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Women of the Red Onion….

The month of May was another whirlwind of skipping from project-to-project from Skagway, AK to the wilds of Canada on the Taku River.  I started the month off with a project that was a little outside my  photographic wheel house…. scantily clad women.  I have to admit that I never would have imagined taking on this type of project in my wildest dreams, especially given that I spend most of my time photographing grizzled fishermen and their catch.

I spent 8 days photographing, editing, and laying out a calendar for the Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, AK as a charity fundraiser for wounded veterans.  In some regards this was by far one of the most challenging shoots I have taken on, considering that normally I am working on boats in places like the Gulf of Alaska or the Bering Sea attempting to make images that relate the work and lifestyles of fishermen in inclement weather.  As you can imagine the hardest part was having to look at beautiful women while I was slaving away behind the lens. In all honesty every day was jam packed with setting up lights, arranging, shooting, breaking down, setting up in a new location, etc…

The whole shoot was done in what was once a working brothel in the late 1800s, that has now been converted into a museum that showcases the Gold Rush and the women who defined a portion of the era; as a result the brothel itself is an equally considered element of each shot.  The simple act of shooting in  the rooms with period artifacts necessitated extreme care to not damage any of the relics. The shoot was also done while the saloon and brothel museum were in full operation, which necessitated working late into the night and accommodating the work schedules of all the models, who are employees of the Red Onion.  All of the models were amazingly gracious to put up with what at times were uninviting temperatures as the old brothel has no insulation in the walls, and it was a very cold May. More than one shoot was done holding their breath so it wouldn’t show up in the photos.  I would be remiss to not mention the hard work of Angela Vice who did all the make-up, set decoration, and directing; the shoot would not have been a quarter as successful without her hard work, diligence, and eye for detail.  I would also like to thank Staci Spillers for having the vision to put the project together and find a fun way to give back to those who serve our country. Last but not least the staff of the Red Onion who were so welcoming and inviting, and the owner of the Red Onion for funding the project.

I’m off in two days to return to Bristol Bay for five weeks of fishing and when I return I hope to get caught up on the backlog of posts that I have on fisheries around the state: Gulf of AK Scallops, Copper River Salmon, Southeast King Crab, Bering Sea Opis, and the Canadian gillnet fishery on the Taku River.

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