13 Hours of Photography

I put in a 13 hour day of photography yesterday, which I haven’t done since I was running C&C Photo in in Cathedral City, CA back in the 1990’s

It started with THe Big Gay Race, a fund-rasier for Minnesotans United for ALL Families, which is a coalition of Minnesotans that believe in marriage equality and have organized to defeat the amendment to the MN State Constitution that would limit marriage to between one man and one woman.

What is so obvious here, is that the State and Federal Constitutions are in place to guarantee and uphold peoples rights, not to take them away or restrict them.

The event was held over at St. Anthony Main in Southeast Minneapolis along the Mississippi River, which is actually the “birthplace” of Minneapolis.

Over 6,000 Minnesotans from all walks of life, singles, families, sexual orientations, faiths, ethnicities joined together making a stand for Marriage Equality by participating in a 5k run/walk along the east and west sides of the Mississippi River.

The energy level was incredible and as the the start time approached it just kept rising. I have participated in this event for the last two years, but this year I opted to just move around and capture images of the event.

As the crowds gathered at the start line and with the singing of the National Anthem I felt the emotion just rising inside and my eyes teared up. As the start horn sounded I let out a “WWOOOOTTT!” as the runners began to pass, the woman next to me turned to me and smiled and I saw she was crying as well. I laughed a nervous laugh, we hugged and both commented on how it was “so awesome to see all these people in support of this”

Here is a link to the images:
“http://www.flickr.com/photos/joebielawa/sets/72157631653540543/”

The event lasted a couple hours. Then I skedaddled home, switched camera batteries, did a quick charge on the flash battery and headed back down to St. Anthony for the second shoot of the day.

I used to live in SE Minneapolis by St. Anthony Main in the 1980’s and am aware of the parks and such along the river. I never really thought using it as a background for photography, but decided to meet the model there who was coming in from the suburbs.

This shoot was just incredible. The guy is a natural, with a great look and in a very short time knew what I wanted and would just “throw me the look” and strike the pose. The lightening was perfect and all the backgrounds were spot on. Everything came together perfectly.

Here is the link to the images:

“http://www.flickr.com/photos/joebielawa/sets/72157631654073775/”

Back in the early 1990’s I was shooting cover photographs for a magazine in Palm Springs CA called MegaScene. The publisher, Bob Hoven, or the Duchess as he was referred to, was one of my early mentors. He saw my photographic talent and nurtured it by having me shoot his covers. I adapted a certain style that I knew would work for the format of the magazine…which became one of my signature photo styles.

When my addiction grabbed me by the short hairs causing the caca to splatter into the cooling device, and the bottom fell out of that phase of my photo career (and my life), I lost everything. Bob was still there to lend support as best that he could. He was very encouraging when I left CA to seek rehab in MN. We talked by phone every Sunday. On once such Sunday in July of 2006, two hours after we talked, he had a massive heart attack and died at his desk in his office.

Looking at the images I captured yesterday…I see how my old signature MegaScene style came back. I know the Duchess would have been proud of my work, teasing me for taking SO MANY images and “how will we EVER choose what one to use for the cover”

So in a way, I have turned full circle…back to where I once belonged.

I get these alot in my life lately, these full circles. I am fortunate to experience them. That I let these things go as I once chose a meth pipe over everything else. To have them return is a gift of staying clean. It’s a reality of staying clean.

The third shoot of the day was just as eventful as the previous two, but in it’s own way, even more so. The theme was erotica and the client wants to keep them private, so unfortunately I can’t put those out on the interwebs for all to see.

Always the smart ass that I am, some would say even bitch-like, to have this model before me nearly naked, exposing more than his vulnerability, as I get him comfortable with being this way in front of me with a camera. He chooses a pose that just kills the whole masculinity of the look. I could say, “No, Not that.” I could. But no, I HAVE to quip “Yaaa, that looks good, but I left all my little pink purses at home, Mary. You think you could butch it up for me here. You’re killing the moment’ We both burst out in laughter and he exclaims: “FUCK YOU, Joe” I thank him and we work the next shot.

All just too much fun! It didn’t hit me until I got home late last night that I had been going for over 13 hours. Granted there were little breaks for coffee, food and transit.

And it will all starts here again in a couple of hours as I head up north to photograph a horse farm that does Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.

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