Part 2 will be blogged next week! Stay tuned :)
Online Boudoir Workshop
Coming This Fall
It’s not often that a girl gets to dip into a Scotch Tasting at The Jonathan Club in Downtown LA - an old school boy’s club if ever there was one! So I consider myself one lucky gal!… Last weekend, I was invited to a Bachelor Party scotch tasting hosted by Coe Bloomberg, Man about Town, lucky groom to be, and long-time member of the JC. I’ve been an honorary member of the Bloomberg family since I shot their family photos about 5 years ago… I’ve since shot 4 of their weddings, some headshots, engagement pictures, boudoir – you name it! – and we’ve shared many dinners and good times. I adore the Bloombergs, and I get teary-eyed at all of their events… such a sap.
When Coe invited me to join him and the boys at the Macallan Scotch Tasting – to photograph the event – he insisted that I take a seat and enjoy some scotch. Well, if you insist!
Toasting the man of the hour. Groom to be, Coe (on the right) with his two son-in-laws to be… along with a few dozen other guys :)
We enjoyed 6 different types of Macallan Scotch that night. Upon arriving, we were greeted with a 12 (I missed out on that – long story – but I was bounced at first :) Then we moved on to the 15 – which was yummy. Then the 17, which was interesting… Then… my absolute favorite, the 18!… oh, delicious! I had more notes on the complexities and flavors of each, but I’ve totally forgotten the details, so I just remember varying levels of “Oh my lord, that’s Yummmmy!” Hee hee – I’m a girl.
The 4th round was the so-called “King of Malts” the 21, but eh, didn’t beat my 18.
The JC version of Good Cop / Bad Cop.
The groom’s son, Chris, sniffing the scotch right before winning a bottle of my beloved 18, which of course he gave to his dad…
Making it “neat” – Yes, I’m taking a pic with my right and drinking with my left. Hey, I was a guest too! Is this pic tilted?…
Uh oh – better put down the camera. That’s all for now!…
A bit of boudoir coming up next…
Cheers! with the 18 :)
Ok, I have a confession to make… this man, this gorgeous German, is the reason I have been such a neglectful blogger lately. Gunnar and I met in December at the Tony Robbins event, Date with Destiny…. and well… it sure was! He just flat out rocked my world…
Last week, we spent about 20 minutes in my studio taking some shots for his business, but I gotta say… I was taking shots for me! I wanted to capture all the parts I love… handsome, hot, and masculine… thoughtful, sexy, and fun.
Ok, I admit it – I asked him to take it all off…
…and I’ll end it on that note :)
I had a blast switching it up and photographing a man, my man in particular this time. I hope to make “Man About Town” a regular feature on the blog to balance out all the boudoir shoots with some masculine energy!
Amen to that :)
“Women are Crazy, Men are Stupid” by Howard J. Morris and Jenny Lee has just hit the bookstores, and I couldn’t be more excited. The couple had commissioned me back in April to shoot their author photographs for the book jacket… The shoot was a blast and the pics are meant to look like a photo booth strip (take a peek at their session here.)
The couple and the book are already receiving positive reviews and have been featured on “Good Morning America” and in The NY Times. So run to the bookstore and buy this hysterical and honest account of how stupid and crazy clash and accomodate each other.
Then flip allllll the way to the back….
…and scan way waaaaaaaay down… Let me zoom in for you…
Lol! Published! Kind of.
This past weekend, I brought my mom into the bookstore to surprise her, and when I opened the book to the back flap – she just said “Wait, I have to get my glasses.” lol!
Driving by, you just might miss “Jack’s Polished Act”… a tiny shack floating in the middle of a busy and enormous car wash parking lot on Pico and Beverly Glen in Los Angeles. The shop consists of just two chairs on top of a big drawer full of tools, and the owner ain’t Jack… his name’s Billy.
Billy started shining shoes at 9 years old on a street corner in Oklahoma. Billy knew exactly what Boot Black was when I mentioned my Boot Black project to him, and he agreed that it’s an interesting profession rich in history that would make for a great photo book. Then Billy educated me a bit: he said you can call him a Boot Black or a Shine Man, but if he were still shining shoes at a barbershop, then you’d call him a Porter. Sometimes he’s also referred to as a Dye Man.
Two customers came for a shine the few minutes I was there. Billy works fast, and he used old socks for shine cloths.
Apparently a shoe shine today at Jack’s Polished Act will set you back six bucks.
After his last shine, we sat down to take a break and share some shoe-shining stories. He told me about his family of 7 kids and 14 grandkids – one son was a photographer but sadly passed away. We talked about the old days, the hot weather, the kindness of people, and staying active into your older years. All the while, the nearby car wash employee’s are watching us and yelling at him: “don’t break the camera!”
As I was leaving, Billy said “you’re very kind.” I said that I would be back, wearing my boots…
…and expecting a great shine and good stories :)
Giovanni Nicola Meola was born in Teora, Italy in 1890 and arrived at Ellis Island March 14th 1904 with his parents. He was only 14 years old, and his occupation was listed as “Boot Black” – a person who shines and polishes shoes. Nine years later he married Filomena Melillo and proceeded to have ten kids – the ninth was my dad, Thomas John Meola.
My dad used to tell me stories of how he spent time as a kid during the depression at my grandfather’s store, a combination shoe shine shop and candy store in Newark, NJ… where my dad enjoyed giving free candy to poor kids and drinking wine with his dad in the back room next to the pot belly stove. Maybe for this reason, I’ve always loved shoe shine guys – or any skilled laborer really. I enjoy watching a person work in their surroundings, the tools they use, how they’ve perfected a technique… just as I like to watch artists sketch a drawing.
I’ve been planning on shooting a series of shoe shine shops and the men that run the joints… I’d like to think I’ll publish a book someday, titled “Boot Black” of course. I’m experimenting with sepia for this project to lend it an old school warm and worn look. First up is Minas, the shoemaker next door to my photo studio.
Minas is such a character… he’s Armenian and arrived in the states 13 years ago via Moscow. Minas watches my back and my shop, takes Fed Ex deliveries when I’m not there, makes sure that my shop is locked up at the end of the day, and helps me move heavy furniture. Most importantly, he tells me jokes every time I see him.
A few tools of the trade…
“Christina, what are you still taking pictures for?”
And then he sends me on my way with a joke…
Minas has such a thick accent, I only catch about 25% of what he’s saying. Every time he tells me a joke, I laugh my butt off the whole time because I can’t even understand a word, but his delivery is priceless.
A beautiful sunshiney day, two sandwiches from Bay Cities Deli (meatball sub and salami sandwich are my favs!), a six-pack, and the open sea!! My experience in the water is limited – I got so seasick on the ferry from Mallorca to Barcelona I literally thought I was dying… So I hesitated when my good friend Russ Langford, the best digital tech in the world from Royal Capture, asked me to go for an outing on his newly beloved and restored 60′s era boat (can’t for the life of me remember what type etc. it is…. I’ll call it “nice old cool boat.”
But hey, I’m all for busting out of my comfort zone. I totally played it cool and clung to my camera like a security blanket. And all was calm and good… until we got to the choppy waters – holy moly!! I don’t think the waves should ever be higher than my head… that’s my boating philosophy. But Russ was cool as a cucumber and just laughed at me. That’s fine dude. I decided to get in the driver’s seat, and that’s when I really fell in love! I can see how addictive this boating business can be. Especially when the water is calm, the sun is shining on your face, and you’re eating a sandwich while listening to the water lapping up against the boat, and a big old wolf-dog is pawing on ya.
Stupid is as crazy does… Meet Howard Morris and Jenny Lee, an adorable couple who co-authored the new book “Women are Crazy, Men are Stupid” – Release date September 15th. So ask yourselves: Does men’s stupid behavior drive women crazy, or does women’s madness leave men dumbfounded and driven to idiocy? It’s a vicious cycle, but here’s the question Howard and Jenny dissect and answer in the book: What comes first, the crazy or the stupid?
My job was to get some great shots for their book jacket cover – pics that will look like they were shot in a photo booth. Aren’t these two adorable?
Howard and Jenny kindly gave me an advance copy of the book, and it is as hysterical and informative as it is honest and touching. Not to mention inspiring… because as a single gal, it’s nice to know that a girl with a touch of madness can find a man who’s not that bright, and they can laugh together at the speed bumps on that wild happy road called relationship.
Sorry to be sappy, but hey, I’m a girl, and I get a little crazy. It’s all men’s fault. Oops, did I just give away the ending? :)))