Epiphany in Mexican Muralism

As many of you know, last year I, Carrie-Anne, decided to go back to school for my Masters in Fine Arts degree. This has always been a personal goal of mine and with a little positive energy, prayer, and much help from the Veterans Administration–it came knocking at my door. In the Spring of 2014, I began attending Long Island University for my MFA in studio art with a concentration in photography. It has been an absolutely amazing ride!

My goal for going back to school, was not only to work with and be around other photographers, but to also work with and be around other artists with similar passions; it was to learn things that I had never explored before – ceramics, painting, print making. To see photography in a different way, to learn about myself and the deliberate choices that I sometimes unconsciously make in my art work.

What I am working on now-

In the Spring of 2015, I took my last required Art History course. I had already taken History of Photography 1 and 2, and in my undergrad I had taken art history in the Rococo, Renaissance and Medieval periods. So when I saw Mexican Muralism, taught by Niria E. Leyva-Gutiérrez Ph.D as an option for my graduate studies, I immediately took it. It is now, and will probably always be, the hardest Art history course I have taken to date. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but I not only had to learn the art that was coming out of Mexico, I had to learn the history of Mexico. I mean of course I did! How can you study Mexican Muralism and not know the history of Mexico? I mean art imitates life does it not?

I will say, we were so incredibly blessed with an amazing Professor who was so passionate about the subject. In class, we studied “Los Tres Grandes,” The three BIG ones – Diego, Siqueros, and Orozco. Of course, with Diego, we studied the amazing Frida Coelho. I struggled a bit. I felt like I was studying and reading all of the time. By the second week of class, more than 5 people had dropped out.

I am really glad I stuck it out. It inspired me and led me to one of my current, in progress, bodies of work.

First, let me explain the circumstances of the night that it came about:

Many of you who know me, know that I tend to be a bit OCD. When I enter a room, I like to stand in a certain place, be in a certain area, and in a class, I like to sit on a certain side and in a certain place as well. I generally like an area where I can see the whole room and where it is not too terribly congested. On one particular day, I had come to class about 10 minutes late. When I entered the room, not only was my seat taken, but every seat in that general area of the classroom had been taken! Annoyed and a bit disheveled, I reluctantly found a chair on the other side of the classroom, behind two girls who always chatted throughout the entire class, both of which mostly surfed the internet looking for clothes and such.

Annoyed, I sat down and kept my hat on, pulled down to just above my eyes. This is how I block people out. Niria was handing back out midterm exams, 3 essay questions. I got an A-. It was then that even she noticed me in my discomfort on the “wrong side” of the room. We chuckled and she began her lesson.

David Alfaro Siqueiros_Proletarian Victim_1933

David Alfaro Siqueiros_Proletarian Victim_1933

On this day we would be discussing David Alfaro Siqueiros. As she began her lecture and going through his work, I found myself sketching. At first, just a few notes, but then I began to feverishly sketch out proposed studio lighting, model ideas, and names and dates of certain Siqueiros pieces. I became so incredibly inspired by her talk, by this class, and by the work of Siqueiros. I thought to myself: these would really look great in studio. As many of you know, once upon a time I was a pretty accomplished designer. I think that it was because of that era of my life that I now choose to use as minimal Photoshop as possible in my photography.

I believe that there is a certain level of knowledge and skill attained when one can come to a place where they strive to first get it “right” in camera. So when I am in post-process of my images (in the “editing phase”) I will, most of the time, only do in Lightroom, what I would be able to do in a traditional darkroom. Usually, there is no photoshop involved. And these next 4 or 5 pieces would involve tricky lighting and body makeup.

Every artist should have a network of really good friends, with different talents, who love to work on something creative… just for the sake of doing it. Art for Arts sake. I am blessed with a nice network of other creatives, makeup artists, other photographers, models, etc. My makeup artist was the first call. Now I do work with quite a few makeup artists, one or two for my portrait sessions… but I knew this project would require a certain level of special effects make up. I immediately called my very good friend, Grace Vasquez. And like Thomas Hart Benton said when commissioned to create his amazing mural “America Today,” I told Grace that while I could not pay her, I would be able to “finance the eggs.” Anything she needed, airbrush, make up, anything at all, would be provided…. Oh and of course, I would feed her! With that, our deal was made and we set out to create our first piece together, a recreation of Proletarian Victim, 1933, by David Alfaro S David Alfaro Siqueiros, iqueiros. We found a model willing to hold the grueling pose in the nude and we set out to the studio.

Below is the first draft, my notes for fixing some issues, and the final UNEDITED piece. 🙂

Carrie Anne Gonzalez, Proletarian Victim First Draft, 201

Carrie Anne Gonzalez Proletarian Victim Shoot – Notes

Carrie Anne Gonzalez, Proletarian Victim (after David Alfaro Siqueiros, Proletarian Victim, 1933), 2015

Carrie Anne Gonzalez, Proletarian Victim (after David Alfaro Siqueiros, Proletarian Victim, 1933), 2015

Amanda and Jerry

Second shooter, Joseph, and I really enjoy shooting our weddings together. We love being apart of our couple’s big day, and getting to know both them and their families. Amanda and Jerry were no exception. During the months and weeks leading up tp the big day, we really got a chance to bond with them, be it over beers or coffee, many laughs were had. Amanda and Jerry were just as excited to have us photograph their wedding, as we were to shoot it. Guys, it was truly an honor and a blessing. I hope you love your images, and we can’t wait to see you again! Congratulations!

You can view some highlights from their wedding here.

Why I Hate Summer Sunsets

I’m a full time marketer, a full time writer, and Carrie would call me a most-of-the-time critic. I love things that are beautiful, but I really hate cliché, which leads me to this article…sunsets during summer.

Well…I love sunsets and warm weather, especially with a drink on the beach at dusk surrounded by friends and camera in hand. But it’s so cliché! It falls into the category of “everyone is a photographer” because they added a sepia filter to their sunset picture and posted it on Instagram. So to all instagramers—think of something more original! Yes, it’s beautiful, but seriously, google “summer sunset,” is your work really better?

Okay, so you’re capturing your moment. What differentiates that sunset from others? What makes that day stand out? I bet a year from now, you’ll know where you were but not who you were with, what made that day rock or insufferable, and you can’t even remember the date.

To that end, remember that truly great photography doesn’t rest within HDR and editing, it derives from the photographer. Some tips and tricks to help differentiate your landscape shots:

  1. Solid ND filters and polarizing filters still have their place in landscape shots.
  2. Solid neutral density filters reduce the amount of light entering the lens, which extends shutter speeds for long-exposure shots.
  3. Polarizer filters remove reflections from the surface of water and shiny leaves.
  4. Polarizer filters also help boost the contrast between blue skies and white cloud

– T.

The Beauty of Band Shooting

There’s another part of Theresa and Carrie’s lives they haven’t mentioned enough, in my opinion, and that would be me! My name is Catherine Weston and currently I’m interning for the studio in regards to the public relations aspect, and yes, you read that correctly, I’m also Theresa’s younger sister! I’ve worked with both Theresa and Carrie on numerous occasions and I have to admit that working with Carrie Weston Studios has really helped to expand my interest and love of photography. While I do enjoy all different types of photography and I love what the studio has to offer with its unique outlook on weddings, family, etc., I believe that band photography takes the number one spot on my  list of favorite categories because not only is there an aura of excitement and positive energy, but there is also a mixture of passion for the arts that’s hard to find anywhere else…

Excitement is in the air, the lights are low, anticipation is high.

The crowd looks excited and they’re all waiting for the show to start; the equipment is all set to go.

Having the right atmosphere and the proper sound means everything to a band about to perform in front of a live audience, so that’s all they need…right?

Wrong.

New bands need decent marketing—and it’s true, a band won’t get anywhere without good quality recordings and a clean website to display its contact information. So what else is missing?

A photographer!

Photography is one of the key factors in moving a musician/band toward the success that they’ve always dreamed of; how are they going to take the right steps to make it big if there’s nothing to show the world aside from some low-quality demo videos on Youtube? When prospective listeners can see a visual of how hard the band is working and the energy being thrown around on stage or behind the scenes, they become more interested.

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Just this past week, I was doing a shoot for the up and coming band “We Build Tomorrow” as they played a show at the Summer Festival in Potsdam, NY. As I ran, crouched, and climbed on some things I probably shouldn’t have to get the perfect shots, it was one of the more fun shoots I’ve done in my life thus far! The most rewarding feeling isn’t even getting the amazing shot you work so hard to achieve…it isn’t even the gratitude received by the members of the band after the show is over…the real feeling that makes it all worth it at the end of the day is knowing that I helped some talented people gain some really amazing recognition. Throughout the rest of the summer festival there were compliments thrown at the band left and right, but when I got back to my computer and threw those pictures up online for them, the amount of views, “likes,” “favorites,” and “re-tweets” skyrocketed.

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Through the help of this one, single shoot combined with true musical talent, “We Build Tomorrow” is now becoming more popular and they are on their way to recording their first official demo album.

Photography can help achieve many things and not just the expected—it is especially handy in achieving the unexpected too! Shooting for unrecognized bands might just be my favorite thing to do with my camera, and it taught me that through pursuing my own passion and working together with other people involved with different passions, more doors can open and anything can happen.

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* To check out more of my stuff and see how Theresa and Carrie inspired me to pursue my own dreams, feel free to follow me on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/CatherineWestonPhotography?ref_type=bookmark

Enter the $1,000 Give Away! Seeking Creative Engaged Couples to Enter for a Chance to Win!

East Northport’s Carrie Weston Studios is making a special offer starting this St. Patrick’s Day for brides to be. Starting this St. Patrick’s Day and running through April 18, 2014, the Studio will be launching their first contest for $1,100 worth of services toward five lucky couples.

The Give Away includes $3,000 worth of photography services for only $1,100. Five lucky
couples will be selected to receive day of wedding photography; two photographers; bridal
makeup and trial session; in-studio bridal mini-session; on-location engagement session. To be considered, participants must submit a brief essay (no more than 500 words) stating what makes them “lucky.”

“We’re looking for unique and creative entries,” said Carrie-Anne Gonzalez, partner at Carrie Weston Studios. “We intend for the $1,100 Give Away to encourage entrants to consider not only what makes their story special, but how capturing the essence of who they really are should resonate on camera.”

The contest, which launches March 17, 2014, is open to NewYork residents over the age of 18. Competition details and more information can be found at http://www.carriewestonstudios.com. An active discussion will be held on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #CWLuckyBride.

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Top 10 Questions to Ask Before your Engagement Session

Many of our clients know that they “should” have an engagement session, but don’t really know what to expect or what to look for. We always recommend starting with a creative brainstorm—and a great place to start is Pinterest. Look at various boards for inspiration and ideas, and don’t be afraid to ask your friends that have gotten married about their experience.

Ultimately, the key to a successful engagement shoot is to be yourself—be comfortable, have fun and don’t be afraid to show your love on camera! Below are the top ten questions our clients ask prior to an engagement shoot:

1.      Where should we take our pictures? Choose one or a few locations that are meaningful to you. We recently had a couple select the high school where they first met, and the movie theater where they had their first date.  This always effects the session in a positive way, not only were they excited to be reliving these meaningful moments, but their energy and passion was caught on camera.

2.      What should we wear? First of all, bring multiple outfits. Depending on the lighting and the creative mood you’re in, you may want to change halfway through the shoot or when you arrive at a different location. Dress to your personality, be fun and creative! If you’re sporty, wear your favorite team shirt, if you have a favorite blouse that just cant stay on the hangar, wear it! Remember to try and color-coordinate, keeping it in the same color family. Some additional tips are:

·         For the ladies:   Wear bright colors for one of your looks, the bright colors will enhance the photo and landscape. Changing into a darker or more neutral color will help bring the focus and attention to your faces.

·          For the gents:  Bring a few different shirts to change into to match your partner. A button down shirt will help to frame your face rather than a t-shirt, and also provides more flexibility with your look (sleeves, buttoned up, tucked in, etc.)

3.      What shouldn’t we wear? Well…most of our clients don’t ask us this…but we sometimes wish we would! Do not wear baggy or loose shirts or pants. The baggy and loose clothing will make you look wider in photos and hide your figure. Do not over tan or start tanning the week of your engagement session—you will look orange in the photos. And finally, do not wear stripes and plaid patterns, they never look good in the final shots.

4.      How long is an engagement session? Depending on travel time to your various locations, an engagement session is typically anywhere between 1-3 hours.

 5.       What is the best time of day to shoot? We will typically schedule an engagement session in the early morning or about 2-3 hours before sunset. The lighting truly makes all the difference in the quality of the photographs, so it’s imperative to BE ON TIME.

6.       Should we use a theme? While you do not have to select a specific “theme,” themes can be fun. We’ve had couples set up scenarios for their engagement sessions that fit their hobbies and interests and were really excited about the unique outcome. Some ideas are: camping, baking, picnic, sailing, staying at home, ice skating, etc.

 7.      Should we bring accessories or props? Absolutely! Your favorite hats, ties, sunglasses or scarf can really help to compliment/accent your outfit. Don’t be afraid to bring “out of the ordinary” props with you also—we’ve used old furniture, instruments, pets, toys, balloons and even masks and not only was it fun to shoot, but the couples had a great time and laughed the most, using the props they brought. Finally, as seen on most of our social media, we’re big fans of chalkboards or poster-boards that we can Photoshop text onto…which is always a good idea for your thank you or save the date cards!

 8.      When will we see our photos? Always ask your photographer how long it will take to see the photos. If you saved your shoot for the last minute and need the images for the save the date, make sure you tell your photographer. Depending on the time of year and how booked they are, it typically takes 2-4 weeks for the final photos to be posted to the gallery. We typically get excited and will post our top 10 within a week to our blog or Instagram so that you can share with your family and friends!

 9.       Should we get our hair/make-up done? The engagement session is a great opportunity to test out your makeup/hair styling by using this as a trial. We typically recommend that the ladies get their makeup done and a manicure—regardless of anything, we will be photographing your ring and the last thing you want is chipped nail polish. For the gents, we recommend getting a haircut prior to the shoot and also making sure their nails are manicured.

10.  How do we make the most of our session? Rely on your photographer’s creative input and don’t be afraid to take risks. This may involve some out of the ordinary concepts—but if you want those unique photos that no one else has, trust in your artist. While the photographer is trying to capture the essence of your relationship, remember to act natural, don’t be afraid to play up your relationship by kissing and embracing for the camera.

 Engagement sessions are a great way to create long-lasting memories to share with your friends, family and future generations.  Do some research before deciding on location and don’t be afraid to ask to meet or Skype with your photographer to come up with some creative ideas! We always enjoy sending our favorite photos from Pinterest and magazines to help spark the creative juices!

Please visit our facebook to view our engagement photos or our website for more information! http://www.carriewestonstudios.com

Studio Walkway

Working on the walkway for the studio entrance. Next project – opening the door with the help of JEG Construction!

New Studio Walkway

New Studio Walkway

Cat – Senior Portraits

Cat was back for the summer from her first year at college. Wanting to document this moment in her life, she called up Carrie Weston Studios to book a shoot, to include make up by Art by Betty Lynn. Here are some shots from that day.

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To view the rest of the album please visit our facebook page, and remember to “like” 🙂

24/7

Made it into the 24-7. To view the article, click the following link.

http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/press-release-service/341270