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By Mandy McGee

Photographer Catharine Maloney was born in Austin, Texas in 1982 and currently lives in Delaware. She has an MFA from Yale School of Art and is in the band Teen Men (with members of Spinto Band). Her photographs have been featured on websites such as It’s Nice That, Serial Optimist, I Heart Photograph and Print Liberation and her work has been exhibited most recently at Vox Populi Gallery in Philadelphia and Higher Pictures in New York City. Catharine’s style is playful and whimsical mixed with nostalgia and intentional awkwardness. I was super excited when she agreed to chat with me about her work.

Mandy- How long have you been doing photography and how did you get started?

Catharine- Thirteen years, I took a class in high school after failing out of theatre arts because I was bad a memorizing.

Mandy- How would you describe your style?

Catharine- Candy-colored, playful, men!

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By Mandy McGee

Photographer Melanie Helms aka “Mehli Mayhem”, a resident of Richmond, VA, is a mom to two beautiful girls and is married to her middle school sweetheart. She started an alternative magazine, Deadly Dessert, about a year ago to show case amazing artists and takes beautiful alternative fashion photos. I have had the pleasure of photographing her as well as model for her. We had a chat recently about how she got her start in photography and where she plans on going with it.

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Mandy- How did you get into photography?

Melanie- I have always admired art since I could remember of all kinds. I was a big tom boy growing up and didn’t know much about art and beauty but I wanted to learn. After I had my first child, I went to cosmetology school and decided to try my hand behind the camera because I always admired photography as well. I didn’t want to limit myself to one thing. I love learning things and am constantly pushing myself to be better at what I do.

I am self taught and have been doing photography for about 3 years. My husband bought me my first dslr valentines day of 2010. He knew how much I wanted to get into it. I started with pictures of my girls and friends and just did it for fun; had no clue about anything. In time, my friends and family told me I had a knack for it and should think about doing it more with it and actually charging people for my work.

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By Mandy McGee

Through my interneting I have found some amazing artists and photographers to share with you.

Nicol Vizioli was a painter before she was a photographer; she gradually developed her passion for photography. Nicol pulls inspiration from mythology, the natural and animal world, literature and painting. Each series she does tells a story, and a few of the series are very haunting, dark and beautiful like my favourite series, Shadows on Parade

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By Mandy McGee

Vela Eyes is doing an Indiegogo to help fund their debut album. Currently there is about 50 hours left and they are so close to their goal. This San Fran based Indie Dream Pop band has definite potential. I am a huge advocate for shoegaze bands; some bands sound like carbon copies of Slowdive or MBV, but this band gives us a little more uniqueness away from the typical shoegaze sound. I absolutely love Vela Eyes’s sound. They are female fronted and combine shoegaze, post-punk and psych to create an ethereal and aggressive sound. 

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(Photo by Ryan Darcy)

Their debut EP, “The Pleasure Sunrise”, released today.

Check out their facebook for more updates and info.

Fine art photographer Antonio Martinez made a stop motion film called “Near the Egress” comprised of more than 800 dryplate tintype photos of a circus. This is incredibly amazing and stunning work.

The amazing paintings of Alice X. Zhang are both breathtaking and technically well illustrated. She recently did paintings of modern classic tv and movie characters. An installation of her work is now up at Bottleneck Art Gallery in Brooklyn until the 28th of June. Check out more of her work on her Tumblr and DeviantART pages.

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING

Lord of the Rings

ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND

Eternal Sunshine

LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL

The Professional

LOST IN TRANSLATION

Lost in Translation

By Mandy McGee

I wanted to show off some photographers that I have been admiring for a while and some I have just discovered. I hope you will like them too. 

Ever since I watched the documentary ”The Woodman’s”, Francesca Woodman’s work has made my creative wheel start turning again. I used to do a lot of self portraits in a somewhat similar style and I have begun doing those again. Without noticing some of her work has influenced a few of my recent photoshoots with other models. Her life and death is a mystery and has left beautifully haunted photos behind. She had a very short life but has made an impact in the art world years after.

Check out more of her work. She is all over the internet if you just type in her name. Some of my favourites are on this site.

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I have been watching Danielle Tunsall’s work for a while and I like pretty much everything that her brain and camera produces. She is a horror photographer and Graphic Designer from the UK. Here is one of her newest photos which is so creepy but amazing!

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Danielle on Facebook

Speaking of creepy and horror filled images, I recently discovered the work of Karen Jerzyk via Warren Ellis. She has a series of images up on her tumblr of various models at an abandoned asylum. Each is incredibly beautiful and some are downright creepy. She uses wide angle lenses to play with distortion (which is what I like to do) and it gives the images an added creepy feel just from that. The texture from all the decay in the location plays very nicely especially in the photos of the nude models.

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Jyoti Sackett, a photographer from near my home town in Virginia, continues to amaze me with her images. They are so incredibly breath taking and ethereal. I hope one day I can model for her. Her photos pop up on Vogue Photo often. Watch out for her amazing work there and on facebook.

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By Mandy McGee

Tessa Goetz is a beautiful model from Fredericksburg, VA. I found her through mutual friends online and one time when I went to my hometown for a visit me and Amber Renee both photographed her. She definitely knows how to work a in front of a camera. I recently got to know her more and how she views fashion and the modeling world. 

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Photo by Amber Renee

Mandy: Who is Tessa?
Tessa: Tessa is a beast who loves Slim Jims and 80’s movies. But seriously…I’m 28 years old and graduated from JMU in 2007. I have been married for over a year to a wonderful dude!  My hubby Colby, dog Rosco, family and friends are my life. *hearts and stuff*. I love spontaneous dance parties (robot!) and a good red wine. I have a passion for fashion, art, and music!

Mandy: How would you describe your modeling style?
Tessa: I wouldn’t say I have one style of modeling. It varies based on the looks involved. If it’s a beauty shoot, my style is more poised and natural, where as if it’s a more artistic high fashion shoot, my style is more bold and unique with crazy positions and angles. It’s all about molding my style into what the photographer/client wants.   

Mandy: How long have you been modeling?
Tessa: When I was fourteen I was with the agency Model Source Inc. My agent was Heather Cole, a very well established model in her day who appeared in Vogue, Elle, etc. She wanted me to gain enough experience to go to Paris one day.  After two years there I decided to quit due to wanting more spare time on weekends with friends to do teeny bopper activities. LAME. So lame. I regret that to this day and have a lot of “what ifs?” about that. When I was 24 I got back into it and had a better appreciation for it but I was a little old to take it too seriously. I model on weekends whenever I have the spare time.   

Mandy: What do you like the most about modeling?
Tessa: Being able to escape reality and letting my guard down. It’s such a great outlet for emotion and creativity.  The wardrobe, makeup, and hair make me feel like someone else. It’s like I get to act and take on many different personas. I’ve been a punk rocker, a mad hatter, a bride, a corpse bride, a 60’s diva, a unicorn, a spice girl(zigazig ah!), the list goes on and on!!!  Then again I’ve also modeled in a sense that’s more “me” in a t-shirt and nerd glasses. I love the broad spectrum of modeling. 

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Photos by Amber Renee (L) and Mandy McGee (R) (from the same shoot)

Mandy: Have you modeled for any big clients? Been featured in any publications?
Tessa: For awhile I was Toxic Shock Apparel’s “it girl”. DC Fashion Week was also at the top of my list. I modeled for a few international designers.  I have been featured in several magazines, but my favorite was to be featured on the Vogue Italia’s website several times.  In February there will be new published work in a pretty well known magazine, but can’t share the details yet! It’s a surprise!

Mandy: Why do you model?
Tessa: 'Cause I'm a beast. Ha,ok I'll stop. To me modeling is a form of art and it's just plain FUN! I love meeting and collaborating with all of the new photographers, designers, MUA's, etc.I have met some really amazing people and friends from modeling. I love being able to see photos after the shoot and saying, “is that really me?”. It's crazy how much lighting and makeup can change your appearance!

Mandy: What is your favourite style to model?
Tessa: High fashion! 

Mandy: Is there anything you haven’t done in modeling that you want to do/try?
Tessa: There are SOOO many ideas out there that I would love to experience.  The more attainable ideas would be an underwater shoot, on a horse, and rooftop in a big city! Maybe I should start making a “bucket” list.

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Photo by East Photography

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By Mandy McGee

I was not on the internet much today but I managed to pop on and find a few things that I want to share with you. 

Emerald City Comic Con is a little over a month away and all of us nerds are gearing up. Espionage Cosmetics is one of my favourite places to get make-up. This year they are running an ECCC special. If you pre-order the new EC Collector’s Edition you will get a Lady Espionage poster from their latest promo. The collection will be available exclusively at ECCC, but if you can’t make it to the convention and still want the collection then email them. at ORDERS@EspionageCosmetics.com.image

I have not had a chance to sit down and really dive into the new Spinto Band album, Cool Cocoon, but from what I have heard so far is pretty amazing. They released a new video for the song “What I Love”. It involves a paper cut out gymnast, breakfast and dancing; all done in stop motion. Spinto Band always has the best and creative videos!  

I have been following this photographer for a while now and the pictures she has posted recently I felt just had to be shared with the world. I have never not liked a photo of hers, but the new set I found just takes my breath away. They remind me of some pictures I have seen of Maya Deren. Living in Charlottesville, VA, Jyoti Sackett uses natural light and brilliant imagination to create haunting and intimate photos. You can see more of her stuff on Facebook.image

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Copyright Jyoti Scakett, Model Katie Grammer

By Mandy McGee

I launched Extollere into universe (or just here on Tumblr) in February 2012. It has been a great year for us full of wonderful reviews, random articles and interviews. I had the pleasure of bringing on two wonderful writers to help me start this project, Grace Ibrahim and Morgue Anne. I owe them a huge thanks for writing amazing things. Also to the few guest contributors over the past year, THANKYOUTHANKYOU!!! 

I complied the 15 most popular posts for 2012 by the number of views, not likes or comments. I have my favourites but the readers have spoke. 

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15. Pride Celebration with Anime! Our writer Grace Ibrahim loves anime and for Pride month found the gayest anime out there to review for you. Read the full review

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14. The handsome, talented and handsome Steampunk maker, Jake von Slatt makes it on the list. Check out some of the new things he has made and the things he has to say on his site. Read the interview

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13. Seattle erotic and fashion photographer, Gabino Mabablay has been up to amazing things since we last talked to him. Follow his tumblr for the most recent updates on his photo projects. He has had very sexy shoots (as usual) and just as beautiful as ever. I had him show his work at a club I curate art at and he (at no surprise) sold half the show with in the first week of it being up. Read the interview.

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12. The faboulous and beautiful, Andie DeRoux has been up to great things since the interview I did with her. She is still creating amazing art and having art shows. She is still modeling and has now taken to photograph models as well. Watch out for her in 2013. I am sure she has lots of great things in store for us. Read the interview.

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11. Steve Schiltz of the bands Longwave and Hurricane Bells has been traveling a lot over the last year. He sometimes tours with Blue October playing guitar and most recently has joined James Iha on stage. Another great and amazingly talented person to watch out for in 2013. Read the interview.

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10. 2012 was a good year for the band Caravan of Thieves. They had an album come out, which we reviewed, and toured the country. I didn’t have the chance to see them when they came through Seattle, but I hope to see them in 2013. Check out their music video and review in this post

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9. Actress, Brandy Kopp makes it to number 9. She appeared in the movie “Matt’s Chance” (the one I did still photos on) by Nicholas Geyney and will be in his next movie, “Unknown Son”. Read the interview

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8. The eccentric musician, Annie Hardy from Giant Drag, had a tough year and is slowly coming back out of her shell creatively. She tells all (she can) in the interview I had with her. We have stayed in touch and I will be helping her with her new music label, Full Psycho Records. Stay up to date with what goes on in the Full Psycho clan. Follow Full Psycho on twitter. Read the interview here.

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7. Director Nicholas Geyney was great to work with and get to know. I had a blast working on “Matt’s Chance”. I photographed the premiere and I loved the work the crew and cast did. He will be touring with it in 2013 with some of the cast and crew in tow. Look for it in your town as well as “The Unknown Son” when that comes out. Read the interview.

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6. I had the pleasure of interviewing Richard Stevens, the creator of Diesel Sweeties and laughed my ass off (a lot). He is great! Read the interview.

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5. The Beautiful and talented model and actress, Kelly Polk makes it to number 5 most popular post. She just finished a short called “Honestly, Honestly” and she traveled around at the end of 2012. She is back in LA and I can’t wait to see what she does in 2013. I full recommend keeping up to date with her projects and buy her modeling pictures on her website. Read the interview.

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4. One of my favourite interviews of 2012 was with Jenna Busch. She is beautiful, talented and a GEEK! Since our interview she has been involved with a bunch of new projects, one including being the Stan Lee’s co-host on his web show “Cocktails with Stan”. I know she will have amazing things happening in 2013. You better keep up with her! Read the interview

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3. I am so pleased that Professor Elemental is one of the most popular posts on Extollere and it is one of my more recent posts. He was a hoot interviewing him. Definitely an entertainer to keep up to date with. Read the interview.

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2. It is no surprise that this article made it to one of the most popular posts of 2012. This was a fantastic post by Morgue Anne. Her letter to Geek men who put down Geek girls is only one of the many out there but it still needs to be read. We all need to speak up about issues such as this or nothing will ever change. I have read and seen tons of videos of responses to the “Fake Geek Girl” buzz. I am glad to have this on my site and be one of the most read. Please pass it around and chat about it. Shit like this needs to be dealt with. Read the article.

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1. I am so happy that the most read/watched post is the video interview Morgue Anne and I did with the ladies of Vaginal Fantasy Book Club. Felicia Day started this online book club with her lovely co-hosts (Veronica Belmont, Kiala Kazbee and Bonnie Burton) in January of 2012 and it has been going strong since. We also learned a lot about technology failing you too. This video is better as audio but still a great interview. These ladies also are responsible for bringing fantasy/sci fi smut into my life. Read the post and watch the video.

Thank you for reading Extollere and I (along with my staff writers and contributors) look forward to bring you more articles, reviews and interviews in 2013!

Written by Mandy McGee

Doug Campbell is the creator and eye behind Aetherial Images. He has a knack for capturing the most beautiful moments him and his subject share. That is what he is all about. We are alike in our craft because we like to pull pure emotion and personality out of the model even if they are acting a part for the camera. There is still a bit of raw energy behind it. Working closely with the people we photograph is something of value to us. You don’t always have that chance so I say grab that moment when you can. Doug usually shoots on a green screen so he can use the concepts in his mind and his graphic design training to his advantage. His images are heavy in the Steampunk genre, a little industrial and dark and sometimes very sensual.

Doug Campbell 

Mandy: For our readers that don’t know you, who is Doug Campbell of Aetherial Images?
Doug: I was born in Seattle, stayed in Seattle, truly local. I fine-tuned a communication background that consisted of print, and radio as well as visual into a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design. I spent several years in tech support and when my job was outsourced I changed fields. I’ve always been a communicator, I read body language and expression…I’m a bit psychic sometimes. I can read a person as well and sometimes it creeps them out when they ask me what I think, and I ask, “Are you sure you’d like to know?”

Mandy: How long have you been doing photography and how did you get started?
Doug: I started in High School in the 80’s watching monster movies with my dad. He would explain how they were made. So I did some experimentation in film with models. The camera and I parted ways for almost 20 years, but I picked up where I left off. This time I used the the new tools I had at my disposal. I am self taught in film and digital photography.

Mandy: Have you always wanted to do photography?
Doug: I like taking pictures and always have, but the photography is taking off in exciting ways I hadn’t anticipated. I’ve found that people come to me to celebrate something. It’s why they’re paying for my approach. They tell me in the days and weeks up to the shoot what they’re celebrating and we talk about what got them there…at the end of some collaboration, we’ve got beautiful pictures!

Mandy: Why do you choose the type of photography you do to focus on?
Doug: I ultimately need it all to create my PhotoArt. I take pictures of weather disturbances, nature, urban and rural decay. Those that get it, have donated their photos for my use because I’m not always able to travel due to health issues. I found a niche’ and I’m wedging myself as tightly as I can into it. I find joy uninhibited in my family photography. Children play with an abandonment that several years of psycho-babble about “their behavior” tones them down for adulthood. Work is work, but when that email or call comes that someone wants me to photograph them…that’s gold. I do compassion shoots, as well. It’s sad to see a pet go, sadder still when you decide it’s time to assist in the journey. Those are the shoots that bring the other end of the scale. It’s a dark trick indeed.

Mandy: What is most important to you, technique or vision?
Doug: It’s a toss up. A photographer’s greatest trick is to convince the subject the camera doesn’t exist. Everyone in the room knows it’s there of course, but it’s more of a conceptual thing until the shutters drop. Hunter Thompson explained it best, that there can never be such a thing as “reality TV” because just the act of bringing a camera into a situation distorts the reality of the situation. So if it’s all contrived, why not CONTRIVE? I tell people to reserve their spot, plan a half day playing in their costumes, and we’ll laugh, have fun and take some pictures.

Mandy: What equipment and software do you make use of in your work flow?
Doug: I have my own hardware and photoshop suite. I purchased the software was when I turned pro. I took my craft out of the hobby stage when I invested in myself. I use Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver and Flash. I do full-on graphic design and have enough RAM where I can run a few side-by side. I design a vector and drag it into the photo on the fly while heavy dark trance is pounding in the room as I work. I suppose it boils down to USB cables. If it wasn’t for them I’d be sunk. They connect me to my Terrorbytes of external maelstroms, and bring the raw elements of the Gods into the maelstrom from my camera. I build my own computers (and have for others) to do the work I do.

Mandy: What photographers inspire you?
Doug: Ansel Adams, his landscapes are excellently composed and worked with to provide near perfect retinal response…I feel like I could be lost in the Nevadas with an Ansel Adams book and navigate my way out using his photo references of the landscape.

Mandy: Tell me about a great memory about something you created.
Doug: I like images that cause a struggle in the spectator. They are drawn in, they spend the time questioning themselves, but something grabs them. Sensuality for some, horror for others, textures for still more. At a huanted house, I once photographed a beautiful woman pulling a skull out of a cadaver. Downlit, hitting her tophat, and this skull dangling from a meat hook. The bottom of the frame was the bridge of the nose and cheekbones so if you looked, you got the point of view of the top of the head facing you of her straddling this corpse, pulling a head out looking EXACTLY like Slash, from Guns And Roses. She and I both know we were at a haunted house, with lots of other people, and that the cadaver was rubber, but the finished product is VERY charged. It was set in an Art Nouveau style. It is in sepia and it screams 1925 or so, but it’s 2012. It’s not politically correct “horror” of our time and it’s not bloody either. YOU are filling it in, you’re adding the ick

Mandy: What inspires your photography style?
Doug: The people that come in front of the lens. I spend some time sizing up the situation, making setting adjustments I require, and go.

Mandy: If you could work for any publication what would it be?
Doug: Probably for sentimental reasons, Rolling Stone.

Mandy: What advice do you have for individuals interested in pursuing a career in photography?
Doug: Find something that hasn’t been done before or well, focus your energy on that one small point and go. EXCEL at it! If it’s nature, nudes, or autopsy photos, be the best at it. Immerse and be part of the work. You can’t photograph something that doesn’t touch you emotionally in some way.

Find Aetherial Images on Facebook and Etsy

Written by Mandy McGee

Gabino Mabalay is a Seattle (born and raised) based photographer. He is a friend and an artist I greatly admire. He has a great eye and really gets his models to open up and work it. Gabino has a great work ethic and process when it comes to his shoots and he is very determined to get a great finishing product. He has an, ever growing, inspiring and varied portfolio of work with strands of experimental concepts, fashion and nudes. He works with digital as well as film and has recently started doing more alternative processes. I have him showing at one of my events this month in Seattle and I am more than pleased with what he has come up with for the show (digital transfers on wood canvas with rabbit glue). If you are in the Seattle area you should check it out.

Self Portrait

Mandy: How long have you been doing photography and how did you get started?
Gabino: I have been doing photography since junior year in high school. I was also given a little camera back when I was in grade school but really didn’t take off with it till then.

Mandy: How did you learn photography school or self taught?
Gabino: During high school I took classes both there and at a non-profit teen program. I went on to go to Cornish College of the Arts where I got my BFA.

Mandy: Have you always wanted to do photography?
Gabino:
I guess I had an appetite for it back when I was young and it sort of just spiraled out from there.

Scanned Polaroid

Mandy: Why do you choose fashion photography to focus on?
Gabino: Fashion photography is a great way to make connections and to work with some very talented people. After doing a few shoots here and there I was hooked.

Mandy: What else do you enjoy to photograph?
Gabino: I love night photography and I really do miss going out at very late hours capturing surreal scenes with long exposures.

Mandy: What is most important to you, technique or vision?
Gabino: At times I can be very technical, while others I care more about the final image and less how it took to get there. My personal philosophy about photography is that when you focus too much on the technical aspects of getting the “perfect” image, you miss it entirely.

Mandy: What equipment and software do you make use of in your work flow?
Gabino: Of course the most economic route right now is to shoot digital and I have my fair share of both Nikon and Canon digital. For film I have Polaroid kit cameras, Holgas, and an old Hasselblad to name a few. On the computer side I love Lightroom. I can get about 80-90 percent of the work done on there and for the final finishing touches I can jump into Photoshop.

Mandy: What have you learned lately in photography?
Gabino: Lately I have been working on alternative printing. I’m also considering learning how to make Wet Plates, but the chemicals associated with that stuff scares me. Ha, but you only live once right?

What he is working on now and what is currently hanging for my event.

Mandy: What photographers inspire you?
Gabino: Some of the photographers that I have been following lately would be J Caldwell, Burroughs, Mark Velasquez, Amy Fries, and Corwin Prescott

Mandy: What inspires your photography style?
Gabino: Good question, honestly I don’t really have a straight answer for you. I browse tumblr a lot lately and I see all this amazing imagery on there. I also work with some stellar people who help focus and develop my artwork.

Scanned Polaroid

Mandy: If you could work for any publication what would it be?
Gabino: This is one of the most difficult questions to answer. The industry as I see it has had some major shifts in the past decade.There is not too many huge print organizations that I would really consider. There are of course Vogue, Vanity Fair and Elle to name a few… but not the US versions.

Mandy: If you could have any super power what would it be?
Gabino: I am a fan of Iron Man… but that’s not really a power. It’s a toss up between flight and Ludicrous Speed.

Mandy: What advice do you have for individuals interested in pursuing a career in photography?
Gabino: I think the best advice that I can give someone is to get out there and start working on your craft. Do what you can to learn from those that are willing to teach you. It doesn’t matter if you take classes or tutor under someone. Just have fun, get messy, and make mistakes.

Mandy: Where can people find out more about you, your work and how to buy images?
Gabino: Find me on my tumblr, flickr and follow me on twitter. Almost all my images are for sale. Email me for info and prices.

All images are owned by Gabino Mabalay

Written by Mandy McGee

I got to sit down and chat with Nicole about how she got started and how her amazing images are created. I met Nicole here in Seattle and she recently had to move back to her home town in Michigan. She creates amazing dark, gothic and macabre images that could turn someone’s stomach but keeps a certain beauty to them that makes you not want to look away. Nicole has worked with models and bands in the goth/industrial community and has been published by local and national magazines as well as having her stuff on merchandise for bands. The makeup in her images is stunning and sometimes she does the makeup herself. Read on to find out more about this amazing artist and I suggest going to her sites after and looking at more of her amazing work.

Self portrait

MM: How long have you been doing photography?

Nicole: I started messing with cameras when I was 12-13, and started getting paid to do photos around 15. So about 11 years. But I wouldn’t consider my work to be at a professional level until about 3 years ago. It’s been a hell of a learning experience!

MM: What drew you to photography?

Nicole: At first, I was just having fun with it, my sister exposed me to it and I liked the concepts of capturing something through my eyes, which expanded into my own thoughts and expressions I wanted to start sharing with the world. After a while it became this weird way i could start telling everyone my secrets, and they didn’t even know it. Like venting.

MM: Why did you lean towards the goth/macabre side of expression?

Nicole: I became infatuated with goth culture when I was about 9. It wasn’t until later I started expanding to traditional forms. I leaned toward that form of expression because I consider myself a bit closed off, everyone needs a release, I just didn’t want to specifically share the details. But I love the form, it”s a great stress reliever.

MM: Do you always or do you think you will always create these types of images?

Nicole: Well, I think that my craft will always be evolving. I enjoy what I do but I am always teaching myself new things, and perhaps the look will change, or it could not. I think I enjoy not being certain. I just know that I will always be a photographer.

MM: What is your favourite photoshoot you have done?

Nicole: Probably my Reptile shoot I did with Maureen O’Donnell. I have loads of favorites I’ve done, other notable ones being the “Mother of Flies” shoot I did with Lola Babalon and the Horns series with Renee Rockwood.

MM: Your stuff is very makeup heavy and prop heavy at times. Do you plan all this out well in advance, is it a collaboration or both?

Nicole: That all depends on the shoot. Some models do help with the make up. On a few select shoots I have hired a beauty make up artist, but most of the time I am doing the make up. Sometimes I get ideas for make up in advance and apply them, other times I don’t get inspired until I have all the materials and model in front of me.

MM: Where have you been published?

Nicole: Oh, it’s really hard to keep track these days. I’ve been published in Seattle Sinner, The Stranger, Alternative Press, Hot Topic (on their site as well as selling a t-shirt of photos I took of the band Motionless in White), Metal Hammer, Dean Guitars published an AD featuring a photo I took of Wayne Static, a huge assortment of gothic related magazines as well. the Dean Guitar ad was featured in multiple guitar magazines as well as various music magazines featuring the work I did with MIW.

MM: Is there a magazine you really want your stuff in that you haven’t been in yet?

Nicole: I’ve only been published on Fangoria’s website, but have yet to make print, I would love to end up in the actual magazine.

MM: What equipment do you work with?

Nicole: I’m a Canon girl. Currently I am working with a Canon 5D Mark II. I’ve used a lot of lights before, but it’s not really my style(I actually sold all of my studio equipment), I am usually on so many different locations I actually favor using a Speedlite external flash with a diffuser. When used right it can produce amazing results.

MM: Have you learned any new techniques recently?

Nicole: I’m on a bit of a hiatus at the moment, so I have not in recent weeks. I’ve been working on some stuff but as far as techniques go I am at a point where I am trying to refine the skills I currently have before moving onto something new.

MM: What photographers or artists inspire you?

Nicole: Wednesday Wolf, he is a fellow artist and friend, and completely blows my mind with his craft. It’s inspiring. Chris Motionless, while he is a singer and lyricist, he is one of the most brilliant artists I know. He makes music a true art form in a dead industry. It’s brilliant. Michael Hussar, what I would give to see the world through his eyes if only for a moment. Australian artist EXOGEN, Anathema Photography, FlexDreams… there’s quite possibly a lot more. I enjoy beautiful art.

MM: Do you have any words of inspiration for those trying to get into the craft?

Nicole: There is always room for growth. Ask questions. Push limits. And “For Fuck’s Sake” network, network, NETWORK! Get out there and work for it, don’t expect success to come to you.

MM: Where can our readers find out more about you and see your work?

Nicole: www.gakstudio.com is my official website but it’s still very new and under a bit of construction, so if you’d like to see more than a few photos, I recommend finding me on facebook, which is www.facebook.com/gakphoto

MM: That is all the questions I have for you m’lady. Thank you!

Nicole: No problem, luckily I wasn’t too weird.

MM: Weird is good though.

Written by Grace Ibrahim

Benjamin Linden is a photographer from Virginia with a unique vision (and often times twisted) of contemporary portraits. He is fascinated with outrageous themes and exquisite fetishism. His work is a broad spectrum of the bizarre, creepy and gothic.

Grace Ibrahim for Extollere: It has now been six years since you started Benjamin Linden Photography How are you feeling about it now?
Ben Linden: Damn. Has it been that long? I’m still feeling pretty psyched about it. I always love shooting with people that I’ve worked with before, but I always look forward to meeting and shooting with new people. There is always fresh ideas or concepts that I want to do. I’m still loving every minute of it

GI: Are you happy with the way things have gone?
BL: Very much so. Things have progressed naturally and at a good pace. Every once in a while, there is a new skill that I want to learn, either on the computer or on location with certain settings. I learn them on my own time and it’s much easier learning that way for me.

GI: Have you learned anything cool lately?
BL: I’ve been learning how to create space/planet landscapes digitally in Photo-shop. Some of those images that others have created are absolutely breathtaking. I hope to be as good one day.

GI:Anything to tell your self from six years ago?
BL:Get a Mac now instead of waiting 3 years! Lol

GI: How about 6 years in the future?
BL: In six years, I hope that I still love doing photography. Photography and music are my main outlets for being creative. I can’t imagine not doing either one, so I really hope that my passion never goes away.

GI: Who would you say has influenced you most musically and in your art ?
BL:I would say musically: Metallica, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Tom Waits, VNV Nation, Rammstein and many others more. Artistically, I am influenced by Charles Gatewood, Eric Kroll, Collin J. Rae, Chad Michael Ward, David Hilton, H.R. Giger, David Lynch, and Philip K. Dick. I never really know where to stop when asked that type of question.

GI: Where are you from?
BL: I spent my first years near Arlington, VA but I spent most of my time growing up in King George, VA.

GI: How was it?
BL: Good, but boring at sometimes. King George was so small that you had to travel to the next county just to get to a Wal-Mart. But it was safe for the most part. I met a lot of my dearest friends during my time in KG. I’m now living with my wife in a small town in Virginia called Scottsville, which is about 17 miles south of Charlottesville.

GI: Where are you going or do you think you are here to stay?
BL: I think we’ll be in Virginia for a good while to come. We spent about 4 years in Colorado and while it was a great experience to go there, there’s no place quite like home.

GI: Why photography and music?
BL: Most of my family have been musicians, so I was always around it growing up. I learned how to play trumpet in 5th grade and continued playing trumpet until 12th grade. When I discovered Metallica, I knew I wanted to play guitar. A lot of friends I knew were also interested in playing guitar, so I made a choice to learn bass guitar instead of a regular six string. I picked up my first bass when I was 14. Haven’t stopped since. My father in addition to playing music was also a hobbyist photographer and I first got introduced to the world of photography by him when I was around 13 or so. I never really got back into it again until 2005 when I bought my first camera. The rest as they say is history.

GI: what is a message you have for our readers?
BL: Be excellent to each other! Life is nothing if you have to go at it alone. Being around good people has saved my life many times. Be good to people, and you’ll never be alone.

GI: Is there a memorial set up for your nieces ? (Read the article here)
BL: Any memorial donations can be made out to the Cherub School 3263 Old Church Rd. Mechanicsville, VA 23111. This is where they went to pre school.

GI: The out pouring of support from the area for your family was quite large, and I understand that you made a tribute video for the girls is it on your website ?
BL: I can’t thank everyone enough for all of the love and support. It really meant the world to my family and I. I did make a video. It’s only on my Facebook page right now.

GI: Has this tragedy effected your art or has your art helped you to deal with this?
BL: It has helped me deal with it more, particularly through music. My band mates have been especially supportive during this time and through music, I am able to release a lot of anger and rage that I can’t release anywhere else.

GI: What is the name of your band?
BL:I’m currently doing vocals for Sawbone Suicide

GI: Our goal at Extollere is to showcase independent art in all forms. We seek to present a Sex positive view but not a sex-centric one, believing that all things can be created with love. Many of your photos are shot beautifully in a sex positive light. Do you have any thing to say to our readers about this?
BL: Many things are beautiful in this world, even things that arouse our body as well as our minds. I would say that one should always remember that things, no matter how erotic or plain, should be seen as a beautiful thing first.

GI: How can our readers contact you about your work, do you have a website?
BL: I’m currently working on my own website, but you can also find my work at facebook.com/benjaminlindenphotography and at modelmayhem.com/benjaminlindenphotography.