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William Kooienga, Woodworker

Posted: September 11th, 2011 | Filed under: artist, great face | Comments Off

Ended up in Woodbury, Tennessee, yesterday, at the White Oak Craft Fair. Met this fellow William Kooienga, who lives near Smithville, on 100 acres. I was struck by the veins in his arms. I shot some images of him, and left there with a cutting board. Great guy. He doesn’t eat sugar, and avoids most all processed foods. He did say he had been known to kill a deer though, and process it for the winter. See his work at Beech Hollow Studios.


Clara Sherman: My Kidding-Around-Make-Believe Daughter

Posted: April 17th, 2011 | Filed under: feature, friend, great face | 7 Comments »

This post is a bit more personal. Let me try to explain — Clara is the daughter of Lizette Tucker, my first wife. Clara’s dad is John Sherman, and he lives here in town. Lizette now lives, I think, in Seattle. Clara’s now 21, and she’s amazing. Three years ago, Lizette called me and asked me to shoot some pictures of Clara to document her 18th birthday. At that time, I’d never met Clara. So let’s just say, it was a bit interesting at my house — Lizette and Clara walked in, and even though, of course, she was not my daughter, it was a bit surreal to see a grown daughter of someone I’d been married to. Can we agree on that?

So fast forward to about two months ago, and I went to a dinner party at Michelle Myers’ home, and Lizette and Clara were there. Clara’s now 21. I guess it just hit me, “This is about as close to a child as I’ll ever have”. Weeks later, several of us were on the sidewalk in front of Fido, in Hillsboro Village, and Clara yelled my name, and came over and said hi. It was nice. All of us in the group commented on how radiant she looked, and there she was, with her entire life in front of her. Twenty-one years old, looking for a job, and getting her own apartment. It’s an exciting time for her.

So recently, I wrote to her and asked her if she’d be willing to be photographed for this project. I told her that the angle on the story was that she was my “almost daughter”. We laugh and kid around about it now.

Yeah, it’s still pretty surreal when I think about it, that I’d be old enough to have a grown child. I only recently feel mature enough to be given a license to have a child; only in the last few months.

(Image above): Clara in makeshift studio, with the flowers that Iris brought to my birthday party.

(Image above): In the back yard of my house, right at sunset.

(Image above): I’ve been looking at a lot of books on painters lately, and this was just an experiment to build contrast and see what happens. I’ll work more with this image later, and try to bust it up.

(Image above): Accidental flare into the lens, making a rainbow, but this picture expresses what I feel about her about as much as anything i shot that day. Love the colors across her face. Wish I could say that I planned it…

(Image above): I just liked how these two frames worked together. Feels like a book cover or something. Shot on B/W Polaroid in the old Graflex camera.

(Image above): Upstairs studio, at sundown, with the big Graflex camera and uncoated lens. Love the flare.

All photographs and content © 2011 Mark Tucker. All rights reserved.


Lisa Donovan: Pastry Chef, Artist, Mom

Posted: April 16th, 2011 | Filed under: artist, chef, feature, great face, restaurant | 5 Comments »

I think I first met Lisa Donovan and Maggie over at Allison Murasic’s house, last year, during one of Allison’s Red Barn Roundups. Maggie was playing with Jill Earl’s son, Ollie, and they made a striking young couple. Maybe it was combination of Ollie’s crazy-wild hair, and Maggie’s vivid blue eyes, but I had to stop to photograph them.

Lisa is married to John Donovan, who has a show up at Zeitgeist right now. They also have a son, Joseph, who attends the Waldorf School, on Hillsboro Road. Lisa went to art school, but soon followed another one of her passions, into food. She worked at City House, before coming over to Margot Cafe in East Nashville, to be Pastry Chef. See the photos below, for some of her creations.

Some people just have a radiance about them. Lisa just glows. Plus that trademark laugh. Stop in to Margot Cafe one night — have a light entree, and head right for the desserts and that famous french-press coffee.

(Above image): Lisa, with her daughter Maggie, at their school in East Nashville.

(Above image): Focaccia bread, at Margot’s.

(Above image): Lisa’s rhubarb pie.

(Above image): Chocolate praline pie, in the window, at Margot’s.

(Above image): From Margot Cafe, Lisa’s lemon cornmeal cake with strawberries and cream.

(Above image): Pralines, right out of the oven.

(Video): Lisa, in the kitchen at Margot Cafe, and with her daughter at school.

All photographs and content © 2011 Mark Tucker. All rights reserved.


Manny Cuevas: Wear It Out

Posted: March 10th, 2011 | Filed under: clothing, designer, feature, great face | Comments Off

I had to double-check the address, when we were headed out to meet Manny, (the son), at his retail store, “Manuel: Wear It Out”. Dickerson Road, I wondered? For a retail music-biz storefront? Manny told me the story about how he acquired the building — he and his buddies used to work on their motorcycles in the back room, and time passed, and one day, the building became available. (I told him I thought he should still have motorcycles parked in the back room; he rolled his eyes). He’s now gutted the building, laid tile, and completely transformed it into a combination of workshop for sewing, and then a retail showroom in the back.

Of course, we all know Manuel, the father, and his shop on Broadway at 20th. But this is Manny’s project to create his own brand, and his own look and identity. He also told us the story about the guy on American Idol who’s now wearing one of his custom-made suits. The video link below shows how he constructs the suits by hand.


Ruby Guidara: Dogs, Goats, Horses in Watertown

Posted: March 7th, 2011 | Filed under: dog, feature, good friend, great face, home | 23 Comments »

Ruby Guidara moved to Tennessee from Los Angeles. She wanted land. She wanted children. She wanted lots of animals. She found a farm in Watertown, and began filling it with all of the above. She builds sets, and supplies props for the music and film business in Nashville. Travel from her farm, to downtown Watertown, and you’ll find a large commercial building, packed to the gills, with any kind of crazy prop you’d ever need.

Little Thurman roams the farm and helps with all the goats, horses, dogs, and cats. Watch the video to hear him describe his accident with a horse, when he was two years old. He’s doing just fine now, thank you very much. Big Thurman also owns a farm near Gallatin. Big Thurman was 59 with Little Thurman came along. (Gives me hope). Little Thurman has The Great American Farm Face — what a striking and handsome young man. Big Thurman has The Great American Mustache.

Also, these Great Pyrenees dogs are just amazing. Somehow, they come out of the womb ready to protect goats. It’s buried in their DNA. They’ll follow them around, and then, oddly, just lie down in the field and go to sleep. (See bottom photo, and photo above). As we were leaving that day, this one cat was perched on the stone post that leads up the house. It was regal — almost like those cheesy lion or dog statues that flank driveway entrances on Franklin Road.


Gillian St. Clair: Yoga Teacher and Mom

Posted: March 4th, 2011 | Filed under: feature, great face, yoga | 9 Comments »

My old friend Steve Waterman introduced me to Gillian St. Clair. I had been taking at 12South, but Steve wanted me to meet Gillian and see her studio, in the old Whiteway Cleaners complex on Villa Place. We sat in on a class one day, (and I determined I was nowhere ready for their level). Then I went out to their home, and met Jason her husband, and her daughter Sydelle. I’d also attended Gillian’s Yoga Carnival a few weeks ago.


Dave Cloud: Lounge Singer, Performance Artist

Posted: March 4th, 2011 | Filed under: artist, feature, great face, musician, singer | 3 Comments »

The first words I heard about Dave Cloud were “Budweiser” and “Springwater”. So that’s got to add up to trouble. Angela Messina had worked with him, with Harmony Korine, on a Bud commercial in Angela’s basement. Then I heard that he’d done over 300 performances at The Springwater, which must count for something. Just to survive that. So I meet Dave over there one afternoon about 3 o’clock, and we get to know each other, shoot some portraits, and hear his story. Fascinating character. Sitting in the background, in the video, is Gary Gray.


Lain York: Artist & Zeitgeist Gallery

Posted: March 4th, 2011 | Filed under: artist, feature, great face, painter | 1 Comment »

It seems to me that, most everything in the arts world in Nashville sooner or later goes through Lain York. He’s the center of the cog. All roads lead to Lain. He and Janice Zeitlin manage Zeitgeist Art, in Hillsboro Village.

I first came across Lain, years ago, when I began to participate in the Untitled Group. Untitled is a group of artists that come together to host one-night art shows in various venues around town. We’d generally meet around 3pm, begin to empty out a restaurant or an empty space, begin to assemble wall units, and then rig up some temporary lighting, hang a complete show, and then people would begin to flow into the space around 6pm. By 10pm, the show would close, and we’d completely tear down the space, and return it to its previous condition by about midnight.

Lain simply cares about the arts scene, and he cares about people. Pure and simple. Great guy. He wants the best for Nashville, and does the hard work to make it happen. Selfishly, I also always thought he had a great face, and I always was looking for an excuse to photograph him. He reminds me of some football player, or rugby player, from the 1930′s, back when football helmets didn’t have face guards.


Ayesha Nur: Sufi and Candlemaker

Posted: March 4th, 2011 | Filed under: feature, great face, home, sufi | 4 Comments »

I met Ayesha Nur through my good friend Diana Stewart. Ayesha lives in Sterling Court. (Actually, let’s be honest — who in Nashville has not lived in Sterling Court at least once in their life? I lived in, I think, E-2, years ago. Before that, Beth Middleworth lived in my apartment, and also Virginia Team before Beth. Sterling Court is like some kind of rite of passage). Anyway, Ayesha ran a retail store above my friend Jenn Casale, over in East Nashville for awhile, but now, she sells her candles out of her apartment. Her apartment is like a museum — a tribute to all her travels around the world.


Tom Mason: Performance Artist

Posted: March 3rd, 2011 | Filed under: artist, feature, great face, musician | 4 Comments »

I met Tom Mason many years ago. We chose him as talent for a PacifiCare campaign. Not sure what we cast him as, but all I remember was that he had a nice spirit, and a great face.

When we photographed him last week, we met near his home, in Shelby Park. It was pouring rain, and we hid out in a picnic area in the park. He brought his Shakespearean books, his trumpet, his mandolin, his scarves, and his monologue! The rainy weather was just perfect for his Irish brogue and his speech. We’d wait for a break in the rain, and make a run for it, out to the riverfront, shoot our take, and then make a run for it, back to the picnic cover.

Tom Mason is part magician; part pirate; part Irish; but 100% imagination and spirit. (Watch the video below).