Lovely Rae

As promised, though a little lackadaisical, the very lovely and oh-so-Italian-Vogue Rae.

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Rae

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Orchid Mei

What’s more fun than photographing a lovely friend, who also happens to be beautiful and chic?  Photographing two of them!  Today I’ll share Orchid Mei’s session, and tomorrow I’ll follow up with Rae’s session.  

Mei is an old school burlesque performer with a gorgeously chic and seductive style.  We laughed ourselves silly and had such a wonderful time.  Mei and Rae have totally different styles, so to photograph them both in one afternoon was artistically very rewarding.  

Miss Orchid Mei

Miss Orchid Mei

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Be stills, my beating heart.

I have always wished I could have been one of the lucky photographers who shot stills in film noir movies. Imagine being dealt that kind of light, perfectly made up actors and actresses, incredible sets…it seems like a photographer’s dream. Bogey and Bacall, Veronica Lake, everything soaked in gin and held at gunpoint…oh, yes!

The only way I’ll get that opportunity now is to create it myself. And so, that’s what I’m going to do. It fits right into the SWD philosophy and style, and it’ll be a great challenge and adventure for me.

Wonder why I’m so excited about this? Watch this clip and soak it in — minus the modern movie posters.

Got a favorite old film noir or other B&W movie? Do share! The more obscure, the better.

She is going places

From a fun recent session with some wonderful friends of mine. The car is my baby, a 1968 Cadillac Sedan DeVille. As dependable for transportation as she is for a an elegant prop.

Merry Christmas to all!

Rachel

Going places

Rosemary

This morning I woke up to the first snow of the year. That made me think of the holidays, which made me think about the movie White Christmas, which sent me to youtube to find this clip of Rosemary Clooney. Talk about elegance! The woman just oozed sophistication and sex appeal. If I ever find a vintage gown like this one, I’ll sell one of my kids to buy it. I’m almost not kidding.

Really, though, the best part here is her very restrained, cool-as-ice, direct delivery of the song and lyrics. She couldn’t be bothered with silly dancing and prancing. The voice and the eyes are all she needs.

Well, and that dress. Oh, the dress.

I ooze glamour, Dahling.

The SWD concept has been brewing in my head for awhile. It really started with the Life Backstage project, photographing my fellow burlesque and cabaret performers backstage. It evolved into photographing them at home and off-stage, which involved a lot of vodka and silliness.

So, here are some of my favorite shots of some of my favorite roomies, being oh-so-glamorous at home.

Adrienne takes a casual nap

Adrienne takes a casual nap.

Laundry day

Glamourous laundry

Who, me, worry?

Who, me, worry?

Cocktails require concentration

Cocktails require concentration.

The costume room

Every girl has a costume room, of course.

Tales from Ceenie, #1

Ceenie is a regular at the tavern I refer to as my living room. She’s lived in the Denver area her whole life, and she’s seventy years old. She’s one hell of a swanky dresser, always wearing something sparkly or shiny, or as bright as her teased red hair. She’s the kind of endearingly “direct” that only a seventy-year-old woman can get away with. (“CJ, I just hate it when you wear those damn ugly tennis shoes. You should wear your stilettos all the time. And I hate your hair, you need to get it out of your face.”) The stories she tells me are so entertaining that I’m just going to have to start sharing them with you all. Here’s one she told me a few nights ago.

Ceenie and her family lived in the Littleton area, which is now an uber-populated suburb, but back then was quite rural. Littleton was built around a racetrack, where the locals would bet on horses and then wander into bars with names like The Winner’s Circle.

She and her friends were teenagers when hoop skirts and crinoline underskirts were an absolute necessity; you just couldn’t be a hip teen without them, and the bigger, the better. They decided to wash their skirts in sugar water to stiffen the crinoline and make them stand out more, and hung them up to dry on the clothesline.

Unfortunately for them, horses absolutely love sugar. When they came out to collect their skirts, there wasn’t much left on the line — but the horse was sure happy.

I’ve been looking for a very long time for a 50’s era gown with the huge crinoline skirt, and I finally found one a few days ago at a vintage shop. It’s a wedding dress, and fits like a glove. I had to have it. I’m hoping to find a great fur wrap or bolero to complete it and make it a little less wedding-ish, or maybe I’ll find someone brave enough to dye it for me. A soft grey / silver would be gorgeous. Scary, though.

Here’s a quick little snap of it, taken this morning in a somewhat hung-over haze. I think dresses like this are perfect for SWD sessions. Good thing I sing at a cabaret so I actually have an excuse to buy things like this! Some day soon, I’m going to have Ceenie as my guest at the Clocktower, so we can both dress fabulously together, and she can tell me more stories about her girlhood experiences there.

1950's ball gown

50's ball gown from Creme de la Couture, Englewood, CO

We’re live!

Welcome to the new SWD blog!  You might have noticed that the main website is still a little rough—kind of like Tallulah Bankhead, who once said, “They used to photograph Shirley Temple through gauze. They should photograph me through linoleum.”  Well, it’ll get there.

This is my new project, and I’m pretty damn excited about it.  I’ve spent a lot of time photographing families and children, which I continue to do and love, but I also have a serious passion for old Hollywood glamour and all things retro.  I drive an old car, have a closet full of vintage gowns, and sing torch songs at a cabaret; combine that with my long time love of B&W film and antique cameras, and this project was inevitable.  I’m having a great time.

I’ll be using this blog to share new photographs and sessions with you, but also to celebrate long-gone starlets, outrageously glamourous fashion, anything I find entertaining or inspirational.  If you come across something you think SWD readers would enjoy, by all means send it, and I’ll share!

Starting with this fabulous find.  If I had to sum up SWD in one video, this would be the one.  It celebrates femininity, freedom, outrageous beauty and fashion, and a huge eff you to the censors, featuring the one and only Jane Russell.