Browsing Tag

drag show

do SOMEthing | by +elaine

I’m just coming off an amazing weekend. life affirming. life altering. fun, exhausting, exhilarating. if any of you have been paying attention, I’ve had the privilege of photographing Girls Rock Camp Atlanta and Ladies Rock Camp Atlanta. it’s inspiring to watch and be a part of all that energy. but let me tell you, it’s nothing compared to being an actual camper.

it was hard for me to let go at first. I’d always been there as a photographer. I even packed my camera to bring with me, then deliberately took it out at the last minute. I didn’t want to observe. not as a professional, anyway. I wanted to be a part of it. IN it. without the detachment of composing images in my head and having my camera as a shield. I did that in-my-head thing anyway, but was able to just use my phone to snap some shots, just like normal people do, and let it go at that. eventually.




here we were, 24 women, mostly strangers. we met on friday afternoon, chose instruments to play (for some of us, for the very first time), formed bands, had lessons, named ourselves, wrote songs and lyrics, rehearsed, rehearsed, and rehearsed some more. somewhere in there they managed to feed us well and often, and set up time for some serious bonding and a few performances. there was a lot of laughing and crying and hugging and cheering. and rocking and badassness, of course. then finally (all too quickly, in fact), on sunday night we performed. such a simple word, performed. but it was everything. excitement and attitude and love, and this beautiful energy exchange that I swear you could actually see dancing around the room.

and now that it’s over (we rocked it, by the way), I’m able to analyze the hell out of it, hold it all up to the light and see where it fits in the puzzlebox that is my brain. people met, lessons learned, what I’m taking away from it all, and if or how it’s going to color all things that come after.

some top-line things? I learned about Preferred Gender Pronouns. that I’m perhaps too cynical and snarky than absolutely necessary, even if only in my head. that the world is filled with kind, supportive beautiful beings that will help you along if you ask it of them. that you can teach this old dog new tricks. that I still have to ability to surprise myself.

rock & roar



I was motivated to attend this camp, yes, because after all that watching, I wanted to DO. but maybe it’s also part of that mid-life panic. I don’t want to be “just” a wife and mother of three. don’t get me wrong, that’s probably THE best thing of my life. but it’s not all that I am. or not all that I want to be. I will not go gently into that good night. because frankly, time is running out. maybe not soon, but certainly there’s less of it than there was before. and I still have things I want to learn. to discover. to enjoy. I want to not be bored or boring.†I want to challenge myself and be vulnerable and redefine myself. I want my sons to see all of it and learn from it as well.

so do something that scares you. something that thrills you. something you’ve never even considered.†take up lessons, go to a drag show, schedule a boudoir shoot, jump out of an airplane (parachuted, please).†it doesn’t have to be big. buy a vegetable you’ve never seen before, then hunt up a recipe on the internet. try something new. revisit something old.†finally tell someone that thing you’ve always wanted to say.


as my father would say: “do something, even if it’s wrong.” I’m not saying that’s always the best advice, but you get the gist, right? get up off your ass. get going. do SOMEthing. I won’t promise that it won’t be mortifying or embarrassing or painful, whether physically or emotionally. you may fail. or cry. or throw up. or be rejected or laughed at. I’m not saying that any or all of those things won’t happen. I’m only saying it just might be worth every bit of it.

Journey | by +Krista

So. This is not the first time that Drag Queens and all their fabulousness have graced the pages of almost six months ago, I had one of my favorite shoots to date at Burkharts Pub: home of the best drag in Atlanta (seriously, itís been proven). Six months doesnít sound like much, but trust me: a lot can change in what feels like the blink of an eye.

I remember applying for the LeahAndMark Internship… it felt perfect for me, as if the stars aligned and suddenly, THIS was what I was supposed to be doing right this very moment. So I mulled over my portfolio, poured my heart into my application, and clicked Submit. And a few weeks and a crazy 3 AM deadline later, I got it. Seriously, that feeling- which I celebrated by dancing around my kitchen with my four-year-old- was awesome. Up there in my top 10, that’s for sure.

And so, I became an Intern. I filled up memory cards faster than I ever had before. I met people unlike any Iíd ever met before. I learned more than Iíd ever expected- both by watching and by shooting- at a pace so whirlwind that I STILL stop in the middle of a shoot, look around at my surroundings (whether Iím standing neck-deep in the Chattahoochee or sitting backstage with half-dressed drag queens, and wonder, ďHow the hell did I get here? THIS IS AWESOME.Ē And then I text my husband to tell him how much I love my job.

Now Iím on the other side of things: Iím a Plus. An associate photographer. An Alumni Intern. And now weíre at the start of a fresh group of Interns- Season [NINE]. Iím amazed at how differently I feel this time around, compared to the beginning of Season Eight- I suppose itís just because I have another three months of still shooting and hustling and working my ass off under my belt now, and the little things like answering questions and offering advice are starting to come more naturally to me now. Well. That, and itís nice to not have to carry all the gear myself anymore. Most of the time.

The idea of the Internship is awesome. Genius, really. (And we all know that Mark, at some point, requires most of the Interns to proclaim his geniushood in a blog post here or there.) You take a photographer. Then you add more photographers. Then you add Intern photographers- who are all insanely talented already, and theyíre here to learn. And shoot. And observe. And carry gear. What can I say? It happens.

And selfishly, Iíll go ahead and say it: the Interns make ME a better photographer. Itís one thing to step outside, size up your lighting, and turn this/turn that to get your settings right: silently, quickly, instinctively. Itís an entirely different thing to have to turn to someone else and explain what youíre doing and why youíre doing it. I answer a question- and then understand it just a little bit better myself. Iíll listen to ideas- and gain inspiration from a fresh perspective. Iíll go to workshops- and learn something completely new.†I know everyone always says this, but each new class of Interns is completely different from the last. The dynamic, the range of abilities, the reasons why people are here. And with every season, it just keeps getting better. Exponentially.

But most of all, I just really like meeting new peopleÖ artistic, creative, motivated people with whom I usually have more in common than Iíd ever imagined. My favorite part of the Internship- and experiencing it from another side now- is the first night. Everybodyís nervous and excited and shifting in their chairs. I remember what that felt like: like the first big hill on a rollercoaster. You race to get in the front row, hurry up and wait while you stand in line, beam with excitement while you try to play it coolÖ then you get in, pull that rickety safety bar down over your lap, and suddenly, as youíre climbing the first hill, youíre not really sure if you REALLY want to do this- because itís scary. Then, before you know it, youíre plunging headfirst into this great new adventure. That nervous energy is my favorite part. Because Iíve been there. And I’m so glad I can say that.