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Many of my post may be filled with typos, ignorant statements, untruths, bad English, & anything else that may make me appear to be uneducated. Please note: all of these things combined make my Blog the perfect one, because you know I have issues & I am not ashamed. With this said; enjoy, fuck mistakes & read between the lines!

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Archive for August, 2011

Rap Star Longevity

Author: Tafari, Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 at 7:11 PM

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Based on this image & this image alone, I think the key to Lil Wayne's continued success throughout the next 50-11 years will be do to bad facial tattoos & sagging while wearing leopard print jeggings. I'm just saying... Art Credit: Unknown

Runway Talk

Author: Tafari, Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 at 12:33 AM

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This time last year, I was nervous as hell about photographing at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week for my friends at The NYLA Report. I had an idea of what to expect but that did not settle my anxiousness at all. You may remember me talking about it non-stop. With two seasons of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week under my belt now, I am relaxed. Perhaps, I may be too relaxed because I have not contacted many designers for access, which means that I will be emailing my butt off over the next few days. Right now, these shows are on my schedule to photograph: Thursday: Nicholas K BCBGMAXAZRIA Tadashi Shoji Candella Friday: Electric Feathers Luca Luca Rebecca Taylor Concept Korea Saturday: Lacoste Pink Tartan Jill Stuart Vivienne Tam Farah Angsana Rafael Cennamo Venexiana Sunday: Lela Rose Derek Lam Tracy Reese Diana Von Furstenberg Tommy Hilfiger Monday: Carolina Herrera Rebecca Minkoff Tuesday: My regular life begins again…. T-8 days before it all goes down!

Purple Afropunk Beauty

Author: Tafari, Saturday, August 27th, 2011 at 1:30 PM

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So, I'm posting this from NYC in the wake of hurricane Irene. Im hoping that Im able to get home by Tuesday night. I really am.... Stay tuned! --------------------- Last weekend, I had an idea to photograph Black women with natural hairstyles in Detroit for a mini interview project. I set out with all of the best intentions of getting 10 interviews done in one day but my plans fell apart before my very eyes. I start too many things, juggle them well for a while and then run out of steam (not to say that I'm a great starter & non-finisher) So... I'm mentally sidelining this project for now because I, well... Ummmm.... I'm way to busy now. 2 weddings coming up, 2 portrait sessions, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week & the new school semester starts next Wednesday. Whoa!!!! In the meantime, I'd like to introduce you to Natural Di'saster, who visited Detroit from Bowling Green, OH last weekend. It was hard not to notice this Afropunk chick rocking a perfectly purple shaved Mohawk. Natural runs an organization named "urban nu-sense" which was founded in 2007 to provide an opportunity for the creation and celebration of urban art forms in and around the Bowling Green, Ohio. urban nu-sense works to incorporate social awareness and revolutionary movement in the mix, encouraging people to THINK while observing, creating and celebrating urban art forms such as spoken word, poetry, film, hip hop, street and ethnic dance and world music. I asked her what defined her beauty and she said "absolutely nothing or no one." I really felt that!

Rainy Wedding Days

Author: Tafari, Thursday, August 25th, 2011 at 6:13 PM

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Last weekend, I took a road trip clear across the state to photograph Jeff & Ximena’s beach wedding. Jeff contacted me because Ximena’s sister, Linda was a wedding client of mine a few years ago and she suggested me for this occasion.  Now, I am considered to be the family photographer and friend. I love that! Jeff & Ximena’s wedding like Linda’s wedding was going to be casual and intimate with close friends and family.

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Fast forward a few months since our initial conversation and it’s wedding day.  It started out with a storm then it cleared up slightly, then rained a little more. The weather was all over the place. While I was photographing the wedding prep, the clouds got thick & gray.  Before you know it, heavy rain. Then it started to rain harder and the call was made to move the wedding from the beach to the reception site. After we moved to the wedding/reception site, the rain got really wild like a monsoon!

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Once everything was revamped, nerves calmed etc, the ceremony took place and it was smooth sailing from there. Outdoor weddings are an iffy thing & you must have a plan A, B, C & D in some cases. As you would expect, the rain stopped, the clouds disappeared and the sky became bright blue all after the ceremony & reception. Talk about bad timing but you know what they say; rainy wedding days make for happy marriages…

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--------------------- Friday, the day before the wedding was my 1st chance to actually sit and talk with Jeff & Ximena together, so I was able to get their backstory. Jeff & Ximena randomly met in Cleveland while they were both in town on business. As Jeff tells it, Ximena was flirting with him after they along with others decided to have drinks. Fifteen days after Ximena laid her flirting moves on Jeff, he visited her at home in Mexico City. How courageous was he?  Ximena did not know what to think of this guy that she randomly met and had drinks with but she indulged anyway. Six trips to Mexico City later over the course of a 1.5 years, Jeff popped the question. Love moved fast. They are now one and exude happiness. If all goes well, I will join Jeff & Ximena in Mexico City in 2013 for the Mexican wedding jump off, which I hear will be some kind of spectacle. You know I’m down & my passport stays at the ready!

On Stage: Rachelle Ferrell

Author: Tafari, Monday, August 22nd, 2011 at 7:21 PM

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One of the VERY 1st CDs that I EVERY purchased was Rachelle Ferrell’s self titled album “Rachelle Ferrell” back in 1992. I purchased the album because I fell in love with her voice on “No Rhyme, No Reason” by George Duke, where she was on background vocals. I was infatuated. The “Rachelle Ferrell” album didn't leave my CD changer for at least a year because it had everything that I needed musically. Many Many Many years later when she released “Individuality,” that CD too never left my changer. Rochelle’s voice is just simply ridiculous and so very easy to love.

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When I saw her in concert in Detroit after the release of “Individuality” I was shocked to see how contorted her face became while she performed. It was CRAZY. But then, I thought about how Al Jarreau makes these same crazy faces. They both have powerful voices so I guess it all makes sense. Fast forward to this weekend and her performance at the 29th African World Festival downtown Detroit….

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Come hell or high water, I was going to see Rachelle Sunday evening. Neither hell nor high water came but I was there to capture Rachelle in all of her glory. She gave a stupendous show that rocked the crowd. It was almost spiritual in a way. Emotional. Powerful. Moving.

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The show was already AWESOME, then Rachelle announced that Anita Baker was in the audience. The crowd erupted with thunderous applause & screaming. Erry-body in Detroit loves Anita Baker. To the audience’s surprise, Anita later joined Rachelle on stage for a song that I believe will be on Rachelle’s yet to be released album. There was no mention when the album would be released, however she she did share that she is partnering with Ledisi, Rahsaan Patterson, Lalah Hathaway & other friends.

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Being able to witness this amazing talent was everything that made my weekend over the top. Being able to photography one of my favorite vocalists is another notch in my belt. Getting it all done with an 85mm f/1.4 Nikkor lens, priceless! To see more outtakes from the performance, visit here.

Observed in Red

Author: Tafari, Sunday, August 21st, 2011 at 3:26 PM

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I don't a foot fetish or anything like that but I love seeing a woman in a nice pair of high heels. Totally & undeniably sexy!

Detroit Street Stories: Orthneil Rawlins

Author: Tafari, Friday, August 19th, 2011 at 12:43 AM

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It was April 12, 2011 and I was standing at the corner of Euclid & Wildemere taking the first photos in my Detroit Nomad project. After about 2 or 3 photos, I noticed a man approaching me. Before I knew it, he was just a few feet from me, which is when he said (don’t shoot me) as he laughed.  It was clear that he meant not to photograph him. Him? His name? This Man? Orthneil Rawlins... With the ice somewhat broken, he asked me why I was taking photos of the old abandoned apartment building.  I explained to him that it was the 1st place that I lived in when I moved to Detroit in 1979. I also talked a little about the project with him and my goal (which is still formulating). As we talked, I told him how devastated I was to see my old neighborhood in ruins. It was SHOCKING!!!!! I then flipped the focus of the conversation and asked him some questions. I started with asking him how long he lived in the neighborhood to which he answered about 10 years or so. He moved to Detroit from Texas but he didn’t have a southern accent. He sounded a little more exotic. He then told me that he moved to the USA from Barbados way back when. I then asked him what made him move to Detroit from Texas and he went into a story that I was not prepared to hear. His tone changed a little and he started to tell me about his daughter being murdered by some drug dealers many years ago during her senior year of high school. It seems as if she got hooked into the wrong kind of boyfriend that was into drugs. There were some missing drugs at one point & his daughter was confronted by her boyfriend's people one day at home. This confrontation was happening as Mr. Rawlins was on his way home from work. When he approached his home, he heard commotion and his daughter being assaulted and subsequently murdered. While he tried to enter the home, he was shot by one of the assailants through the door in his genitals. At this point, I was all in like it was story hour. Mr. Rawlins was telling the story like a true Griot. He was telling the story as if it was not about him but some other unfortunate man. At the end of the story, he said, "the same day I lost my daughter, I lost my testicles." YIKES! After this incident, his life was forever changed on many levels. He then showed me a photo of his daughter, who was very pretty. We had some more chit chat for several more minutes but I was so distracted by the story & my own thoughts about my project. Before we parted ways, I asked if he would mind if I shot him then and if I could tell his story. When I drove away, I was in a strange zone. I met this random man who suffered two tragedies but making peace with life as I was working to understand my own history and where I am now. I think Mr. Rawlins stepped into my life at the right time to help me think about personal growth, dealing with life as it happens to you & around you. What a way to kick off my project……

Picking Up a Canon

Author: Tafari, Thursday, August 18th, 2011 at 1:40 AM

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Last Sunday, I attended the honeyBOOM launch party, which was held midtown Detroit at the Alley Deck. Initially, I was going to enjoy myself, kick with my girl Ris Tena (owner of honeyBOOM), have a few cocktails and enjoy the fashion show. When I got to the event, I was in such a great mood because I had just taken my last photo in my summer film series project. The DJ was playing my jams! Most importantly, the Captain & Coke was putting me in the zone.  It just seemed like everything was right. Shortly after getting settled in, the fashion show started and all of the sudden, I slipped into photographer mode but all I had was my iPhone. As you know, I love the camera on the iPhone 4 so it was all good.

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As I was getting some images with my iPhone, my homie & Detroit hip hop blogger Marcel F of WhatUpDoe offered me his camera to use instead. My first reaction was like are you serious? I don’t use Canon cameras; YUCK!  My second reaction was, fuck it, give it here, let me rock it out….. As I got my initially images with Marcel’s Canon EOS Rebel T3i equipped with the Canon EF 50mm f 1.8 II lens, I was like oh, this is fun. The features on the camera were just as simple as Nikon bodies,  and the comfort of the grip was nice so my learning curve was all of 5 minutes. From what I saw on the camera’s display, I was impressed with the appearance of the photos so I continued to shoot until it was time for a break and another Captain & Coke. After all, I was there to chill right???

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Lessons learned…. A camera is a camera & as a photographer, I can make an image with anything operable. I’m happy that Marcel was generous enough to trust me with his new camera to get some great shots that I could share with Ris for her new venture. To see a few more outtakes from the event, visit here.

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More on honeyBOOM: honeyBOOM (HNYBM) is a retail boutique & brand specializing in vintage sportswear, along with streetwear, bboy/bgirl gear, jewelry, accessories, art, & custom pieces. Founded by all-around creator, hip-hop aficionado & fashion enthusiast, Ris, also known as Ris Money, Dissris, Ris La Rock, Ris Regal, or just good ol' Christine Tena. honeyBOOM is inspired by the cultural revolutionaries: the bboy & the bgirl. With the style & charisma that breakdancers characterize, they epitomize what it is to be "fresh;" as Bgirl ShaBoogie from Renegades Crew says, "ain't no swag like a bgirl's (bboy's) swag." honeyBOOM brings it back to the foundation with this boutique as a play off old school gear - this is an ode to the hip-hop heyday. --------------------------------- Pictured above in order: Krista Ashley Mcgee, Abigail C. Brown, Anastasia Miller, Star Misskemi, Ris Tena

More Memory Please

Author: Tafari, Monday, August 15th, 2011 at 11:40 PM

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The end of the summer semester has come & I’m elated to be one step closer to being done with this business program. Just 3 more classes to go with 2 of them starting in a few weeks. Not much down time for your boy. As a little treat to myself, I added more memory to my MacBook Pro today. I needed a speed bump desperately in this 3 year old machine. I’ve actually been debating on whether I get a new MPB or just roll with my fossil. I guess, saving almost 2k was the deciding factor…. Anyway, when I cracked the back of the MBP, the inside looked like some kind mico city or something. The new memory added some speed so I will say that it was money well spent/saved… Oh, by the way, I pulled an A- in the compensation class from this semester. When the semester started, I projected an A, then I slipped into B territory & settled. At the last minute, I found some mental energy & made a small comeback. Guess it worked.

Step One: Complete

Author: Tafari, Sunday, August 14th, 2011 at 9:41 PM
Bygbaby.com Mindspill As I sit here writing this, I am being eaten alive by mosquitos because I cannot find my Off & I don’t want to go inside. The evening late summer air is feeling too good but I’m going to suffer later. Wait, I’m back and I found the Off. Anyhow…. Today, I completed the first portion of my summer photo project that I first mentioned here. I wasn’t sure how taking the photographs would go for me but I found it to be intense to say the least from an emotional standpoint. The last photo taken today was bitter sweet. I was happy to have satisfied this portion of the project but it was sad to see the state of the final house, or rather lack of an existing house. Tuesday, I’m having the film processed then I’ll start assembling the accompanying short stories. And I still need to find a title for the project. I've been thinking about this pretty hard... Stay tuned….. Photo Credit: Michael LaCombe

Shooting Tarian & Zahra

Author: Tafari, Sunday, August 14th, 2011 at 12:25 AM

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Last Saturday, I hung out with and photographed an engagement session with my new friends, Tarian & Zarha. I met Tarian & Zarha virtually months ago through a mutual connection whom I met through a connection because of yet, another mutual connection about 3 years ago at a wedding that I photographed. I guess you can say it was a matter of 4º or so of separation. Bygbaby.com Mindspill Last Saturday, Detroit was HOT! Steam bath hot! Then a storm came. The storm actually came moments before we were set to meet for the session. Luckily, it blew through in less than a hour.  The heat calmed down but it was still slightly steamy. This all boils down to me being a sweaty mess while working but that’s another story…. Bygbaby.com Mindspill So, we started the session at Cliff Bells, which is where Tarian & Zahra were engaged last year. The story of the proposal was fun & courageous as Tarian proposed while on stage with Zahra in the audience… Good thing she said yes. After a few shots (photos not drinks) at Cliff Bells, we hit the streets and stopped at another 5 locations.  I typically, hit 3-4 locations but something came over me & the couple was adventurous so the session almost became like a tour of downtown Detroit. Along the way, we stopped at the Dequindre Cut, Grand Circus Park, Milliken State Park and two abandoned factories. Bygbaby.com Mindspill Things really got fun when I stumbled upon a basically brand new hot pink bowling ball that fit Zahra perfectly. The cool thing is that Zahra is into bowling. I'm still laughing about that find! At some point along the way, I forgot that I was actually working because we were having so much fun.  I have to say that I have been very fortunate to link with clients that are fun to work with because it totally makes things much more easy. Bygbaby.com Mindspill After the session ended, I headed to Mexican Town for some Mexican eatin’ & a cool drink. It was a great way to end the day. Next up, Tarian & Zahra’s wedding, Labor Day weekend.  From the sounds of it, it is going to be one hell of an event. You can see a few more outtakes from the photo session here.

Butterflies & Words

Author: Tafari, Thursday, August 11th, 2011 at 11:17 PM

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I'm gonna be honest; I'm not a big fan of Frida Kahlo's work. That may be because I'm freaked out by unibrows. Yes, I'm superficial..... Even with my aversion to unibrows, I do love this quote from Frida. It's very inspiring! I spotted this art installation at famed chef/restaurateur Rick Bayless' restaurant Frontera Grill during a recent trip to Chicago. "Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?" Frida Kahlo, 1953