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Daryl Darko

© 2010 Daryl Darko -
September 27, 2010

Chicago, so far…

Definitely less ambitious this year than i was last year, but that’s only because i’m a year older and have less physical energy. it just seems like i was a little more excitable last year about being here. i don’t know if that is really true though. the photo shoot i did today was unique and unusual, even for me. but i was a little bit off. i had some different ideas going into the shoot than i actually remembered to execute, which is probably ok, but i think it’s a sign of my mind and body aging. regardless, it was still an epic shoot with some remarkable models in a place where i’m pretty sure not too many shoots like this have been done before.

Speaking about the location, yes, Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery in Midlothian, Illinois. reputed to be the most haunted cemetery in the United States. it just seemed like the perfect place to take my project to. and i think this shoot ushers in a new level of depth and commitment to my vision. my models were a couple, young lovers and i will title their photo set “Sarah and Ian – Cemetery Lovers”. i’ve been contemplating this new direction for awhile now and this is by chance, the first couple that i’ve actually photographed. well, darn it, that’s not true! there was “Jesse & Avital” a couple of years ago, but at that time i was still green and they were a chance meeting. now i really do want to focus more on shooting pairs of models. sisters, lovers, girls, boys… boys are new, different and a little unusual for me to envision, but i want to start to “see them” too. and there are some great lads out there that i know of, Bunny’s friend “Kenneth” for one. i’d really love to photograph him and have already let him know this. not sure what it’s going to take to snag him.

I was a little spooked about shooting at Bachelor’s Grove today before i got there. i shot some video before Sarah and Ian arrived where i talked about those feelings, but nothing spectral seemed to occur during our shoot. in fact, the weirdest things that happened today were encounters with two strange men that were hanging out in the cemetery. the first man, i actually later realized was a county “mosquito controller”, but he looked and acted weird. he may appear on my video, not sure. the second man must have been a local and was acting like a snoop, but didn’t really bother us that much. what was really cool was a band of musicians showed up. 5 or 6 hippie boys with guitars and tambourines wandered into the cemetery like minstrels and sang some songs at the “infant daughter’s” gravesite. i included them in some photos of Sarah and Ian’s and we got talking with them at the end of the shoot. anyway, during the shoot, and after, all the nervous, spooky energy i had been feeling had dissipated. in my opinion, it’s not a place haunted by the dead. the lingering energy there is from those that come and try to stir up negative energy, and i am sure, if the dead could sense what goes on above ground, they would be very displeased with the disrespect shown in this place.

One thing that has occurred in several of my most recent shoots is the burning of sage. and i really, really like this. it is not only a great visual effect but it is an honorable gesture to offer before the dead in these resting places of the dead. too late today i remembered the idea of obtaining some sage, after i had just left Whole Foods, but oddly enough, when Sarah and Ian arrived at the shoot Sarah said that she had brought some. you’ll see the images. really fantastic affects.

Ok, the rest of this trip. not sure what is going to happen. i have a test shoot set up for Thursday afternoon that i am probably going to cancel, and another full fledged shoot scheduled for Friday that should be as epic as today’s. totally different type of cemetery and totally different type of model. i am going to need to rest and recuperate as much as i can between now and then to be able to do that shoot. two epic shoots in one week is unheard of for me anymore. and this is what i was talking about earlier in this post. i don’t have the energy this year that i had last year. i also have another shoot scheduled for Sunday, but i am positive that i’ll have to cancel it.

What else… the light here is different every single day. which amazes me. just subtle differences in what is in the sky, namely clouds, but what elevation they are at, which directions they come from or are moving towards, their density – the light changes noticeably all day long. and today, when i drove across a distance of only about 40 miles the light changed in fantastic ways. to live here and be a photographer here would be an exciting thing. there were many moments today when i just wished i could pull the car over to the side of the road and jump out to shoot scenery; whether it were cornfields or office buildings or neighborhoods.

And yesterday the way i just accidentally discovered the Trolley Museum in Elgin, amazing. i really hope that i’ll feel good enough to go there on Sunday with Sarah W. and no, she is not the model i need to cancel on Sunday.