The big & famous Burning Man event is held every Labor Day, in the Nevada desert. Some friends go every year. But my wife & I have never been, together anyway. Good news for us: the Burners love the main Labor Day event so much, they create a miniature version here in San Francisco, in October. They call it Decompression. The site is just a few blocks from our home here in the city.
“Miniature version” makes it sound small, but only compared to the now-gigantic Burning Man in the desert. Several blocks of Indiana Street get blocked off, and then *packed* with party people. A good chunk of San Francisco moves to “the Playa” in the Nevada desert each Labor Day. I’m not sure how many show up to Decompression here in town, but it’s in the thousands. The costumes are amazing, and so are many of the installed works of art.
We knew how much energy the attendees put into their different forms of expression. So it was a natural event to photograph! Walking around with a pro camera made me pretty popular. Folks had put so much time into their costumes, they were eager to “get shot” so to speak.
In the swirl of color & bodies, I noticed a few elegant women, in beautiful, exotic dress. As always, I asked their permission before shooting. They were happy to oblige, and took a short moment to pose for me. Here is the result, click for LARGE view.
Turns out they were from Fat Chance Belly Dance®, a belly dancing school here in San Francisco. But I didn’t know that, I just kept walking and shooting.
It happens a lot: you take a photo that doesn’t seem particularly noteworthy. Then you get home, review, and one just leaps out at you. Well, this photo was it. And it had stiff competition, believe me. There were hundreds of decent, eye-catching shots. But none could hold your eye like this one. There was something about the serene smiles of these women, and with two perfectly head on, and one perfectly in profile.
So we made a Memento Photo Canvas, and placed it in the front of the store. I hoped someone would recognize one of these women, and let them know about the photo. We didn’t care to make any money off the shot, we just wanted them to have it an enjoy it!
Well, many months went by. Their beautiful gaze drew customers into our store. Many clients chose to just stand and look at the photo. Then one fine day, a customer from our early days happened by. She stopped cold in the corridor, then basically leapt into our store. “Do you know those women???” she asked, with a big smile.
“No, but I wish we did, we’d like them to have the canvas!”
“Well I know Shelly! That’s the dancer on the right!” No kidding, in less than 90 minutes, Shelly herself had danced right over, and was standing in our store!
Shelly LOVED the canvas. She took it home and gave us the following testimonial:
“I love the richness of color, the light and texture the canvas conveys. I love that it looks like something out of National Geographic. It is very ‘other worldly.’
I first saw it on text and it was impressive. But when you see it up close and personal it really takes your breath away.
It’s already hung on the wall in the space where I practice belly dance at home. It has its own wall, heh heh. You can’t miss it!
Friends and family walk by and will just stop dead in their tracks and stare at it.”
I asked her, “Would you consider canvas prints or metal prints again in the future?”
Shelly said, “Absolutely.”