The Photographer Behind the Imagery of MKMoore Photography

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Band Photography by MKMoore Photography

The older I’ve gotten, the more creative people I’ve been lucky enough to discover. From farmer’s markets to art shows there is talent in every city. However, not every great artist is always easy to find. There are many talented artists within my hometown of Roanoke, VA that I’m sure I have yet to discover. There are also a few great artists that I only discovered by chance. Once of those artists is photographer, Kent Moore of MKMoore Photography.

Busted Television in Abandoned Home by MKMoore Photography

I was first introduced to Kent Moore’s photography via Facebook while browsing the fan page of a the local band I had just discovered called Another Roadside Attraction. I then followed Kent’s photographs online of and on. Eventually I met him when he messaged me about buying some handmade soaps from me as a birthday gift for one his friends.

In person Kent is shy and quiet. However, his photographs speak volumes through their vivid imagery, colors and mood. His live band photographs are always exciting, taken from interesting perspectives and angles, while his still life photos of abandoned buildings and houses are filled with a quiet foreboding.

Barb Wire Dolls Photograph by MKMoore Photography

Being a fan of Kent’s work, I really wanted to learn more about him and his own insight into his photography. Since he’s more of a behind the scenes kind of guy whose usually behind the camera rather in front of it, I requested an interview with Kent which he was happy to give. Following is Kent’s commentary about his work, influences and dreams.

Bastards of Fate Live Photograph by MKMoore Photography

Q. How long have you been shooting photographs?
A. I started in jr. high when my brother showed me the basics when he was home on leave from the Navy. I didn’t get serious about it until 10-12 years later though.

Q. Did you always have an affinity for the arts or did you think you’d go into a completely different field when you were young?
A. I started out wanting to do music recording and production. I went to school for that and found out I wasn’t really into it at all. I just didn’t have the patience for it.

Q. How would you describe your style of art for the majority of your works?
A. Not really sure what the style would be called but in a lot of my color photos I like to exaggerate or shift a few colors to something that’s just a touch outside of reality so you have to look at it twice to decide if it’s something is out of the ordinary or not.

Mounted Deer Photograph by MKMoore Photography

Q. Has your focus always been on digital photography or did you start with the basics in a dark room?
A. I started out with film. I shot for about 20 years doing my own darkroom work before making the switch to digital. When I made the switch it was almost like having to relearn everything. The digital sensors saw the world much differently than film did. I absolutely love working with digital though. I’m definitely not one of those old school types that sit around and whine about the death of film. I do miss Kodachrome though.

Q. What are some of your favorite subjects to photograph?
A. My favorite thing is live music and band portraits and I recently started getting into abandoned building and urban exploration photography thanks to my friend Daniel Overstreet at Abandoned Love Photography.

Record Player Photograph by MKMoore Photography

Q. Who are some of your favorite artists and influences (and what medium do they work in)?
A. My favorite photographer is Lee Miller. She was pretty big in the  Surrealist movement in the late 1920s early 1930s and during World War 2 was one of the first female combat photographers. Her pre-war photos are a huge influence on me, just absolutely brilliant photos. I love the surrealist movement in general but her work is my favorite.

For contemporary photographers I really love Sebastião Salgado’s photos. I’m also influenced pretty heavily by music. Bands like Sigur Rós, Godspeed! You Black Emperor, and Mono (Japan) put me in a certain mindset that makes me much more creative and can completely change the look of a photo.

Q. If you were gifted with a limitless income, where do you see your art leading you?
A. I’ve been trying to figure out how to finance a trip to Cambodia to photograph a recently discovered ancient city that’s 500 years older than Angkor Wat. I see that as the ultimate abandoned place photography. I would also love to travel to Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia to photograph the former Yugoslav war monuments. That’s definitely on the bucket list.

Women at Bazaar Consignments by MKMoore PhotographyQ. Where can people purchase your work?
A. Most all of the photos on my website, MKMoore Photography, are available for purchase either directly through the site or by emailing me and we can work out a purchase deal. Locally I have some prints for sale at Bazaar Consignments here in Roanoke.

Q. Tell me something quirky about yourself. (Or something that very few people realize about you.)
A. I briefly played bass in a Ramones cover band and was so bad at it I fired myself before our first show to avoid the embarrassment.

You can view more of Kent’s photographs by visiting his website, MKMoore Photography, or by following Kent on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Pinterest. You can also contact via email through his website.

Photo Credit: All photos © Kent Moore/MKMoore Photography

Severe storms cripple areas of the United States

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I apologize for the lapse in blog articles recently. Many states, including Southwestern Virginia where I live, were devastated by storms Friday night. Locally half of my city’s population in Roanoke lost power, while some areas were knocked completely off the grid. The news is saying outlying areas will have full power restored by Thursday or Friday, while Roanoke is not expected to regain full power until Saturday. Temperatures have been soaring to a hundred degrees and more, and thunderstorms last night knocked power out for another 30,000 people in my area who previously still had power.
Vehicle crushed by tree toppled by Friday night’s wind storms. Photo by Cody Dillon-Owens
Some areas for which water is pumped in through wells are experiencing water shortages. There’s also a fire blazing in a nearby county. A block down from us, on my street, they still have no power where a tree knocked down a power line last Friday night. The tree has been removed, but the power line is still laying in the middle of the road. The road itself is taped off only with yellow caution tape. I only had internet service restored this afternoon, and lost power for a short time today. I’ve been very lucky. Unfortunately, many in Virginia, Ohio, West Virginia and other states are still without power and supplies. Gas stations are closed due to power loss or have run out of gas. Food has been lost in homes and grocery stores. And people have lost their lives. Please keep everyone affected by these storms in your thoughts as we all work to try to recover from Friday’s storms and the severe thunderstorms that have further crippled areas since Friday night.

Handmade Arts and Crafts from the Historic Roanoke City Market

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I love going down to visit our local city market on Saturdays. We have such a wonderful array of artists, crafters and farmers! And, this year we already started off with a handful of new vendors. Here are some of my favorites pieces from the Roanoke City Market today.
A regular long time vendor on the Roanoke City Market is Brian Seckinger of Roanoke Pottery Works. I always love discovering new pots he’s created whether from slabs or a pottery wheel. And I love that he’s able to throw some of the largest bowls I’ve ever come across. In fact I own two great pieces from him that are around 1 1/2 feet in diameter.
These are new hand built slab pottery pots with handles for spring. They come in an array of bright colors including blue, green, yellow and red. They’re perfect for indoor and outdoor planting – I’m using my green one to grow garlic! – for small plants and herbs or indoors for storage or decoration. These can be tied onto a trellis or hung from a porch in multiples to save on space!
Brian also recently made some raku horse hair pottery for spring. To see more of Brian’s work, be sure to take a peek at his photo albums on his fan page – Roanoke Pottery Works – on facebook.
A new potter to the market is Mary Hadden of Floyd, VA. She hand builds all of her clay works and finishes them with a unique matte, glaze finish that she worked hard to perfect.
I love all of Mary’s pieces, but I think my favorite pieces of hers are her wind chime fairies. 
She also makes lovely handmade flower pots, soap dishes, bird houses, lidded boxes, and even business card holders! You can see more of Mary’s pottery in my Market Days Album on Facebook
Both Brian and Mary sell their pottery on the Historic Roanoke City Market on Saturdays, weather permitting.
A few other highlights include the following:
Unique, handmade jewelry crafted from bracket fungi. These one of a kind necklaces, earrings, and brooches are made by Penny Lane, also of Floyd, VA. Penny shares a booth on the Roanoke City Market with Mary Hadden on Saturdays.

Lunar Scapes – owned and operated by regular vendors Kyle and David – hand crafts and sells recycled wine and beer bottles. These melted bottles come in various shapes, sizes, and colors and  are perfect for cheese and crackers, butter, and other party appetizers. Each cheese tray is embellished with beads and wire work and comes with a small knife.

One of my favorite market photographs is one I took in June of 2009 of David kissing a local goat that liked to visit the market on weekends.

A new vendor, Joe Stanley of Upcycled Cards, also creates his wares from upcycling. He recycles wine corks and used gift cards to make something new.

Joe uses spent corks to craft handmade coasters and serving trays.

And retired gift cards are used to make one of kind jewelry including fun bracelets and earrings.

To see more wonderful arts and crafts from local artists on the Historic Roanoke City Market from past to present, be sure to check out my Market Days Album. There are so many beautiful works of art, it’s just impossible to include them all in one post. And don’t forget to stop by the Roanoke City Market to shop for Mother’s Day!

What are some of your favorite things to buy from your local farmer’s market?

The Parade of Nations and a falafel recipe.

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Yesterday was the annual Local Colors Festival in my hometown. It’s an annual festival that celebrates the diversity of the nationalities living here in the Roanoke Valley, of which there are over ninety. This spring festival boasts a parade of nations and a series of performances that last all day long. There are also a multitude of vendors selling wares and food that are representative of their countries.
I attended Local Colors for the parade – the sun and my allergies don’t allow for much more this time of year – and took photos of some of my favorite participants. You can see my album of parade photographs on my facebook fan page for Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen.
The featured country for the Local Colors Festival this year was Egypt. And coincidentally a popular dish from Local Colors is the Falafel, a hugely popular Middle Eastern dish sold by food vendors on the streets of Cairo. Falafel is served as a main dish in sandwiches or as an appetizer on salads with hummus and tahini. Following is an excellent Falafel recipe you can try from Epicurious.com if you’re interested in making this dish yourself. To make this recipe truly authentic, omit the cilantro and substitute fava beans for the chickpeas.
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4-6 tablespoons flour
  • Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
  • Chopped tomato for garnish
  • Diced onion for garnish
  • Diced green bell pepper for garnish
  • Tahina sauce
  • Pita bread
Click here to view the recipe preparation instructions along with additional information on the history of Falafel.
Have you ever tried Falafel? And what’s your favorite non-American dish?

Annual Sidewalk Art Show in Downtown Roanoke

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I was able to visit the 52nd Annual Sidewalk Art Show in downtown Roanoke yesterday with clear skies and warm weather! There were 120 artists at this year’s show from as far as Florida to Canada, but the one artist I really wanted to see is a Roanoke local. I’m a huge fan of the works by Scott ToObz Noel, and I just couldn’t pass up seeing him again this year. Last year I bought a fabulous oil painting from him, so this year I just had to do the same. The piece, below, is titled “Running Paynes” and is spray paint on canvas. I love how introspective it seems.

I really got a kick out this three dimensional painting created by Kurt Kindermann of Bedford, VA. It’s suitably titled, “Rabbits (the story of you.)”

And we’re off to the races! I was quite impressed with these sculptural paintings by Ned Moulton. Created from wood pieces and then hand painted, Ned paints not only lively horses, but also hungry hippos and tall giraffes.