When you work as a creative, there’s a delicate balance in how you spend your time and artistic energy.  We’re fortunate that our work involves creating art, so it would be easy to sit back and rest during our winter lull.  But I’m also a firm believer in striking while the creative iron is hot. This winter, during our wedding off-season, we had several opportunities to shoot with Philadelphia sideshow performer and our favorite clown babe, MacKenzie Moltov.  

The first of our winter shoots with MacKenzie this season was an abandoned Power Plant, styled by Delicious Boutique.  I love that shoot, and when we do publish our “Last to Leave” series with her, I think there will be a few featured from that aftenoon .  We had planned to do another location that day with completely different looks, but it was a tough shoot. We were cold and tired and just didn’t have another location in us.  But we found another day a few weeks later, and kept it simple with easy locations that were nearby and flexible.

It’s one of my favorite shoots we’ve done with her.  Her bubblegum pink looks were a perfect contrast to the cool blues of the cemetery.  In the years we’ve spent photographing her, this shoot has a certain joy and lightness to it that’s refreshing to be part of.  When the rain became not so much fun, Paul found a great spot under a bridge to keep us dry.  And then, things got a little weird, as they often do when you’re under a bridge with a clown babe. We hope you enjoy these as much as we do, because the next shoot we did with her is VERY dark and emotional. If you are enjoying our work with her, please check back soon.

power plant

clown babe in Philadelphia urban industrial decay

Over the past 5 years, we’ve been photographing sideshow performer and clown babe Mackenzie Moltov.  We’ve documented her through  pregnancy, and received some internet hatred for portraying her as a very bad mommy. We have grown as photographers as she has grown as a performer and the journey has been filled with adventures.  Our most ambitious project to date is our on-going series “Last to Leave” where we use abandoned locations to inspire the artwork.  We have been fortunate to explore abandoned mental institutions, amusement parks and swinger resorts.  One thing that was missing from our abandoned work with Mackenzie was some good industrial decay. Which leads us to one of our recent shoots with her.

While I don’t like to give out locations, this one will be very recognizable to locals in the Urbex Community.  In fact, it’s become so popular with explorers, it’s losing a bit of it’s mystic.  There’s a feeling among some of the most experienced explorers that the more a location falls into ruin, the less exciting it is to explore.  I disagree. I love the changes that happen to an abandoned structure.  Some are reclaimed by nature, as we found at a resort in New York.  I also love the way good graffiti adds to the beauty of the space.  These spots do become incredibly dangerous, and I think this may have been one of our toughest shoots due to the treacherous conditions.

We often like to involve local stylists and businesses we believe in to bring an extra element to our collaborations. In past shoots Delicious Boutique, Batcakes Couture and Philly Aids Thrift have all donated their resources and talents to help us with our vision for the particular location.  For this urban industrial decay, I called on our friend Psydde Delish of Delicious Boutique to style 2 of the looks with pieces currently available from his amazing boutique on Girard Ave.  I love his gorgeous, hand crafted leather pieces and his leather jackets always have me swooning.  I love the way his accessories gave Lily Cheshire a rock and roll vibe for a winter bridal shoot a few years ago.

I can’t stress enough how dangerous this spot was.  It was covered in ice and frigidly cold.  Not long before we were there, they pulled a corpse from an elevator shaft.   It’s a miracle Mackenzie didn’t kill herself balancing on stilettos on garbage covered in black ice.  Magmods have been essential to our lighting in places like this. The diffusers are lightweight and portable and easy to change.  Most of these images were done with off camera flash stacked with a grid, a sphere and gelled. 

Our last two looks were all Mackenzie. A bright yellow dress was a fun splash of color to remind us that we are dealing with a clown, and candelabra accessories were a nod to the original use of the space, a power plant.  Mackenzie made the candelabra accessories herself, and they really were a cool final look to play with.  We had planned another location for the day, but were too exhausted to keep going.  So we got to do a part 2 a couple of weeks later. Please keep in touch to see the gorgeous continuation of this shoot.