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One of the most pleasant surprises about moving to Philly was discovering an incredibly vibrant art scene, unlike anywhere I’ve ever lived. We are fortunate to be surrounded by people that are bold enough to dedicate their lives to creating art, and that they allow us to use our medium to collaborate and create something unique.  So when burlesque performer/social activist/costume designer Annie A-bomb was looking for someone to photograph herself and Peek-A-Boo Revue Performer, Christa D’agger, I jumped at the chance.  We loved working with Anna in a dirty bike shoot that offended and delighted rush hour traffic, and Christa was a joy to shoot in this post apocalyptic, dirty city shoot.  Wendie Hetherington, who’s done makeup for us on several shoots over the years, jumped on board and gave Anna and Christa a grungy, sexy look that was just right for our”lost girls on the docks”.

I think professional photographers underestimate the importance of practicing.  On a monday afternoon, to be able to assemble a team to go scout a new location and play is invaluable to our professional work.  With every shoot, our posing skills get better, we find new locations to return to in the future, and we get to work with truly interesting people dedicated to creating new work.  So while Paul and I will continue to shoot beautiful weddings, engagements and boudoir shoots as often as possible, we will ALWAYS make time for a couple of burlesque beauties who feel like getting dirty and playing down by the dock.

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When we first met local Philly burlesque babe and artist Nikki Malicious and her fiance Steve, they were making out in a metal washtub in front of a pink trailer,  surrounded by lawn flamingos.  It was a John Waters inspired photo shoot, and Nikki was such a great model: sultry, dark and edgy with a touch of classic pin up that when embarked on our journey exploring Holi Powder, we called on Nikki once again.

When Nikki and Steve got engaged, I was thrilled.  At that point we only had a wedding or two under our belts, and it’s quite possible that I begged her to let us shoot it.  They were everything we wanted to shoot when it came to weddings.  A beautiful burlesque dancer and her hockey playing, mechanic husband, not afraid to learn some pretty complex choreography for his bride.  A talented artist, every detail that went into Nikki’s wedding was made by her, from the bridemaids’ rainbow bouquets to her guest book.

Hunting Hill Mansion (or Ridley Mansion) at Ridley Creek State Park was the perfect venue.  A historic English Tudor style mansion built around a stone farmhouse from 1789, it includes a rich, wood ballroom, a grand marble staircase and a bridal suite flooded with natural light.  For Nikki’s theme, “Fall with a hint of Flyers”, bridesmaids and groomsmen wore vivid orange. The Goddess Isis broke her wedding officiant cherry at the top of an outdoor stone staircase and Steve’s face when he saw Nikki in her champagne lace dress was just about the best thing ever.  A delicious dinner by Diverse Catering accompanied by a seemingly unending supply of PBRs.   An array of mouthwatering cupcakes from Philly cupcake stole the show and DJ Nolz made it virtually impossible to get Nikki and Steve off the dance floor.