While no one would ever wish it so, the upside of a year-long pandemic has been to provide Local 600 members the time to explore creative work beyond the set. Certainly, this has been true for many of Local 600’s unit still photographers, who have been pointing their cameras at everything beyond the actors and crews on set. With that mantra in mind, 600LIVE! recently talked to unit still photographers in the central region to see what suppressed passions have flowered during pandemic times. Whether it’s photographing people (Zac Popik and Sandy Morris), or reminders of the life around us (Jessica Miglio’s plant obsession), to an allegory of life’s journey (Guy D’Alema’s Red Umbrella series), these four photographers have generously shared what feeds their soul; we hope that their creative eyes help you connect with the joy and beauty around us.
Zac Popik, Cleveland, OH
“With all this available time during the pandemic, it’s hard not to reflect on the state of the world and our individual lives,” reflects Zac Popik. “Having all this extra time and the instinct to photograph people, I turned my lens to those who mean the world to me; those who are in my quarantine circle; and those willing to allow me to make portraits from a safe distance – my friends and family. Northeast Ohio is known for having dreary, cloudy days a large portion of the year. But on the days that aren’t all doom and gloom, beautiful light makes for hopeful feeling portraits of the individuals I truly can’t live without.”
Sandy Morris, Chicago, IL
When not on set, Sandy Morris is constantly creating. With a theatre background, her images tend to be cinematic and dramatic. “I get my inspiration from many things,” Morris says. “It can be a location, a piece of wardrobe, or a model. Once the idea begins to germinate, I just fill in the pieces of the image in my mind.” Morris, who collects wardrobe for future shoots, says she has an endless list of ideas. “The most exciting thing for me is to imagine an image in my mind and create it in a photo,” she shares. A perfect example is her “Red Dress #5” from her ongoing Red Dress series, which sold during the “Still Standing” event. During this pandemic, Morris photographed “People in their homes: Quarantine.” Her most recent personal project, “Women and Cars,” is shortlisted for a Communication Arts Award.
Jessica Miglio, SMPSP, Georgia
Jessica Miglio grew up in an eclectic home with plants everywhere. “My folks had a beautiful garden in the summer months,” she recalls. “I never had any urge to buy plants until I moved to Atlanta three years ago and came across The Victorian Atlanta at Ponce City Market. Missing New York, I found myself in the plant shop a good bit and that’s how it started.” Miglio’s obsession slowly grew and once the pandemic hit, it turned into 50-plus plants, cactus, and succulents. She started searching for cool and interesting pots, and The Victorian started posting on their Instagram page – and delivering. “It made it hard not to purchase new plant babies and repot on my patio,” she remembers. “I never realized how they can truly become a part of the family. And my cats enjoy living in the jungle!”
Guy D’Alema, Georgia
Guy D’Alema’s evolution of personal photography during the pandemic began with looking for occurrences where he could photograph reflections – windows, storefronts water puddles, people wearing sunglasses, etc. “They were a little too documentary – so I began pushing myself for more creativity – with story-telling properties,” he recounts. “Now I search for visuals that can tell a story via a series of photographs. It helps keep alive the creative energy that could go a bit stale if not exercised constantly.” D’Alema’s most recent visual story, “The Journey of the Red Umbrella” follows the travels of a bright red umbrella and the many places it might be found. “I started pre-COVID with a model – but, with COVID concerns, I am now limiting this series to locations,” he adds. “Once the pandemic subsides and we can work, I will add the element of people [again with models] back into the series.”