Brigette Supernova photography blog (formerly Outer Focus Photos)

January 23, 2016

New York City – blizzard 2016 photos

Filed under: photography — Brigette Supernova @ 6:02 pm

As a Chicago/Northwest Indiana girl used to a few feet of “lake effect” snow each winter, I have been a sad to have a snowless New York City winter. Today, that changed! And we did not get a powder puff of flakes; we got the whole shebang, blizzard style! With my new outdoor winter running gear on, a few layers of clothes, wooly socks and plastic bags in my snow boots (my mama didn’t raise no fool – I know how to keep my tooties warm and dry on the cheap), and a camera ready to shoot, I headed out.

For the most part, it didn’t seem like a big deal to trudge through. Except when those 40-plus mile an hour winds whip through the corridors of streets, hurling icy snowflakes at the fives inches of forehead and eyes I had exposed, reminding me, indeed, this is a blizzard!

I wasn’t all that inspired to take pictures. I don’t live in a photo-inspiring area of the city. It’s full of tourists pouting their favorite chain stores were closed and Times Sqaure LED lights vying for attention through the fog, haze, and snow Mama Nature delivered. Also, the buses and many trains were shut down, so I couldn’t hop on the MTA to quickly relocated to a more interesting place. Maybe tomorrow (we’re supposed to get another foot in the next 24 hours)!

Here are a few images I did snap, to give you a feel of the quiet, white, bitter cold New York wonderland I explored for a couple hours today.

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Bryant Park ©Brigette Supernova

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Bryant Park, Chrysler Building silhouette   ©Brigette Supernova

 

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©Brigette Supernova

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New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue ©Brigette Supernova

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New York Public Library, left lion ©Brigette Supernova

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Looking down Fifth Avenue ©Brigette Supernova

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34th St & Fifth Avenue ©Brigette Supernova

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Herald Square ©Brigette Supernova

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©Brigette Supernova

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Madison Square Garden and main Post Office ©Brigette Supernova

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©Brigette Supernova

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Only half way down the block, MSG almost disappears in the whiteout ©Brigette Supernova

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©Brigette Supernova

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©Brigette Supernova

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Empire State Building, invisible in the fog and whiteout ©Brigette Supernova

January 19, 2016

David Bowie, makeshift memorial in New York City

Filed under: photography — Brigette Supernova @ 4:01 pm

David Bowie passed away last week, much to the surprise of millions around the world. He spent his last days in private, never revealing his cancer to the public. Understandably, a man who sculpted his career and art around image, it makes sense he didn’t want us to remember a weak, withered shell of a mortal looking anything but glamorous. Much like Freddie Mercury, who only revealed his life-ending illness 24 hours before his death, the passing of another 70’s icon left us at a loss for words, mourning the loss of a true artist.

Personally, I have not listened to a single Glam song since Bowie’s death. I have not been able to bring myself to listen to his parting gift of music, Blackstar. I only got five seconds into astronaut Chris Hadfield’s famous “Space Oddity” performed from a space shuttle before I started crying. I’ve seen that video a dozen times before, but can’t watch it now.

I was not a huge Bowie music fan. I think I wrote the only lukewarm review of his “This Is Bowie” art show at Chicago’s MCA (I still stand by that piece, as Bowie had nothing to do with the curation or presentation of a selection of artifacts that reflected only a few aspects of a madly creative person). However, I was a tremendous admirer of his songwriting, collaborations with artists of many media, and in awe of his ability the bridge fashion, high art, pop culture, sexuality, and music with mystery and smooth confidence. I went to a Bowie concert in high school, and was disappointed not to see one spec of glitter or lamé on stage (I didn’t understand then what I do now about his shifting focus on musicianship over spectacle). But, like all of my friends, I’m still tremendously sad about his death. For me, I think it’s partly because I feel pure, artistic souls are harder and harder to find–and Bowie represented that to me.

I read a great article in the New York Times the other day, about how David Bowie was an invisible New Yorker. In another web search, I saw some random photos of him looking like any other pedestrian in the city–minding his own business, wearing adorable knit yarn gloves and puffy winter coat, and realized I probably wouldn’t have even noticed him if I passed him on the street. And that’s okay. For most of us, it’s a bitter irony to live in a city of millions and feel completely alone or anonymous. But for someone of Bowie’s stature, it must be a nice sanctuary in the midst of chaos and celebrity.

This past Sunday–a few days after the death of Bowie–I went on one of my “therapy” walks through the city. I packed a camera and started another random exploration of the city, my only goal for the day was to see a Gordon Parks photo show. By coincidence, David Bowie and Iman’s NYC address (and a makeshift memorial) is on the route from the coffee shop I stopped at in Soho and the Parks exhibit I wanted to see. Naturally, I stopped for a brief moment of silence and respect for the fallen Ziggy Stardust. It seemed a bit strange for me to stare at a pile of cellophane-wrapped flowers that reminded me of the grocery store floral section. And I certainly had no intention of being a disrespectful paparazza, taking photos just because I had a camera with me.

But then something happened….

I crouched down and started looking closely at some of the gifts, poems, artwork, memorabilia, and sparkling tchotchkes. I noted the special time and attention fans in mourning took to craft artworks and pen their final farewells, as well as those willing to part with valuable collector’s items in his honor. I realized this sidewalk memorial is cathartic. It is an unspoken ritual, one last communal praise of a beloved legend. And I thought maybe I was being a little too jaded and unattached in an effort to hold in my own sorrow. And I thought about all my friends who would give anything to lay a glitter-dipped rose where I stood. I really wanted to pull out every note written to him to see what people wrote, but of course I didn’t; whatever each wrote is between him and Bowie and the stars. Instead, I pulled out my camera and took a few photos in case any of them/you would like to see what I saw. Here are a few images I captured, just moments before the first heavy New York City snow began to fall…

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©Brigette Supernova

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©Brigette Supernova

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©Brigette Supernova

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©Brigette Supernova

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©Brigette Supernova

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©Brigette Supernova

 

February 9, 2015

Full-figured beauty: All it takes to be beautiful is a good attitude. And good lighting.

©Brigette Supernova/Outer Focus Photos

©Brigette Supernova/Outer Focus Photos

Lately, I’ve noticed more and more social media posts and articles about “big girls” getting model contracts, being featured in mainstream magazines, and artists’ photo projects focused on robust women. The feminist in me thinks, “Yay, attention for ALL of us, equally, because we’re all amazing!” Then the realist in me thinks, “Umm, why are we making a big deal out of what should be the norm? I mean, we all know magazines and advertisements feature unrealistically skinny women. But to swing the pendulum the other way seems equally absurd.”

When I look at the photos of plus-size models, what sparkles is their face and body language. Their inner beauty and confidence comes through in person and in photos. That said, being model-worthy is a goal ANY woman can aspire to, if she has a lust for the spotlight and a comfortable, confident self-image. Full-figured professional models have photos just as beautiful as thin models because they too have excellent makeup artists, professional hairdo’s, exciting clothes styling, and wonderfully lit photo sets. Good makeup, good lighting, a good photographer, and a good attitude…. THAT is the winning combination for stellar portraits–not size or shape, ethnicity, sexuality, cleavage, airbrushed/retouched/Photoshopped body parts, or any of those things corporations push us into believing with their advertisements.

With the permission of my photo client, I wanted to share some photos from a portrait session I recently photographed. This is one confident, fabulous woman! There is absolutely zero Photoshop work done to her body in these photos. I admittedly did some retouching to diminish bad shadows and soften some lighting, removed some ramdom pimples and stray hairs on her head, and enhanced some of the colors. But that’s it. Not one change has been made to her divine, voluptuous body. Why would I? Look at her. She’s stunning! If you ask me, with these photos, she can rival any high-paid model.

To all the people who’ve told me they want to do a portrait session with me after they shed a few pounds… STOP IT, and let’s shoot already. You are amazing right now, just the way you are. Trust me (and a good makeup artist/hair stylist). Let me grab my camera and prove it to you! If this gal can rock the awesome in nothing but her undies, we should all be able follow her beautiful, brave example.

©Brigette Supernova/Outer Focus Photos

©Brigette Supernova/Outer Focus Photos

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January 28, 2015

Food porn: When I’m stressed, I like to bake

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©Brigette Supernova / Outer Focus Photos

When I get stressed and need an outlet, I usually go to the gym and workout to the most aggressive, obnoxious music playlist. Or I stay calm and cook or bake. Sometimes it is simply no fun to cook, because I live alone and I haven’t a convenient recipient for my sudden bursts of chefery (I know that’s not a real word). I don’t know why I end up baking instead; I prefer savory foods over sweets. Maybe because there’s something nice about the order and process of baking I can control, I suppose. And I can always share baked goods with friends later.

Anyway, the past few years I have been trying to make as much of my food homemade as possible. No processed or packaged goods. It really helps not to have a microwave! I do not have the convenient option of grabbing a few Lean Cuisines full of preservatives and things that don’t grow out of the Earth “just in case”.

The other day I had a craving for apple strudel or apple danish, but somehow managed to pass by the Entemann’s boxed pastries before I headed to the grocery store check out. Instead, I made my own. I got all excited when I started the project, until I realized my dough had to refrigerate for twelve hours. Ah well. It gave me the perfect excuse to bake today instead, then take a few photos… To expand my photo portfolio, of course! ;) Now, I just need to find someone to eat all this goodness, because after the first piece of deliciousness, I am over my apple pastry craving.

P.S. When I sat down to narrow my one hundred photos to these five, I realized the glaze looks a lot like, well… Let’s just say this is definitely a SWEET sugar glaze, not a salty one!  <Insert “food porn” joke here.>  :0/

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©Brigette Supernova / Outer Focus Photos

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©Brigette Supernova / Outer Focus Photos

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©Brigette Supernova / Outer Focus Photos

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©Brigette Supernova / Outer Focus Photos

October 8, 2014

Memento mori: finding peace and beauty in death

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Last night I spotted an injured bird resting where I usually park. It barely moved its head, just enough for me to see it move in the pale moon’s light. I positioned my Jeep as close as possible to it so no other car could hit it, then went to check on the bird. Its legs were splayed out, and it was clearly about to pass. I put on some gloves and attempted to place it in a location more comfortable than the cold pavement. He was having no part of that. He did however let me pet his soft, beautiful black crown. Slowly, he bowed his head and was gone. He had the most beautiful iridescent, shimmering legs – like a glam rocker. So I named him Bowie.
Maybe I’m crazy, but when an animal passes in my presence, I feel it’s my duty to at least give it a dignified farewell, honoring its life. It’s as if this beautiful creature parked itself at my home for a reason. I put Bowie in a safe spot (away from neighborhood strays and predators) for the night, and buried him this morning. S/he has now been returned to the Earth, next to the beautiful black cat that died in my arms after I witnessed it get hit by a car near my house this past spring. I’ve got a small pet cemetery of peacefully resting critters that nourish my tiger lilies. (And I hope my landlord never decides to landscape that area!)
I’ve always thought there is beauty and wonder in natural death, and wanted to memorialize this majestic, gorgeous life. I took these photos before placing him in his eternal bed.

March 12, 2014

The sweetest photos of PAWS Chicago foster cats and kittens

Here are all the kitties I fostered for PAWS Chicago in 2013. Each one has a very special place in my heart, even though I only had each for one to eight weeks. Each came to me with a special set of issues that needed tending to before they could be adopted into their forever homes. Almost all had respiratory infections at some point. A few had intestinal issues–which is not a glamorous nursing job! Some were motherless and needed to be hand-fed until they were old enough to each and potty on their own. Some just needed a week or two away from the shelter to relax or get all their booster shots before they could be spayed/neutered. And, sadly, not every story has a glorious, happy end. Some babies were just never strong enough to thrive because they were born into a cruel world where nature and humans didn’t care for them as they deserved.

I remember all their names. I know all their sweet faces. I will always be the only “mama” sweet babies Teeter, Flippy, and Swing ever had. They are as special to me as the two kitties I raised and cared for in my life for over fifteen years.

Fostering animals when they are at their most vulnerable, at their weakest is my calling (outside of my professional work as a photographer, educator, writer, etc.). I cannot imagine ever not doing it now! There are times when work and life get incredibly hectic. I simply take a few weeks or month off from fostering, then get my home ready once again when things are in order. It is not for everyone. It requires great patience, understanding of the species you are caring for (I am now the go-to gal for many of my friends for basic kitty advice), and there is some heartache as well. But in the end, fostering (in my opinion) is THE most important stage in an animal’s life as a rescue.

I hope this sweet little slideshow encourages people to seek out the shelters and rescue in their hometowns, and ask how they can help animals in need. It’s not just cats and dogs, but also rabbits, parrots, lizards, guinea pigs, potbelly pigs, chickens, and so many others. And, shelter don’t just need volunteers and financial donations (although both are very important!). They also need old blankets and towels, food donations, drivers who can take sick animals to a vet appointment, community outreach, marketing help, fundraiser event help, and so much more. Reach out and ask. Be part of a solution–giving abused, abandoned, and unwanted pets a happy, healthy life, and lowering animal populations with better animal husbandry and education.

I am so lucky to be part of the PAWS Chicago program. But there are dozens of stellar rescues in my city. Felines and Canines, Trio Animal Foundation, Home, Tree House Cat Rescue, and so many others! I am so excited Chicago recently passed a city ordinance banning the sale of cats, dogs, and rabbits in pets shops, except certified shelter rescues! The number of animals euthanized at the county open-access shelters has gone way, way down in ten years to record lows. I hope Chicago continues to lead the way in how animal rescue can be done humanely, smartly, and with great pride.

Again, please find the local shelters and rescue in your area, and ask how you can help in whatever ways you are able.

January 10, 2014

Jay Z heats things up at Chicago’s United Center (photo)

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©Brigette Supernova/Outer Focus Photos

One of my photos from last Jay Z’s “Magna Carter World Tour” show at the United Center in Chicago, IL January 9, 2014. To see more photos and read show review, visit: http://www.examiner.com/article/jay-z-s-hot-show-defrosts-chicago-s-united-center

December 30, 2013

2013 – The year in music photography by Brigette Supernova / Outer Focus Photos

2013 concert photography by Brigette Supernova / Outer Focus Photos.
Music by Zero 1 “Chosen”.
Artists include: Pink, Danielle Colby, Dannie Diesel, Ghost, Ghost BC, Hessler, Pennywise, LL Cool J, Rob Zombie, Ivy Levan, Drowning Pool, Fitz and the Tantrums, Kory Clark, JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, Blondie, Debbie Harry, Five Finger Death Punch, Danko Jones, Amon Amarth, Tom Keifer, Cinderella, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Gogol Bordello, Volbeat, Crucified Barbara, Jimmy Eat World, Dave Navarro, Jane’s Addiction, John Mayer, Tim McGraw, Mer, Rick Springfield, Riot Fest, House of Blues, Rival Sons, Dropkick Murphys, Cody SImpson, Pitbull, Billy Idol, Icona Pop, Miyavi, Coheed and Cambria, Dirty Pearls, Black Actress, Awolnation.

December 27, 2013

Offbeat, Rock and Roll, Vintage, Same Sex, Indie wedding photography for 2014

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It’s that time of year… When people “pop the question” under the mistletoe!
If you or someone you know is recently engaged, and my style of colorful, creative photography would be a great fit with their vintage, offbeat, rock ‘n’ roll, same sex, steampunk, or just simply awesome wedding, be sure to share/check out my portfolio:
http://www.outerfocusphotos.com/Wedding/Wedding2
Please note: I will only be booking SIX more unions for 2014! Do not hesitate to call soon to ensure your date with Outer Focus Photos! 773 . 853 . 2283 info @ outerfocusphotos .com

December 5, 2013

Icona Pop perform at Metro Chicago, Lollapalooza 2013

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