Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

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All of us here are Damn Ugly Photography hope you have a wonderful holiday season…and we’ll see you next year!

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Misty Copeland’s New Website Is Damn Ugly…

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Misty Copeland’s new website just went live, and there are a surprising number of Damn Ugly photographs taking up space…

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I’ve been working with Lisa Clayton at Starving Artist Web Design who did all the heavy lifting with the layout of the new site…especially the inventive way she Photoshopped that swirling red skirt onto my shot for the home page…Bravo!!!

Bid On This Misty Copeland Print For A Good Cause Now!!!

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For more than 20 years, I have been involved with an organization called Leave Out ViolencEor LOVE. LOVE’s goal is to help youths prevent, reduce and respond to the violence in their lives. The kids involved in LOVE have all been victims, witnesses, and/or perpetrators of violence. Their lives have been shaped by bullying and fighting, assaults in their communities, gang recruitment, self harm, attempted suicide, domestic violence and dating violence. Many live in predominantly low-income communities across NYC’s five boroughs.

One of LOVE’s biggest fundraising activities is Images of LOVE…an annual auction where that get some pretty amazing photographers to donate prints, with the proceeds helping to fund projects like youth outreach workshops on photography, afterschool programs that encourage leadership and teamwork, and publishing books containing their photography and writing.

For this year’s Images of LOVE event, I contributed my multiple-image photograph of Misty Copeland, which I also had Misty sign…

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Pre-benefit bidding for the Misty Copeland photograph is now open at Paddle8. Honestly, the print is gorgeous…it’s 24” x 36” on bright cotton rag art paper, and the opening bid is only $300…and runs until May 11th, when it transfers to the live auction. All winning bids are 100% tax-deductible and for more information or to purchase tickets to the benefit, please visit the Images of LOVE website.

Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland

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I’m not sure at this point if there’s anyone out there who hasn’t heard of Misty Copeland. Besides making history as the only African American soloist dancing with the American Ballet Theatre, her best-selling autobiography, ‘Life In Motion’, dancing onstage with Prince, appearing in ads for Under Armour, Dr. Pepper, Coach, The Corcoran Group and T-Mobile, and her numerous features in magazines like The New Yorker, Vogue, Elle and New York Magazine, the 32 year-old ballerina is possibly the most visible face in the dance World since Baryshnikov. And my buddy Rob Smith asked me to put her on the cover of Arrive. Here’s the behind-the-scenes from our day at Bathhouse Studios

Since we knew we would have relatively limited time with Misty, Rob and I had worked up our ideas for the shoot early on. The story was about mentors, and we would be photographing Misty with Raven Wilkinson, the first black woman to dance full-time in a major ballet company, including Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, the Dutch National Ballet, and the New York City Opera Ballet. We had to get enough for our cover, a few opening shots, a portrait of Misty and Raven together and anything else we could fit in! But shooting at the Bathhouse meant we would have lotsa space to set up everything beforehand cuz the studio is so beautifully huge!

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Our setup on the cyc…and that marvelously high ceiling…

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Kaz and I setting up the two-shot of Misty and Raven…

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Robert and Julien sitting in for our cover…

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Julien taking flight…

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My stylist Karen Sherwood laying out the wardrobe…

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Misty arrived just as we were about finished with our setup and went into hair & makeup right away…

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…but shortly afterwards, our little dancers from the ABT School showed up…

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and they quickly put on a little show for Misty…

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Julien grabbed Misty to test the lighting on our first setup…

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…and so started our shooting day…

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Here is the final portrait of Raven and Misty…

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Next, we moved onto the cyc for our opening photo of Misty with the Dance School students…

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Misty approves…

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…and the resulting photograph…

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Now I wanted to do a series of solo shots of Misty in different positions. The idea was that I would assemble these solo images into one unified ‘group’ photograph…

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And the final ‘group’ shot…

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Before I took Misty off the cyc, I pulled out my vintage stools for one more idea…

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Best shot of those two stools I’ve ever taken…

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Oh yeah…I nearly forgot…CBS sent over Anthony Mason and a film crew to document our little shoot for CBS Sunday Morning

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Now where was I…oh yeah…the final shot would be of Misty and Raven together for our cover. We re-purposed that ballet barre from the shot with the kids, and set up a very simple situation with a big, soft Octalite…Misty in her costume as her mentor looked on…

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Our cover image…

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Here’s how everything looked in ‘Arrive’…

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