Woodstock Bookfest Mugshot

Woodstock Bookfest 2018, Mugshots!

Every year now since the beginning of the Woodstock Bookfest, we have tried to do something in conjunction with them. Many of our portrait clients are participants and attendees of the event, so it’s a natural fit. We have done various things from offering special shoot rates for authors during the weekend to shooting portraits in collaboration with Eyebobs eyewear. So this year we were brainstorming on how to make it interesting and had come up with a couple ideas. But when we got the theme, Read to Resist, from event creator Martha Frankel and Kitty Sheehan the idea formed pretty quickly. Kitty Sheehan came up with the idea of the mugshot portrait as a visual to the term “resist”. We instantly loved it and knew it would be visually strong and graphic, but we did wonder if there would be some pushback. I mean who wants a mugshot anyway? Lucia got on the computer and created the backdrop we used and the fine folks over at Catskill Art in Woodstock printed it out for us along with a sign. I set it up in our space to test run it and it was perfect. The next issue was to where to set it up. After some back and forth with ideas we were on for the last day of the festival, at the Kleinert in Woodstock. We were allowed to use the small green room. It was perfect, small, but with my efficient rig we set up and we were good to go. As attendees made their way into the panel discussions we asked them to come back and be photographed. I shot 4-8 portraits of each person with the instructions to be happy through angry. Some people hammed it up with a full range of emotions and others were just happy.. I left the camera in one position and allowed for the height difference to be part of the fun, such a range..

In the week prior to all this, I started to think about how I was going to showcase these wonderful mugs. In the past I had just put them into a video and and allowed the images to speed past and be on screen briefly, I like this method. So with that part done now came the soundtrack. I wanted to create a piece of music based around a cool guitar riff something very AC/DC-ish. But when I plugged the guitar in and set up a sound I liked, the riff from Queen’s “Tie your Mother Down” came out and it was instantly a good fit, and as much as I tried other things, I kept coming back to it. So I laid down a couple tracks of the various guitars and contacted my brother who brought in his expertise to help out with the drums. His touch brought it all to life. A couple police siren sounds added the finishing touch. An homage to one of my favorite guitar players and bands.. 

We shot about 700 frames on Sunday. I went through the captures and removed the truly awful expressions and dropped the remainder of the portraits into Final Cut. To fit the music the images are timed to fly by.. I love the feel and with the music its perfect. 

Something happened that I had not actually planned on. As we shot so many people, getting everyone a copy of their portrait was going to be too logistically tricky. Where there is will there is a way though. People started stopping the video on their own section and doing screen grabs. They shared their images on Facebook and Instagram.. This was so great and unexpected. What a fun project!

Big thank you to all the participants who sat in on Sunday. Big thanks to Martha Frankel, Kitty Sheehan, Lucia Reale-Vogt, Nan Tepper for all the help.

Here is the video and some of the portraits..

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  • April Destefano
    Posted at 15:45h, 29 March Reply

    Love it!!!!!!

  • Nan Tepper
    Posted at 19:43h, 30 March Reply

    So good, Franco and Lucia! I don’t know which of these is my favorite, so I’ll just have to say I LOVE them all! Bravo, Brava!


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