—  Ken and Vesta  —

Wedding and Portrait Photography

541 773-3373

Black and White 126-150

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Smile Now. Cry Later.

While wandering around the mall on Christmas Eve, Vesta and I saw this sweatshirt on display and since I’ve been a livelong fan of Norma Jean, I made the photograph.

However, I didn’t buy the sweatshirt, though I really like the image. It works for me in black and white, but the sweatshirt had red in it that I didn’t like, though I appear to be in the minority, because I’ve seen folks around town wearing it and the guy was selling one as I took the picture.

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JP, the Ugg Man.

Here is Jay Philip, AKA JP. Vesta and I met him as we were strolling the mall, looking for someone to photograph, when all of a sudden we heard him say, “Hey, photograph me,” as we were walking by. And in all the years we’ve been going around looking for strangers to photograph, JP is the first one to come right out and ask us.

So, of course, we photographed him. How could we not?

JP is from Geneva, but he’s been in the states for 26 years, which is three years longer than he’d lived in Switzerland, before he moved away. Now he lives in sunny Florida, but he spends his Christmas seasons in Reno.

They’re three months long, his Christmas seasons, because he has a kiosk in the mall, where he sells Uggs, which are sheepskin boots in case you didn’t know.

I bought my first pair years and years ago and after eight or ten years they started to wear out, but I repaired ‘em with duct tape and got a couple more years out of them, because as the tape started to wear out, I’d just wrap more around them, till I had this great, grey, bulbous, duct tape ball on the front of my shoes.

Sadly, eventually, I had to trash ‘em. That was a sad day. But now I have another pair which are into about year five and still going strong. Uggs are good shoes.

PS. In the photo in the comments below, you can see JP with his shoes. And if you’re looking for a pair, he hasn’t gone back to Florida yet, so you still have time.

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And here is JP with his sheepskin shoes. Can you say, "Uggs?”

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And here is Vesta, laughing up a storm with the Ugg Man.
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Nike Runners.

Vesta and I were wandering in and out of stores at the mall last night, when we came across this display in Macy’s. I can remember when they just had mannequins standing straight up, staring out into space with vacant eyes. This is way better.

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Mother and Daughter.

Here are Arrin and Jamie, who Vesta and I met in the mall last night. They were there, because Jamie wanted to spend her Christmas money.

We’d been in the mall for about an hour or so, walking the perimeter, because it’s cold outside and the mall’s not, so we can get a couple miles in, without freezing our you know whats off. Plus, we can find someone while we’re there to photograph for this project. Two birds with one stone, so to speak.

But I was a little jealous of Jamie, because nobody gave me any Christmas money. But that was okay, because there was nothing in the mall I really wanted. Well maybe a Cinnabon. I really wanted one of those.

But it doesn’t matter how much money I had in my pocket, fifty cents or five thousand dollars, I’d had to find somebody else to go the mall with, cuz somebody clutches my shoulder in a vise like grip every time we pass the Cinnabon store.

But eventually she’s gonna have to go to the bathroom when we’re there and when she does, I’m gonna make a run for it.

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Surviving.

Here is Sue, who Vesta and I met last night at a Grocery Outlet Store in Reno. We stopped in for wine and she was behind us in line and we got to talking. I told her the two bottles of Cab in my hands were dinner and she asked if we were celebrating something.

I said no and she said she had something to celebrate. I asked what and she told me she’d had an MRI a few hours ago and her cancer was still in remission. Yeah, she said cancer.

Sue has mestastatic cervical cancer. That means by the time her cervical cancer had been diagnosed, it had spread throughout her body and the survival rate for that is not good. However, her cancer has been in remission for two years. And that’s a big deal and she was pretty happy about it.

Her mood was infectious and we left the store a whole heck of a lot happier then when we went in. You know, it’s awful gosh darned amazing how someone like Sue, who’s suffered so much, can be so happy and how she can pass that happy onto others.

It makes you think.

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Batgirl.

The guy on the bottom, the one holding up Batgirl, he just showed up and shouted out, “Does anybody want to fly?”

He had no takers.

“Come on!” he said. “No experience necessary.”

“I’ll give it a try,” Batgirl said. “But I’m a little scared.”

“It’s okay, you’ll be fine.”

Then before a jack rabbit could jack, he had her upside down and in the air with her legs spread wide, like she’d been doing it all her life.

And I nudged Vesta. “You could go next.”

“In your dreams.”

“Aww, come on, we’re at Burning Man,” I gave her my most sincere smile. “I’ll take your picture.”

“How about you do it and I’ll take yours?”

So we agreed neither of us would do it and we ambled up to the counter, you can see way behind upside down Batgirl, and I got my morning coffee.

At Burning Man, there are only two things for sale, coffee and ice, well three now, cuz they’ve added tea. They got ice in a few places around Black Rock City. We didn’t need any this time, so I don’t know exactly where you had to go to get it. Our last time out, we ran out halfway through and we had to stand in line to get more and we really had fun in those lines, talking and joking with all the great people.

You can buy coffee at Center Camp, which is this giant circus tent type affair, where people hang out in the heat of the day. A lot of photographers hang out there as well and we met three or four from Reno and a young wedding photographer from Ireland, who had his Canon 6D stolen at Reno Airport. Fortunately, he said, “There is this store called Best Buy, where I was able to get a new one, before I caught my ride out here.”

About an hour later, Vesta tripped over his new camera. “Where is he?” she said, then, “No wonder it was stolen.” She picked it up. Ran her eyes around the camp, saw him. “Hey you,” she shouted as she approached him. “You think it’s safe, just cuz you’re out here?”

“Thank you,” he said as she handed him his camera, “I’ll be more careful.”

“It was perfectly safe,” this old hippy guy said. “Nobody steals here.”

“And cows fly,” Vesta said as she turned and left him with his mouth open.

And I can kind of understand the old hippy’s point of view. He dearly wanted to believe that nobody who came out and lodged themselves in Black Rock City for one week out of the year, would ever steal. But shit happens, that’s why everybody locks their bikes. Still, for the most part, this city, for this week, is the best place to be on this great big old blue Earth we’re all living on.

“Stupid, stupid man,” Vesta said as we were slow walking back to our camp with me sipping at my coffee.

“He’s the best wedding photographer in Ireland,” I said.

“How do you know that?”

“He told me.”

“And you believed him?”

“He sounded sincere.” I smiled wide. “Besides, he’s too dumb to lie.”

PS. If you check out this photo closely, you might find a leg where it has no business being. I just noticed it and for a brief second, I thought about photoshoping it out, but then I figured most people won’t notice it. How it got where it is, I don’t know, but it’s there.

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The Prettiest Girl in Lakewood.

I almost didn’t post this photograph, because back when I took it, all the rage was getting your photos printed on this stupid artsy paper with grooves in it. Like they thought groovy paper made for groovy prints.

Fortunately, this was a one time deal for us. After we saw the groovy prints, we never used that paper again. Unfortunately, I didn’t send the film right back and get new prints. And even more unfortunately, the film is long gone.

So what I have here is a black and white scan of a color photo printed on groovy paper. Which just makes me wanna throw rocks at Simon and Garfunkel.

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Don and Donna.

Late yesterday afternoon we went walking around Costco in Sparks and when I say walking around, I mean walking around, like walking the perimeter. Vesta’s got an app on her phone that tells us how far we go and we like to get a couple miles in, but we don’t like walking outside all bundled up when it forty below or even when it’s forty above.

Because at first, we’re all toasty warm, well our faces get cold, but everything else is nice and comfortable. But about the time we get to the quarter mile mark, we’re sweating to beat the band, so we shed the first layer, which means we’re carrying our jackets as we walk.

And when we close in on the first mile, we’re sweating even more, you know, like those rotisserie chickens Costco sells for $4.99. So off comes a sweatshirt and we feel pretty good, but we’re carrying more stuff and now we’re a mile from home and in no time we start to get cold, cuz now we only have tee shirts on top of long underwear on.

And so we wind up putting the sweatshirt and jackets back on and sweating more and those jackets usually come off again, before we get home.

So, as you can see, walking in the cold really sucks for us. So thank goodness for the Mall and Costco.

Anyway, we were done with our Costco walk and about ready to go home, when we passed Don and Donna in the checkout line. Donna looked at us like she knew us. She said “Hello,” as we walked by and all of a sudden I knew we knew her, but from where?

So I said, “You guys look interesting and we have this black and white project—

And after they said we could take their picture and we did that, they told us they met us at Jim and Sheila’s wedding a couple years ago. In fact Don was a groomsman, which was way cool. So we talked to them for a few minutes, then we left and as we were in the car, heading home, one Vesta started to sing that Richie Valens song. And I swear, we sang it most of the way home. It must be the warm air they have in Costco.

PS. Don and Donna, if you’re reading this, you can find the color version of this photograph in the comments below. Hope you like it. And thank you, Donna for liking my stuff on Facebook, I feel so bad that I didn't recognize you straightaway.

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Playing for a Fiddle.

I photographed these guys playing for change a couple years ago in Ashland, Oregon and I gave ‘em a couple bucks for the cause, because first off they were entertaining and secondly, they had a goal, they needed sixty dollars so they could be a duet.

I don’t know how the guy on the left lost his fiddle, whether it was stolen, lost or run over by a truck. All I knew about it was that he didn’t have it anymore and he needed a new one, probably so they could continue their journey, busking their way around America.

You gotta envy them, playing their music to raise enough money to go from town to town. Granted that’s what the Rolling Stones do to and for sure, they do it better. But today's busker may very well be tomorrow’s superstar.

It could happen.

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Playing for a Fiddle.

I photographed these guys playing for change a couple years ago in Ashland, Oregon and I gave ‘em a couple bucks for the cause, because first off they were entertaining and secondly, they had a goal, they needed sixty dollars so they could be a duet.

I don’t know how the guy on the left lost his fiddle, whether it was stolen, lost or run over by a truck. All I knew about it was that he didn’t have it anymore and he needed a new one, probably so they could continue their journey, busking their way around America.

You gotta envy them, playing their music to raise enough money to go from town to town. Granted that’s what the Rolling Stones do to and for sure, they do it better. But today's busker may very well be tomorrow’s superstar.

It could happen.

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Mad Max, Eat Your Heart Out.

I photographed this truck Mad Max/Burning Man truck during Reno’s Hot August Nights, last August and I gotta say, Vesta and I would look good driving across America in it. Heck, anybody would.

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Meet Sam, who built the truck and brought it to Reno for Hot August Nights. He apparently has a Mad Max sort of imagination. It was pretty great meeting him, cuz he was so upbeat and happy about being in town, about being among all the classic cars with his truck.

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Scruffy the Cat. 

Here is Scruffy, who lays in Rest in Reno’s Rancho San Rafael Park.

When he left us, Vesta and I wanted to bury him in the park he loved so well, so we smuggled in a shovel, found a spot where the rangers would never find his grave and that’s where we buried him. We used to come by on occasion and visit his grave, but now it’s fenced off, so people can’t go there.

Anyway, he was a great friend and I miss him, so I’m glad I came across his Scruffy face.

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I don’t know who this gorgeous woman is. I should’ve asked her name after I made this photograph three years ago or so in downtown Reno, but for reasons I don’t know, I didn’t

But I know she had a great smile and I’m glad I captured it, but I’m not glad that I didn’t post it back then. Ah well, here she is now. Her smile is putting a smile on my day. I hope it puts one on yours too.

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Here’s another photo taken on the day I photographed the woman above. The two girls in this photograph were pretty gosh darned happy. Perhaps the wine helped (there was a wine walk going on), I know I usually have a smile on my face and I'm pretty happy when I have that first sip of wine at the end of the day and I'm even happier after the last.

Anyway, Vesta captured these girls with her old camera as they were looking at me as I was photographing them with my new one. I liked my photo okay, but I loved this one, loved how she captured movement with the smiles.

It just goes to show you, newer isn’t alway better. Not always. Actually, not a lot of the time. I’ll give you an example, we have a spiffy Toyota Yaris, only a few years old. It does everything a car is supposed to do and it gets great mileage, but you know what, I’d rather be driving a ‘55 Chevy any day.

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