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Latest work, inspiration and deep thoughts by Titus Childers.

Rub Some Funk On It! - Funky Tucks & Funky Fox

About five or so years back I was asked by my pal,boss, co-worker and resident funky photographer Doug Keese to hang out on along the parade route and document his funk-tastic wife, Cheyanne, and her very first ride on the Funky Tucks/Funky Fox float which of course is one of the many floats that makes up the Mother Funking Krewe of Tucks.  Like any other Mardis Gras Douglas and I started dipping into the Crown and cokes funking heavy and he asked me if I'd also show up the day before his ride and document the ceremonial Second Line that the Krewe does every year the day before they ride.  I'm not sure if my response was a resounding yes or no but most likely my answer echoed the pitch of a Velociraptor dry heaving into a metal trash can.  

Either way I graciously accepted his funky offer and the rest is history.  Over the last five years I find myself documenting some of the most gracious, funny, and beautiful funky guys and gals that this poor funk has ever had the great pleasure of knowing.  From the funkalicious cage girls shaking their funk trunks.  To the droves of tourists and funky locals lined up and down bourbon street.  To the fabulous staff and atmosphere at the funking amazing Broussards, where we say funk it and finally get inside for some air conditioning.  The Funky Tucks and Funky Foxes know how to step it out and lay the funk down on their annual second line.

Being a transplant to New Orleans I will never be as rooted in the traditions or culture that are so vast but one thing I will say until the day that I die is that I've never been a part of or near a second line, brass band and all, that didn't make me wanna dance, smile and funk it up!  Many thanks to my funk soul brother and sister Doug and Cheyanne for letting me a part of this funk tastic voyage over the last few years.  To the rest of you funky brilliant souls whose radiant glow funking blinds my camera year in and year out, Funk you very much!

Cheers,

Titus

RIDE OR DIE'S!!!!.............The Tucksedeauxs

It certainly doesn't go unnoticed by me that I am 100% certified one lucky bastard!!  I'm lucky to have the quality of friends and family that have my back and allow me to thrive in my profession.  The Tucksedeauxs are on the top of that short list of quality lunatics that I keep so closely to my chest.

Every year now for the last three years I have had the dubious honor of being dubbed the official photographer for this glorious Krewe of weirdos.  Now before you think I'm taking jabs at them you should know that I LOVE WEIRDO'S!!  This group is nothing short of brilliantly strange, ridiculously devoted and exhaustingly dedicated to the New Orleans tradition of Mardi Gras!

Based on the slew of labels I've given them each and every on of them may breathe a comforted sigh of relief knowing that any and all images posted are carefully selected and never incriminating! ;)  Nothing but the best for my RIDE OR DIE Family!!!!!!!  

Until Next Year You Beautiful Lunatics!!

Cheers! 

(Not pictured - Angry Mobs around centuries old monuments, Dignity & Jeffery Wunder)

LONDON CALLING!

Up until last year everything I've ever known of London was fed to me by television.  As far back as the glorious cartoon, Danger Mouse.  I'm quite certain the vast majority of readers of this blog have no flipping clue about said cartoon.  So there's your Netflix find of the day children!  Go check out Danger Mouse!  You may or may not be sorry.  At the very least it's worth one episode just to hear D. Mouse's sidekick, Penfold, utter the phrase, "Crumbs Chief!"

As the years gave way to age the jabs at Jolly Old England manifested into repetitive viewings of Chevy Chase saying, "Look Kids! Big Ben!  Parliment!"  Again I say if you've never seen National Lampoons European Vacation, shame on you!  It's mindless brilliance! 

After movies and tv there was the obvious musical influence from The Beatles to The Clash to my current English royalty of Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls.  Are you noticing a pattern here?  GO LISTEN TO ANY OF THE THREE!  You won't regret it.  If you haven't heard the Beatles, for the love of John Lennon get your arse's off the couch and plugged in!

Beyond TV, Movie and musical the only logical choice left was to visit London and form opinions beyond that of an  animated mouse.  Even in freezing conditions London is brilliant! I'll never forget the ride up to the White Cliffs of Dover and seeing that sight with my own two eyes. Not every photo opportunity presented can be lush blue skies and happy go lucky slap stick comedy!  Despite this adopted southern boy's love for warmth my  brother and I gutted it out.  Besides, no matter how dark and dreary dear ol' London can be the beer was tasty and the decades old one liners uttered from my brother and I on a daily basis made it feel like a tropical paradise!  

I hope you enjoy the images!

Cheers!!

Audrey & Daniel.......Another Fox Bites The Dust

Let me tell you something people.  The key phrases wedding, Nebraska and January have never been anywhere on my priority list.  I mean absolutely no disrespect to my beautiful wee little pint size cousin and her decision to marry her hunka hunka Hubby, Daniel in Omaha, NE in the middle of January.  However I will say that we could have easily had the same beautiful ceremony on the planetary system of Hoth!  It was flippin' cold!  For those of you who have no clue what Hoth is (SHAME ON YOU IF YOU DON'T)!

The last time I saw Audrey was at her older sisters wedding months earlier in the much warmer climate of early October.  Suffice it to say I'm starting to think Alyssa, Audrey's older sister might like me better.  No matter the guesses and despite my incessant complaining about the cold weather in my home state, which by the way solidifies my ascension into almost 100% native of this great Earth's south land and its warmer climates, the wedding of Daniel and Audrey was an absolute fantastic love sit in. Complete with laughing, crying, teeth chattering and joy for all who attended.

Its quite rare to see a couple so young dive so responsibly into marriage as these two.  Granted they've got one of the most ridiculously awesome support teams in their friends and family.  So awesome I'd say that if these two even considered throwing in the towel on their nuptials said support team would give the two of them a world class spiritual talking to and that idea would quickly wash away.

Audrey and Daniel left for Australia mere weeks after the wedding.  Not to honeymoon but to take up residency and begin the first leg of their journey together in the land of the worlds second best Olympic swimmers and the best selling beer of Fosters.  I'm no beer snob but I'm not sure if a man or woman can survive on Fosters alone.  Hopefully the import business is keeping them supplied with better libations than that.  Despite the mediocre beer and apathetic swimming  I know they're making quite the life for themselves down under and they can rest assured that they've earned my respect and they will always have a true believer in New Orleans supporting them and rooting for them.  However if they invite me to renew vows anytime soon I'm going to have to insist they come down south so that I never have to take their photos on a frozen solid pond that made my toes go numb in less than 10 minutes.

Cheers,

Titus

Sarah & John.........A Wedding Less Ordinary (aka, Simplicity & Design)

Sarah & John!  John & Sarah!  No matter how I say it these two wickedly fierce friends of mine just go together like PB & J, NOLA & Mardi Gras, or to put a Forrest Gump stamp on them, like Peas & Carrots!  However in no way is John simple like Forrest nor is Sarah a wicked mean heartbreaker like Jenny.  C'mon!!  Don't be so sensitive.  We all know Forrest should've given up on Jenny after the first 30 minutes of that movie.

It's no secret that I like to get to know my couples as best I can prior to their big day.  Sometimes though it isn't always possible to grab a pre-wedding day Purple Drink and get to the core of what makes my couples tick.  Luckily that wasn't the case for me with these two.  Give or take a couple of years back I was contacted by Sarah to do some photography for her brilliant online fashion publication, Felicity Magazine.  Fashion/Portrait Photography was (and still is) a big part of my early days/College years of becoming a photographer.  Sarah set up a nice in home studio space for the photo shoot which was nice for the creative team to have room to work yet close enough to engage in idle chit chat or random playful shenanigans.  Some of the collaborators on our first shoot I was already acquainted with but it was my first meeting with Sarah.  Within about five minutes Sarah and I were like Forrest and Bubba.  Only with a higher IQ!  Well, Sarah at least.  Sarah has since been a fierce friend and since her and John are by far one of the most ridiculously compatible couples ever him and I had no problem smoking and joking on the porch during breaks in the photo shoot.  Plus we are both veterans which always makes the beers and conversation flow much more smoothly.

It wasn't much longer after that first photo shoot that my new pal John couldn't resist locking this girl down and he popped the question to which Sarah emphatically agreed.  Well I'm speculating on the emphatic part since I wasn't present for the proposal but these two are ridiculously head over heels for each other so that's the description I'm sticking with.  One thing I'm 100% certain of is when Sarah asked if I would photograph their wedding I emphatically agreed with school girl like squeal.  Re-enactments of said squeal will be performed by me upon request for 10 bucks or two cold pints of Guinness!

John & Sarah's wedding day was as unique and humble as the couple themselves.  Sarah and her fantastic group of beautiful yet absolutely party ready Bridesmaids got ready at Sarah's house.  As if there would be any other place they would get ready!  If we can do a photo shoot with hair stylists, makeup artists, creative directors, models, photographers and crazy small dogs running wild then her house could handle that crew!  They had a New Years Eve wedding held outdoor in New Orleans City Park followed by their reception held at Ralph's almost directly across the street.  Much like the adoring couple, Life isn't without a sense of humor.

Almost immediately after the ladies were dressed and ready to depart for the ceremony the heavens opened up and stayed open the entire night.  And holy crap when I say it rained I mean I was about an inch of water away from breaking down the custom alter John & Sarah stood under and constructing it into an arch to load family and friends onto so they could row over to the reception! The weather didn't sour anyones mood nor did it hinder the one of a kind sparkler adorned processional which was accompanied by two of the couples good friends performing a tune written just for John & Sarah.  Everyone stayed moderately dry under the tent for an intimate and hysterical ceremony.  Then once vows and rings were exchanged these two beautiful love sick newlyweds headed out of the tent and without hesitation or even a slight frown or a stink eye to the sky they began wading through ankle deep puddles and a torrential downpour for their second line. Seeing them laugh and dance whilst being pummeled by rain was an epic sight to behold!

I don't know much but what I do know is that relationships of any kind can be a challenge.  I wish I could say that every couple I've ever met and/or photographed lived happily ever after but that isn't the case.  However I do believe in these two and their marriage.  I would confidently bet my soul on them being together forever.  Or until the rains wash us away or until being friends with me gives one or both of them a heart attack.  I am proud to call them my friends and I couldn't have been happier seeing them tie the knot.  John & Sarah, just for the record, please don't make me lose my bet.  I'm quite attached to my soul.

Cheers,

Titus

Contributing Vendors 

Ceremony : City Park, New Orleans, LA

Hair Stylists : Hans & Adrian Billot, The BeKrewe

Makeup : Midori Makeup Artistry, Midori-Tajiri Byrd

Brass Band - Second Line Band : Andrews Family Brass Band   

Band - Sweet Crude

Reception : Ralph's On The Park

Groom and Groomsmen Attire : John's Tuxedos

 

Bastogne.....Walking in the Footsteps of the Men of Easy Company

I don't have too many soap boxes that I stand on.  Especially in today's preach first, think of the consequences to my opinions later Facebook world.  Yet being a veteran will always bring me to express my gratitude and admiration for any of the men and women of this great country of mine, that put on the uniform and serve their country with distinction.

Last year was by far one of the best years of my life.  I spent 30 days in Belgium visiting my brother Travis and it came after an extremely busy Mardi Gras season.  The most amazing part of those 30 days was visiting the Bastogne War Museum as well the surrounding areas.  My brother and I both served as paratroopers in the 82nd Airborne Division.  This is something I am extremely proud of.  

If you've never seen the HBO series, Band of Brothers, then for the love of all that is red, white and blue get off of your binge watching rear ends and watch it!  Band of Brothers is the story of one of the most decorated Army units in our history,  Easy Company of the 101st Airborne.  The entire area surrounding the Bastogne War Museum pays respect to the soldiers who endured freezing cold conditions, a relentless enemy shelling them day and night more hardship than I could possibly fathom.  

As my brother and I stepped into the wood line that the men of Easy Company fortified during WWII, flakes of snow began to fall.  It was bitterly cold.  I couldn't help but be overwhelmed with a sense of pride for having served as a paratrooper.  Even if my time was but a  small part of the legacy of being a US Paratrooper it felt surreal standing on the same ground that these giants of history fought on.  It was a moment in time I won't soon forget and I hope you enjoy the images that I captured.  AIRBORNE!  

Cheers,

Titus

 

Shelby G.......We All Float Down Here! (Well at least one of us does)

Yes I realize that the caption of this blog will make you think of scary as all hell clowns and for that I do apologize.  With that being said I hope you can find the funny in it as well.  I know that my subject Shelby can and she was the one freezing her tiny little hiney off for this entire shoot.

Sometimes there are creative itches that just need to be scratched.  Hence this fun little collaboration with Shelby and my good pal and videographer extraordinaire, Kyle.  Kyle had a prop from a film that he'd worked on collecting dust in his back yard and we decided it would be pretty cool to fill it with water and submerge some poor young beautiful soul within it.  Enter Miss Shelby Griggs!  With makeup and other finishing touches provided by the brilliant Midori, we utilized two set ups, one indoor and one outdoor, and what you see in front of you are my images from both set ups.

I can't say enough about Shelby and her steadfast professionalism and overall bubbly attitude in the midst of a freezing cold environment.  We were constantly heating buckets of water on a stove to add to her enclosure to make it tolerable.  In spite of the weather making the water colder faster than we could make it warm Shelby gutted it up and was soon rewarded with a warmer environment in doors.  These type of shoots sound good in our heads but can always deliver less than fine results given the elements provided but thanks to my kick ass team I couldn't have predicted a better outcome.  We hope you enjoy them!

 

Cheers,

Titus

Hair and Make up by : Midori-Tajiri-Byrd

Bill & Lisa.........Cubbies and Buffaloes, Holy Cow!

Over the few and fabulous years that I've existed I have picked a few pearls of wisdom.  Even had some of them violently thrown right in my face.  No matter the delivery of said pearls I've always tucked them away as reminders of future encounters and different ways to handle them or better yet, not handle them.  One hard yet noble truth about your narrator is that I have AMAZING instincts.  Unfortunately I always seem to ignore them.  What can you do!?

The reason I mention my uncanny ability to ignore my amazing instincts deals with the first 10 minutes of meeting the bride, Lisa, for the first time.  I noticed one of Lisa's pieces of flare was a shiny pin representing the Colorado Buffaloes, whom as a Nebraska Football fan aren't well revered by me or many of my beloved Husker Nation.  Enter my foot in mouth moment where before I even realized it I was verbally blasting Lisa's alma mater.  I put my own fire out quickly and even though my stupidity oft times can be removed from the records with a little bit of Childers charm, it wasn't necessary due to the fun loving aura of Lisa and her obvious knowledge in the subject of guys saying stupid things!

My time spent with Bill and Lisa wasn't long.  At least not long enough to explain the ease at which the three of us became friends.  These two moved through the French Quarter with a swagger I rarely see from visiting couples.  After their first look we strolled through the streets utilizing some good lighting conditions and drink specials to cool us down from the heat.  After a short yet expression filled ceremony Bill and Lisa's guests and family were treated to an epic second line by none other than The Kinfolk Brass Band.  

It seemed like 2016 was a pretty solid year for them.  Their Buffaloes were back in the headlines for their football.  The Chicago Cubs, their baseball team, were in the headlines but finally for winning the World Series and their wedding, which was as much fun as anyone could pack into 6 hours, was close enough to the end of the year to consider the year a success.  Take that 2016!  

Cheers,

Titus

 

****All Images were taken by me as an associate for Trent Spann of Images by Robert T.*****

(Trent Spann you're the man!)

Christina & Michael..... TWINS, BAZILLE! TWINS!

In case the title of this blog confuses you I will tell you that it is a line from the movie Austin Powers.  The context of the quote holds almost no correlation to Christina and Michael, my brilliant young subjects.  The quote popped into my head.  It made me giggle for five minutes longer than it should have while staring off into the distance.  Honestly, it was the funniest lead in I could come up with that didn't involve a ridiculous reference to the movie Twins, with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito, which was decidedly less humorous.  Just go with it people.

Christina & Michael afforded me with one of life's firsts. I've photographed many a person with a twin, yet, as an individuals.  These two cheeky monkeys utilized the dynamic duo clause in their contract which kept them within shouting distance(or one very dimly lit bat signal) away from one another but close enough to heed my instructions for their individual efforts.  Along with their momma, we all strolled the Marigny during the golden light of the ending day.  I usually don't have trouble getting folks to laugh and as it shows in these images, these two weren't in any danger of tarnishing that record.

As the night crept up on us we put the final touches on the day by ending on the river side of the Rusted Rainbow Bridge in Crescent Park.  As the day came to a close a quote from an old episode of Friends, the TV show, entered my head and that same giggle started to echo up the bridge.  The cliffs note version was a line said by Ross, "Twins are Weird. You know what's not one of a kind?  Twins!"  Don't hold me to the exact wording.  While you're searching your phone for link to the exact quote you'll find me right here giggling like a hyena.  Many thanks to Christina & Michael!  Class acts with bright futures!

Cheers,

Titus 

 

Ryan.....The Silent Type

Nebraska.....or as the sign reads that stands just across its border, "The Good Life".  I've always been gushing with cynicism so my opinions regarding that particular motto have been known to vary from time to time.  However I am happy to say that I'm almost 86% sure that at no point did those opinions ever reach and/or stay forever rooted in the negative.  Nebraska is my home and she holds some fond memories for me.

The reason I mention that glorious Nebraska motto has to deal with my homeboy/high school senior, Ryan and also the particular details that adorn his portraits.  If you've ever spent a significant amount of time in Nebraska you'll quickly learn that during different parts of the seasons there usually isn't a whole lot of scenery afforded.  Especially near or around my 4,000 population town of Aurora.  Some photographers might throw in the towel on this as a location choice.  Luckily for me my cynical nature and unwavering dedication to being the stubborn jackass that I am, I instead see it as a challenge.  A challenge to stretch the mind and the eyes to new ways of taking portraits or building upon past images.

Luckily for this particular set of images/challenges my subject Ryan, was the embodiment of all that is old school midwest.  He was calm, quiet and took directions very well.  Three character traits I thought had been immunized in the Millennial Generation.  I'm pretty sure I got about 6 words out of him over the entire shoot.  Side note : The lack of words spoken by Ryan is a direct result from myself and his mother gabbing like school girls for the almost 4 hours we were taking photos.  Though let me tell you thats roughly a third of the words my father has seemed to say in the almost 40 years I've been on this earth and if Ryan's calm and quiet demeanor lead him to be even half the man my father has been in my life then it'd be my distinct honor to work with Ryan when and wherever he needed.

Cheers,

Titus