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Opera Singer Leah | Denver Headshot Photography

Leah Podzimek took a really creative approach to her Denver headshot photography. She planned out three different looks, with different outfits, jewelry, hair, and makeup. Each look was based off a character from an opera, some of her favorite roles. It was amazing and totally genius! I recommend all my Denver opera singer and actor headshot clients do this too. When you’re presenting your portfolio for auditions, you want to show the different emotions and roles you can portray. You want to show that you are versatile and creative.

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I knew Leah through Opera Colorado where she worked as an arts administrator. When she left that job to start on an exciting new career path, working for Boulder Symphony and Meow Wolf Denver (so cool!), she decided it was time to update her headshots. With her new job flexibility, she was able to attend opera intensive programs and audition more and she needed a new portfolio to do so. Before her session, Leah told me that she wanted to capture the many facets of her personality – joy, laughter, seriousness, intensity, etc, so that is what we set out to do. I wanted to show how creative, versatile, and passionate she is as an arts administrator and a singer.

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We did her session in Lodo, which offered us a wide variety of backgrounds and locations. It was so much fun running around the city to all the different spots we had planned. We got a great mix of industrial, urban, and nature all within a few blocks of each other. I know all the great nooks and crannies in the area and I love taking my clients to them! We ended the session with some evening portraits, which was so much fun! I loved getting the chance to play with the city lights and Millenium Bridge was the perfect spot for it.

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Looking for a relaxed, fun headshot experience, with a lot of character? Contact me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Dance Warriors – Oil | Denver Dance Photography

The Dance Warriors project is an artistic response to political and social issues, in collaboration with dancers across the country. This project started as my response to our changing political climate and my desire to make an impact for the better. This is my way to use Denver dance photography to raise awareness about the issues that face us today.

This was the first session I did locally, in Colorado. For months, I drove past the Suncor oil refinery a few days a week. It’s very visible from the highway. Something about it intrigued me. It looked so cool, industrial, grungy, even beautiful, but it also made me sad. It may look beautiful but it’s function wasn’t. Knowing what it was and the harm it was doing to us and the environment made it frustrating to see every time I drove home. Knowing that there are better ways to create the energy we need but that those methods are being suppressed and blocked so these companies can stay in business, without the need to change or innovate. That was hard to deal with. And seeing this symbol of that damage so close to the city I call home was difficult too.

I knew this had to be the location of the next installment of the Dance Warriors project. Jessie Westbrook is a dancer, choreographer, and model. She contacted me about this project and was very passionate about the idea. Read on for more about her and her thoughts on the oil industry, plus the photos!

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Tell me a bit about yourself.

I have been dancing for 21 years. I’m trained in ballet, pointe, modern, contemporary, jazz, house, and bboy.  I love to spend my free time in the outdoors, hiking, camping, anything that brings me outside. We have a 5-year-old boarder collie aussie mix who is our ever loyal adventure buddy. I teach dance to kids and teens and hope to have my own dance company one day.

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Why are you passionate about the oil industry?

Even though I don’t know much about the oil industry I feel very passionate about changing it because I grew up hearing about the effects of global warming and now we are starting to see it. It is becoming very real and it strikes a huge chord with me when people continue to turn and look the other way, motivated by greed or manipulated by corporations.

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How has dance helped you express yourself? 

Dance has helped me find a way to express myself when words have failed. It has helped me through the hardest years of my life and has been a platform of communication and change. Dance is a part of who I am, helps me find direction and purpose, and empowers me to do the things that I didn’t think I could.

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What do you think is the intersection between art and politics?

Art is a platform to express any message that one feels is important. It is a different type of voice, one that commands a thought process, a conversation.

 

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Want engaging dance photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? Want to be a part of the Dance Warriors project? Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

Dance Teacher Joe DeMers | Denver Headshot Photographer

Sutton Anker interviewed Joe DeMers for Presenting Denver’s In the Spotlight series. To accompany the interview, I took Joe’s headshots at Presenting Denver’s headquarters. Joe first fell in love with dance as a senior in high school, when he decided to take social dance classes to prepare for his senior prom. It was through that class that he found a new interest and a community. Even though he didn’t study dance in college, he used that time to learn social dance, attend conferences, and compete.

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“His interest in learning more about the social components of dance led Joe to develop the emergent form of Drag Blues. Joe does not, however, take the credit or consider himself to be the almighty creator of Drag Blues. ‘If anything, I am standing on the shoulder of giants thinking, hey, I’m gonna take this movement, this one, (and) this one and put them together.’ Joe listed some specific styles and elements of dance such as Jookin’, Savoy Slow Drag, Strut, Lindy Hop, and more. He suggests that his contribution lies in amalgamating certain qualities of these various dances, with the result of Drag Blues. When Joe attended a competition with a friend and, to his surprise, won the entire competition with a Savoy-style Drag Blues, he realized he needed to learn more about what he had started.”

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Joe is incredibly passionate about the history of dance, the dance community, and the different styles of social dance. When he changed careers from a science teacher to a dance teacher in the public school system, his passion for dance and its history was reignited. A year after he started his job as a full time dance teacher, Joe won Colorado Dance Teacher of the Year and National Dance Teacher of the Year. “Joe’s passion for dance, desire for community relationships, and enthusiasm for teaching is changing lives for the better.”

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Looking for a relaxed, fun headshot experience, with a lot of character? Contact me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Remembering Ema | Denver Portrait Photographer

July 8th was my grandmother’s birthday. She turned 95 years old. It was also the day that she passed away. As my aunt put it, she had a perfect death. Apparently, in Judaism, dying on your birthday means good luck. It means your life has come full circle. We had all just visited her over the weekend and were able to see her one last time. Plus, I’m pretty sure she wanted to unlock that achievement of 95 years before she left.

We actually celebrated her birthday the day before. We told her she was 95 a day before she actually was. See, in the last few weeks of her life, she could hardly speak and wasn’t very responsive to us. She spent most of her time sleeping. Even in her last few years, she had lost a lot of her memory so every time we celebrated her birthday, it was a surprise to her. This year, we celebrated a day early because it was when we were all in town. Even though we told her it was her birthday the day before, I think she knew we were lying. She still waited until her real birthday so that she could actually reach 95. She’s pretty cunning like that.

My grandmother’s life started out wonderfully. She had an idyllic childhood, with family vacations and lots of friends. Then, it was all destroyed. When she was nine, Hitler came to power. She saw him speak in the plaza of her hometown, in Bavaria. Soon after, her friends and schoolmates started throwing rocks at her and brother. They had to change schools multiple times. They were harassed constantly. When she was fifteen, she and her brother left the country by themselves, soon after Kristallnacht. After they reunited with their parents in Holland, they came to the United States to start over.

And that’s just what she did. She learned English and became fluent, graduating from her high school at the top of her class (a class full of native English speakers). She got married and raised three children. She traveled. After her kids were grown, she went to college and studied Hebrew. She made a life for herself here, one that was taken from her in Germany. And she lived it fully.

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Interested in working with me? Send me an email at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

PD Dance Festival First Look | Denver Dance Photography

The Presenting Denver Dance Festival, presented with the Robert and Judi Newman Center was a huge success! I’ve been part of an amazing team of volunteers helping to make this festival a reality for the past two years or so. Even with all the work we had done leading up to the festival, I did not expect to sell out every show in our inaugural year! But that’s just what we did. Each show was packed with people and we got wonderful feedback. 

The two day festival consisted of two different shows, the “New and Now” showcase and the “No Walls” concert, with 15 local dance companies and eight brand new world premieres. All the performers were absolutely incredible! There was such a great mix of styles and emotions and the flow of the shows was perfect. Any performance that can make you laugh and cry and stare in awe, all in the same show is pretty amazing in my book! I was so impressed by how it all came together.

I’ll be sharing most of the images from the festival in the months leading up to the 2020 Presenting Denver Dance Festival (mark your calendars!), so you’ll have to be patient if you want to see them. I am just too excited to share these photos though, so you get a special sneak peek in the meantime. Keep scrolling for a few photos from the New & Now showcase as the first look at our first festival ever! 

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Credits (in photo order):
Schiff Dance Company
Edgar L. Page
Kristen Demaree
Chadesh Contemporary Dance Movement
Hannah Kahn Dance Company
Helanius J. Wilkins
Gregory Gonzales
Moripovida Contemporary Dance

Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

Families Belong Together Rally at Denver's Civic Center Park

Families Belong Together | Denver Photography

The first protest I ever went was an immigration march in Chicago. The march went past my grade school so we had the day off and my brother’s high school agreed to allow excused absences for students who attended. Our my mom gave us $10 and my brother and I went to our first rally. It made national news and I felt like I was a part of something important.

Speakers at Denver's Families Belong Together Rally

When I heard about the Families Belong Together Rally in Denver, I knew I had to be there. When there are dozens of horrifying and upsetting news stories a day, a few stand out more than the others. It is so easy to get overwhelmed and stop paying attention to what the government is doing to this country and the world. But, when children and parents are being separated and detained just for trying to reach safer grounds, it’s hard not to be affected. It’s important to keep paying attention and keep being upset because this news should be upsetting!

Families Belong Together Rally at Denver's Civic Center Park

There was a moment during the rally that brought tears to my eyes. The speaker asked all immigrants to raise their hands. Then they asked anyone who was a descendant of immigrants to raise their hands. My grandparents were we’re asylum seekers who came here to escape Nazi Germany. At a time when many others in their situation were being turned away and sent to their eventual deaths, my family managed to make it to safety. This country provided the asylum they needed that saved their lives. And later, my grandfather served in the US Army and fought against his native land in World War II. His fluency in German proved to be an important asset in the war effort.

Signs at Denver's Families Belong Together Rally

When it comes to protests, it’s important to show up because numbers make a difference. That first march I went to with my brother drew tens of thousands and it made national news. It woke people up and demanded that they pay attention. That’s why showing up matters. It’s not easy, especially for people with unconventional schedules like me. I’m often working during protests and marches or it’s the only free time I have that week to edit, answer emails, or go grocery shopping. It’s hard to even keep track of when the next one will be. I try to go when I can because I know how important showing up is and I know how important documenting these events can be.

Protesters at Denver's Families Belong Together Rally

Signs at Denver's Families Belong Together Rally in Civic Center Park

Children hold signs at Denver's Families Belong Together Rally

Children hold signs at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally

Protesters at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally

Child donates money at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally

Speakers at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally

Protseters at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally in Civic Center Park

Protseters at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally

Statue of Liberty sign at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally

Speaker at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally

Photograpers at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally

What collection of protest photos would be complete without an adorable dog, keeping cool in the shade?

Cute dog protester at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally

Interested in working with me?  Send me an email at jamie@jamiekraus.com

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The Trashydy of Medea | Colorado Performing Arts Photography

This was probably my favorite piece from last year’s MFA Thesis show at Naropa University. At the end of each academic year, those graduating from the school’s theater program perform works that they created for their thesis, in order to fulfill their graduation requirements. Chie Saito’s one woman show, The Trashdy of Medea, was only about 15 minutes long and was the “pre-show” to Those Who Attend Your Funeral and The Sister’s DeCantate.

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Despite it’s short run time, it was very impactful. The show starts with three men carrying a heavy trash can onto the stage. Once they leave, the can starts to move. Eventually, Chie emerges and pops up, using the can almost as a dress. For the rest of the show, she interacts with the trash can, using it as a megaphone, kicking it away, kissing it, crawling inside to hide from the world.

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When I posted a photo from the show on Facebook, someone asked if the show was about the wastefulness of fast fashion trends. It is so interesting to hear what people think a piece of art means. Art is always up for interpretation and I feel that most of the time, that interpretation can change from viewer to viewer. Everyone brings their own ideas and perspectives to the table when viewing art and that is what makes art so meaningful and magical. So I want to hear what you think. From seeing the archival photos of the piece, what do you think is the meaning behind The Trashedy of Medea?

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Starring: Chie Saito and Malachi Tharp, Jake Cacciatore, & Lorenzo Gonzalez as ‘hazmat suits.’

Composed by: Lorenzo Gonzalez & Chie Saito from texts by Euripides & Christa Wolf

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.