Some images originally published in Kansas Commerce Magazine

Editorial work always comes with its unique set of challenges, and that’s why I love it so, so much.  Having your mettle tested in the field is either educational or satisfying…and very often both.  Having been commissioned to photograph images of the owners of and current exhibits on display at Harvester Arts, I came prepared for every eventuality.

“The man who has anticipated the coming of troubles takes away their power when they arrive.” – Seneca

I’ll never learn that you can never be prepared for every eventuality.  Upon arrival, I learned two things: 1) The two owners were violently ill from a long night/morning of food poisoning, and 2) there were no current exhibits on display.  No matter, the show must go on – this was a last-minute commission, and they had shown up to make this happen.  Their efforts must be rewarded!

Kate nurses a Mott’s Tots juice box while I build lighting for their portrait.  I love people that push through to make things happen.

Despite their infirmity, Kate and Ryan (pictured right and center, respectively) were charming and personable.  They’re the faces of the article entitled “The Business of Art” – one I am honored to accompany with photographs.

Kate looks like an entirely different woman from her juice box portrait – that’s resilience if I’ve ever seen it.

Portrait: check.  They survived, we got a great shot, and now I’m on to figuring out what to photograph for the supporting images.  With no current exhibits, the walls are oppressively stark.

In a smile of fortune, hanging about 12 feet directly above them is a giant cardboard head of John Brown, one of Kansas’ favorite sons and a fierce abolitionist.  It was created by former artist-in-residence Wayne White, famous for his set and puppet design work on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, and it is nearly as intimidating as the bearded man himself.  In my estimation, there is no more perfect opening image than John Brown’s brightly painted blue eyes staring at you off a polyhedral, corrugated visage.

It’s an attention-grabber, no doubt.

Fortunately, my editor agreed.  “Anything with John Brown is good in my books,” he wrote upon seeing my image submission.

Great.  Two for two.  Disasters averted.  Now to round out their story with some supplemental images.

The symbol of their then-current artist-in-residence, Dalek, sits above a staircase built from the rafters of the ceiling it now leads through.


A piece from a past Harvester Arts project and a marriage of form and function.

One thing I try to remember on every shoot is that when problems arise, it just makes for a better story later!  And I love a good story.

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