A few months ago, I was approached with a fun little idea for a really big project. The Seattle Public Library system needed help: their budget was brutally slashed and they needed a little ol’ fashioned PR. The Friends of the Library, a non-profit designed specifically to help create awareness for the Seattle Libraries, wanted to publish a calendar. The images wouldn’t be of books, of characters in books, but rather characters who loved books. Enter some of Seattle’s most notable celebrities, artists, and business people. After days of scouting and countless planning emails reaching all over the city and back, a plan was formed. It involved an artist, an author, a book-lover, a symphony musician, a businessman, a gal who has her own action figure, a man who sings about Lump, and a chef. And the list just kept growing. Here we were, about to flit all over the most amazing building in all of Seattle, the Central Library, with free reign to shoot just about anywhere we wanted. The result? Here goes!
Above four images: Chris Ballew, a.k.a. Caspar Babypants. The 16 yr. old inside of me secretly did the whole “shrieking jumping mega-fan dance” when we heard about this Mr. January stepping on board for this project. Not only is he a super famous children’s entertainer (if you run in those circles!), but is probably more well known in Grownup Land for his involvement in the Seattle rock band Presidents of the United States of America. Not only did we get to start the day off by shooting Chris first, but our little crew also got a private concert right there in the children’s section of the downtown library. My favorite PUSA song: Lump. Like, duh.
Above three images: Meet the handsome and eloquent Leonard Garfield, Executive Director of MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry). After a few giggles and jokes, we were able to capture the serious side of this local James Bond stand-in. (joking. or at least… I don’t THINK he has secret missions…. except maybe to get the ladies to go see the clutch exhibit currently at the museum…).
Above image: Ken Kirkpatrick, President of US Bank. Ken was a pleasure to meet and joke with. He worked his way up the ol’ corporate ladder the old fashioned way. A local boy, graduate of UW among other schools, he started his career at US bank in 1971 as a teller! His favorite book: If I Ran The Zoo by Dr. Seuss. And look where he is now. (insert smiley face)
Above image: Rev. Samuel McKinney. Lover of books, activist, and former reverend of one of the most prominent and oldest churches in Seattle, Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Rev. McKinney was a leader in the movement for human rights in the 60’s, and playing a major role in the Central Area Civil Rights Committee (CACRC). He also marched alongside some of our nation’s most powerful civil rights leaders. And, he was friends with the one and only Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. I am in awe of his long lifetime full of accomplishments. And his purple velvet blazer, by the way.
Above two images: Chef Jason Wilson of the upscale American restaurant Crush. With his boyish good looks and great sense of humor, it was a pleasure to photograph this one. He’s just about to open a new restaurant alongside and within Urban Enoteca- I can’t wait to stop in and try his culinary creations!
Above two images: I don’t know if I’ve ever met a sweeter woman than my Miss May, Nancy Rawles. A critically acclaimed and award winning author and playwright, she was all laughs and sincere smiles, even when I lost her in the crazy-confusing escalators at the library. Can you imagine? The Photographer Who Lost Her Muse On An Escalator. It’ll be her next bestseller. You just wait.
Above two images: This one has her own action figure with real shushing action. She’s a legend. The most famous librarian in the world, who writes about and talks about books, even appearing on NPR. Here is Nancy Pearl in the self service holds-pickup area at the Central branch, where she worked for 20 years. We couldn’t hardly shoot a frame without someone recognizing her. This little lady sure does light up a room. I think she should be Miss September.
Above image: Our second private concert for the shoot was provided by the one and only Elisa Barton, the beautiful (and bubbly!) Principal Second Violinist of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. DANG the acoustics were great in this stairwell, but I’m sure it had more to do with Elisa’s award-winning and phenomenal talent. Within seconds she had our whole little chatty crew silent with amazement!
Above 2 images: Josephine Cheng was next up. She arrived ready to rock n roll, naturally, because she’s a broadcast journalist. It was surreal and a pleasure meeting her in person after seeing her on our living room tv all these years! She has been a reporter for Seattle based shows such as Evening Magazine and currently hosts About The Money on KCTS.
Above image: Encaustic painter Joan Stuart Ross. With Collections at the Seattle Art Museum and National Museum of Women in the Arts among many others, this artist is one to keep an eye on. Her work is bright and colorful, which is nothing short of what I expected from a gal equally bright and colorful! She’s totally my Miss April, and we had a blast riding the escolator up and down (during regular library hours nonetheless) a million jillion times to get this shot.
Above Image: Here we have the CEO of South Lake Union-based Tommy Bahama, Terry Pillow! He blew in off the street with a jovial smile and a relaxed attitude, absolutely the embodiment of the company he runs. This man knows fashion- he comes from Neiman Marcus, A/X Armani Exchange, Coach, and Polo Ralph Lauren. He’s just the kind of guy you want to be around- so nice and oh-so fashionable.
Above images: My Miss Septembers, Deb Rock and Judith Berman. They head up the Interbay P-Patch Foodbank, which provides fresh fruits and veggies to the local food bank. An amazing idea, and wonderful cause, doncha think? I mean, these P Patches sprout up all over the city, perhaps on unusable or inconvenient land, and not only provide a place for our city folk to garden, but also grow food for their community. MAN, look at that beet.
Above three images: A man who needs no introduction, yet I still will, we have Municipal Court Judge Michael Hurtado. I have a feeling he was the class clown as a kid. It was all fun and no work photographing him in the law section of the library. This guy has been around the block a few times: after growing up in gang territory in LA and serving in Viet Nam and Thailand, he studied law, graduating from University of Washington. Judge Hurtado has recently been celebrated by receiving the State Trial Judge of the Year Award from the the Washington State Bar Association and KOMO TV’s “Home Town Hero” Award. Thanks for entertaining us girls, Mike!
As much as I was nervous and excited and exhausted after getting lost and shooting such amazing people all over such a HUGE library, this was such a fun project. I mean… I got to work with makeup artist Michelle Chappron for the first time, collaborate with some lovely members of the community (hi Alice & Maggie and Lisa!), meet some movers and shakers, see a real-life action figure in person, and shake the hand of the man that sung about peaches and Lump. I am humbled by their energetic and generous support for such a wonderful community resource as our public library system.
So… I’m curious… what’s YOUR favorite book? Share it with us by leaving it in the comments below!