Comrade Cockroach for In Their Own Worlds

The end of this is that I’ll be taking a super villain out on the streets at dawn.

But let’s back up.

In Their Own Worlds is a photography project I’m working on that will allow authors to step into their own fictional worlds. I’ve photographed authors for years, but simple portraits never captured the magic. For In Their Own Worlds my author portraits will build the magical worlds they’ve created in their books.

DSC_0495webI’m planning to crowdfund this project. One thing supporters like to see is that you’ve already put in some work.

Unfortunately, for this project, much of the work I’ve put in is behind the scenes: recruiting authors, getting a awesome team of costumers and makeup artists, drawing up plans and schedules. In addition, the photoshoots I want to fund are big budget productions (for me, big budget, for me, meaning a couple thousand dollars). So putting in the work means showing off something big without it actually being so big that I can’t fund it.

So I turned to the author who lives with me, my husband, Jared Axelrod, and said “Maybe we can do a Comrade Cockroach photoshoot.”

Comrade Cockroach is a super villain that Jared has been writing for a while. You can read the comic that features him and catch up on his adventures.

The final shoot is going to be Comrade Cockroach, his hands full of money bags, chased through the streets by a super hero. He’ll be shoving Jared aside as he runs through the city streets. Because Jared is a cosplayer, he has an awesome Comrade Cockroach costume. Of course, he has to be in the photoshoot as himself, so we had to recruit our friend Tim to be the Comrade. Then we asked my friend Sara to be the super hero to chase Comrade Cockroach through the city streets.

The challenges for shooting in a city are the typical stuff surrounding location and light, with an added bonus of people. Great light, the kind that doesn’t require me to lug flashes out into the street, is usually found at dawn and dusk. However, on the weekend in the city, dusk is a busy time. People and cars in the background of your shot can be distracting. But dawn? Dawn is silent. Perhaps a few cars ride the streets, a few people hurry to early openings at jobs. But if you get up before the coffee shops open, you are rewarded.

Then there is location. I choose to shoot on Broad Street. It’s a great place to shoot, and if you lived here in Philadelphia, you might get your engagement pictures standing where we will be. It’s a common place for photographers to go for a great shot. For lots of people, that would be a negative – “Oh, EVERYONE goes there,” they’d say.

But does everyone go there with Comrade Cockroach? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

But I had to be sure that dawn would be the right time and also to figure out what section of Broad Street would be the best. So Jared and I trundled off to Broad Street at dawn to take some pictures. I am so happy with the results. We got these photos (and more) in under ten minutes of shooting. The light is fabulous – blue in the sky and orange in the streetlights, and the streets are nearly empty.

I’m really looking forward to taking a super villain out into the city at dawn. And I can’t wait to show you the results.


In Their Own Worlds

Jared Axelrod

Comrade Cockroach

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