Tuesday, September 26, 2006

My View

Somtimes it still amazes me!

All images and written word are copyrighted by Christopher Cushman 2006

Friday, September 15, 2006

Finally In Print!!!

Well the wait will soon be over, currently in production in Italy and available from the German distributor sometime in October!
Black 4, from Janssen, featuring my work in print to the larger world for the first time! Should be available in the U.S. and Canada some time in November or December!
All images and written word are copyrighted by Christopher Cushman 2006

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 Five Years After

Today is 9/11, a date everyone will remember. They will remember what they were doing five years ago today because five years ago a group of people choose to fly airplane's into the World Trade Center buildings and into the Pentagon, and its a day that one group was foiled by the planes passengers as they flew into a field in Pennsylvania. The entire world changed on 9/11 and it soon became apparent that the buildings were only the secondary target, the primary being our way of life.

Not being one to fly, months later I experienced the tensions caused by the three check point requirement at Toronto's Person Airport as I boarded the first Air Canada flight allowed into Reagan National in Washington DC. So tight were the restrictions as to not even allow any of us out of our seats for the whole flight, not even for the bathroom, the penalty being that the plane would be routed back to Toronto! We landed near sunset as we passed the still scared Pentagon, Lincoln and Washington Monuments and Capitol buildings, my mind searching for what it must have been like for those who lost there life that day. The hour and a half flight made me weary and a bit sad.

I wanted to post two pictures today that were given to me shortly after 9/11. They were taken by my friend Michael who had just returned from visiting NY and ground zero. Having not yet been to ground zero, I was captivated by some of the symbolism in the photographs. The first image is about a block from ground zero on ironically, Liberty Street, a one way sign seems to be pointing in opposition to the directions sign on the scaffolding showing the way to the WTC viewing platform. A New York Fire Department Ambulance in the fore ground. Our sense of liberty which once seemed all encompassing, was now used against us as weapon.

The second photo captures one of thousands of memorials created/ collaborated on my the many people who visited the site. The yellow caution tape still surrounding the site. These pictures have meant allot to me over the last five years as they have been part of my own small alter created in the memory of those who passed on 9/11 and the world and way of life that passed on 9/11.

I moved from my home in Detroit in 1998 to come to Canada, to make a new life for myself. Living in Canada has allowed me to witness these world events from somewhat of an out side looking in perspective. My immigration delayed almost 3 years by the changes caused by that day. The armed National Guard troops often stationed at the Detroit/Windsor boarder keep the unforgivable events of 9/11 with me, I still feel sad for those who were lost, and I carry anger for those who changed our world in so many ways and I wonder... what is yet to come.
All images and written word are copyrighted by Christopher Cushman 2006

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Tags...You're It!

Saturday morning I had the honor of photographing a young man by the name of Takunda. Tags for short, this brother hails from South Africa, by way of fashion school in Australia! My life is so boring.... Showing up early we quickly started to shoot some great images as you can see below! Tags brought with him some great African jewelry to accentuate his awesome look... Enjoy!

All images and written word are copyrighted by Christopher Cushman 2006

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Interview with Kevin Ormsby

Epiphany: So Kevin thanks for coming on tonight... I’ve gotten allot of positive response to the photographs we created last weekend, How long have you been dancing?

Kevin: 20 yrs since the age of 10 but in the performing arts since I was 3yrs old.

Epiphany: Did you always want to be a Dancer?

Kevin: I was in musical theatre until dance became the forefront at about 16.

Epiphany: What caught your interest in Dance?

Kevin: A scholarship to Jamaica School of Dance at Edna Manley College of the Performing Arts, lol.

Epiphany: So you got a scholarship and just went for it?

Kevin: Yeap!, was on scholarship until immigrated here in 92.

Epiphany: So what about dancing makes you the happiest? The creativity, the travel, the performance?

Kevin: All of the above the life it's a process that like life has its ups and downs, but the joy of performing makes the hours of rehearsal meaningful and the experience of new cities and countries makes you realize how special it is to communicate with your body.

Epiphany: Was there one performance so far or place where you just said wow this is why I love doing this?

Kevin: in Lyon France where while performing with Garth Fagan Dance we did 5 encores to numerous shouts, foot stomping and Bravo!! The life of a dancer is not easy but those sentiments alone makes you realize that destiny would have it that you, a dancer can elicit such emotions in someone else.

Epiphany: That’s such a great thing to recognize. Ok you recently moved back from the states, who were you dancing for there?

Kevin: Garth Fagan Dance (Garth Fagan is the choreographer of the LION KING but he has his own company in Rochester, NY...its now in its 35th Anniversary.) I was with the company for 5 and a half years

Epiphany: What brought you back to Toronto?

Kevin: I turned 30 wanted a little bit more stability in my life, I had a secured salary, traveling in a great company but got tired of the intensity in the life...I wanted to teach, share what I learnt and to one day run a company. Coming here I was offered a job with my old company as Assistant to the Artistic Director?

Epiphany: What is the name of the company here?

Kevin: It is the Ballet Creole?

Epiphany: Great, will you be dancing as well?

Kevin: Yes in major shows but my working capacity will be in the artistic directorship and Pre professional school

Epiphany: What’s the hardest part of dancing as a profession?

Kevin: Not having people think that you can actually have it be a profession like traditional professions (doctor lawyer etc) that and making an income comparable to that of a lawyer etc. Plus the body can be unforgiving

Epiphany: Is there a dance company you wish you could dance with or a particular dancer you would like to have performed with?

Kevin: Yes my dream was to dance with Garth Fagan's company that came through but I also love the work of Ron K. Brown / EVIDENCE Dance Company

Epiphany: Wow!.... What advice would you give someone just starting out?

Kevin: If you wanna be good at what you do then you have to be disciplined put in the time and don’t look for quick rewards... Debbie Allen says it best in the series FAME..."you have big dreams, you want fame well fame costs and right here is where you start paying in sweat" Also take a much dance class as you can from ballet, modern to hip-hop, jazz etc.. It will only make you better at what you do.... and go to school, no such thing as a stupid dancer.

Epiphany: Wow, great advice!

Epiphany: OK a little Proust questionnaire, ala Vanity Fair…. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Kevin: Living without regrets

Epiphany: What is your greatest fear?

Kevin: People not seeing me for the true person that I am.

Epiphany: Which living person do you most admire?

Kevin: My parents and family (unconditional love)

Epiphany: What trait do you most deplore about yourself?

Kevin: Being so upfront, passionate and forward in my responses

Epiphany: What trait do you most deplore in others?

Kevin: Not being honest and to the point

Epiphany: What is your greatest extravagance?

Kevin: Books.

Epiphany: Hey thats one of mine as well! Well again thanks for a great photo shoot, and coming on tonight! Can’t wait to do it again!

Kevin: It was a pleasure to allow you to see a mere part of the being that I am.

All images and written word are copyrighted by Christopher Cushman 2006

Monday, September 04, 2006

Early Morning Grace

All images and written word are copyrighted by Christopher Cushman 2006

Sunday, September 03, 2006

R.I.P. Willi Ninja

I remember taking the four hour drive to Chicago from Detroit in the fall of 1990, the trip had a single purpose for me and my friends... to see Paris is Burning. A documentary about the Black Gay ball rooming scene in NY. It was an imperative to go as Chicago was the closest the film would come to us.

I can say we were not disappointed, and the film carried us through the early 90's and is attached to so many nights at Heaven where dancing in the circle, and voguing was continually being perfected each evening.

So its particularly sad that I wake up this morning to find out from a friend that Willi Ninja (“Paris is Burning” and “How Do I Look”) passed away Saturday, Willi a legendary ballroom figure, had recently stepped forward as yet another one of our beloved family members living with HIV. Commonly referred to as the Grandfather of Vogue, he was featured in the 90’s documentary “Paris Is Burning,” which introduced the world to voguing. Yes, it was Willi and not Madonna. SNAP! Many consider Paris is Burning to be an invaluable documentary of the end of the "Golden Age" of New York City drag balls. And to date is still one of the highest grossing documentaries of all time.

So yet another one is taken from us and I am left to wonder, is Paris still burning?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Late Night Ty

Some photo-shoots happen at the in what seems like the spur of the moment, or at an odd time of day, In preparing for my final book comp, Ty came in just under the deadline but a little later than planned... its now midnight and raining which forced a certain improvisation and degree of spontaneity in our images. A photograph is an agreement between the photographer and the model. The common agreement of this evening gave us these amazing images....

All images and written word are copyrighted by Christopher Cushman 2006