Tag Archives: Opera

Awarded 1st Place in WPPI Photography Contest!

12 Aug

I am pleased to announce that my photo of Judith has won the First Place and Silver Award in WPPI’s Photography Competition in the Creative Composite Category in recognition of Photographic Excellence!

First Place Award - Creative Composite - WPPI Photography Competition

First Place Award – Creative Composite – WPPI Photography Competition

My Don Giovanni photo took 3rd Place in the same competition! Please check out the other winners and categories at the 2014 WPPI winners page!

Third Place Award - Creative Composite - WPPI Photography Competition

Third Place Award – Creative Composite – WPPI Photography Competition

Thank you to all of the models and stylists involved! Thank you also to the Puffin Foundation Grant which made the Judith photo possible!

Der Stein der Weisen (The Philosopher’s Stone) – Photos and Costumes

18 Apr

“Der Stein der Weisen” or “The Philosopher’s Stone” is an opera that Mozart wrote as a collaboration with many other composers. Frau Mozart describes the writing style as each actor writing his main part and then passing it around to Mozart who made little changes or orchestrations here and there. He is known to have authored around 30 minutes of original music entirely himself.

The story is a fantastic Asian Fantasy story, involving two warring gods, a kidnapped maiden, a boy over-laden with weapons who has to rescue her (Like Link in Zelda!) and a buffoon and his sexy wife who gets turned into a cat.

Der Stein der Weisen Title. Photo by Tyson Vick. Hair & Make-up by Jadi Stuart. Model: Sunny Brains Berro.

Der Stein der Weisen Title. Photo by Tyson Vick. Hair & Make-up by Jadi Stuart. Model: Sunny Brains Berro.

I chose to illustrate the photos in a way that evokes the styles of video games like Zelda and Final Fantasy, since the plots of those games are strikingly similar to the story of this opera. The genie in the opera brings a magic bird which sings for the most beautiful maiden who winds up kidnapped by the god of the sky. I based the genie off of Buddha.

Der Stein der Weisen Act 1. Photo by Tyson Vick. Hair & Make-up by Lizzie Hatfield. Models: Sierra Rae, Meilyn Saychow, Kolya Cain

Der Stein der Weisen Act 1. Photo by Tyson Vick. Hair & Make-up by Lizzie Hatfield. Models: Sierra Rae, Meilyn Saychow, Kolya Cain

In the climax, the hero accidentally kills the maiden after shooting her with an arrow while trying to rescue her. Happily is saved by the magic of the Philosopher’s stone which brings her back to life.

Der Stein der Weisen Act 2. Photo by Tyson Vick. Hair & Make-up by Jadi Stuart. Models: Sunny Brains Berro, Katie Gibson

Der Stein der Weisen Act 2. Photo by Tyson Vick. Hair & Make-up by Jadi Stuart. Models: Sunny Brains Berro, Katie Gibson

Here is a view of the corset the heroine is wearing.

Corset for Der Stein der Weisen

Corset for Der Stein der Weisen

I made a cat hat for the photos, as seen below, but it doesn’t make it into the final photos.

Nadir's Hat, Der Stein der Weisen

Cat Hat!

The hero of the story, Nadir, is costumed in bright orange and white. I made the shirt out of silk, and was going for an elvish sort of look.

Orange shot silk shirt made for Nadir with piping.

The shirt has a design of piping. I made channels and ran some piping through them to make a cool design.

A little more detail on Nadir’s silk shirt.

The hero also has Trapunto pants. I based the pants off of a character from the video game Magna Carta designed by Hyung-Tae Kim.

The image I based Nadir’s trapunto pants comes from a book called Oxide 2 by Hyung-Tae Kim.

The pants feature a cross design. The pants are made out of bridal satin, and the back layer is linen. I drew the design on the pants with water erasable pen, then stitched around the design. Next I filled the channels with fiber-fill, the type you use in stuffed animals.

A view of the trapunto pants.

I also build a collared arm piece. It only covers one arm, which is a staple in costuming designed for Final Fantasy.

White arm guard for Nadir’s costume.

All the pieces combined to make Nadir look like a video game style hero.

The armpiece and shirt together are meant to look like something out of a Japanese video game, like Final Fantasy.

My father also carved a horsebow for the hero, which I’m sorry never made it into the final shot, because it is so cool. I actually gave the model Zaden “Sunny” every weapon the character is given in the opera.

Here I am photographing a "Der Stein Der Weisen" picture. The costumes were influenced by video games like Final Fantasy and Magna Carta.

Here I am photographing a “Der Stein Der Weisen” picture. The costumes were influenced by video games like Final Fantasy and Magna Carta.

We shot the photos outside of Los Angeles on the way to Malibu through the hills.

Jadi prepares Katie's hair for the shoot.

Jadi prepares Katie’s hair for the shoot.

Our female model was a no show, and so our friend Katie agreed to take off work to fill in!

Zaden.

Zaden Sunny Brains

 

The genie photos were taken in Seattle on a hill in Gasworks Park.

Nikolai, Sierra and Meilyn Saychow hang out while I adjust fabrics.

Nikolai, Sierra and Meilyn Saychow hang out while I adjust fabrics.

I guess that’s all for today, what do you think?

  • Read more about the Seattle shoot here.
  • Read more about the LA shoot here.
  • There is a great recording of Der Stein der Weisen available for purchase as well if you are interested in rare fantasy opera. It’s one of my favorites.

La Finta Semplice – Costumes and Behind the Scenes

11 Feb

At last I can share some images of my costumes for my “La Finta Semplice” photos. The opera “La Finta Semplice” was written by a 12 year old Mozart, and is a broad comedy in the style of “South Park” or “Family Guy”. The story is about a family with two brother and one younger sister. The sister, Giacinta, wants to get married but cannot until the eldest brother has, and he has vowed to “remain as virginal as the day he was born”. So Giacinta and her fiancee bring Rosina, a shrewd woman, to pretend to be a moron. When the eldest brother sees how over-awed she is by his “intellect” she will gain the family fortune and Giacinta and her true-love can marry.

In the end Giacinta and the maid steal the family fortune and run off into the woods with the boys following them, vowing the men can marry any girl they catch. That is the scene I chose to illustrate through photography.

Both Ninetta, the maid, and Giacinta, the lady, wear dresses made from the same patterns, but they look totally different. They were portrayed by sisters, and rockers from the band “Hello My Name Is“, Chantell and Cortney Bury.

Sisters Cortney and Chantell Bury in costume for the La Finta Sempice photoshoot.

Sisters Cortney and Chantell Bury in costume for the La Finta Sempice photoshoot.

A while back I was hired to create a rococo dress for a lady who had a small budget. We discussed the options, and settled on creating an understated look based off of Liv Tyler’s costume in the film “Plunkett and Macleane”.

Liv Tyler in a costume by Janty Yates for "Plunkett and Macleane"

Liv Tyler in a costume by Janty Yates for “Plunkett and Macleane”

A few years after receiving the garment, she asked me to make some alterations, and so she sent it back to me. It was during this small window where I was both available to shoot, had a costume and found models (it was seriously about a 24 hour window), and the owner of the dress graciously allowed us to use it! This dress was used for Giacinta, the sister with the intrigues.

The front and back of Giacinta's rococo dress.

The front and back of Giacinta’s rococo dress.

This green silk dress was made with a blue skirt for the client. I used an ivory one in the final image because it was more appropriate to my color scheme, and I didn’t have a blue skirt. The bodice is made of randomly folded silk, and has gathered silk details along the edges of the stomacher.

Close-up of the front and back of the bodice for Giacinta's dress.

Close-up of the front and back of the bodice for Giacinta’s dress.

The garment’s sole design feature were the random pleats. There are no other little details.

This dress was made from a Simplicity 4092 pattern with only slight changes. For example, the sleeves come from Simplicity 3637, since the first patterns’ sleeves are unattractive.

Sleeve detail.

Sleeve detail.

I also altered it to close in the front instead of the back. I think the final product is very lovely.

A close-up of the dress details.

A close-up of the dress details.

I also made a dress for the maid, Ninetta, with my apprentice, Catey. I wanted the maid’s dress to have a orb shaped skirt — a skirt that is wider in the middle, at the knees, than it is at the hip or ankle.

I made the skirt out of silk, and I think it is really cute, and I love the weird shape.

Front and back of the silk skirt.

Front and back of the silk skirt.

The dress was made very simply, just like Giacinta’s with the same two patterns, but with even less adornment. The skirt isn’t formally bustled, it’s just sort of pinned to hold it into place.

The front and back of Ninetta's maid outfit. The dress is really tiny and doesn't close on the mannequin.

The front and back of Ninetta’s maid outfit. The dress is really tiny and doesn’t close on the mannequin.

Looking at these two dresses you can see how the same two Simplicity patterns (4092 and 3637) can be used to create entirely different looks.

A close-up of the bodice portion of Ninetta the maid's dress.

A close-up of the bodice portion of Ninetta the maid’s dress.

The Rockin’ TJ Ranch in Bozeman was kind enough to let us use their property for the photoshoot. This event center has a beautiful and meticulously manicured property. If you ever need to hold an event in Bozeman, MT, this is the place for it. They also have a farmer’s market in the summer every Monday.

Cortney Bury, Tyson Vick, Chantell Bury

Cortney Bury, Tyson Vick, Chantell Bury

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at these two dresses!

The Abduction – Photos and Behind the Scenes

17 May

Before I ever learned how to make clothing, which was five years ago, I was in the early stages of creating my Mozart Project photos. The biggest shoot up until that point involved four models depicting vignettes from Mozart’s opera “Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail”, which is not only impossible to say, it also translates into something even equally hard to say, “The Abduction from the Seraglio”. I usually just call it “The Abduction” because nobody knows what I’m saying if I do either full title. I did not have costumes for this shoot, because, as I said, I didn’t know how to make them at this point, but I had a friend named Camille who often worked as a costumer on the Intermountain Opera stage, and she had many costumes. She agreed to help me costume this shoot.

Mozart Project. Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail. Photo by Tyson Vick.

Mozart Project. Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail. Photo by Tyson Vick.

I met Camille while working as an extra or actor on the set of a short film. She was very interested in making corsets, having made around a dozen, and I was looking for corsets for my shoots. We got to talking and became friends. After a year or so of borrowing pieces of her wardrobe, I asked if she wanted to help costume my “Abduction” photos, and she said yes. I had found an opera poster for “Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail” that I loved because it totally captured the spirit of the play. I decided to create my photos with a similar motif and color palate.

"Abduction from the Seraglio" poster that inspired my images.

“Abduction from the Seraglio” poster that inspired my images.

Camille’s wardrobe was full of brightly colored outfits which would work perfectly. I also wanted the hero, Belmonte,  to look like he had been traveling all over the seas looking for his Abducted bride. So, I asked Camille if we could dress him like Orlando Bloom in the “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Since this was before I was making costumes for the project, we went through her closet and found some items we thought would be appropriate.

Orlando Bloom in the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Orlando Bloom in the Pirates of the Caribbean.

The rest of the costumes were taken from her stash based on their bright and beautiful color scheme. They included a beautiful orange silk corset, orange and blue coats, and red skirts.

A costume sketch based on Camille's costumes and set in the yellow void.

A costume sketch based on Camille’s costumes and set in the yellow void.

AbductionAct3

Here you can see the costumes in the final shot.
Mozart Project. Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail Act III. Photo by Tyson Vick, Hair and Make-up by Lizzie Hatfield. Costumes by Camille Jackson.

The opera, Mozart’s leap into musical maturity, tells the story of a man, Belmonte, whose bride and servants are kidnapped by pirates and sold to the Sultan in the East. The opera begins on the day he finds out where they are being kept. His Bride, her handmaiden and their valet are all locked inside the Harem. The Sultan is trying to convince Konstanza, Belmonte’s beloved, to marry him instead. She refuses. Belmonte himself is barred at the gate by the awesome and villainous Master of the Girls (Kızlar Ağasi), Osmin.

Mozart Project. Die Entfuhrun aus dem Serail. Mars Crain as Osmin. Photo by Tyson Vick. Hair and Make-up by Jadi Stuart. This is from another photoshoot when I travelled to LA to work with Mars Crain, who was an awesome Osmin.

Mozart Project. Die Entfuhrun aus dem Serail. Mars Crain as Osmin. Photo by Tyson Vick. Hair and Make-up by Jadi Stuart. This is from another photoshoot when I traveled to LA to work with Mars Crain, who was an awesome Osmin.

After a while Belmonte manages to contact his valet, Pedrillo, and together they come up with numerous plots to deceive Osmin and rescue the women. However, all four are caught during their escape. When the Sultan realizes that Belmonte is the son of his worst enemy, he takes a moment to decide their fate. In a twist ending, the Sultan decides to shame his Christian enemies by showing unrivaled forgiveness and compassion. He sets all four captives free, and secures their passage home. It’s all very adventurey and beautiful.

Drew Barker and Caitlin as Pedrillo and Blondchen in an outtake.

Drew Barker and Caitlin as Pedrillo and Blondchen in an outtake.

Our shoot took place at the house of always helpful web developer Jason Lengstorf, who had a wall size mirror opposite the photo shoot which allowed the models to see exactly what they were doing, and surprisingly helped them make every photo photogenic. As per usual, Lizzie Hatfield did the hair and make-up.

Here I am waiting around while Lizzie finishes up hair and make-up by photographing the result.

Here I am waiting around while Lizzie finishes up hair and make-up by photographing the result.

Because of that mirror, and quite possibly the rum that our Belmonte came across, the shoot went very quickly!

Don't be givin' him any more rum!

Don’t be givin’ him any more rum!

The models were mainly musicians. I had seen Maria Giarrizzo (Our Konstanza) as the lead in a production of “Gypsy” that Lizzie had worked on. Scott (Belmonte) and Drew Barker (Pedrillo) I knew from local bands. Drew is still a working musician in the band Places, and you can visit their Facebook page here. Caitlin (Blondchen) was a friend of the boys, and had a musical background as well.

Kiss the Barker. Touch the Barker. Donate funds.

Kiss theBarker. Touch the Barker. Be the Barker.

So, I have a confession to make… and this was the second time it had happened in my career. It’s very sad and embarrassing. Once everything was in place, and all the models were dressed and made-up, I started taking pictures without putting film in the camera. I only noticed when the camera noise seemed a little off. Can you think of anything more ridiculous? Well, from that point on, I have not made that mistake again. For the past five years, before every shoot starts, I say to Lizzie, “What’s the most important thing about taking pictures?” and she says, “Putting film in the camera.”

If I’ve learned one thing as a photographer, it’s that pictures turn out better when you put film in the camera.

Here I am being all photographery.

Here I am being all photographery, putting film in the camera.

Maria and Caitlin laughing.

Maria and Caitlin laughing.

Mozart Project. Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail Act II. Photo by Tyson Vick,

Mozart Project. Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail Act II. Photo by Tyson Vick.

This shoot was the biggest shoot I had done before I started making costumes myself. There was a full team, and it showed me that I could take on some of the larger, more elaborate photos in the years that followed. I think the photos are a lot of fun, and I love the bright colors!  I hope you enjoy them, too!

 

Mitridate – The Photos

1 May

So, here are my Mitridate photos, at last!

I just love Mitridate, and apparently I love writing about it on my blog! Some of my most popular posts are about Mitridate, including my Craft Foam Armor Tutorial, my History of the real Mithridates and his wives (which explains why my photo of the tyrant king has a female bodyguard!), and my article on Mozart’s Opera.  It is one of my favorite operas, and I listen to it all the time. The music is so fun!

Mitridate Act One by Tyson Vick.

Mitridate Act One by Tyson Vick.

The opera is about the evil King Mitridate who returns from war two find out his two sons have both fallen in love with their father’s new wife while he was away. I photographed this series over the course of many years, always waiting to find the perfect Mitridate. I finally did in Gus Gustuson, and you can read about the shoot in the above photo and how the models showed up to the shoot only for me to discover they were both old family friends!

MitridateAct2

Mitridate, Act II by Tyson Vick.

I have never mentioned the photo above in my blog, though, and I think it’s about time I did! I first worked with Jordynn as Aspasia at the beginning of my project, about seven years ago, when she was still a teenager. (Hers is the Title Image, which is not shown here, but is on my Facebook!) However, a few years down the line, I realized that I wanted the Act II photo to be romantic, so I asked her to return after approving a boy to kiss. I asked Roman to be the boy, and this was the first summer I met him and this was our third shoot together. We have gone on to shoot and get published in numerous magazines. The two models had to hold completely still, about an inch from each other, Jordynn in a sit-up position, for 20 minutes to get this shot. It was quite the feat of endurance!

The Hair and Make-up in these photos is by Lizzie Hatfield, and I did the body art in Act III.

This is the photo that I will be showing you how I made! Mitridate, Act III, by Tyson Vick.

Mitridate, Act III, by Tyson Vick.

These photos are unique in that the backgrounds were created by myself based on the set descriptions in the opera. I wrote five posts about making the photo of Farnace above with the broken tower, including every step from the design, to the photo shoot with Trevor Ivanich, to the photo editing. You can read each part of Illustrating an Opera here: Part 1 – The Design, Part 2 – The Photoshoot, Part 3 – The Composite Elements, Part 4 – Building the Miniatures, Part 5 – Photoshopping the Elements Together.

I hope you enjoy! Until next time!

Don Giovanni – The First Few Photos

8 Apr

Today I want to show you two of my Don Giovanni photos!

Don Giovanni is one of the most famous works of art known to man, and one of the most famous operas ever written.

Don Giovanni Title image with Joshua Kuehl as Don Giovanni.

Don Giovanni Title image with Joshua Kuehl as Don Giovanni.

In these illustrations, Don Giovanni is throwing a party that will soon be interrupted by a supernatural spirit.

Don Giovanni Act Two, by Tyson Vick

Don Giovanni Act Two, by Tyson Vick

The models are from left to right, Top: Jon Sollee, Danica Caffero, Joshua Kuehl, Krista Klein, and Isabel Dresden. Bottom: Roman Fisher.

Hair and Make-up by Jadi Stuart and Molly McKune.

I have two more photos in this series to complete, one of the specter of Il Commendatore coming to dinner, and one of Donna Elvira with Leporello.

Stay tuned for more photos!

La Betulia Liberata – The Photos

1 Apr

I would like to share the first of my finished Mozart photos with you, “La Betulia Liberata”! Based on the apocryphal book of “Judith”, Mozart’s Oratorio, “La Betulia Liberata” is a dark and beautiful work that I highly recommend.

The evil general, Holofernes, has trapped the people of Betulia within their walled fortress in order to starve them out.

Judith, the Widow of Manasses, decides to do something about it. She dresses in her finest garments and heads out to the enemy camp.

The Widow of Manasses.

The Widow of Manasses. By Tyson Vick.

One of the allies of the evil Holofernes, Prince Achior, warns him that the God of the Jewish people has a history of being very powerful. This enrages Holofernes, who ties the Prince to a tree, and leaves him to die. Hoping that if the elements don’t kill him, the Betulian patrol will. However, the Betulian’s rescue him and take him in.

La Betulia Liberata, Act 1

La Betulia Liberata, Act 1. By Tyson Vick.

Meanwhile, Judith goes to the enemy camp and pretends to seduce Holofernes, plying him with wine until his wasted out of his mind. Then she takes his sword, cuts off his head, and returns home, revealing the triumph to the people of Betulia, who disbelieve her story.

La Betulia Liberata, Act 2

La Betulia Liberata, Act 2. By Tyson Vick.

The enemy, finding their leader slain, think the Betulians have snuck up on them in the night, and they begin to fight amongst themselves, until they have destroyed each other, leaving Judith Triumphant.

Judith, Triumphant

Judith, Triumphant. By Tyson Vick.

You can read more about the making of these photos here.

 

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