Elrick Fashion Show Runway at South Congress Hotel

I met Rick Gonyo in 2012 when I was assigned to be the photographer for his mashup team for Austin Fashion Week.  Every year, AFW (now called Fashion X Austin) holds an informal contest where teams consisting of a photographer, makeup artist, hair stylist, wardrobe stylist, model, and designer compete for the coveted "Golden Boot" and bragging rights for the following year.

That year, I was assigned to two teams.  The first was one that I had been asked to join by the model and designer.  The second, I was assigned to because there weren't enough photographers to go around for all the teams.  It was on that second team that I was assigned to Rick.

Rick created this impossible dress.  It was bright red and made to resemble a phoenix rising from the ashes of the fires that had devastated central Texas the summer before.  Here's the image we submitted along with an outtake of Rick and the model for perspective on how tall she is.  Rick is not a short man - about 5'8", so you get a real idea of just how tall we made her.

That team was the start of a friendship and working relationship that continues to this day.

Fast forward to Austin Fashion Week 2017, and Rick has produced his first complete line of menswear for his Elrick fashion label.  I was brought on board to photograph the label tags that will eventually go on the clothing when it's sold in stores.  We did the shoot in October 2016, and then I waited for Rick to present his fashion line.  Finally, on Sunday, May 14, Rick debuted his new line to a packed house at the South Congress Hotel.  It was a fantastic show.  Rick's line is well made, high in quality, and full of little details that make a big difference.  I was really impressed, and I'm excited to have been a part of it.  Photos from the show are below.


To see more of Rick's collection and to see more photos from the show, check out the Elrick Facebook page.

Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween, everyone!  I hope you are all staying warm and dry in this stormy, wet weather.  If you're wearing a great costume and need a place to show it off, stop by and get your picture taken on the Black Carpet at the Zombie Ball.  Tickets are still on sale, and it's one of the greatest Halloween events of all time.  I'll be there taking pictures of the performers and the hundreds of amazing costumes everyone brings.

Want to see pics from last year?  Here's my gallery:

Zombie Ball 2014
Password:  Zombie Ball

Every year, I like to do a couple of Halloween-themed pinups.  This year, we did the Bride of Frankenstein.  Below is the exclusive pinup, but we also did a set that got published in this month's issue of Texas Inked Magazine.  Get your copy here.

Thanks to Kimber Fox, my model, and Aneysa Moreno, my hair and makeup artist who also helped me put together the costume.  We made it from cotton gauze and bandages that we soaked in black tea.  The tea gave the cotton a yellow, withered, antique look and helped give it more texture.  We shot on a white background, and I composited in the moon and bats.  The bats are from a royalty free vector background kit I found a few years ago, and the background was provided courtesy of my good friend Mark Daughn.

I hope everyone is having a nice Samhein or Halloween.  Stay safe and get candy!


Austin MD - July / August 2015 Cover

One of the things I really enjoy about photography is getting to meet some of the really interesting people that live and work in our community.  Case in point was the subject of Austin MD's July / August 2015 Cover - Greg Abbink.  Greg is an instructor at the Austin Police Academy who has dedicated his life and career to teaching and improving the standards of the Austin Police Department.   He's a great guy and was a fascinating subject to work with.  What makes him especially special is that he is one of the first police officers in the country who is transgender.

Now I could go off on politics and my personal beliefs and long standing support for the LGBTQ community, but honestly, it's not about me.  And if you're not LGBTQ friendly, then I'm not going to change your mind in a blog post.  Maybe I'll talk about my personal politics on this issue in another post.

Anyways, I think that fact that our police chief and police department have actively supported LGBT officers is awesome.  Greg brings a unique perspective and provides a great resource for the department.  He makes the unfamiliar familiar and puts a face on the transgender community that officers can recognize and identify with, and I think that's a great thing for the future of our city.

Shooting with Greg was a lot of fun.  I was commissioned to shoot the cover, title page, and provide some extra images for the article itself.  Doing my research, I was trying to find a balance between the obvious topic and placing Greg as an instructor at the academy.  We shot in his office, in the gym, in front of the academy, and in one of the classrooms.  Because we were shooting in so many places, I tried to keep my gear light and portable.   I used a beauty dish with a diffusion sock on an AB800 with the VLM battery back.  I tried to balance the ambient with strobe and still create a sense of place.

Here's the cover, and you can read the entire issue here.

As always, comments and feedback are appreciated, and I'm happy to answer questions about the shoot.

All American Summer

It's the dog days of summer here in Austin, and that means high temperatures and the kind of oppressive heat that will keep you in doors thanking whatever god inspired the invention of modern air conditioning.  Seriously, I don't know how we would live in the South without it.  I see those old movie stereotypes of the men and women in 20 layers of wool and cotton sitting on a porch in a rocker with lemon-aide and mint juleps, and it makes me wonder how we ever survived here.

So it's times like this when no one wants to shoot outside, and everyone is on vacation that I like to go shoot in the Austin greenbelt.  Tall, shady trees, and access to Bull Creek or Barton Springs, or even parts of the Colorado River make these places ideal for a quick private shoot.  When you get too hot, you can always take a break and jump in the cold, cold water to refresh yourself.

There are dozens of little places to shoot on the greenbelt.  I've shot at this one quite a few times, and it's become my favourite.  When the water is up, there are some really pretty waterfalls, and there's lots of places to shade the sun or get good sunlight from behind.  There's a really deep pool at the base of the waterfall, and you can relax and swim there in clear, blue water without much fear.  Sure, there's the occasional coral snake or cotton mouth, and there's always a turtle or two, but I find if you stay away from them, they stay away from you.

This shoot was a quick, spontaneous shoot.  I realized I hadn't shot anything patriotic for the 4th of July.  Originally, I had wanted to do body paint for the suit, but couldn't get time booked with my body painter, Amy, before the holiday, so we decided to shoot out at the green belt in a patriotic bikini I picked up from American Apparel.

Kendall, the model, is one of my go-to models.  I've been shooting with her for at least three years, and I've watched her develop into a strong, confident, beautiful model.  I know I can count on her to bring a fun, positive energy to the shoot and to elevate whatever we've planned to the next level.

Enjoy the pics below.  I used all ambient light with some reflector fill.  As always, feel free to comment and ask questions.

Model:  Kendall Karczewski
Hair and makeup provided by the model
Bikini:  American Apparel
Location:  Austin Greenbelt
Assistant:  Jordan Danielle Lowery