Emily Krauser (on the far left in the banner image, and I will be sure to point her out down below) is quite a few remarkable things: writer, entertainment journalist, cross-country traveler and cancer survivor to name a few. She is a New Jersey native and Ithaca College grad who I met through a hometown friend, Megan (also an Ithaca grad). In early 2014, Emily co-created a storytelling show entitled Stupid Smart Kids. To borrow their own description from their Facebook page, Stupid Smart Kids was:
Personal essays & storytelling shows for all of us 20- and 30-somethings trying to figure out life one bad decision at a time. We are Stupid Smart Kids.
AS a way to get to know LA and hang out, my friend, Megan, invited me to a see a few Stupid Smart Kid shows. They were pretty laugh out loud funny and the comics brought a sincerity to their stories along with the comedy. It felt part standup comedy and part AA meeting/therapy confessional. After viewing a few shows, I stepped up and offered to capture some photography of future shows and Emily welcomed the idea. I captured a show for them in November 2014 as well as this night in July 2015.
Each show had a theme or prompt for each story a comic would tell. July 2015's theme was: The Real World. The talented line up included:
Quick side note about Emily: are there any How I Met Your Mother fans reading? Remember the thing about Barney and photographs? For non HIMYM fans, I'll break down the whole thing...There was a character on the show, Barney Stinson, played by Neil Patrick Harris. He was known as a "man's man," a real ladykiller, player, etc and so on. He lived by the bro code and the idea of always "suiting up" for every occasion, big or small. In short, he's overly confident, on the border of narcissistic and sociopathic, but somehow very loyal and lovable in the end. In a particular episode, there is a storyline where Barney explains that it is impossible for him to take a bad photograph. We all have them right? Someone catches you eating, or sneezing, or making a funny face mid sentence, and some regrettable visage is documented forever. Barney proclaims that such events and photos never happen to him, and it becomes the aim of another character, Robin, to take a bad photograph of him before the end of the night. Somehow, hilariously, with each attempt to catch his "ugly face" Barney escapes with a properly prim pose.
This was my second occasion photographing a Stupid Smart Kids show and photographing Emily in particular. You already know where I'm going, but while photographing her during this story, I started to believe that Emily had the Barney Stinson trait: she never seemed to take a bad photograph. Emily is naturally beautiful, if I can throw a compliment her way; she photographs well in general. But there was something about the timing of her expressions and her face...Maybe I was just in rhythm with her and was catching her at her best moments, but it seemed that with each click of the shutter I would look to the LCD and she was smiling or bright eyed in each shot. What the...? I started to think about the Barney Stinson thing and I would intentionally start to capture her at a moment that I thought her face was not smiling or bright, but still...some great expression, something natural would be on her face and it was a great photograph. She has...nice...face? Weird thing to say, but I guess you get what I'm trying to say. Oh yeah, she told a great story too:
Todd Masterson - twitter
The storytellers stayed around until the end (minus Jen Curcio) and it came to mind to grab a group shot of them all together. I guess I had been inspired by my friend, Eddie's Historical Roast shows where they make sure to take a few group shots at the end. I was so eager to grab the shot that before Emily officially closed the show, I raised my hand and excitedly asked, "you...you want to get a group shot?" This question had completely interrupted her so she responded smartly and quickly, "Can I close the show first?" That got a good laugh from everyone. "Oh...yes...of course," with a thumbs up and sheepish nod. In the end, we got the shot. A very fun night: