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It just so happened that I had my 40th birthday during this week and I couldn’t think of a better theme to celebrate this milestone than Humor. ( It’s not funny that I’m now “Old”) rather it’s because Birthdays and especially one like turning 40 gives you cause to reflect on your life and when I look back I see and hear laughter, and lots of it! I have to credit most of that to my big brother who introduced me to comedy early on,  from TV, to radio, to stand up, you name it we listened to or watched it together. Some of my fondest memories are of us laying in our beds on Sunday night listening to the Doctor Demento show when we should have been asleep, we would try not to laugh too loud, but inevitably we’d let one too many snorts loose and Mom would yell down from upstairs to “Shut off the radio and go to bed, you’ve got school in the morning!”  We’d just laugh into our pillows instead. When we eventually got cable TV we’d sneak out to the family room to watch late night stand up. When my brother started working he would buy comedy records and we’d listen to them over and over…

That memory is so strong that I wanted to capture it, so I went to my brothers home to photograph some of his comedy records and relive our youth for a few hours…

Best of Bill Cosby_side 2_Penny1-webSliding the record out of its yellowed sleeve was like pulling the lever on a time machine, the feel and smell of that vinyl was so strong that it took me a few minutes to realize that I hadn’t stopped smiling since I had picked it up.

As I set up the camera to shoot I was faced with the dilemma of which memory to capture? My Brother had set out a small stack of some of our favorite albums and although they were all deserving of the theme, the Cosby records stood out the most as listening to his albums was what had started it all. Noah was the first comedy routine I think I ever memorized and it felt right to pay homage to the genius of Bill Cosby, it got even better when  I opened the player and a penny fell out – Perfect!

50mm + 12mm extension tube.

Static set up using the 50mm f/1.8 + 12mm extension tube – “Right!”

I started off shooting static set ups, and as much as I liked them, records are meant to spin so I decided to try a shot with it actually playing, we laughed together to the wonderful story of Fat Albert and “Buck Buck” as I set up my YN-560 flash with a Cactus V5 trigger hand held at camera right, I softened the flash by shooting through the album’s old  sleeve which gave some great soft light to the shot while using rear curtain sync let me get a little blur in the record while freezing it enough to read the title.

Best of Bill Cosby_side 2_Penny2-webWe laughed and recited lines to each other and were young again.

Thanks for a magical day filled yet again with laughter Mark, I love you bro!

Thanks for stopping by today to share in my happy memories, I hope you’ll relive a few happy ones of your own as a result and have a laugh or two.

Happy Shooting!