cat thrasher photography

Archive for the ‘Charlottesville, VA’ Category

Inside the warehouse: antique, vintage, and a little French

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It’s hard to believe, sometimes, that just 12 months ago, my studio was used as a storage space for large machinery.

I’ve always loved interior decorating but hated getting dressed. Interior design has always seemed much more pleasant to me than picking out what clothes I’m going to wear in a given day. Yet, similar to shopping for good clothing, my style requires that I regularly look out for the right furniture by going to yard sales, scouring Craigslist, and digging into dark basements. The result is what you see in my studio: antique frames, vintage dressers, and Louis XVI sofas. There is nothing new in my studio – everything is a little aged.

The four frames on the outside in the photo below were made by local artists, and the one in the center is truly antique, pulled out of the basement of this very warehouse. If you see it in person, it is actually three frames put together to form a thick border, each laden with ornate detail. It’s still got some dust on it from the basement, but I think it adds character. As for the sofa, I believe that it is a Louis XVI-esque design, but I’m not sure. It’s covered in a tattered man-made material that I cannot wait to replace with something softer and silkier! Until then, I put it to use by covering it in pleasant fabrics for intimate portrait clients.

I have had this table (photo, lower left) for a long time. This was the only piece of furniture in my original “studio” in the Sophie House on Wertland St., back during my last semester at UVa.. When I first got it, I had some leftover Rustoleum paint from another project, so I slapped it on, and it turned out to be perfect! The high-gloss makes it look lacquered, and in combination with the modest lighting setup I had at the time, it yielded very dramatic portraits for some of my first clients.

This lamp and mahogany dresser/mirror set were both acquired in the front yards of Charlottesvillians trying to rid their houses of extra stuff. I was so lucky! Check out the wavy front on that dresser! If they even make furniture like this anymore, I’d be interested to know.

And who could forget this settee? I believe this one is a Louis XV canapé sofa, but again, I’m no furniture expert. This piece is currently at my mother’s house, waiting patiently to be reupholstered with new, red, silky Italian fabric laden in gold dragonflies. (Thanks mom!)


Written by catthrasher

December 17, 2009 at 5:06 am

The snow, the warehouse, and Fifeville

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Two days ago, we woke up to heavy rain and then snow, coming down in buckets, barrels, to the point where, when we went on a walk with the dog, we cursed not bringing an umbrella. I had learned, back in Seattle last fall, to always take pictures in bad weather. Always, always. Bad weather causes dreaminess and dreaminess breeds blankets, tea, and toe rubbing. But before that, you must get dirty in it, go outside and get wet and muddy. You come back with pictures that people don’t normally take, because people don’t normally bring their cameras out in tumultuous downpours. Then you can go back home, get dry, and look at pictures that not many people have.

The studio, amidst the downpour:

The whole warehouse on West Main, with Random Row Books next door (a killer used bookstore – a must-visit):

Main Street Market, Jim, and Cochise:

The entryway to Fifeville, our neighborhood:

Jim, Cochise, our two coffees, and the inspirational mosaic on the way into Fifeville, by Isaiah Zagar:

One thing wonderful about Fifeville are the power-lines. They remind you that the neighborhood is old and comes with stories.

Many of the houses in Fifeville were built by African Americans with no blueprints, just strong hands and good Virginia heart pine.

One of the most aesthetically fascinating parts of eastern Fifeville: the intersection of 5th and Dice:

Written by catthrasher

December 7, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Child Face on display at McGuffey Art Center

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Child Face Tryptic

I am currently exhibiting a series of photographs as part of an art-science collaboration with Vanessa LoBue, Ph.D., and the Child Study Center at U.Va. The show will be up through Nov. 22nd at McGuffey Art Center in Charlottesville.

These pictures were originally made for a stimulus set intended for use in scientific studies. The children in these photographs exhibit specific combinations of muscle movements that are reliably characteristic of adult displays of emotion in empirical research.

Some expressions appear to transcend age, others inspire more questions: though it is easy—almost expected—to see a child expressing happiness, it is harder to observe the contradiction between the seemingly weathered intensity of negative expressions and the purity inherent in the facial characteristics of children. Do these expressions draw us in out of concern, or repel us by activating our own fears? Perhaps harder still is the observation of a child emoting nothing at all. What is going on behind those inscrutable faces?

For this series, I strove to highlight the range and complexity of human emotion, as well as the range and complexity inherent in our own responses to these expressions.

Child Face

Nov. 2nd-22nd

Opening Reception Nov. 6th, 5:30-7:30pm

McGuffey Art Center

201 2nd St. SW

Charlottesville, VA 22902

Written by catthrasher

November 4, 2009 at 4:17 am

Only 2 spots left in this Saturday’s Célébrez-Moi!

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This Saturday (9/12) I will be having a little pre-celebration intimate portrait event for the opening of the new warehouse studio by having a day booked full of super-affordable $95 intimate portrait mini-sessions! Some call events like this a “boudoir bash,” but I felt it was better described by the words Célébrez-Moi, or “celebrate myself.”

If you ever wanted to do a boudoir session and were holding back because of the money – this is your chance! There are only two spots left! Click here for more information, and email me if you’d like to book.

We are going to have a BLAST! Join us and celebrate yourself!

Written by catthrasher

September 8, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Open House for the Child Development Labs at UVa

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This weekend was the first Child Development Labs Open House, so I was there giving out free on-the-spot portraits for kids who signed up to participate in research. The labs are especially in need of families with newborns, as our researchers look at infants as young as 4 months of age. As technology changes and more people use cell phones, it has been increasingly hard to find families to participate in studies using traditional methods, such as looking through the Daily Progress birth announcements and using the phone book. However, on Saturday, 45 brand new families signed up to participate in studies and over 80 people came to get their free snapshot! Thanks to everyone for stopping by and making the event such a success.

If you had to leave before picking up your snapshot, email me at with your snail-mail address and I will mail it to you!

As I have stated previously, I am a also a researcher with CDL, studying the development of attention and the psychophysiology emotion in young infants. Other projects I am working on include an art-science collaboration with a post-doc from the labs, Vanessa LoBue, who is now at New York University. We are still in need of 4-to-6 year old participants for a stimulus set we are creating of children making emotional facial expressions. Let me know if you would like to participate!

Written by catthrasher

August 10, 2009 at 8:06 am

The New Studio

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The past couple weeks have been adventurous! After viewing an old warehouse space as a potential studio on Main Street in Charlottesville two weeks ago, I fell in love! I asked the owner to let me in immediately – with a big portrait session coming up, I was dying to shoot somewhere other than my in-home studio. At that point, the building, built in the 1930’s, had not been used for anything other than industrial needs: it had been a car dealership, a construction equipment rental place, and a mechanic’s shop. Each owner had taken decent care of the place, and so the only thing we had to deal with the day of the shoot was the excessive dust – but my client did not miss a beat! She was thrilled to be in the new space, and we had a great time!

Since then, I’ve completed a series of projects to clean it up a bit, including power-washing the brick walls, ripping down various wooden walls and shelves installed by previous tenants, and putting a fresh coat of white paint on everything. It is now much cleaner and brighter, and I cannot wait to share it with everyone!

In celebration of my new studio, I will be having an open house within the next couple weeks for clients, friends, and families (exact date and time TBA). I will also be having a BIG Célébrez-Moi event on September 12th exclusively for affordable intimate portrait sessions! Check out the flyer here, and email me to reserve a space!

Written by catthrasher

July 30, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Jackie and James are engaged!

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I love you two. Congratulations!





Written by catthrasher

June 23, 2009 at 7:58 am