Down by the Riverside with Beth Dickerson, Auntie Bellum’s Latest Southern Cover Girl

There are many reasons to go down to the river. Ours might be the best. We were following our muse, Beth Dickerson, to document the sixth video in Auntie Bellum Magazine’s Southern Cover Girl series.

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A man sat on an upturned bucket, fishing from the Congaree. It was early summer evening and the sun was still high. I set to cleaning my camera lens which had become clouded in the humidity. The Gervais Street Bridge stretched out above us while Beth sang from the riverbank. A chorus of cicadas joined her.

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I was secretly cursing the names of our videographers, Stephen Maluck and Jeff Driggers, (sorry, guys!) while I was stomping down the swampy path to the shore, but felt really grateful for their instincts when I was rewarded with a vision of Beth, surrounded by a golden halo of sunlight tossed from the moving stream.

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Filming with Maluck, Driggers and helpful assistant, Graham Duncan.

Southern Cover Girl is an ongoing series of music videos created by Auntie Bellum Magazine to showcase the talents of female musicians and create community, in partnership with local musicians and artists.

Other artists featured in the series so far: Kate Pyritz, Kelley Douglas, Stefanie Santana, Perrin Skinner, Mollie Williamson. Check them out at the link!

Aren’t you dying to know what song she covered?! Keep an eye out for the video premiere in the next few days!!

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Those Lavender Whales – Columbia, SC band

Those Lavender Whales make records. They are a band living and working in Columbia, SC. They are so much fun. Aaron Graves   Jessica Bornick Chris Gardner Patrick Wall    

River Rocks

“The fourth annual River Rocks Festival featuring live music, paddling opportunities on the Columbia Canal, environmental education, family friendly activities, food and beverages. All proceeds benefit Congaree Riverkeeper.”   My legs itched a little, a greensward engraving being pressed into … Continue reading

It isn’t all Barbados, bikinis and body shots

I really didn’t even feel weird about having no plans for Spring Break. It’s never ranked high on my list of holidays. When I go to the beach, I prefer the sound of surf to a noisy house band in … Continue reading

Making Tintypes: Magic and Science

The smell of ether is sharp, sweetish, acidic and strangely sensual. The darkroom had been improvised from a closet  at the Morris Museum of Art. Since the process is not as sensitive as conventional methods, the room wasn’t completely light tight. I pulled the dark curtain across the cracks of light escaping through the door frame and flipped off the “white light.”

“It’s like magic,” the woman said. We watched the chemicals spread across the aluminum plate. An image began to materialize.

“…or science.” said Keliy. The tintype lay across her gloved palm. She rotated her wrist to coat the plate evenly with developer. When she was satisfied, she tilted it until a corner of the tintype rested inside the mouth of a glass bottle and then poured the excess liquid off.

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Anderson-Staley’s 8×10 Deardorff view camera

The dreamy alchemy, the deft ritual and the strange chemical smells were spellbinding.

Wet plate collodion, which dates back to the  1800’s, has been experiencing a revival in the last few decades as a boutique historical photographic process. I was assisting one of the preeminent artists using this method.

The entire process must be started and completed with a wet plate within ten minutes so agility is required. In the 19th century, where it began, the sitter had to remain as still as possible for an excruciating long exposure.

Now you know why people looked so grumpy in those old-timey photographs.

On this day, Keliy was exposing at a ten-twelve second average.

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University of South Carolina Adjunct Professor Eliot Dudik sits for his portrait with Keliy Anderson-Staley

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Meg Griffiths, a photography professor at USC, sits for her portrait.

A tintype is a positive image that is made right on the metal plate.

A little fussier than Instagram, sure, but the uniqueness and craft of that singular image is a handmade, one-of-a-kind artist’s original. The very existence of the tintypes today physically connects us to a rich photographic history.

Even though I wore my gloves like I was instructed, the silver nitrate left a zizag across my pinkie nail; a little bronze lightning bolt. An initiation.

Observing Kiley Anderson-Staley, I would have to say that an artist of this measure must be equipped with many things; not the least of which is, generosity.

She instructed, informed, posed models, and squeezed people in to a packed schedule with grace and patience.

There is some kind of magic in that, too. WP_006540 (1)

Think you might like this? Give it a whirl! Here are two kits to get you started.

Living Room Session #2 – September

Living Room Session #2 The tunes The tools The magic We took our momentum from the last session into October with a photo shoot inspired by B-movies. The medium is forgiving and wide open to experimentation so we went outside this … Continue reading

Living Room Sessions – August

I have always fantasized about taking empowering photos of women. So many messages in our culture tell us that we aren’t enough or that we need to be fixed.  The mass media (i.e., television, magazines, billboards, movies, websites, blogs, etc.) … Continue reading

It is National Doughnut Day: Meat on a Doughnut is Where It’s At!

I love the State Fair for many reasons. Here is one of them: The junk food. Anything can be fried and/ or served on a stick. Anything. And it is only in the spirit of the fair that you suspend … Continue reading

Stinson Beach

As we were leaving San Francisco, the sojourn was impossible to prevent. This is the one part of my trip I stood up for. I knew my husband didn’t understand why it was such a big deal and I was … Continue reading

Stacey and Jenny

I was flattered to be asked to document the sweet friendship between two bohemian Americans who met in India while studying Ayurveda. Not many people can cause me to feel boring. This reunited duo had my inner goddess all revved up … Continue reading