Monday, March 28, 2011

Siobhan's Photography & the Samsonite Bag

Samsonite Silhouette Suitcase at The Inn on Bourbon Street

A couple weeks ago, my friend and outstanding photographer, Siobhan, stopped by to say hello and check out a couple new Junk and Howe items I thought she'd like. She was on her way to a still-recovering New Orleans for Mardi Gras that week, and spotted a light blue Samsonite Silhouette Garment Bag/Suitcase. She wanted it for her drive down to Louisiana. The only problem was that someone had put a small lock on it and I didn't have any bolt cutters to get it off yet.

She had some.
Problem solved.

The bag hadn't even been photographed yet, and thus hadn't been added to the Junk and Howe store either. But, for someone I've known for years and whom I've kind of adopted as my little sister, I had no problem selling her the bag, along with a couple other items. My only condition, because I didn't want it to leave without having something to remember it by: "Please take a picture of the bag somewhere in New Orleans." She did, and as with most other pictures Siobhan takes, it's amazing, as you can plainly see above.

Siobhan did her undergraduate work at Columbia College in Chicago - Fine Arts Photography - and is currently doing graduate work there as well. I've known her since I ran my rock and roll publication, The Crutch, and I was always amazed at how easily she could adapt to photographic situations that she wasn't familiar with. After seeing so many bad snapshot type of photographs at small rock and roll shows here in Chicago, I urged her to get up there against the stage at Chicago staple venues, such as Empty Bottle and Double Door. She did, and she has taken some of the best rock and roll concert photos I've seen. Unlike the stuff you see in magazines, Siobhan captures the rawness that is rock and roll. The other stuff is too polished, and lacks the feeling that you get at an $8 show at a small venue.

King Khan

But it's her original, innate visual artist's eye that puts her on the fine arts level, as she is able to extract the feeling of even inanimate objects - as if she somehow is able to give voice to the walls of the Packard plant ruins in Detroit, or a lonely forgotten railroad track in tiny Argenta, Illinois.

Packard Plant

I did a couple favors by modeling for Siobhan while she was studying her undergraduate. By no means am I a model, and yet while attempting to play natural in a familiar setting, she revealed an emotional skeleton that I didn't realize was visible in every way. I, as a writer, would have a real task to match that kind of temporal breakthrough in words. Her gift couldn't be overstated.

Younger me, as a smoker

The Samsonite Silhouette bag is nothing like I've ever seen. Literally - I've never seen another one of these, and still can't find one anywhere on the Internet. Its design is so interesting, with both sides opening up to create a garment bag - with a hook for hangers and all. It's boxy, but it's rounded, so as not to crease whatever you want to keep unwrinkled. And its fabric zip-up girdle on the inside helps keep those hanging clothes secure against the skin, and separate from all the folded clothing you fill the bag with, as it acts like a large duffel would. It's pretty cool.

It's even cooler sitting on the bed at The Inn on Bourbon Street in New Orleans at Mardi Gras. Thanks, Siobhan!

Check out just a sliver of Siobhan's portfolio at her website. I believe she is going to be making available some stunning prints of her work in her own shop (on Etsy) sometime soon. We'll keep you posted.

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