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unadorned – shooting photos

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This was a big week for Whim W’Him photoshoots, two quite different ones.
The first—for the company’s major yearly fundraiser, Out on a Whim 2014—happened at the old Georgetown Steam Plant, originally built in 1906 to provide direct current for Seattle’s streetcars and alternating current for Georgetown.

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According to Wikipedia, this National Historic Landmark “houses the last operable examples of early vertical steam generating turbines, as well as reciprocating steam engines, which are also operational, a collection of vintage machining tools, and several smaller steam engines.” Retired after ¾ century, it is still in working condition and open to the public one Sunday a month [Georgetown Steam Plant Museum].

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With its high, echoing spaces, Rube Goldberg construction and beautiful old brass instruments, the Steam Plant was a spectacular space for an after-hours photo shoot,
by arrangement with the City of Seattle, which still owns the building.

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Whim W’Him artistic director Olivier Wevers, the seven dancers (Jim Kent, Justin Reiter, Kyle Matthew Johnson, Lara Seefeldt, Mia Monteabaro, Thomas Phelan, Tory Peil), videographer Day Kol and Kim & Adam Bamberg and Molly Magee of Bamberg Fine Art Photography climbed up to catwalks and danced (or sidled) across perilous bridges far above the floor of the plant or along the labyrinthine passages below.

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Exciting, exhilarating—and scary. “I can’t believe I climbed up so high!” says Kim Bamberg. “Still a little shaky.” The results, video and still, will be revealed at Out on a Whim.

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That was Monday. On Wednesday night from 7 to 9 at Olivier’s house, another photoshoot focused on each dancer individually.

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The setup was a huge blank sheet of white paper on a frame to provide backdrop and ground. There was lots of technical talk about equipment and lighting and how to shoot—deploying the softbox that provides a diffuse even light, the pros and cons of shooting with a ring lens, where the dancers and photographers should stand. Once the preliminaries had been sorted, it was a fun and funny evening, the dancers in boisterous spirits, yummy Thai food provided, and Lara Seefeldt’s little Evelyn joining the fray as to the manner born.

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Olivier marveled at how quickly everyone adapted to the spirit of the occasion, conveying different emotions as required, enticing the camera to record their unique personae. And to everyone’s amazement the shoot was wrapped at 9:02. Some 3000 images were shot that evening. Over the course of the current season, a series of dancer portraits will be unveiled—stark, humorous and achingly beautiful.