Thursday, June 24, 2010

Portrait Artist: Michelle Kopka...Eclectic Illuminations

All photos are portfolio work of Michelle Kopka

There is an Intense Simplicity about Michelle Kopka that draws me into her work. I can't say I understand that netherworld of Light and Isolation, but I'm captivated by it in every way.

This Center for Creative Studies graduate has earned her Star in photography by exploring her unique visual voice over the past 6 years. Her focus includes a mix of Fashion, Portraiture, and Fine Art.
I was delighted to learn about her research methods, inspirations and personal collections over coffee recently. Michelle collects "Vintage Props" which are often included in her work. She is keenly attune to places and things most of us overlook. The textures at the supermarket, the color of a room, the make up section of a drug store. She is also meticulous in her approach to staging, composition and execution. Inspiration comes from everywhere and often from a favorite record, or movie.

Michelle admires the work of Dutch Photo Artist Rineke Dijkstra and Author Lauren Greenfield, who wrote "Book Girl Culture".

You can see from this collection of her photography that she is deft at capturing the beauty and solitude of the Female experience. Some of her work is ghostlike and elusive, but it's also innocent and crisp. I love the nostalgic qualities in her work. I admire her precision and willingness to be vulnerable and her ability to evoke a wide range of emotion.

Michelle displays a powerful mix of talent and intelligence that will grow and evolve as she continues to expand her photographic horizons.
"I went to a cobbler To fix a hole in my shoe He took one look at my face And said, "I can fix that hole in you"

Jenny Lewis sings those words in "Acid Tongue" and I get a sense that Michelle is doing exactly that, with her poetic photographic powers.

You are encouraged to see more of her work at and contact her with questions and inquires at

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Creative Fashion Volunteer Co-op Project

Shoot the Fashion - Build Your Portfolio

Fashion Photo Shoot Paper Collage Collective work: Alvita Lozano, Salon Rehe, Kaley Hedric, Shannon McCarthy, Camille, LaMontagne, Trish Nguyen, and Sean Doerr at The Butcher's Daughter Art Gallery

This project is an example of an economically creative way to jump start cooperative volunteer projects with a specific focus. In this case, "FreeStyle In Detroit” along with a team of socially progressive up and coming talent have joined forces to do three things: Volunteer their time and skills, Celebrate Fashion in Detroit, and build a collective body of portfolio work.
The event: FreeStyle In Detroit Fashion Portfolio Jam Session” is a one time event I have organized. It is an all volunteer cooperative team consisting of A Fashion Stylist (3 Stylist Assistants), Several Models, A team of Hair Stylist, A Makeup Artist, Several Photographers, and an Art Gallery Owner. All participants have little or no professional experience in Fashion.

This team is developing Fashion Photo Shoot experience, building new professional networks and creating a unique body of Fashion Portfolio Work. All team members will receive digital copies of the best shots for their individual portfolio use.

This is an “Idea” that any industry can use to build new networks of creative volunteer work.

“In this city in this recession, creative visionaries think outside of the box opening new doors not climbing old business structures. We need to work upside down and build new teams of people to move it forward. It seems everyone is vying for corporate sponsorship and government grant money which is great, however I say use what we have and that is creative talent, time and the power of unity. Let’s not wait on some kind of deliverance, let’s push together, create the swell in Detroit and put it on the International Fashion Map Grassroots Style. That is what FreeStyle In Detroit is all about".

Photos and team member write ups to follow....stay tuned. Meanwhile I encourage you to get out there and build volunteer networks and projects of your own...I'd love to hear about what you are doing in Fashion!