kyle cassidy (kylecassidy) wrote,
kyle cassidy

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Top Sekret No Longer!

A few weeks ago I photographed three of Philadelphia's most famous artists, Tony Auth, Bill Scott, and Alex Kanevsky, who are being honred at the Philadelphia Sketch Club's 150th anniversary gala. The theme of which is "Mad Men" which is, I believe, a ribbing on the club's origins as "mens only" (today membership is about 50:50, I believe). In any event, all this precipitated me watching about 20 episodes of Mad Men to try and get a feel for what should be going on. (My takeaway, lots of booze, lots of cigarettes, skinny ties.) But we also wanted it light hearted and to reflect the sketch club, which is the nation's oldest art organization and to which most every great artist in the city has belonged for the last century and a half. (The last honoree was Magnum photographer Zoe Strauss, whom I adore.) The club has always existed on a lovely precarious balance between stuffy and whimsical, packed with the most talented painters and engravers who were always doing absurd and ridiculous things.

Clickenzee to Embiggen!

This was shot in the Sketch Club's library which is my favorite room, well, one of them, in that building. It's packed with hundreds of art books by former members, treasure troves about undersea exploration, love, war, travel, technique (and two of my books, I should make sure they get the others, now that I think about it.)

I'd started with a pretty sophisticated lighting setup with some rim light in the back and, as Tony Auth put it, after seeing the first photos "We look like a bunch of bankers." As we moved along we added more props (I forget who the death mask is of, but it's a famous member of the club (it might be Thomas Anshutz.) I think the thing that makes this photo is really the mischievous look on Bill Scott's face. Bill's an extraordinarily famous painter and a really fun and swell guy. (As are they all. I love Tony Auth dearly.)

Eventually I started paring down the light, ending up with one 36 inch Photek Softlighter II.

I shot it with a Panasonic Lumix GX1 with a 14mm lens, because I'm still trying to make the Micro 43 system work for me. It worked here. We were in and out in about 12 minutes.

Members of the public are invited to the gala to hobknob with these, and many other fine artists (I'll be there, for sure.)

That's that. I'm off to go running. Perhaps I'll see you at the gala.

The 153rd Sketch Club Gala

"Mad Men … of art"

Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 7 pm to Midnight

The Philadelphia Sketch Club’s 153rd Anniversary Gala honoring
Auth, Kanevsky & Scott

Patron: $150 ($125 is tax deductible) * Art Lover: $100 ($75 is tax deductible) * Artist (Sketch Club members only): $60 ($35 is tax deductible) * The first 150 ticket purchasers will receive a two volume set of books on the Philadelphia artist and Sketch Club Member Peter Moran entitled Domestic and Wild: Peter Moran’s Images of America by David Gilmore Wright (retail value $120 – limited one per household).

Cocktails, Buffet, Dancing, Madness - 1960′s “Mad Men” attire is optional.

Tickets are available now by calling 215-545-9298 or by sending a check payable to the Philadelphia Sketch Club, 235 S. Camac St., Philadelphia, PA 19107.

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