Summer Sendoff: Musikfest 2016!

With summer's end comes one of my favorite bittersweet events - I love it as it's always a wonderful time full of fabulous food, great music, and unforgettable atmosphere, but with it comes a gentle sadness because it means fall is right around the corner, the last hurrah for warmer weather.

 I could only be referring to Musikfest, a 10-day festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania that never fails to bring a wealth of free musical performances to the Lehigh Valley, and in my 27 years of enjoying life, I have yet to miss a single one (which is a record I fully intend to maintain as long as I can). There is always a plethora of unique and delicious food, not to mention some of the coolest cultural creations around (such as the stilt-walking street performer group Saurus, who dresses up like giant dinosaurs and gently terrorize festival-goers!). And of course we can't forget the amazing artisanal community that comes to sell their wares at the fest, from handmade soaps and looseleaf teas to homemade salsas and bonsai trees - you never know what cool gifts or souvenirs you might find!

This year I had the unique pleasure of working as a photographer for the festival, a goal I'd been working towards for several years, and an opportunity I was excited to finally take hold of. Not only did I get to photograph one of my favorite bands from the years of teenager-dom ( shoutout to Chevelle for being just as great live as they are in studio!), but I also was granted backstage access to shoot some of the festival's musical regulars like Scythian and March Fourth (who happen to be two of my personal favorites). 

These are some of my favorites that I think best encompass the vibe of this fabulous summer festival, & hope to see you there next year - I'm already counting down the days! 

Fashion editorial: Gwen Albers

2 or so years ago, I met the lovely actress/model Gwen Albers at an Indieworks screening (if you love short films, it's the perfect place, trust me - and there's one happening tonight!) and she has come to be one of my favorite kindred spirits in the city. She so thoroughly impressed me when I saw her fantastic performance in a short film there that I immediately sought her out after, and the rest is history. Fast forward to now, and I'm excited to share some photos from our first official collaboration (hopefully one of many to come!), which I'm happy to say is also some of my favorite new work!

We spent the day working our way through Brooklyn, taking advantage of its fantastic street art, beautiful parks, and impressive architecture - a perfect hyper-saturated representation of New York City's creative culture. We roamed from the Williamsburg Bridge to Dumbo to Red Hook and everywhere in between, and had the most gorgeous sunset glow to work with during the golden hour (a photographer's dream!). Gwen was a natural in front of the camera, and her beautiful spirit inside and out definitely came through, which was wonderful to work with. Add in the beautiful clothing and pieces provided by Dutchess clothing, and I couldn't have asked for a better shoot that day, or better weather. Here are some of my favorites, and can't wait to shoot with Miss Gwen again!

Seeing Double: An Adorama Article

About a month ago, I was asked to write an article on the concept and process of working with double exposures, both in camera and digitally through Photoshop. It was quite a challenge to determine how best to articulate what my process was, since double exposures by their nature are so experimental and versatile. But I think given the abstract nature of the subject matter, I wrote an article that could help emerging and new photographers begin to explore the concept of multiple exposure images. It was a little tricky to write, as most of my Natura work is a little too provocative to use in an article so targeted towards a general audience (alas, the fine art nudity was the unfortunate blow), but in the end, I'm very happy with the images I created to accompany the article. Below is one of my favorites, from a senior portraits session with my wonderful firecracker of a friend, Mina, who I have no doubt will take the world by storm one day.

 © Alyssa Meadows

© Alyssa Meadows

If you want to see the article on the Adorama site itself, feel free to check it out here! There may or may not be a few friendly and familiar faces featured on there, as I had to create more digital examples of the photoshopped technique. Overall, I'm happy that I was able to write an article that may help others within the photography community, as it never hurts to lend a helping hand to fellow peers; if there's one thing I've learned after 2 years here in New York City, it's that everything seems to fall in place when you work together to create something special. 

Personal: Our 'Staycation'

Last week, my partner and I went back to basics with a 'staycation' in the Poconos for some much needed rest and relaxation. Not only was it a greatly appreciated break from the constant hustle and bustle of the city, but also served quite well as an excuse to hike/location scout more potential spots to work on my Natura series. It was lovely to get back into the vibrant and incomparable lush green of the forest, and the misty, cloudy forecast made it easy to capture some really great images. I'm not sure if there's anything I love more than being out in nature with nothing other than my camera and my partner/photo assistant, and this trip was exactly what I needed to get my creativity gears grinding again. It's easy to get burned out in the city that never sleeps, so I was immeasurably grateful for a long week of unwinding, and I think I found some really spectacular locations to shoot next. Hope I get to go back out into the forest soon!

IndieWorks: Best of Fest 2015!

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of photographing IndieWork's Best of Fest 2015, and it certainly did not disappoint. A great event that allows indie filmmakers an opportunity to have a more personal interaction with their audience, IndieWorks gives up-and-coming directors a safe and inviting space to share passion projects, personal creations, and indie films with the local community. It's a sure bet that you can find me there every month to see the beautiful films being shown, and I love every minute of it. Not only is it a fabulous professional network to branch into, but it has also afforded me the opportunity to make many wonderful friends which I am forever grateful for. 

I was elated when one of my personal favorites from the past year, Q.U.E.E.N., written and directed by Brittany Fennell, won the coveted Golden Whiskers Award this year, and it could not be more deserved. The  talented Hye Yun Park took home the Audience Choice Award for her wonderfully funny web series Hey Yun, and there's no question as to why the audience loved it. Here are some of my favorite moments from the night, and be sure to come join us at the next screening on June 10th!

The VelociPastor!

If you read my blog with any regularity, it's no secret that I work on film sets often, and that it's one of my favorite places to work. I love my film-family, it's such a large and supportive community that I am unbelievably blessed to be a part of, and so I try to return the favor as often as possible. That's why I'm so excited to share with you news on the newest project some of my best friends are working on, The VelociPastor

 Illustration by  Wyeth Yates

Illustration by Wyeth Yates

The film is written and (to-be) directed by my fabulous friend Brendan Steere, whose previous feature, Animosity, not only received global distribution, but was also well-received enough to show at many film festivals in the last year, including Fantasia, where it screened alongside Guardians of the Galaxy and Boyhood. It also won Best Picture and Best Actress at the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival in 2013; As you can clearly see, he definitely knows how to make a good movie.

Originally a spoof trailer of epic comedic proportions, Brendan's finally ready to develop VelociPastor into a full-length feature of dark humor, and I for one could not be more excited about it. If you want to see the concept's origin, you can check it out below.

Not only is it retaining Matt Ziegel from the original short as the lead and VelociPastor, but it also will star Alyssa Kempinski as his college educated and provocative love interest. I've also had the pleasure of working with her several times, most recently on the set of Six Windows! They were also both cast in Animosity, and I'm so excited to see them work together again. Not only are they both immensely talented, but they are both joys to work with on set, which I can personally attest to.

Along with Steere, two of my closest friends, Brandon Taylor and Gabryal Rabinowitz, have joined the teams as respectively Producer and Associate Producer. Not only have I known them for years, but had the pleasure of working with them on many previous projects including Six Windows, The Remembrance, and They Hunger. With a killer crew such as this one, I have no doubts this film will go above and beyond in the realms of creativity and craftsmanship, with a touch of insanity-bordering brilliance.

If you believe in this project like I do (which, in all seriousness, you really should) please check it out on Facebook, Like/Share, and Donate to help make this project a reality!

PDN's Photo of the Day!

I am so thrilled to share with you all that last week I was fortunate enough to be featured on PDN's Photo of the Day along with my fellow YPA mentees, which you can see here. It was truly amazing to not only have my work shown on such a prominent and reputable news source for photography, but to also have such a positive response to the work I submitted. While it may seem a small thing, this has always been a goal and dream of mine since I began pursuing photography professionally. I can't believe how far this organization has helped me come, and I have so much gratitude and respect for our mentors Andrew Hetherington and Steve Giralt, as well as the photo editor of PDN, Amy Wolff, for all of their encouragement, support, and enthusiasm about our work.

I got a wonderful little reminder of this step forward by seeing it in a weekly PDN newsletter email I received today. It's so surreal to see my photo on such a mainstream news source, but I am forever grateful for it, and couldn't help myself but instagram it. It's so validating to see how hard work pays off.

On-Camera Interview!

I'm so happy to share with you all this fabulous promo video my good friend Brandon Taylor directed and produced for my upcoming exhibition with the Young Photographer's Alliance. It was my first on-camera interview, so please forgive any awkwardness or long-windedness! I can't believe how wonderfully this turned out, given my nerves about making it, but making artwork is all about pushing boundaries, including our own comfort levels. I am so proud and excited to share my new artwork with all of you, and hope that you can join me on the 24th at the Art Director's Club to come support all of the artists showing in this sure-to-be-spectacular exhibition. You can buy (donation based!) tickets here. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Musikfest 2014!

There's nothing quite like Musikfest, one of the largest music festivals in the United States, which is easily the one of the best cultural aspects my hometown has to offer. A huge 10-day endeavor, with over 1 million visitors every year, it easily is one of the most inspiring events I've ever encountered, and always becomes a source of inspiration. Not only does it boast some of the best musical performances to be found, but it also pays beautiful tribute to this historic town with its commitment to protecting the Bethlehem Steel, as well as highlighting it as a backdrop for some of the largest stages. The food and craft vendors are just as fabulous as the music, there's never a shortage of amazing buskers, and this year's festival was no exception. As we've hit that mid-winter peak, full of cold and dreary days, I thought this would be an appropriate post for a wintry day and bring a little summer back into this snowy season. 

Secret Cinema: Robin Williams Tribute

Over the weekend, a wonderful organization called Secret Cinema put together a beautiful tribute in honor of Robin Williams by screening Dead Poets Society at the South Street Seaport. There are not many comedians that have touched the lives of so many in such a positive way, and I know I am not the only one mourning the loss of such a beautiful soul. His charisma and character will be greatly missed, and while most of us did not know him, we loved his sense of humor and his inherent ability to make us laugh. 

What I found truly special about this event was feeling the collective grief and support of the community, and how everyone who came out to support had a special place in their heart for Robin. I was most touched by the reaction at the end of the film, where everyone in the audience stood with the students on the desk, in a last respectful moment to one of the world's best comedians and kindest human beings. In a strange way, going to this screening was like attending a funeral, and provided me with a small sense of closure, which I'm sure most of us in attendance felt at the closing scene. May we always remember his large heart and tremendous talent, and the deepest sympathy to his family.

Back From The Beach!

Even when a photographer's on 'vacation,' there's never a break from taking photos; there's just too many cool things to see. So, a little more on the personal end of the spectrum, here are some photos from our trip to Ocean City, NJ with my best friend Briea and her husband.