Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Untitled from Chris Lamphere on Vimeo.

f-stop 4.5, shutter speed 13.0, ISO 200
The book is an old Swedish hymnal I found in my basement. The flames and red tinted hands symbolize the menace of Satan.
I used a lighter and a laser pointer to achieve the fiery ambiance around and inside the chest. I also flashed my hands and the hymnal with a strobe to bring them into focus.

f-stop 3.5, shutter speed 15.0, ISO 800
This picture is similar to another painting with light picture i've turned in, but Heffron's face is more in focus in this pic. I flashed him once with a green gel, then painted his face with a red Poweraid. I especially like the stars in the background.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gary Neeley likes to relax with his dogs Thor and Hercules when he gets out of work. The dogs were partially responsible for dragging him down a flight of stairs and fracturing his right foot, but he has graciously decided to forgive them. I was able to use one strobe bounced off a wall at camera right to light the couch, wall, and subjects.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

f-stop 4.0, shutter speed 1/400, ISO 200

Life In HD

Gary Neeley helps illustrate how life is sometimes viewed within the context of television reality. I wanted the base picture to show this reality as both mundane and vivid in comparison to actual perceived reality.
To get the effect of light coming out of a TV, I draped a Dance Dance Revolution game pad over a large screen TV, white side facing the strobe. I set the strobe to half power and let it fly. Taking multiple pictures both horizontal and vertical allowed me to vary the picture-in-picture mirror look. To achieve the surreal atmosphere I adjusted unsharp mask levels. I also added stylistic effects like film grain to the second and third screens.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

f-stop 4.0, shutter speed 1/60, ISO 800
Pete Naiukow poses indifferently on his balcony patio. I set the strobe inside the house looking out onto the patio through the sliding glass door. I taped two pieces of green plastic to the strobe to achieve the lime ambiance. I fixed Pete's color in photoshop, but left the green background deep and saturated.

f-stop 6.3, shutter speed 1/125, ISO 200
Pete Naiukow and his wife Jen stand serenely in front of a pond behind Naiukow's parents house in Houghton Lake, Michigan. The overcast weather provides a unique oppurtunity to contrast Pete and Jen against the forboding sky overhead. I set up one strob to camera right, zoomed as wide as possible, with a yellow plastic bag covering the bulb to warm up the light.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

f-stop 3.5, shutter speed 0.6, ISO 200
Jesse "Hollywood" Thwaites stands on a roof overlooking Mitchell Street in Cadillac, Michigan. Thwaites is a Cadillac native who loves the night life. We chose this spot to make the picture because the fence provides an interesting backdrop. Some of the strobe spilled onto the fence from the reflector paper in this picture, adding some contrast between the fence and the street behind it.

f-stop 5.6, shutter speed 1/200, ISO 200
Jesse "Hollywood" Thwaites wields a chainsaw with sinister intentions. This picture was taken behind his house next to the wood pile. I used a strobe with a piece of yellow construction paper taped over the flash. I then taped a piece of white reflective paper to the shed on the left hand side. I bounced the warm light from the strob onto the reflective paper to light Jesse.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

f-stop 4.8, shutter speed 1/160, ISO 200

The theme of this picture is Santa's jealousy over Halloween, and how he chooses to cope with the emotional frustration. I used a softbox behind and to the left of the pumpkin, with a white reflector opposite to bring out the face. We tried using another softbox with an umbrella to light the face, but it blew out the picture too much.

f-stop 4.0, shutter speed 1/200, ISO 200

Instruments and music is the obvious theme of this picture. The objects are a ukulele, harmonica, flute, and accordian. The sheet music is actually guitar tabulature, but nobody has to know that. I used a soft box behind the objects with a white reflector to lighten up the front a bit.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lamphere, Painting with Light, f-stop 4.0, shutter speed 20.0, ISO 1600

Although I had wanted the subject to actually be under the water as it was falling, this compromise seemed more practical. I had to set up my camera on a tripod amidst the flowing water, which made me somewhat nervous, but it turned out well enough. Somewhat problematic were the gels I decided to use, consisting of extremely thin and fragile parchment paper that would tear at even the mention of water.

Lamphere, Painting with Light, F-stop 3.5, Shutter Speed 15.0, ISO 800

As I ruminated with increasing frustration on the failures of my previous experimentations, my gaze became fixated on the magnificent and humbling assembly of the heavens. The idea of the wrath of God became the impromptu theme of the picture. What this man did to incur the incomprehensible wrath of The Father is beyond any man's capacity to understand. So I try not to think about it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pete "Daddy Dolla" Naiukow is an aspiring professional wrestler and Venue Consultant for Absolute Entertainment, a mid Michigan promotion company. Naiukow's persona in the ring is a subtle mixture of pimp and wealthy showboater. The essence of his character is arrogant and extremely narcissistic. The pictures seems to accentuate these traits significantly. I had some difficulty with the back light because I couldn't figure out how to lower the light enough to bounce off the wall without flooding the picture. I'm probably just an idiot and missed something obvious.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I learned that you can be very creative with lighting arrangements, but also destructive if unwanted light leaks into the lens. Details are the key to a good picture.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Phil Drops Out

Phil (name withheld by request) is an admitted drug manufacturer, distributor, and abuser. His prolonged drug experimentations have left him unable to function in society, so he has resorted to growing psychedelic mushrooms in order to survive. Phil lives with his friend Andrew and (Andrew's) pregnant girlfriend Sam. Andrew offered to let Phil stay with them if he provided him a computer and helped him start a batch of Psilocybin mushrooms. Phil agreed to these terms and the arrangement lasted without incident for nearly four months. At which point Andrew became increasingly frustrated with Phil on account of his lazy demeanor and self loathing disposition. Phil expresses anxiety about taking responsibility for his life, and often points to past psychological trauma as the reason why he can't seem to get himself together. But while he appears somewhat out of touch with his own reality, he fully understands that his current living conditions are a physical manifestation of the consequences of his past behavior. He knows what he did wrong, and he knows how to fix his own problems, he just doesn't know if he can.
To add further tension to the situation, Phil's hedonistic lifestyle is becoming more and more at odds with the family friendly environment Andrew and Sam wish to create for their forthcoming child. Phil is also feeling more alienated by both Sam and Andrew, who never let their growing animosity toward him be known. To this day he remains blissfully unaware. To classify Phil as a loser or junkie is to severely misrepresent and misunderstand the individual, but it's also hard to sympathize with someone who doesn't really try. He has said on multiple occasions that he has never really grown up, that his dependencies have left him in a state of perpetual ignorance.
At the end of March, 2009, Phil moved out of Andrew and Sam's apartment and began living with another friend a short distance away. The mushroom arrangement remained operational at Andrew's apartment until he was incarcerated for three months after failing a drug test. It remains to be seen whether or not they will start another harvest when Andrew is released in June.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Untitled from Chris Lamphere on Vimeo.

Gary “The Freak” Neeley is a professional wrestler who resides in the small town of Cadillac, Michigan. When he isn't pursuing his passion for big time wrestling, he works as a quality inspector for a local factory. On the evening of March 14, 2009, he performed a show in front of a moderately sized crowd at the civic arena in Roscommon, Michigan.
Before driving to the venue, Neeley ceremoniously packed his travel suitcase with some of the more vital necessities of his craft; face paint, hair die, burgundy tights, and custom tailored wrestling boots, along with some not so vital, yet equally important idiosyncratic effects ranging from a Bible to a picture of his young niece. Neeleys' charisma for wrestling is exemplified in the personas of the characters he creates in the ring. When asked what inspired him to develop “The Freak” moniker, he replied in so many words that it is merely an exacerbation of his own personality, proudly devoid of reservation, self-control, and social decorum.
Neeleys' scheduled bout for the evening was with long time associate, friend, and promotor Mike “Zero” Dombrowski. After meeting with Zero and discussing at length their respective ideas for the match, Neeley then spoke with his tag team co-conspirator for the day, James “Dillinger” Allred. Between the three, they devised a scenario which would result in a disqualification victory for the “babyface”, (babyface is a term pro wrestlers use for a crowd favorite), who in this case happened to be Zero. During the peak of Zero's heat, (heat is another euphemism for a series of progressively aggressive and successfully choreographed moves), Dillinger would intervene and force the disqualification win for Zero. After the forfeit victory, Neeley and Dillinger would proceed to beat Zero into a catatonic stupor, which would end in a staged kidnapping and high speed parking lot burnout with Zero captive in the trunk. Things went smoothly until they ran into Zero's sister outside having a smoke in the parking lot. Needless to say, she was concerned. After a brief moment of confusion, she realized what was happening and let the erstwhile escapees go about their business relatively unmolested. Neeley seemed disappointed with the results of the match because it didn't seem like they were in a hurry to leave the scene of the crime, but all in all, he was satisfied. After the match was over, they staged a drop off scene which entailed Neeley and Dillinger throwing Zero's body off a steep embankment. Simply Classic.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Here comes Joe

Troy Sophomore Joe Herlter played a Relay for Life benefit show put on by Moore Media Records on Thursday, May 19, 2009 at the Towers RFOC cafeteria on the campus of Central Michigan University. The show held a special significance to Hertler, who found out recently that his Grandmother had been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer and has six months to live. His apprehension was apparent at the beginning of his set as he struggled through one of his most familiar songs. Things seemed dire for Hertler, who couldn't seem to pull it together until the middle of his set, but eventually his experience and cool head prevailed as he finished the show to great applause. Hertler's pre show rituals include consumption of everything from vocal chord soothing tea to inhibition releasing vodka shots, the latter of which he attributes to his early show falters. Hertler's passion for music is contagious, as is his charisma, which he puts to good use in this particular show. Hertler uses music in an almost cathartic manner, with a macabre specialty in songs pertaining to young heartbreak and personal tragedy. His Grandmother has been a great influence on his life, and undoubtably, an influence on his music. There is a good chance she will continue to impact his music for many years after her passing.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Kendo King

Untitled from Chris Lamphere on Vimeo.

On Wednesday, April 15, I met with Tyler Dunham, president of the local Kendo Club, at Rose Arena on the campus of Central Michigan University. Dunham is an unassuming fellow with an almost perpetually humble sensibility about him. The kind of guy who draws little attention to himself in spite of the fact that he is capable of breaking teeth and smashing skulls if necessary. That quiet hombre standing in the corner of the bar that you don't want to mess with, no matter how brave the liquor is making you. Dunham was gracious enough to humor my ignorance and enlighten me on the basic tenants of Japanese Kendo.
Before Kendo, the Samurai practiced with real swords, which made the profession extremely hazardous, even in times of peace. Kendo was a practice sport developed to curb the high mortality rates of Japanese swordsman outside of battle. Bamboo swords replaced their lethal counterparts, and specialized armor was developed to provide additional protection in sensitive areas such as the face and groin. A typical match will last two minutes and be scored based on form, posture, location of strike, and “vocalization of spirit”, which is essentially a scream or a shriek used to both exhale air and intimidate the opponent.
After Dunham explained the rules and equipment of Kendo, he and his sparring partner Katina Mangus agreed to a demonstration bout which lasted close to five minutes. Kendo is a sport of strategy, skill, and speed. Its' popularity in Mount Pleasant is stifled by the fact that the average uniform and weapon ensemble will cost around 500 dollars at the low end. But, as Dunham testifies, the rewards are well worth the investment.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Depressed and Depraved

Depressed and Depraved from Chris Lamphere on Vimeo.

Derek Bacon resides in a dilapidated two bedroom trailer with his brother, sister, mother and father on the outskirts of Cadillac Michigan. His family epitomizes a cross section of America that the rest of us have conveniently pushed under the rug. His family has remained under the poverty line for the better part of the last decade. Efforts to change the situation remain frustratingly fruitless. It would be funny if it wasn't so needlessly tragic. Tragic and typical of disadvantaged families in the onset of the 21st century. The outside of the trailer is littered with the filth and waste of the family dogs, who must remained chained to the porch for fear that they would wonder off and become stolen. Their pelts seem infested with vermin, and open infections on one of the poor beasts ears must be regularly salved with antibiotics to prevent further spreading. Bacon's father works part time as a taxi driver, which nets him around 300 dollars on a good week. Work for the rest of the household is both temporary and extremely unstable. Derek's older brother Dave recently lost his job working for a factory that produces car doors for Fords and Chevy's. Lost his job not for shoddy job performance or coming in late every once in a while, but because the factory moved to Mexico. Derek also became terminated from his job at McDonalds, which he cannot collect unemployment on because the firing manager decided to block it. On more than one occasion, Bacon has claimed that the circumstances that have created his environment seem to be out of his control. It is hard to comprehend a omniscient force that oppresses people for no other reason than to prove it can. Talking with Bacon long enough will make one a believer. As he puts it, “Every time we get something going, something else goes wrong. I got to go to work, oh no, the car breaks down. Instead of going to work, I have to walk to the store with my Dad to buy parts to fix it.” Although their world seems grim, the Bacon families demeanor remains consistently half full, which inspires simultaneous feelings of hope, rage and heartbreak. Good things don't always happen to good people, the bacon's are a prime example of this.