYC tourist tango: 1, 2, 3 ... GAWK! 1, 2, 3 ... GAWK!
Two more observations, all with accompanying art…
• If our cats could speak English, they'd say, "See? We told you, this stuff is real..."
• Kids, this is appropriate... (And yes, my mom did send it to me.)
A photographer's financial bread and butter, in addition to portraits, is often reflected by your ability to shoot meetings and events. Over the past couple of years, I've been fortunate to obtain a number of recurring clients.
Over the past month alone, I've taken photos for the Graduate Management Admissions Council's day-long staff retreat, the American Payroll Association's Capitol Summit, the Equal Employment Advisory Council's annual meeting and policy conference, and the American Staffing Association's law conference.
At the GMAC retreat, in addition to the group photo seen here, I compiled photos from the event into a five-minute slideshow that was shown the following day.
To see the slideshow, go to GMAC Staff Retreat 2016. This type of work is part of commissioned services I can provide to clients.
For more photos, go to my Facebook album here.
Fifteen area athletes took part in a benefit Strongman competition Saturday at Gold’s Gym in Lorton to raise money for autism awareness.
Proceeds from the first-ever event, held on World Autism Awareness Day, will be used to sponsor an athlete at the Lift for Autism competition in Hudson Valley, N.Y. on April 16.
Organizers Justin Burcham, Kelly Bryan, and Nick Shelton have been teaching local athletes, clients, class members, and friends pieces of the Strongman sport for several years. Saturday’s competition gave athletes an opportunity to compete in the log clean and press, axle deadlift, farmer’s walk, a sandbag and keg carry medley and tire flip.
Jill and I weren’t able to stay for the entire event because of a previously scheduled trip to New York, but I did manage to capture pictures from the first three events. Congratulations to all involved, and thanks for helping a great cause.
For more photos, go to my Facebook album here.
I know why they call it March Madness, especially when March bleeds into April.
Yep, it must be spring, that great period in life when Mother Nature looks you square in the eye, laughs, and does whatever the heck she wants. Little winter here, little heat there, lots of pollen and watery eyes everywhere.
Why, you ask, can’t everything be spread out a little more instead of being bunched together and packed so tightly? I don’t really know. If I did, I’d bottle and sell it to you cheap.
I’m not complaining, especially on the business end, where thankfully things seem to be opening up in recent weeks. Also, my ability to write a cogent sentence that went beyond tweet-length seems to have returned, thank goodness. It’s nice that the muse has decided to push its way past whatever was blocking my crowded brain.
Here’s a brief summary of what’s happened over the past three weeks alone:
• Met a series of deadlines for freelance clients. More still to do, but getting there.
• Published the Q&A series I did with a teenager about photography.
• Saw Ben in a preview of Broadway’s “Tuck Everlasting” with Jill and then another show at NYU to support one of his “Billy Elliot” friends (the outstanding Casey Whyland).
• Embarked on a trip to Tampa to get Kate’s stuff from her apartment and truck it back to Northern Virginia.
• Celebrated as Emma was accepted into Point Park University in Pittsburgh for the dance program.
• Followed that up with headshots of a young girl and a family shoot in a neighboring county this past weekend.
• Written blogs on the trip, on the deaths of a childhood friend’s son, Merle Haggard, Patty Duke, and Ken Howard (too much of that this year). Also wrote about World Bipolar Day and the current political process (which seems to have its own hints of mental illness about it).
Spring break tourists hoping to see the cherry blossoms at peak bloom have been a little disappointed, as Mother Nature’s, well, nature has been moody at best the past several weeks. A spike in late-winter temperatures had some forecasters pushing the peak date up to this past weekend, more than two weeks earlier than the average of April 4. However, a cold snap accompanied by drizzle and heavy winds pushed the forecast back a few days.
I had hoped to catch the peak along the Tidal Basin after shooting a conference in Washington, D.C., on Monday, but with temperatures in the mid 40s and a gusty, wet wind, I had to settle for a beautiful sunset instead.
Fortunately, forecasters say the blooms have withstood this most recent spate of cold and will start to peak later this week. According to the National Park Service, the blossom peak will last 4 to 10 days, a period in which more than 1.5 million people likely will head to the Tidal Basin to continue a decades-long tradition that started when Japan gave the trees to the United States as a sign of the two countries’ friendship in 1912.
For more photos, go to my Facebook album here.
Conclusion: Being interviewed by an aspiring teenage photographer — the director’s cut. This section focuses on the “Art & Dance” series.
What led to the “Art & Dance” series?
My twins, Ben and Emma, are dancers (as was their sister, Kate, until she was in high school). So, as the family photographer, I found myself taking pictures of their recitals, just like I did with Nicholas and his theatre/music performances in high school and college. For a long time, I had to take hundreds of pictures just to get a few I liked.
And there are reasons for that.
First, I shot a lot of pictures indoors, and until I got a good camera body (Canon 5D-Mark III) that works well in low light as well as a number of F2.8 lenses (the expensive ones), I was working at a disadvantage, especially indoors.
Second, I usually shot performances, which meant that I sat in the same place and tried to capture things on a stage. That was both fun and boring at the same time, because I had to wait instead of create, and I had to rely on lighting that was completely out of my control.
In 2014, I was looking for a new creative challenge, one that was more conceptual and artistic. I was always told that I had more of a news eye than a conceptual one and, for a long time, I believed that, but I wanted to challenge myself because it was something I hadn’t done before.
That’s when I came up with the idea of taking pictures of dancers in natural light and in unusual settings. This is not a unique thing; you can find countless images all over the web. But it solved two concerns for me: 1) I wouldn’t have to worry about slow shutter speeds and sitting in the same place all the time. 2) I could see if my conceptual eye (the Art) could match the skills of the performer (the Dance).
What challenges did you find in doing this?
Unfortunately, at least at the beginning, I shot the “Art & Dance” pictures the same way as I did the performances. As someone who doesn’t dance, I didn’t understand the “peak” and missed it over and over, as my kids took pains to remind me constantly.
Things changed for me when I realized that I needed to try different angles. I do that in my other photography, but why not dance? Often when I sit I can capture peaks because my eye is at the same level as the dancer’s jump. And the more I practice, the better I get at it, both the photography and the art direction.
As a dancer, you have an advantage because you know that part. But you will still need to practice, practice, practice. Photography is a form of art just like dance is, and you can always find ways to improve.
Part 3: Being interviewed by an aspiring teenage photographer — the director’s cut. This section focuses on starting and running a business.
Did you always want to own a photography business?
Growing up in the days when we had film and not digital photography, I never, ever thought I would do something like this.
I’ve always been primarily a writer and editor. Photography was something that interested me, and I really enjoyed doing it while working for small newspapers in Texas and North Carolina. Traditional studio portraits, however, are often more technical than artistic, and for the longest time I thought that was the only way I make a living through photography.
When I moved into communications, and became a one-person publishing unit, I started paying more attention to the visual presentation, especially as I took photos. The problem was I did not have the technical skills, or the patience and aptitude to learn those skills in a way that could make me successful solely as a photographer.
Understanding how to get my camera to do what I wanted so I could capture what I saw was more frustrating than fascinating, especially in the days when post-production was spent inhaling chemicals in a pitch dark room.
That has been eliminated thanks to the digital explosion, and enhanced by a chance to pay tribute to my dad. It’s also served as an opportunity to explore that I never thought I'd have.
How did you start your business?
On a rainy day in 2012, my oldest son (Nicholas) needed headshots for school. Of course, he was leaving that day, so we had to be creative, especially since I didn’t have studio equipment.
I was extremely nervous about doing them — nothing is harder than getting professional quality shots of your own family — but they turned out well and I found that I liked the challenge of portrait photography, especially without the constraint of being in a studio.
The next year, I was laid off from my job and became a freelancer. I started offering photography as part of my services when I felt like I finally had the equipment and the skills necessary to make sure my customers would be satisfied with my work. I’ve been fortunate that most of my clients like my work, and the business has grown in new and unexpected ways.
What have you learned from running your own business? What are the challenges?
I learn something new every day. I’ve had to learn how to juggle many different writing and photography projects at once while still trying to raise a family, something that is not unique to anyone who does this even if our circumstances (and skill sets) are a bit different. Like any business, this one fluctuates in a feast or famine way, and that can be challenging.
My wife is an excellent time manager, and being the one with the out-there creative gene, I’m not. I never have been, so it’s something I have to continue working at constantly.
Purely from a photography standpoint, I still struggle at times with my technical skills (especially in the area of retouching). They are not where I’d like them to be yet, although I’m getting better. It’s not something that comes naturally, but I’m working at it.
What have you enjoyed the most?
I genuinely like meeting new people and working with them on various projects, whether its through interviews for stories or going on a shoot. When you have a chance to work together in a collaborative way, like we’ve done for the “Art & Dance” series, that’s always a lot of fun.
Increasingly, I’ve learned how to enjoy art directing a shoot. This was something I never thought I would be good at, because I didn’t think I had that level of creativity to create something out of nothing. I find it really fascinating.
Part 2: Being interviewed by an aspiring teenage photographer — the director’s cut. This section focuses on tips for beginners.
The question seemed pretty simple: What tips would you give to someone starting out?
My response: It's all a matter of what you want to do, and how much time you're willing to invest. The beauty of digital is that if you don't like it, you can delete it, and it doesn't cost anything. So go out and start taking pictures.
Find new ways to challenge yourself all the time. Don’t rest on what you’ve done yesterday. Look ahead to tomorrow's opportunities.
Think about composition. Don't be afraid to bend down or look around, and take the same shot from three different angles. Keep the ones you like and delete the others. The more you do it, the better you’ll get.
What does someone just starting out need to know about equipment and lighting?
I’m not a technician by any means, but here are some very basic things you need to know:
Tomorrow: Starting and running a business. For Part 1, go here.
Recently, the father of a 13-year-old girl wrote asking if I could help her with a class project by answering some questions about photography. The dad explained that his daughter — a dancer and a big “Newsies” fan — had started following my work because of my ongoing “Art & Dance” series and had gotten a camera for Christmas.
As a dad, it’s hard to turn down this type of request, especially when a parent takes the time to ask for help for his daughter. As a photographer, I’m more collegial than competitive, and always happy to help others.
Answering her questions was an interesting exercise. Since Jill and I reached 50 last year, we both find ourselves reflecting on why we do what we do, what drives us to continue, and what we like/dislike about our roles in this life. As the child of two teachers, this was my teachable moment, an opportunity to explain the craft I've come to love.
Over the next four days, I’d like to share edited — and in some cases enhanced — versions of the responses. (Call it a “director’s cut” if you will.) If you follow my writing and this blog, chances are you’ve seen some of this before. But I hope you find it an entertaining read nonetheless.
What was your inspiration to become a professional photographer?
My dad was a visual artist who could paint, sculpt, or draw anything that came to mind. I can't draw a stick figure, but I've always had his eye for composition, just not the creativity (or sadly, the fine motor skills) to create something out of nothing.
When I first went to New York with our son, Ben, in 2009, I thought of my dad often as I was drawn to the visual explosion that is the city. Dad died in 2007 and never visited New York, but in so many ways, the stuff I see walking around serves as a constant reminder of his interests, insights, and influence on my life. Also, when in New York, I spend most of my time on foot as opposed to in a car, so I see things differently when I’m there.
On a beautiful spring day, I took out my camera, started taking random pictures of the things I saw, and found I have a knack for it. I shared the photos to Facebook, found my friends liked them too, and just continued with it.
What do you like most about photography?
Capturing moments in time, whether it is through the dance pictures, an unusual or visually interesting place, or through portraits I take of people. People seem to appreciate that I can do it and like my work, which is very gratifying.
Photography also has allowed me to make connections I never would have imagined — such as the one I’m making with you right now — and several folks from far-flung places have said they became interested in picking up a camera after seeing my random noodlings. I've been lucky to go out on photo shoots with a variety of other weekend warriors, all of whom I've learned from and whose talents are greater than mine.
Here’s what I say to anyone who has an interest in taking pictures: Try it and see what happens. You might find you like it and have a previously untapped talent. It’s something you can do alone or with others. It gives you a chance to be creative in ways you might never have imagined.
Next Up: Learning the basics.
“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.
First Lady Michelle Obama honored Katherine Pastor of Flagstaff, Ariz., as the 2016 School Counselor of the Year during a ceremony in the East Room at the White House on Thursday. Obama has honored the past two winners of the American School Counselor Association program at a White House ceremony and will host a third event before the administration’s term ends next January.
Pastor, who works at Flagstaff High School, was introduced by one of her former students, Wyatt Whitegoat, a Navajo Indian who lived in a dorm on campus. Whitegoat is now in his senior year at Cornell College in Iowa, earning degrees in kinesiology and psychology.
Also speaking at the event was John King, acting secretary of education. Among the attendees: former Duke and NBA basketball player Shane Battier.
Pastor and the others recognized by their states will conclude several days of events in the nation’s capitol tonight with a banquet at Union Station.
Note: As many of you know, my wife, Jill, has coordinated this program for ASCA since its inception. The program is one of the largest of the year for the organization, and would not be possible — or as successful — without a total team effort from the entire staff. It was nice (and a bit overwhelming), however, to hear the First Lady give my wife a shout out by name in her speech on Thursday.
To see more photos from the event, visit my Facebook album here.
Members of iMpulse made their annual winter trip to New York City this past weekend, taking a series of small and large group classes at Broadway Dance Center, seeing "An American in Paris," and posing for portraits at Columbus Circle before returning to Virginia on Saturday evening.
All but one member (Sophia Kleess, who was at a college audition) attended the photo session. A photo taken at a session locally is included here.
To see all of the portraits full size, visit my Facebook album here.
New York is where photography moved from being a hobby/ business necessity/family requirement into one of my great passions. The positive response I received from Facebook friends after posting albums of the New York-themed “Street Scenes” in 2009-10 is, in large part, what pushed me to improve my skills and eventually pursue photography professionally.
Although the amount of our New York travel has decreased significantly over the past 3-4 years, I always have my camera when we visit the city. Except this time.
With only an iPhone and a lens kit Jill gave me for Christmas, I took these pictures during a recent trip that was nice mix of business and pleasure (mostly the latter). Over three days and three nights, we went to myriad places in various sections of the city, and my phone (or at least its camera) was buzzing.
Curious to see what you think of the results. All feedback is welcome!
For more photos, go to my Facebook album here.
Over the past several years, a camera has become my constant companion. I hate when I see something and don’t have what’s necessary to capture it.
For Christmas, my wife gave me a kit with two lenses for my iPhone, hoping (I’m sure) that I won’t lug my camera and accompanying accessories everywhere I go. On a recent trip to New York City — Jill’s Christmas present — I decided to give the kit a try.
As a camera, the iPhone is great, although it has some major limitations (lagging shutter, poor in low light, and increase pixilation when zooming). It also operates on a different crop ratio from my regular full-frame camera, which affects composition. So when you pair up those shortcomings with being on a moving train, you create some definite artistic challenges.
Here is the result, taken on the Amtrak between Baltimore and Trenton, N.J. Would be curious to see what you think.
For more photos from this experiment, go to my Facebook album here.
Another set of headshots, taken last fall in New York of siblings Jeremy and Diana, are now up on my website here. I'm happy to take headshots and portraits at reasonable rates in Manhattan and in the Greater Washington, D.C. area. All you have to do is call, email, or send me a private message on Facebook.
Nicholas is my first-born child and my first portrait subject. He turned 23 this week, and it was a few short years ago that I nervously took his headshots on a cold, drizzly morning before he started auditioning for colleges.
That shoot, at the Lorton Workhouse, inadvertently led to this business and this page. Today, he's working at his alma mater (Elon University) and still posing for his dad, this time during a Thanksgiving week trip to Wintergreen, Va.
For more, go to my Facebook album here.
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.
One last thing from last week's events: Photographer Isaiah Foster took these photos at the RAW-DC "Uprising" exhibit I participated in at the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C. To see more of his work, go to http://shineinc516.blogspot.com/
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.
Ten of my Art & Dance photos were on display at RAW-Uprising, a show featuring more than 40 perfomers and artists that was held at the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C. A sincere thank you to everyone who purchased tickets and turned out for the event, which showcased my work in front of a large and diverse audience of more than 500 people.
Now on my website (http://glenncook.virb.com/freelance) is a fascinating human interest story on a young woman who became a corporate attorney thanks to her mother's willingness to sacrifice everything. I also took the photos of Patricia Astorga and her mother in New York City earlier this fall.
On Cyber Monday, you can buy gifts online and support the arts at the same time. Pick up your 2016 "Art and Dance" calendar featuring pre-professional and professional dancers from across the U.S. on my website. Go to http://glenncook.virb.com/
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.
DATE CHANGE: Get your tickets now for RAW-Uprising, a show featuring more than 40 Washington, D.C. area artists (including me!) that will be held Wednesday, November 18 at the Howard Theatre. Tickets are only $15.
I need to sell 20 tickets by Sunday, November 15. Ten of my photos will be featured. Purchase your tickets at www.rawartists.org/glenncookphoto. If you can't go, buy a ticket and I'll make sure it is given to a deserving artist...
Support the arts!
Senior portraits of Megan, a student at South County High School, are now up here. Check out these and other portraits and book your session today.
Every once in a while, I must spend some time reclaiming the muse.
Since May, our family has gone through a seemingly never-ending set of transitions, racing from task to task, thing to thing, and place to place. We’ve traveled hither and yon for work and for children, and tried desperately to keep up the pace. To be frank, some days it’s gone better than others, at least on my end.
We’ve seen two kids graduate (Nicholas and Kate); helped move three of the four children (Nicholas, Kate and Ben), co-signing on leases for the latter two; helped the fourth (Emma) get ready for college applications and auditions; been forced to buy not one but two cars (one died; one was totaled); dealt with lost (and never found) luggage after one of the trips; and purchased new camera equipment after mine was stolen. When you and your insurance agent can recognize each other’s phone number without caller ID, you know it’s been a rough go.
Fortunately, and thanks to Jill’s careful planning and management of the household budget, none of these events have been catastrophic. Still, the collection has added to life’s scar tissue, and it hasn’t helped that at certain points “time” was the only word that did not have “down” as a prefix.
My creative muse, which is interwoven into everything I do, was feeling more neglected than our cat. And my muse’s meow was starting to turn into a roar.
Thankfully, Emma had her first college audition and a dance intensive in New York this past weekend. I drove her and two friends up to Lower Manhattan and stayed with friends in the city for the two days. It was just what the doctor ordered.
Since Ben left the city four (!) years ago, I’ve rarely had enough time to do the things that make New York so appealing: Visit friends, take pictures, see shows, etc. This time around, I arranged to do a little of it all and cashed in some prime travel karma chits that apparently were accumulated over the past several months.
I had a chance to spend time with Ginno, our “adopted” older child, staying with him and taking his engagement (!) pictures on the High Line on Saturday. After seeing Carol, another friend, I watched a devastatingly beautiful revival of “Spring Awakening” (this season’s must see after “Hamilton,” which I’m beginning to think I’ll never get tickets to watch).
Sunday was the big test, in part because planned activities required me to go from Hudson Heights to Bryant Park to JFK Airport to Coney Island before returning to Virginia. The day would start early, before 8, and would not end until I picked up Emma and her friends at 5:30 for the drive home.
I’m still shaking my head at the how, but it all worked. A headshot session with two children at Bryant Park was smooth, productive and efficient, despite the autumn chill. My friend Bernadette, who accompanies me on many of these types of adventures, and I left and aimed toward the TWA Flight Center, where an open house was being held in the iconic terminal.
We arrived just after 11 and managed to get in, despite the large (and growing) crowd that wanted to see the terminal one last time before it is converted into a luxury hotel (blog entry below). No waiting in long lines meant we had a legitimate shot at our next appointment, which was with another friend (David) in Coney Island.
Somehow we made it there in time to spend three hours snapping away, swapping stories and genuinely enjoying each other’s company. When we left to get Emma and her friends, I felt rejuvenated.
The travel gods were reasonably kind to us on the way back to Virginia, despite an awkward exit from the city (memo to self: Learn how to get out of Lower Manhattan smoothly) that threw us off somewhat. We made it home by 10:30 p.m.
All in all, I have no complaints. The experience helped me regain the creative muse that I’ve struggled to find at times over the past couple of months. Now I’m ready to attack the world again.
Senior photos of Samuel, taken at various locations in and around Washington, D.C., are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/samuel. Schedule a session for your high school senior soon!
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.
Over the past year, I have done "Art & Dance" shoots with professional and pre-professional dancers in Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Hollywood, New York, Orlando, and Toronto. Recently, I decided to compile my favorites from each shoot and put them up on my website. Take a look by clicking on the "Art & Dance" tab or by starting here — http://glenncook.virb.com/about-the-series
Two of my photos — both more than 3 feet wide and almost 5 feet tall — are featured in the playroom of a 13,000-square-foot “Home of Distinction” in Potomac, Md. Tours are being given through August 9 of the $4.2 million house, located at 8601 Nutmeg Court about 3 miles off the Capital Beltway.
All proceeds from the tours benefit the Tourette’s Association. The photos were designed and shot in collaboration with Two Keys Staging and Redesign of Fairfax Station. For more information about the tour, visit www.homeofdistinction.com.
Earlier this month, Jill and I took our first non work-related vacation together as a couple in almost a decade. Having secured a great deal on a place to stay, we decided to go to Aruba, Aruba in the Caribbean.
The beauty of the beaches and sunsets outweighed the extreme “Las Vegas on a cruise ship” feel of the island, where the economy is solely dependent on tourism. We stayed away from the kitsch as much as possible and did our best to do, well, nothing.
That worked well, and our time away together was much needed. Of course, our good travel karma was lost with Jill’s luggage somewhere on the trip home. Three-plus hours in line at the Aruba airport (where you also go through U.S. Customs), plus flight delays and the aforementioned lost bag (still not found) meant we did not get home until almost 2 a.m., with a full week of work ahead.
But it’s hard to complain too much when you see those beaches and sunsets.
For more photos, go to my Facebook album here.
The auditorium at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial is a fantastic place to see a performance, but it is not the easiest locale to shoot dancers. The theater’s horseshoe seating arrangement does not lend itself to capturing a performance on the floor.
For the past two years, Metropolitan School of the Arts has rented the facility to hold various events. Earlier this year, MSA’s Metropolitan Youth Ballet presented its annual end-of-year production, “La Fille Malle Gardee.” Two performances, with different students in the lead roles, were held back to back.
I took a different approach this time around, sticking around in the balcony for the first show and then wandering down to eye level at points during the second, standng in the pass throughs that narrowed my scope greatly. It made for interesting contrasts in composition, but both approaches seemed to work well.
These photos represent highlights from both shows. If you would like to see everything I shot, go to MSA’s Facebook page or to my SmugMug site (where you can purchase low-cost prints or high-resolution downloads).
In case you’re wondering, “La Fille Malle Gardee” is a comedic ballet for all ages that tells the story of Lise, who desperately wants to break away from the farmhouse where she lives with her mother, Widow Simone. Lise is in love with Colas, but her mother wants her to marry the rich vineyard owner’s son, Alain. Complications ensue, but as you will see in the photos, in the end all live happily ever after.
The ballet was first performed in 1789, the year of the French Revolution, and was the first to discuss the social status of the suitor. It was adapted and choreographed by MSA faculty member Jacqueline Doherty.
In life, few things are more beautiful than watching the sun fall slowly from the sky.
Note to fellow shutterbugs who might be curious: Taking these photos off the island of Aruba, I played a great deal with the exposures and f-stops to achieve the variations in the photos you see. With a couple of exceptions, limited post-production work (cropping, minor color adjustment, definition) was done on these photos.
I caught this cute photo of a little girl watching Metropolitan Fine Arts Center's performance of "Frosty Follies" at Reston Town Center last night. The kids did a great job despite the, uh, frosty temperatures.
I caught these photos will attending meetings on Capitol Hill this week. Interesting what you can get with a phone, even if that is not my preferred method of photography.
With wind gusts of more than 40 mph and temperatures dropping fast, Ben and I went out for a chilly photo shoot and captured a beautiful sunset.
In 1912, 3,000 cherry blossom trees were bestowed on Washington, D.C. by Tokyo, Japan. Rooted strongly and surviving outside elements, the trees have withstood the test of time for a century in the tidal basin, which includes the Jefferson Monument and memorials to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival, a five-week event, snarls traffic around the basin as residents and tourist from around the world take a look at the trees in bloom. One recent, cloudy Sunday morning, Nicholas and I had a chance to photograph the beautiful flowers as they moved into peak form.
President Obama honored Rebecca Mielwocki as the 2012 National Teacher of the Year in ceremonies in the East Room at the White House. Mielwocki, who lives in California, was picked for the award by representatives from various education organizations. I represented NSBA on the selection committee for the 10th time.
A series of Instagram images taken while cleaning out Jill's childhood home in Boone this past weekend.
What a night. The 2nd Annual Born for Broadway benefit also served as a mini-Ragtime reunion, with performances by Quentin Earl Darrington, Christiane Noll, Robert Petkoff, Bobby Steggert, Stephanie Umoh, and Leigh Ann Larkin (from the D.C. cast), plus Ben and the other kids from the show.
The kids performed “Alone in the Universe” from “Seussical.” The video combines footage from the rehearsal and performance.
Directed by Ragtime's Marcia Milgrom Dodge, the evening of pop songs, showtunes, and standards also featured Lesley Gore, Glee's Jenna Ushkowitz, Memphis' Chad Kimball, Malcolm Gets, Jim Brochu and many, many more. Thanks to Marcia and organizer/event founder Sarah Galli for allowing me to take pictures.
I moderated a Nov. 11 session on school boards at the U.S. Green Building Council's annual Greenbuild conference in Phoenix, which drew 28,000 registrants. The highlight was the opening plenary session featuring former Vice President Al Gore and a concert by Sheryl Crow. I was fortunate enough to get on the floor and got these shots with my little digital.
I've been fortunate to travel quite a bit over the past few months with Ben on the "Newsies" tour. Every once in a while, I get to mix business with pleasure. Above are new headshots I took of the boy during a break between shows last weekend in Durham. For more, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/ben2015.
Josh Burrage is one of Ben's closest friends on the tour. He hired me to take new headshots during the tour's stop in San Antonio last month. For more photos, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/josh.
As high school students graduate throughout Northern Virginia, take a look at these senior pictures of Sloane, taken in Washington, D.C., last month. You can see more on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/sloane and make plans now to schedule photos for your high school senior soon!
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.