Dirty Review and Close Encounter with Eric Kroll

February 12th, 2008

I’m back from the trip to the Dirty Show in Detroit. It was a really good time this year. After attending last year I decided the only way to really enjoy the show was to go with a group of friends. That’s what I did and I was right.

Here’s the crew at the motel, ready to head out to Dirty 9: D20 0288 Dirty Review and Close Encounter with Eric Kroll

It didn’t hurt that the show was much better this year. There were fewer pieces of art on display and the quality level was much higher than last year. One of the jurors told me they cut the size of the show by about 20 percent from last year. I think that was a good decision and produced a much better, though still quite dirty, show.

The stage shows were, for the most part, still embarrassingly bad. Most of the burlesque performances were of the nature that might lead the crowd to shout, “Put it on! Put it on!” and, “Less! Less!” And to make comments on the order of, “Do you think they ever rehearsed that, even one time, before they got on stage?”

There were a couple major exceptions to that level of quality, though. One was a group that did a suspension act with hooks through the skin of the performers. Honestly, I couldn’t watch that performance. It’s just not my sort of thing. But I can say that it was a very high quality production, very well done. I saw a bit of it, but turned and walked away quickly. But if you are in to that sort of thing, this was probably about as good a show as there is in the genre.

Another high quality exception that I did enjoy watching was the aerial performance by Roxi Dlite. http://www.myspace.com/roxidlite She is a beautiful and skilled performer who did a breathtaking burlesque on a large metal ring suspended above the stage. Here’s a photo of her in action at the Dirty Show taken by Karl Blessing http://karlblessing.com/

roxi a Dirty Review and Close Encounter with Eric KrollI hope to see more performers of this quality at future Dirty Shows. We could all do without the fat chicks who can’t dance trying unsuccessfully to do burlesque at future shows.

Eric Kroll was at the Dirty Show as a special guest artist. He did a workshop Saturday afternoon and was sitting in a little alcove back by the bar most of the evening. I’m not much of a fan of his fetish photography, but he is certainly famous for it and has had great success with the books of his work. He seems to be the main man for classic fetish and glamour photography. While we were walking around at the show he spotted Phoenix Kelley, one of the models who went to the show with me.

Phoenix is a striking classic beauty and Eric immediately wanted to photograph her. Here he is getting his assistant to take a photo with her in his little alcove at the show:

CIMG0964 Dirty Review and Close Encounter with Eric Kroll
Phoenix agreed to do a shoot with Eric, so he came to our motel Sunday morning with his two assistants and a bunch of suitcases filled with all sorts of vintage clothing. I had been warned by some friends that Eric was…well, let’s be delicate and say they warned me that he was a bit difficult.

D20 0322 Dirty Review and Close Encounter with Eric Kroll

I was there for the whole shoot and while he was certainly abrupt and demanding, it was clear that he was doing and saying what he needed to do and say to get the images he was after. Phoenix is no shrinking violet and she gave it back to Eric just as hot and heavyD20 0396 Dirty Review and Close Encounter with Eric Kroll as he could dish it out. He seemed to enjoy that. And, what was very obvious was that Eric knew what he was doing. He had a definite vision for what he was trying to create and he knew just what to do to get what he wanted. Whether you are a fan of his work or not, he is certainly an artist who knows how to express his vision.

And, for those who are all involved in equipment, note that Eric did the entire shoot with a pocket digital camera…a Leica, yes, but still a pocket point and shoot camera. And he used only the light available in the room…turning the lamps on and off and opening and closing the curtain to get just the lighting effect he wanted. D20 0412 Dirty Review and Close Encounter with Eric Kroll

It looked like a good shoot to me, standing around observing and taking a few snaps. He was very rough on his assistants. I’d never consider working for him…I’m much too old and stubborn to put up with that kind of shit from anyone. But I’d have no problem helping him set things up if he wanted to work in my area. And I’d recommend that models I know work with him, understanding that they need to hold their own with him and say no when they need to.

After several hours of shooting, which required a late check-out from the motel and made us all quite a bit later getting back home than we had planned, we all went to breakfast together. And Eric even picked up the check for the whole group. I hope that annoD20 0449 Dirty Review and Close Encounter with Eric Krolluncement doesn’t ruin his carefully cultivated bad reputation.

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Photos and comments by Dave Levingston. This is the place to see my most recent work which may include nudes, dance, landscape, nature and whatever other kinds of photos I feel like taking.

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