Friday, August 15, 2008


Takin' pitchas is hard.

I have friends that are photographers. My friend Steve LaBadessa is an excellent photographer, for instance:

I've seen him work before. It's a complicated thing to get a casual photograph.

Rick Lee is in my Blogroll. He's terrific too. He has the ability to frame the mundane in an interesting way. Nothing is boring to look at if he looks at it. Our blogfriend Ruth Anne's brother Paul Gero is a good photographer too.

When I got married, my wife and I were broke, and had to think outside the box a bit about everything. We hired a newspaper photographer, a friend of Steve's, I think, to take our wedding pictures. He worked for a day's pay and turned all the negatives over to us, unlike wedding photographers' usual M.O. of charging you every time you want a print. The pictures were better, and more candid without being amateurish.

Candid without being amateurish is what all people strive for in modern photography. You don't pose, exactly. You do, but without the appearance of posing. Jay Leno wasn't just strolling through that garden, after all.

I need to take pictures that are like really old pictures now. People used to pose like they were fruit in a still life. People had to stand stock-still because of the long shutter times, and got in the habit of arranging themselves and staring right into the camera. I love photos like that. People almost never look at the camera like that now.

I used to take what are the equivalent of faux-candid pictures of my furniture. I'd just place them in my house and take a picture. I'm told that my photographs are OK for what they are. My equipment is old and not very useful, and I am not trained.

I'm working towards having the furniture stare out of the picture now, like the newlyweds. No context. Nothing deflected. Plain. It's really hard to photograph the furniture properly and I've got to master it.

Funny thing about the sepia people gazing out of the photograph. They're still looking right at us. No candid shot, real or a set-up, ever does that. The squares always win.


Anwyn said...

I like that table. It doesn't appear to be in your catalog. I'd be interested in its desktop dimensions and height. Looks like a good editing desk. :)

What a great idea, hiring a newspaper photog at the deal you got.

SippicanCottage said...

Hi Anwyn- It is a very handsome thing. We call it a "Mennonite Table." It is a terrific writing desk. My son has one for doing his homework and using his computer. It's not in the catalog yet, although I've sold some already. I have lots of furniture I've made, some as custom designs for nice people (Hi Ruth Anne! Hi Rob C!) that take too long to make it into the catalog. I am a one man band most days.

It's 22"x38" 30" high. It's an exact replica of a real antique. It's $499.00 plus shipping. Shipping a larger table like that is a lot to where you are ($215.00).

Anybody who reads my blog, especially Anwyn, can have one right now, shipped anywhere in the lower 48 US, for $550.00 including shipping. Email me at if you're interested. I have three of them in the shop in various colors, all almost complete.

Instant ShamWow! sale on Sippican! Of course no one reads blog comments so I'm safe.

misterarthur said...

For our wedding, I bought a box of one-use cameras with film in them (remember that?) Everyone snagged one on the way in. The only problem was that everyone was very frugal with their shots until they'd had a bunch to drink, so our wedding photos consist of a couple of normal snaps and a box full of photos of people doing very silly things.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Here's Paul's latest wedding, in Oxnard, of all places. Sippican: you were so ahead of the curve. Now documentary style weddings are all the rage.

And my brother, being a Pulitzer Prize nominated photojournalist in his younger days, is an excellent choice.

But, daggummit!, for produce you cannot beat Rick Lee.

David St Lawrence said...

Lighting something in a confined space can be a challenge.

Get some foamcore panels from your local art supply store and use them as reflectors to light the top and sides of objects like that table.

They are cheap, light and rigid and easy to handle and store. They will let you make the most of any lighting you have.

SippicanCottage said...

Hi David- That's good advice. That picture actually has a diffuser on the light on one side, and a reflector on the other as you suggest. A bed sheet and a road sign.

When I finish my setup, I'll post it on the blog and you can snicker at it.

Ruth Anne- Those are very fine pictures indded. I know Oxnard pretty well. I lived in LA 25 years ago, and had friends in Oxnard.