Friday, July 31, 2009

Arcade Photo Shoot ~ Memphis

I had several people comment on these on Facebook and ask about Photoscape so I wanted to give the details of this photo shoot and the post-processing on the computer.

Post Process Above Photo in Photoscape ~ 1} Region Filter to blur outside edges 2} Vignette, 1st option to darken corners 3} Round edge frames at size 60

Camera for above photo} Nikon N75, 50mm lens

Main Details for all photos shown.

Story} My friend Sheetal is the subject for this portrait series after asking her to compete in a Mary Kay makeover contest a couple of years ago. I also wanted an excuse to shoot with a fellow photographer and personal hair stylist Robin Tucker. She suggested the Arcade and the film and processing detailed below and brought great old cameras I tested out .

Location} The Arcade Restaurant, 540 South Main, Memphis, TN, a popular shooting location for movies such as 21 Grams and Elizabethtown and other photo shoots such as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit spread. I think it's great for fashion shoots as well.

Film} Color Slide film {either Kodak Ektrachrome or Fuji Fujichrome}

Lab Process}Cross-processed {processing film in chemical meant for negative film to get different hue} It gave the photos a sort of seventies feel which is probably reinforced by what Sheetal chose to wear.

Post Process in Photoscape ~ 1}Backlight 25% 2} Film effect filter Provia Low 3}Antique Photo filter #4, Original color option

Camera for above and below photo} One of Robin's which I remember was a classic looking twins-reflex camera that used 120 film thus the square photos.

Post Process in Photoscape ~ 1}Brighten Middle 2}Backlight 25% 3}Antique Photo filter #6, Original color option {I know, the Kodak 35mm spool track is totally misleading and needs to be taken off.}

Related Postings
*Robin Tucker donated a great photo for the 30 Days of Hope fundraiser. You can still purchase it to help future missions to Cambodia through FCC Missions Cambodia. 100% of the proceeds goes to help buy supplies for the poorest Cambodians, click here to see photo. Email for inquiries.
Also, Robin is a great stylist and if you visit her for your next appointment you will get to sit and stare at a massive photo of Brad Pitt. Sounds enticing doesn't it. Click here to see her impressive resume.

**Photoscape quick info and free download link, click here.

If you would like to see more of my photography, click here. I just love it as a hobby but if you are at all interested in hiring me for any services or purchase any prints I have, I will not refuse. Please email me at

All photos by Sophorn McRae.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hound Dogs Memphis

Yes, Hound Dogs, a hot dog and refreshment vendor finding a welcomed presence in downtown Memphis, is the latest business venture that my husband Christopher has been diligently operating for the past two months. Just recently though have we really started having fun and being creative with it.

Using Twitter as a marketing tool to communicate to customers was probably the best advice we received thanks to our sister-in-law Shannon, a journalist who writes about small businesses. Plus, it turned out to be more fun posting updates than we imagined. Posting the usual real-time cart arrival and departure to and from its location on Union and Main led into "word of the day" and "trivia question of the day" to get more interaction with pedestrians and frequent customers looking to earn another signature to a free hotdog or drink. {10 signatures on a card, also earned by each purchase, gets you that free item.}

Follow Hound Dogs on Twitter @mainsthounddogs.

Above photos include 1} a sneak peek into the logo design Christopher and I are developing 2} Hound Dogs location on the southeast corner of Union Avenue and Main Street 3} Christopher in Memphis Tigers blue, subliminal marketing technique. Know your audience!

1}Customer thinking of an answer for the day's trivia question while Christopher prepares his order. 2}The Hebrew National kosher beef dog with mustard, relish, and saurkraut. A turkey dog is also available. 3} A happy customer signs his picture for the comment board.

See the most current menu below.

In the News
Hound Dogs is just one of three hot dog vendors downtown. The Commercial Appeal, the local newspaper, wrote a decent article about the three which issued yesterday.
Click here to read the article.

Fresh Squeezed Limeade and Fresh Squeezed Cherry Limeade
Hound Dogs is also gaining a reputation for delicious limeade fresh-squeezed and mixed when ordered. It follows in the footsteps of Toomer's Corner. If there are any Auburn fans out there, you will know how good we're talking about.

Now Out on Saturdays
For the past two Saturdays, Christopher has been out on the usual corner of Union and Main catering to the summer weekend traffic of both locals and tourists. Saturdays has also been a chance for our son Atticus to help out with the business yelling "We have hotdogs! Get your hotdogs!," attracting the attention of all the ladies, and making sure people know "Poppy" delivers to cars. His incentive: free hotdogs, limeade, and of course, the obvious favorite snow cones.

Cold Summer Treat ~ Snow Cones in Blue Raspberry or Cherry Flavors
The perfect treat to beat the Memphis heat.

Thank you to all who have supported Hound Dogs so far and those yet to come.
Please continue to support all local businesses big or as small as ours. Hope to see you soon.

Letting You in on the Joke
Christopher's bio on his twitter is "Best looking purveyor of hot dogs, fresh squeezed limeades, and snow cones on the corner of Union &Main!" which references the song from the first season of Flight of the Conchords "Most Beautiful Girl {In the Room}". Click here to see the music video on YouTube. Our favorite line is "And when you're on the street, depending on the street. I bet you are definitely in the top three."

So, yes, Christopher you are definitely the best looking hot dog vendor on Union and Main and are in the top three of most attractive hotdog vendors on Main.

Photos by Sophorn McRae.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

O-wow #4 ~ What I've Been Waiting For

Photographer Trey Ratcliff with his application of an ever growing technique has literally uncovered a mystery to me. Always disappointed with the way my photographs came out so different from the way my eyes see it, I would wish my eye was a camera and could output its images. Ratcliff describes his use of the technique HDR, High Dynamic Range, as just that. Like your eye "letting in more light in some areas, less light in others" to create "a 'patch-work quilt' of the scene," Ratcliff's application of HDR is the process of combining say five photos taken at different shutter speeds to make an amazing image that you can now share with others the beauty of the scenery instead of saying, "Believe me it was beautiful".

Some of my favorite examples of his work are below. To see more of his work and read his HDR tutorial, click here.

The above graphic by Fabien Barral of images from Ratcliff's upcoming book Stuck in Customs is what brought me to Trey's site. It has been my new design inspiration.
Photos from Trey Ratcliff, Stuck in Customs. Graphic label design by Sophorn.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Art Project Sunday

Something to be proud of ~ Untitled 1 by Atticus.
Currently on display at the McRae "Kenmore" Gallery, someday a New York gallery.
{re: The beginning lyrics of "How to Hang a Warhol" by Little Joy. Find it on the ear treasures playlist.}

T-shirt idea for Atticus' friend Trip, composition inspired by Jackson Pollock painting shown above: Food spills and messes. ~ Don't freak out. Just frame it and call it art.

Ketchup, mustard, pickle and rice before the green peas and spaghetti noodles. The noodles look more like toothpaste but the rice came out great. The end result would definitely look different if I do this again. I should have let Atticus paint the t-shirt.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

funny twitter tees from threadless

Now that we have entered the world of twitter, I have embarked on finding only those making the most out of it to make this worthwhile. My favorite tee-shirt design source for creative graphics just came out with real twitter tweets that were voted by the twitter community. Here are 3 of my favorites below. Click here to order.

Confidence is Sexy...Right? $18
If I were a vegetable, I'd be a radish. Because I'm only kind of rad. $18


You AutoComplete Me $18

Friday, July 24, 2009

flickr fave foto #2

treehugger from eva8
{mirrored and shown as part of a slide graphic}

This photo was perfect for a recent slide show presentation that also showcased our first LEED project here at Formus. The joke around here is that we are now official treehuggers.
Graphic design by Sophorn, Formus Architects.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

O-wow #3 ~ Inexpensive yet Incredible Wall Art

Here are 3 great examples of wall art created from simple materials, some found but all inexpensive, and composed rigorously to transform simple into simply amazing.

Paper Flowers by Citypix
Material Paper doilies and orange thumb tacks.
Reminds me of a sweater detail like the one show here {back cover image}.

Split Boxes by Peter Marigold
Material Various found woods, plywood, stainless fasteners.
Functions as storage/display as well.

Pin River, Yangtze by Maya Lin
Material Metal pins. Lots of them.
Photos from designers' websites. Paper flowers via of paper and things. Split Boxes via design*sponge. Graphic label design by Sophorn.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Local Shopping Journal ~ Lux Style

Any bright color is in this season. Especially when everyone is on a tight budget, buying just one brightly colored accessory such as a handbag, belt, or shoes can revive any old outfit.
~ in conversation with Tadd Feazell, Owner of LUX

Shopping is not necessarily therapeutic for me, so you will rarely find me spending a day at the mall. In fact, only an hour at a couple of stores is all the time I want to invest, so that is why I treasure my local boutiques so much. Those that fit my style only have the best selections within their limited floor area, so you won’t get tired sifting through racks and racks of clothes.

For the past few months though, LUX, the boutique right down the street from our house, has been the only one I’ve really needed for some emergency fashion purchases. It never fails that I fall in love with some unique piece that I could wear through many seasons, and this past weekend was not only surprised by how many pieces I wanted to take home but also how affordable most were. See my summer selections below.

The 25% to 50% off summer sale is currently going on to make room for fall. The men’s fall collection is already coming in and the women’s fall collection to be in soon.

1} & 2} Long Silk dress / Double Zero / $59 / 50% off
3} Exotic Patterned Summer dress / Ambiance Apparel / $49

1} Gold dress with straight pleats/ Magazine / $69
2} Light pink dress / Tea / $59
3} Hot pink party dress / Yalo / $89

1} & 2} Short blue jean skirt / label detail/ Hudson / $139
3} Embroidered detail jeans / Indie Jeans / $129

1} Silver Gladiator Sandals / Blossom Collection / $29 / 25% off /Bought myself a pair
2} Blue Wedges / Blossom Collection / $34

1} Large shoulder bag / Mystique / $89
2} Other bags
3} Large shoulder bag / Far Nine/ $49
4} Delicate Earrings
5} Necklace / Stone of Help / $24

1} Graphic Short Sleeve T-shirt / Andrew Christian / @$41
2} Graphic Long Sleeve shirts / Kold Turkey / $29
3} Leather Wallets/ J-Fold / $60

Lux Style Boutique ~ Men and Women's Fashion
Tadd Feazell, Owner
906 S. Cooper St.
Memphis, TN 38104
ph +1.901.726.6600

Tadd is also featured in the July issue of Skirt Magazine.

Photos and graphic design by Sophorn.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Enter to Win Innovative Products ~ Spotlight: Coffee Cuff

HOW magazine is currently running their August online sweepstakes where lucky winners will receive one of five products any designer will appreciate. Click here to enter until July 31, 2009.

One of the products you can win and one I want to win is the Coffee Cuff, “an elegant wooden bracelet that can slip off your wrist and onto your coffee cup.” What’s even better ~ It’s made from reclaimed architectural veneer off cuts.

Photos from Contexture Design.

Favorite Color ~ The New Coral

The New Coral ~ Brilliant shade of red with a slight mix of orange instead of peach.

I have been obsessed with this color since seeing it pop up on the fashionable streets of Chicago this past June. This bright shade revealed itself as a man’s jacket, a woman’s coat, and woman’s belt. In the streets, it was always paired with a neutral or black outfit unlike the styling shown above described as coral with the perfect shade of blue from Heidi Merrick. It has taken much searching just to find one source for something in this color, so if you find another source, let me know.

Photos from Heidi Merrick.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Marketing + Innovation = Matchbook Calendar

Calendar of Matches by Yurko Gutsulyak

Our team here at Formus Architects have been heavily focused on marketing ourselves and the two main rules we have decided on for the material we send out are ~
1} Make it showcase our design ability
2}Send something out that people will want to keep and/or use and not immediately throw out.

One of the best ideas we've gathered for inspiration is the Calendar of matches shown above.

Photos from Yurko Gutsulyak found via of paper and things. Recently found this blog and you will notice from its frequent mention that I love it. You will too.

So Beautiful

Dresses from Heidi Merrick She believes "Clothes change you." "It is so much easier to be kind when you feel beautiful." Kind of sad it's true.
Photos from Heidi Merrick found via of paper and things.

Fave Find: Gift for an Architect or Contractor?

Sugar Blocks {Final Product and Block Mold} from Spiceship, a collaborative studio of Audrey Hasen Russell and John Truex.
*They even made an endblock. Love it. I did not find that it is currently available for purchase, but when it is I know every architect and contractor I know will receive it.

Found via of paper and things. Photos from Spiceship and Truex Design.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Tattooed" Furniture

Sometimes designers take tattooing literally and apply an image to the furniture surface in a style just as you would see it adorning one's skin, but I believe the real inspiration comes when the composition and design comes from many different avenues such as fabric design, graphic design, illustration, and photography. Those avenues are by which the designs below are categorized. These are also ideas we are throwing around with ModoHome designs after I sketched a design for a storage piece that just beckoned for an off-set graphic on the face.
Yakuza Coffee Table by Reddish Studio
Digital Printing on MDF

I also wonder if the notion of the tattoo on furniture can last the lifetime of the piece or is just a trend. People deciding about getting a tattoo on their body ask whether they will like it or even stand it when they are 50 years old or so, so would they ask the same of their furniture. Take the poll on the sidebar and tell me whether you think you would buy and keep a "tattooed" piece as an heirloom.

Fabric Design/Graphic Design

Select Pieces Displaying the Marquetry Technique ~ Carved Wood Inlay

Table Bench by
Pieter VanTuyl
Carving with hand-applied pigmented filling


Barstools/Side Tables by Slow Loris ~ T-shirt Designer
Laser Engraved

Illustration/Graphic Design

Spira Cafe Table by
Test Collective


Bamboo Skateboards/Wall Displays of Utopian Skyscrapers by Test Collective
Half-tone Digits
{Just thrown in there for the technique}

Photos from designer websites and certain websites found through design*sponge.

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