Introducing The Leisure Show, appearing in May at the Black Iris Gallery in Richmond, VA. This gallery exhibition features my pop culture photography. Contact the gallery for an appointment to stop by! Click below to learn more.
Why The Leisure Show? To me, leisure allows us to enjoy games and our favorite movies, and time to reflect. During quarantine I missed engaging in my usual activities such as photographing concerts and live events, so I doubled down on shooting still life set-ups in my home table-top studio. I tried to get better with lighting and layout, and really enjoyed hunting down components for each composition. My first big shoot, and the thematic tent-pole of this whole exhibition, is this Civil War Poker game photo. (You can read more about that image in that article) This photo kicked off a whole series of photos, mostly pop culture, and many of them have a money or game element within. This photo was always intended to be printed large and hung up on the wall, a more handsome alternative to Dogs Playing Poker. Each of the images I selected for this show would be an exciting and contemporary fit for your game room, den, or man-cave wall.
One theme I really enjoyed exploring was the Call to Adventure as a cinematic element. I love when there is a central prop that symbolizes the beginning of an adventure, often involving a reluctant hero. I found these props have a more emotional resonance with fans. I scoured eBay for months gathering up my favorite props and learned new photographic techniques along the way. I’ve got the map and doubloon from the Goonies, the red burn bag from The Bourne Identity, and the lightsaber from Star Wars.
My absolute favorite Call to Adventure prop is, of course Luke’s lightsaber. It’s so iconic, it came back as a literal call to adventure in Force Awakens. Yes, there are two photos in this gallery of this lightsaber, and both are thematically from Empire Strikes Back, but they’re much more dynamic than old man hands.
I have a handful of toy photos too. Some of these are smaller prints that go thematically with bigger prints, and round out the scope of what I shot during quarantine. Some are vintage toys, some are new.
I also have other prop portraits, not limited to the call to adventure. One is a collection of props from 1989’s Batman. I wanted the overall look to fit in with most of my other desktop studio images, so I went with a top-down point of view and it imagines what Gotham PD would see at the scene of a bank robbery, arriving after Batman takes off.
One of my favorite things to do when I travel is get long exposures of the Milky Way. I had many Milky Way photos to choose from for this show, but I picked this one taken over Seminary Ridge near Gettysburg. It’s Civil War connection ties it to the poker photo, but there’s a hidden link to the leisure theme, the red trails are from brake lights. There were a handful of cars that kept interrupting my exposure, and I eventually embraced it and worked it into my composition. Why were so many cars coming out to this empty road late at night? They were all Pokemon Go hunters, and there was a Pokemon hotspot right next to the canon I put into my competition. Honestly I think the red trails give it a bit more character. There are all kinds of hidden or unknown themes between the photos in this show. You’ll have to come by the exhibition and ask me about them.
Another image that I have a lot to say about is the Time Traveler’s Poker Game bringing together clues from three of my favorite time travel shows, Back to the Future III, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Star Trek: TNG’s episode Time’s Arrow. What if these old west time travelers sat down to the same game of poker? I thought it would be fun to hang this piece in your home and have fun with your visitors seeing if they can guess where each prop came from.
I’d love to meet you in person and chat about your favorite collectibles, pop culture props, and games to play. How do you spend your leisure time? Stay tuned to @AgeOwns on Instagram for more information.
Here is a brief time-lapse video of the show getting set up and a quick fly-by of the space.
Here is an extended walk through with a little anecdote about each piece.
Here is a gallery of photos from the opening reception, and the images on display.
Click here to download a PDF of the Exhibition Program pamphlet.