by Scott Umstattd
I remember looking through catalogs as a kid and being fascinated with cameras and lenses. I would either become a baseball player or an international adventure photographer or maybe an artist ten year-old me determined.
I played baseball in college and also studied art and that is where both of those pursuits ended. I did, however, become a photographer. As such I saw parts of the world that are not on any travel agent’s speadsheet and that is adventurous enough.
The Carter Center served as international observers during the 2017 presidential election in Liberia
I moved to San Miguel five years ago and started taking fashion photos somewhat by accident. That is when I started to combine documentary photography with fashion, models and art. I soon found that it was a great combination, allowing for free movement on the part of the models, which gave me the chance to capture unscripted, natural moments.
Angela Nasta creates the hand painted dresses and models Ella Mae Mackee, Mittie Rogers and Dafne Salvador bring them to life
Last year, I teamed up with local artist and dancer Mariosa. She likes putting on events that give people the personal freedom to be or do whatever they like. I like taking pictures of people who are willing to be photographed, specially if they are in a wardrobe. We’ve put on a few events in a pretty short amount of time that, for me as a photographer, have given me everything I need to capture intentional, unscripted moments.
At these art happenings, we lead people to a setting and give them permission to be what they want to be, or, at least, to dress up and act differently for a few hours. Some people come with ideas of who they will be or how they will behave. Others come with curiosity before discovering their role.
We named our first art happening Unseen Unity. It featured a handful of colorful and contrasting characters. We shot under a bridge with no set up time or any real sense of a plan. All we had was an agreement that we would work together to create some interesting images based on the theme that we are all Unified.
A group of neighbors came together to show how we are all connected
Unseen Unity was followed by our Summer Solstice gathering in el Centro. A group of unsuspecting souls agreed to dress “expressively” with either a black or a white dominant wardrobe. We shot improvisationally at night throughout el Centro, stopping traffic and turning a few heads along our way.
The summer solstice was reason enough for people to join a black and white affair in San Miguel
We moved the next art happening to Timmyland in Atotonilco. Owner Tim Sullivan gave us the ok to use his very unique abode as a backdrop for what we called Future World.
Participants in the first Future World arrived with a concept of themselves in the future
After the Future World experience everyone agreed that it should be done again and done bigger - whatever that means.
If you want to know what that means, we are having our next event The Future World Art Happening on Saturday, March 3 at Timmyland in Atotonilco. We hope to see you out there. You can learn more about it and register for the event here:
Scott Umstattd is a well-traveled photojournalist and freelance photographer working with numerous organizations and non-profits including Major League Baseball, Delta, Home Depot, Bank of America, Habitat for Humanity International and The Carter Center.
Currently inspired by the culture, colors and people of San Miguel de Allende, Scott is using his 20+ years photography experience for live event photography, fashion photography, weddings, portraits, art/archival photography and fine art photography.
You can see some of his work on his website http://www.scott-pix.com/
And you can follow him on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ScottPictures/
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