let there be light leaks

cassandra up close

Outtake from my photo shoot with Cassandra for my Creatives series. I shot this one using an old sheet film holder and some of the tape was crappy. I was afraid this would happen, but I still like the way this shot turned out.

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Creatives, Subject 5: The Artist

Cassandra Loomis is an artist for Trader Joe’s in the DC Metro area.

With a BFA in Communication Arts and Design (illustration focus) from VCU, Cassandra can be found essentially art directing the visuals in a number of Trader Joe’s locations. Whether it’s a mural of a local scene, the design of an end cap, or George Washington doing a hula dance, there is always a wide variety of tasks at hand. Additionally, Cassandra continues to take commissions for murals and paintings (including an NFL football player!) as well.

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bad art from people we like

What do you do when people you like create something that you think is terrible? Starting from one presumption that there are people that like me, I’m sure some of those folks think my art (or some of it) is terrible. So I’m aware enough to consider that I create this uncomfortable situation for others.

But what do you do? What, when your voice seems conspicuously absent from a chorus of complimentary responses? The old aphorism about not saying anything at all (lacking something nice to say) is fine and dandy until the artist in question asks for your opinion.

Maybe I’m just too much of a people pleaser.

Creatives, Subject 4: The Hand Crafter


Phil Barbato makes fantastical plush creatures, prints, paintings, cartoons, and whatever else his mind impels his hands to create.

Having studied fine art at Virginia Commonwealth University, Phil had spent a number of years working as a web designer here in Richmond before deciding to make hand crafting his vocation. Whether it’s drawing a bear a day for a year on his iPhone, a wall of small paintings, or hundreds of hand-sewn monsters, bears, robots and sea creatures, Phil’s work is unified by a playful aesthetic, reminding me that even serious art can be silly and light-hearted.

Oh, and buy his stuff, ‘cuz it’s pretty awesome.

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P.S. I promise I didn’t ask the last three subjects in a row to dress with any formality. Purely their choice, but I like how it worked out. I think I’ll go for more casual shots on the next few, though.

Creatives, Subject 3: The Web Slinger


Ross Catrow is a web designer/developer and co-owner of PharrOut, a Richmond-based design shop.

There was no major for web design at Virginia Tech while Ross attended, so he chose math in an effort to keep himself interested. It also afforded him more time to watch his beloved Hokies football. Tired of working for other people after college, Ross and his friend, Scott Pharr, started their business so they could be their own bosses. Out of this environment, Ross created RVANews – a publication of broad scope that covers news, events, and editorial content in and around the Richmond area. Ross maintains the website in addition to contributing a portion of its written content.