4 06 2010

I lead a bit of a double life. While most of you know me via my photography, I’m also a musician; the two together keep me happy and relatively balanced, if a little frenetic at times.

In my music life, I’m lucky enough to have met and become friends with some of the most interesting people Denver has to offer. One of my regular singing gigs is at a cabaret downtown, featuring old-school burlesque dancers, vaudevillians, jugglers, magicians, musicians, and other wonderfully bizarre characters. Watching a show is a lot of fun, but to me, the most fascinating part is watching the transformation of the performers between the front door and the stage. My favorite vantage point is the pass-through between the tiny dressing room and the stage entrance; it’s where you can see both sides of the personality, sometimes alternately and sometimes all at once.

From the stage, the world of burlesque and Vaudeville looks slick and glamorous. Backstage, under the garish florescent light, you can see the rough edges, the glue holding the rips in the costumes, the chaos, and the often biting sense of humor that comes with the territory. For me, this is the true magic of the cabaret.

So these are my friends and coworkers and partners in crime. This is the first installment in what I expect will be a long-term, maybe life-long project. You’ll see candid moments, lots of vamping, and plenty of images that will make you scratch your head and wonder. They’re more or less snapshots between friends.

For the technically-minded among us, these were all shot with available light (ugly overhead florescent tubes) with Tri-X 320 and 400, both at 640, processed in Tmax developer.

Tribal Tique

Tribal Tique, the belly dancing duo

Pianist Larry Wegner and comedian/juggler David Deeble

Pianist Larry Wegner and comedian/juggler David Deeble

Larry the entertainer

The incomparable Larry Wegner

Lady Shanime

Lady Shanime

Orchid Mei

Orchid Mei, preparing for her next act

Pierre Jean-Pierre St Pierre and Fannie Spankings

Pierre Jean-Pierre and Fannie, slipping into character

As a reality check (and to demonstrate the power of careful use of light, contrast, and lighting fall-off, here’s a little camera phone snap to show you the surroundings these images were taken in.


Home, sweet home.

(As an aside, I’ll be doing a workshop June 30 – July 1, in which I’ll show the where’s and how’s of some of my favorite images; this will be one of the locations we’ll be covering, and I’ll be singing during the show as well.)

Many more images to come.

Wishing you wonderful light and soft shadows…. break a leg.

– CJ




8 responses

4 06 2010

Oh my goodness! The last thing I expected when catching up with my RSS feeds was to see my Uncle Dave (David Deeble) in your photos!! Gosh, this is a small world!!!

4 06 2010

Carly, that’s really funny. David’s a great guy. He knows me at Lannie by my silly torch singing stage name of Tara Sunder.

10 06 2010

THIS. this is what i want to learn how to do. to confidently create magic out of a space where magic seems impossible.

i do hope to meet and learn from you one day. : )

11 06 2010
Whitney Hardie

Such inspiring images. I love the stories they tell. Beautiful work.

30 06 2010

Your use of light, flare with words, and connection with your subjects are amazing. Love, love, love.

14 08 2010

Yay, these are really great images that make you think how actors are never really “out of character”.

What camera do you use? (I know it’s an irrelevant question, but I am curious.)

14 08 2010

Parasol, I’m an old school film shooter, working primarily with my trusty Bronica ETRS with a 75mm 2.8 lens. I don’t stray from that combination very often.

23 03 2012

Was not prepared for that last image taken with your camera phone. Cheryl, you are a master.

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