Fun with Ol’ Sparky
Allison is a real-life grinder girl. Grinder girls are performers who, as you can see, use hand-held grinders and metal accessories to produce a show of sparks. They’ve been around for quite a while, but have been getting recent attention on the Late Show with David Letterman, America’s Got Talent, etc. Allison performs solo and with a group called Cirque du Fear.
I met up with Allison in Oklahoma City to do some promotional shots. Being a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of guy, I didn’t have a location scouted out. Since I was traveling, I didn’t have my studio lights or really any other accessories. Just one camera, a few lenses and one flash.
When I got to my hotel, I checked out the outdoor pool, thinking that could make a cool spot to shoot. It was empty. My first reaction was “I’m screwed.” But, the more I thought about it, I realized I could use the empty pool to my advantage. Bright, somewhat clean walls, built in cyclorama and multiple levels to shoot from. It’s the perfect studio!
I was excited. Now, I just needed Allison to show up. That day, tornados, hail and heavy rain pelted Oklahoma and I was certain she would call to cancel. (In fact, I almost cancelled, not wanting her to have to drive in that weather.) No problem. She showed up early!
By then, the storms passed and the skies cleared up. What was left was a brilliant blue sky at dusk. I couldn’t have planned it better!
Allison got changed into her home-made metal cincher, brought out her angle grinder – Ol’ Sparky – and away we went. The shoot was a lot of fun, and Allison couldn’t have been a nicer, more accommodating subject.
Here are a couple more from the shoot. They are all shot either with one off-camera flash, or available light.