Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Celebrations: Benefit

Midway through the Earth Celebrations workshop they held a benefit to raise funds for the upcoming pageant. Took place in the ACA Art Galleries in Chelsea, with loads of body-painting, great costumes, good art, food, and conversation.

Body-painting by Johanna Schwarzbeck, Aimee Margolis, and Izaskun Zabala.

Full gallery here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Earth Celebrations: workshop

While on break during a volunteer project through New York Cares, I very subtly pulled out the camera for a few candids. There was a brief blur of motion and a whiff of jet wake. My sleeve fluttered and I looked: someone was standing next to me where, a moment before, had been only empty air. "You're a photographer?" inquired she, innocently.

That was January.

The organization, Earth Celebrations, is an ecological/arts non-profit that puts on an increasingly elaborate pageant each year, with performances, costumes, body-painting, giant masks, etc.; hundreds of working hands are involved. The 2010 theme was the Hudson River and pollution thereof. A twice-weekly workshop was being organized to bring in arts & crafts-minded volunteers to repair the previous year's costumes, masks, etc. and construct new ones -- including a massive, shimmering green fish, segmented and articulated by performers in the style of a Chinese dragon. For a few hours every Wednesday and Saturday I shot the progress of the workshop in an antechamber of the World Financial Center, watching lumps of clay mutate by force of will into papier-mâché masks, and handfuls of soil planted in pocketed fabric sprout into living grass skirts. By May I'd logged over 3,000 shots (by a rough estimate) and still had the pageant itself to shoot.

This is the greatest hits edition; too many projects, faces, and hands to jam in here. Full gallery here. More related galleries coming soon.

Credits where due: Masks and Big Fish by the lovely, talented (and fine photographic subject) Lucrecia Novoa. Grass skirts and Wicker Seahorse by Michele Brody -- amazing installation works, check out her site. Earth Celebrations is founded and run by Felicia Young. To co-organizer and go-to gal Pavla Uppal, who asked, "You're a photographer?", I owe the whole thing: thanks Pavla.