The Antique Selfie That Inspired a beautiful Circus

On a dusty old shelf, in the basement of my late grandfather's house, a row of Photo Booth snap shots of my grandmother lay face-down. No one knows how long they had been there, or why--my grandfather and Nana had divorced decades before he passed. 

The expression on her face, especially in one of the shots, is haunting. The photos were taken shortly following their split and she was dressed to the nines. A questioning, a longing, an aching heart shines shattered behind her eyes. 

This old photo was the first inspiration for this music video. What began simply enough, catapulted me into the project of a lifetime. 

I've had some crazy ideas in my time and I often cast them off as such. It was the enthusiasm of the artists I reached out to this time that really set the ball to rolling. 

Tessa Kingsley - a haunting and striking photo of a great beauty

Tessa Kingsley - a haunting and striking photo of a great beauty

I had this picture in my mind of my Nana getting dressed to the nines and heading out alone to the Photo Booth. In a day and age where you can snap a selfie and share it with the world in an instant, the nostalgia of a photograph being a major time consuming event---a planned excursion, was deepening. 

Also, my connection to her heartbreak, the look in her eyes that I had seen countless times in my mother's eyes, that I had felt in my own. I had spent part of my own life breaking my heart in the same way--it was where the song was born. 

The photographer itself, the Photo Booth, needed to be larger than life. I wanted to take the photograph a little further back than this--first selfie machine-- that my Nana had used to leave her mark. I found an artist, a time-traveler and a magician in Scott Anton, a Maine wet plate collodion photographer who puts all of himself into the work he does. Learn more about Scott and his work here. 

Elaina Carrell, model. Scott Anton Photography

Elaina Carrell, model. Scott Anton Photography

So many stories have come together and have begun from the coming together of a bunch of crazy Maine artists. Scott Anton will be taking my beautiful black Morgan horse home with him following the shoot to live on the his farm. And that is another story that I can not wait to tell in the days to come. 

On October 20th, with several wet plate shoots under our belts, we were successful in our campaign to raise enough funds to finish this video. With a goal of 2500, we came in at a cool 3200, thanks to the generous donations of some very benevolent benefactors. What began as a simple collaborative art project--a wet plate photography series and music video--has taken on a life of its own. Features and stories are coming out of the woodwork with a wealth of incredible photographic work alongside. 


The set has been built and the scene is set and in one more day, a whole bunch of my favorite artists and people will be here at my home. We'll create something beautiful together and, for two days, we will break bread and share wine and stories. And after all is said and done, we'll be sharing it with you all.

Thank you to everyone who helped to make this wild dream a reality. We hope to see you at the Art-show/Premier TBA and we'll keep you posted.

Don't be a stranger now, you hear?