A Mill, a Radio and a Fashion Shoot

The current issue of Merrimack Valley Magazine (May/June 2015) features a couple of pieces that I worked on that include a few people or places that are close to home, all in different ways.

Having moved to downtown Lowell last year, my wife Amy and I have become frequent visitors to Mill No. 5, a very eclectic destination in an old textile mill, (No surprise there!), with small shops and not so small events. Made in Lowell, a new initiative founded by Tobias Marx is located in Mill No. 5, and was started to “cultivate a movement to transform communities”. Tobi is incredibly passionate about the organization and its possibilities. Here is their web site to learn more: http://www.madeinlowell.orgLiz Michalski's story is well worth the read. You can find it on-line here: http://www.mvmag.net/?p=15211

Another piece is on a resurgence in local radio. I was really into radio when I was a kid. My father would build electronic things from discarded parts, at the kitchen table, using an old brownie pan as a chassis, after having sketched out the schematic from scratch. Seriously! But a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to snoop around 3 radio stations for this story, one of which was WXRV (The River). It is housed in the old WHAV art-deco studios where, if I remember the story correctly, my father actually worked as an engineer, probably right after the war. Seeing the old, discarded turn-tables and tape decks, one can imagine  the old-days of radio and the live performances that occurred there. While that station still has a wall of CDs (for backup), and The River does host live performances, all three stations that I visited now play streamed digital music day to day.

This story is a natural fit for writer Dean Johnson too. Dean is a Sunday nighttime fixture on WBZ radio.


And back in early April, when the snow was actively melting, we took over the Stonehenge Inn & Spa in Tyngsboro, MA, for a Couples Spring “Peek” Weekend fashion shoot. You may recognize Christa Brown, one of the models from a shoot that I did in my studio last year, and whose writing was recently featured in Seventeen Magazine.

This was a fun day. This piece is on-line too (http://www.mvmag.net/?p=15233). Thanks go to the rest of the team too. It was a real group effort: writer and style editor Alyson Aiello, Yolanda and Stephen for their creative direction, Regina for her hair and makeup work, and for Christa and Joel for looking marvelous!

My Lunch with Kevin

Yes, I know, the snow is two feet deep as I write this. But how about something totally different than wall to wall coverage of a snowstorm in New England in January?

Last week, photographer Kevin Harkins and I had our annual lunch. We do gossip about everyone so fear not, you probably were mentioned. Every couple of years we have started to create new headshots for each other. Frankly, I like the younger ones of myself, but Kevin is very persuasive, so we shot new ones. I am getting the full Platon treatment on mine and those will be coming to my web site soon.(Platon is a photographer. Born with only one name apparently. Look him up, or click here: http://www.platonphoto.com/gallery/portraits/movies--television/robertredford/)

Anyway, it was a cloudy Massachusetts afternoon in January, and the north-facing windows of my studio provided a distinctly cool light, which was great. Kevin has already blogged with some photos that he shot of me (thanks Kevin!), so here are mine of him. Take special note as to how different Kevin’s shots of me look, in spite of their being shot the same day, in the same studio, with the same lighting gear. (Hint: it’s not about the camera or the gear)

Enjoy.

And take a look at Kevin Harkins’ web site here: http://www.harkinsphotography.com

Stay Tuned for Style!

It may be raining here as I write this, but it was sunny in the studio last month when I was joined by Ani, from Humanity Lowell, a cool little boutique for women on Merrimack Street, my style collaborator Grace, as well as Christa and Monika who clearly lit up the studio with their modeling talents.

We are looking forward to better weather here in Massachusetts that will be allow for another shoot, this time out on location. Watch for our work here in a few short months. Hmm…maybe another studio shoot is in order before then!


My Visit with D-Tension

This month, David Iverson’s piece on The Last Safe & Deposit Company, on Merrimack Street in Lowell, in the Merrimack Valley Magazine, will soon be at news stands. The club’s owner, Steve Perez, AKA D-Tension, had me show up early so that I could get shots of him and the club before the band started and the crowd appeared. Come to the back door, he said. If you haven’t been there, the front door is no less disguised, but be persistent and note that the club is downstairs and shares its entrance with Sweet Lydia’s, another downtown Lowell institution. The Last Safe & Deposit Company is uniquely Lowell, and inspiring, to mangle a marketing phrase. Do check out the article in a week or so when it hits the street!

Perseverance and Faith

So what do you say when another photographer who you respect asks you to create their portrait? You do it, of course! Thaddeus Miles, who happens to live in the next building, asked me to do just that. I was incredibly flattered, and immediately asked if, rather than a fee, I could be paid with a print of one of his photographs, and if I could make some photos of him that were beyond what he was looking for.

Thaddeus is an amazing photographer. Quite a while ago he began one of those 365 projects that some photographers embark on (note that I said “some”… I have never had the discipline...) in which they shoot something every day for a year. Well the last photo in his blog is day number 977! See his work here : http://thaddeusmiles365.wordpress.com

A couple of his other passions are his Hood Fit initiative and his Men of Color Photoshoot, the first phase of which took place last week. Check out both on his blog, and here as well: http://hoodfit.org

Thaddeus was actually trying to get a new photo of himself for “an award”, as he phrased it. That award, which is no small thing, and which will be presented to him today, October 28, 2014, is called the Lilla G. Frederick award, named for Mrs. Frederick, who helped found and then served as the President and Chair of Project RIGHT, Inc. (Rebuild and Improve Grove Hall Together), which presents this award. Congratulations Thaddeus!

Thaddeus emailed the press release the other day, which appears below, after the photos.

I am just privileged to know him and extremely happy to have had the opportunity to photograph him for this blog.

Thaddeus Miles

Thaddeus Miles

Subject: FW: Thaddeus Miles will be presented the Lilla Frederick award on October 28, 2014
 
(please distribute to the appropriate contacts and have those interested in coming, to contact me regarding tickets at 617.541.5451.x102)
 
You are invited to join Project RIGHT at its annual dinner and celebration on Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 from 6 PM – 9 PM at Russell Memorial Auditorium (70 Talbot Ave, Dorchester).  Project RIGHT was formed in 1991 and organizes residents and young people on addressing public safety and quality of life issues while improving access to resources and positive opportunities in the Grove Hall neighborhood.
  

This year, PRI is presenting Thaddeus Miles, MassHousing’s Director of Public Safety with its Lilla Frederick award.  Mr. Miles has been responsible for launching several innovative violence prevention initiatives and partnerships that has made a significant difference in the Grove Hall neighborhood, the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a whole.  

 

Mr. Miles launched the Grove Hall Multi Unit Housing Initiative that comprised of tenant associations, Boston Police, property owners, management companies, security companies, MassHousing and community organizations that has successfully addressed public safety issues in these apartment buildings.  Mr. Miles helped to found the Grove Hall Youth Outreach Connection comprised of Project RIGHT, several Grove Hall Tenant Associations, MassHousing, Boston Police and Lilla Frederick Pilot Middle School which has received significant funding by the Charles Hayden Foundation to increase the youth outreach worker and prevention capacity in the Grove Hall neighborhood.  Mr. Miles has also provided ongoing training for a variety of Grove Hall representatives to understand both the community impact of violence and the toll of trauma, but also to address the personal toll that occurs upon us.

 

Being an innovator in challenging the barriers and disparities facing Grove Hall and other neighborhoods, Mr. Miles launched HoodFit, a community led movement which focuses on bringing out the most positive attributes of community building, health and wellness highlighting the mind, body and soul that shows us day by day on how to overcome issues such as trauma.  Mr. Miles also founded “Think Big Dream Big”, a youth driven initiative to jumpstart young people on the journey to a positive future, the fulfillment of their goals and dreams.  

  

Much like the late Ms. Lilla Frederick (Devon Street resident and Project RIGHT’s Board President), Mr. Miles goes block by block, identifies problems, takes actions, doesn’t take no for an answer and achieves results.  They both go out of their way to avoid publicity or self promotion, but they rather just do the work to make changes that systematically improve the lives of residents and young people. 

 

If you have any questions, or wish to come to Project RIGHT’s annual dinner and celebration, please contact Michael Kozu, Community Coordinator (m_kozu@hotmail.com and 617.541.5451.x102).

I Still Don’t Do Weddings

I am often asked if I do weddings. I prefer to leave that to the professionals. The wedding professionals, that is. There are many excellent specialists, so I am always happy to refer clients to the good ones.

Ok, so why am I telling you this? I have started to take a few engagement shoots, or as they are sometimes referred to now, Save-the-Date shoots. These are fun, no pressure shoots that last an hour or two. I don’t carry lights or gear, other than my camera and a reflector. When we do them in the city, perfect strangers will watch, smile, and congratulate the couple after a shot. It's pretty cool! We walk around looking for good scenes and backgrounds, take some fun shots, see if it works and move on. 

I recently shot one for Jen and Eric, in the North End of Boston. I think you can tell that they had a great time!

A Photo-Shoot Full House

I can’t believe it’s been over a month, but on July 7th Grace, my stylist collaborator from Grace Professional Cosmetics and I had the pleasure of photographing Amy and Vee. It was a very warm, Massachusetts summer day, but they were good sports, and I think we all had a good time. At least I hope so!

These are another in my set of Fashion-Inspired Portraits. Since this kind of shoot is quite different from my editorial and commercial work, I have a new web site devoted to showing it off: http://www.adrienbisson-portraits.com

Also in the house that day was Liz, of Global Click Photography, who helped out by shooting some behind-the-scene shots. You're just going to have to go over to my special web site to see those though! Maybe next time she can do some video for us! Hint, hint!!

If you like this work, please let me know. I crave attention :-)

Photo by http://globalclickphotography.com

Photo by http://globalclickphotography.com

July/August - The Interviews

I really enjoy the opportunities that the Merrimack Valley Magazine gives me to shoot features of authors and other interesting people in the process of being interviewed for the magazine. We are always in a new location and the interviewees are relaxed and are allowed to be themselves. I get to hear the interviews first hand which helps me get a feel for their personalities and experiences, which in turn helps me create images that I hope will help to tell their stories.

This issue, along with writers Suzanne DeWitt and Will Courtney, I was pleased to meet writer Holly Robinson, at Plumb Island, and Lowell Spinners manager Joe Oliver, at LeLacheur Park in Lowell.