I have the license to play.
Some call it creating, some – playing dress up, but at the end of the day – photography helps me to make something out of nothing and like for kids in the sand – it’s hell of a lot of FUN!
So what did I get myself into you ask, well it wasn’t me…
If you’ve been following my photographic work, you may by now recognize a re-occurring model, creative mind and a friend – Christopher Maslon. If not, feast your eyes on this, this, this and a few sprinkled in here!
What can I say, we’ve been busy… playing!
So our past session was no different, with Christopher initiating an idea about six months ago, which he later called “Herbologist.” The idea was rather simple – aged items surrounding his Professor Snape-like persona (Harry Potter fans out there? Me neither!).
A little background from Christopher himself:
“Since I was a boy, I have had a great aptitude for gardening. This inherent reasoning came from my maternal grandfather, Raymond Wytas. While in high school, I had an herb garden that boasted of 40 or more medicinal herbs. From common herbs like Common Garden Sage (Salvia officinalis) and Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) to more rare herbs like Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) and stranger ones still like Wolfsbane (Aconitum lycoctonum). In 1993, at The Columbus College of Art and Design’s Upper Class-man Dorms, fellow roommate Jack Poe, saw my herbology hobby for an upcoming college craft fair. In our cramped, dull, seagull-grey, institutionalized kitchen- endless corked glass bottles and tiny beige paper boxes of pungent dried herbs were strewn across the table, counters, even covering the surface of the old 1970’s electric stove, being used as a makeshift table. Jack walked in to go to his bedroom; passing by the kitchen’s open overly-painted wooden door-less door frame, he stopped motionless. For a moment he was silent, eyes locked on my craft. In a seemingly joyful sounding voice “You’re like a wizard, with all these bottles and potions”. I truly felt his words were less of observation, and more of a wish, influenced by his recent playing of a board game called Dungeons and Dragons. From 1994 to 2002, I tended to two more gardens of herbs in Columbus, Ohio. The larger of the two gardens was at 405 East 14th Ave. This large 117-year-old, 22 room, honey-colored brick home built in 1901, which sits at the farthest ends of Ohio State University’s residential area and is walled in peacefully by train tracks and the Ohio State Fair Grounds. My greatest step into the study of herbs was to join the American Herb Society in Ohio. (To test my knowledge of Herbology against more advanced gardeners) I just so happened to meet Dr. Deborah Knapke during her extremely scientifically detailed and informative lecture on Thymes. I must say upon meeting numerous gardeners, she is one of the most knowledgeable professors of horticulture I have ever met. Thinking back randomly to both Jack’s and Deborah’s past conversations, their words culminating an instant desire within me, and some great foreshadowing of ‘The Herbologist’ photoshoot. Here and now in 2018, there was a moment to create this self-portrait, whose name is Prof. Nolsam Sirch. He is a reflection of my true self, a self-portrait.” -Christopher Maslon
Long story short (perhaps too late for that) and 342 hand-made bottles and other props later, I walked into Christopher’s living room to find this…
Yes, the lights and reflectors are mine but they also give you a sense of scale. Luckily, Christopher’s wife and daughter were actually enthusiastic about the whole thing and helped him to set it up. Maybe a small medal of awesomeness is in order, I don’t know any other such spouses…
So without further adieu, let’s take a closer look at accessories that were envisioned for this audacious DIY photo shoot.
Next Wednesday, tune in to see Christopher’s final vision for this bold shoot and which images were his and my favorite.