Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cameron Holmes

As 2007 winds down, it's time to start thinking about ratcheting things up in 2008!

Cameron came to us, first to take advantage of our special, but also because she needed some face shots for her comp card. Cameron is a print model who has been building her portfolio over the last few months, working with fifteen different photographers and booking shoots, primarily for catalogues. Still, most of her shots were high-fashion, concept shots, and she needed something that communicated a range, and yet still let agents, casting directors, and photographers see who she is.

After meeting with Cameron and talking a little bit about her life and career goals, we decided that our shoot would target her pictures toward the youth/college market. We started with a simple college shot and the progressed more toward the glamor shots. The goal was very simple: show Cameron to her best advantage.

But it's also the goal at Archetype to provide you with a shoot that will give you as a performer the most options. Agents say that casting directors want pictures that show you. It's our job to create as many different contexts which give you the opportunity to demonstrate the many different sides of you.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Book Now!

Our January special is turning out to be very popular! If you're interested you should contact us now to schedule a session.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Holidays!

2007 has been a great, landmark year for Archetype Images. But now through the end of the year we're officially on holiday hiatus. That doesn't mean we're slacking, though. Our updated website with the Best of Archetype Faces will launch on December 3.

And we're already booking appointments for January. To get the new year off right, we're offering Free Photo Shoots. 148 shots and you only pay for the proofs you like $100. See for details.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Joette Waters

Years ago I went to a Christmas party hosted at Ann Sather's. They had hired a musical trio, called Stardust, who performed 1940's girl-band songs. They wore floral dresses and '40's hats, and I remember them tearing the place up.

Fast forward to last week when I was contacted by Joette Waters. Joette was one of those original Stardust Girls and has always been an active performer. Lately she's discovered her niche market and she's decided to aggressively target it. This is the kind of professional we love to work with!

In real life Joette is a vibrant, sexy woman with a knock-out figure and not a single gray hair. She also happens to be over forty, and as such the industry doesn't seem to know how to creatively use her as an attractive, vibrant woman of a certain age. But Joette is the real deal when it comes to being an actor; she recognizes that she's working in a business, and is subject to the fundamental law of supply and demand. When agents call her, its for "Grandma," and she is continually asked to come in a gray wig. Joette came to me needing a shot of her in a gray wig to corner the Grandma market.

This is a great shot because it keys into an archetype frequently used in the industry, and yet there isn't a lot of acting going on. This is a real woman, not a character, yet this picture represents a focused fragment of who Joette is. It's the part of her that is in demand in the marketplace right now.

And when you call Joette, she doesn't mind that you want her to play Grandma. She might even bring a plate of cookies to the audition.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Paul D'Addario

Paul D'Addario is a very successful, working actor in Chicago, and like many he finds himself needing to make the leap into the wonderful world of color with his headshot. Over the years there have been a lot of trends in actors' headshots, but the trend to color actually makes sense, and it gives the actor a vital tool with which to communicate to prospective directors and producers, and it's the use of color that should be a major consideration when considering a photographer.

Paul does a lot of work on the Chicago stage and works frequently with The Gift Theatre Company. When I asked him what his dream role was, he told me that he was very lucky to have already played it in Hurlyburly. Modestly, what he didn't tell me was that he also received a Jeff Citation for an Actor in a Lead Role. He's also appeared on The Griffin stage in their production of Dead End, and in numerous productions at the Actor's Theatre of San Francisco.

When we met, I talked to Paul about what types of work he wants to do. He finds himself cast in "blue-collar" roles and feels that those are his strengths. He's exlusive with ARia and they've been sending him on print auditions as repair men, plumbers, etc. He believes that commercially that's his market. On the stage, Paul gravitates more toward dramatic roles, most recently playing in The Three Sisters and will soon start work on White People.

With Paul, we wanted to keep things simple and emphasize color and contrast in the shot. He's a straight-forward guy, so there didn't need to be elaborate poses or a lot of make up. Still, I wanted to give him a headshot that had some punch, so we chose this bright orange shirt and put him against a green background. These two colors echo the colors in his eyes, and as we all know a good headshot starts wtih the eyes.

Monday, November 5, 2007


There comes a point in every rehearsal process when everyone involved knows they're ready for an audience. This weekend I went into the Side Project to do the publicity shots for their world premiere production of Robert Fieldsteel's Smart, and I knew immediately that this show is ready to open.

When a play is ready, there's a friendly tension in the air. Actors pace in the lobby, running lines in their head. They quietly joke with each other as light levels are checked and refined. The director is down to details, telling the stage manager that a prop box needs to be covered. When the publicity photographer comes in, it's just another part of the process and the actors quietly take their spots on the stage and start at random points in the script so the photographer can get the shots he needs. They effortlessly stop and start, freeze, then tilt their heads to catch the light. The play becomes a living organism, a thoroughbred capable of anything.

The above picture is of Steve Ratcliff and J. Kingsford Goode, who each play two characters in Smart. In the first act, they play a loving couple who are murdered by a pair of teen-aged thugs, and in the second they play the investigators of the murders. As an actor, I played my share of lead roles, but it was when I had the opportunity to play more than one supporting role in a production that I really felt like I could test my mettle. In a truly fine production, the quality really shows in the preparation of the supporting players.
It's a different skill set to play a supporting role. Leading characters have the luxury of time that supporting players don't have. The best scripts can give an actor enough to build a character with only four words. Supporting players need agility, to know when the story is theirs and why. The good playwright has them there for a reason, and it's not just to ask questions of the hero. A good supporting character conveys context and generates conflict, creating a fully drawn person who helps to people the world of the play.

Smart is an actor's play and this production is rich with fine performances. The critical notices will single out each performer with his or her stand-out moment and will praise the writing and direction. As I watched, I felt like in the not-too-distant future I would be able to say of each of these actors, "You know, I saw a little production where you just knew X would be a star." But when there is a feast of praise for a production, its the actors who don't directly address the audience, the actors who play more than one role who are often left unmentioned. To me, these actors are the unsung heroes of the theatre and I wanted to give these two their own special moment to shine.

Opening on November 8, the cast of Smart also includes Ricardo Gamboa and Joel Vining as the murders and Evan Linder and Kristen Secrist as students whose lives are affected by researching the murders. Smart runs in rep with another world premiere, Laura Jacqmin's Butt Nekkid.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Congratulations Lindsey E. Pearlman

Lindsey E. Pearlman was the grand-prize winner of the St. Sebastian Players Monologue Match-Up and received a free photo session! She did an amazing job and gave the best contrasting monologues I've seen in years.

Laura E. Taylor

Laura E. Taylor is going to be a star. Over the years I've worked with a number of people who've gone on to very big careers and they've all had a couple of traits in common. First and foremost, they demonstrate a self awareness that many other performers do not. They take stock of their assets as a performer and leverage their unique characteristics to set themselves apart from the rest.

And in the world of entertainment, Laura is in the most competitive segment. She's a New York chorus girl and on the verge of her big break. Currently performing in The Producers at Marriott Lincolnshire, Laura has spent the last four years on the road, performing in such productions as The Kennedy Center's revival of Mame starring Christine Baransky and playing Millie Dillmount in the Sierra Repertory Theatre's production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. She's at the point in her career that when she hears a director is doing a show somewhere in the country she can pick up the phone and ask for an audition, if not a job.

Laura came to me with a very specific goal. After being on the road for four and a half years, and being considered to step into some pretty impressive roles currently running on Broadway, she's decided that the time has come to go home and prepare for the upcoming Broadway audition season. Her next goal is a Broadway credit. She showed me her current headshot taken in Los Angeles and it's stunning. So is Laura. The problem, Laura felt, was that the current headshot didn't really capture her energy. She's a very strong dancer, and she's very bubbly, and she wanted all of that conveyed in the picture.

We talked about her dream roles and what reviewers have said about her. As Millie, one reviewer said that she was a "pretty Carol Burnett." That's where I started. More than one Broadway leading lady got her break because she evoked the image of a predecessor. Once you've met Laura, there is no way you're going to forget that smile. Even as a dancer, that's the thing that sets her apart from all the rest. I focused on the smile. The second aspect was the use of color. In Los Angeles and New York, vibrant color is used sparingly, but I wanted to put Laura against a rich background so that in a stack of resumes, that color would stand out from the standard white or brick backgrounds. The shoot flowed perfectly, and it didn't hurt that Laura is a dream to work with. It's clear to see that everyone who works with Laura, loves to work with Laura.

Take a look at the other shots of Laura on, and be sure to watch the cast lists for all of the shows opening on Broadway next fall. Laura is sure to heading up one of them.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dan Hunt

Dan Hunt is a model. At 21 he's been working in the industry for two years and as is true with any segment of the entertainment industry you need not only talent, but discipline and dedication. Dan has all three.

Dan came to me for two reasons. In the last few months he's really focused on developing his body to branch into the fitness modeling market. He's managed to drop nearly thirty pounds and he barely looks like his old shots. While actors try to get by, particularly in non-Equity theater, with headshots that are a few years old, outdated comp cards are death for a model. Second, like any ambitious model, he's starting to branch out into commercial on-camera work.

When you talk to Dan, it's almost like a hit parade of Hollywood's leading men. At times he's a cheerier Sean Penn. Other times, he reads like a younger Orlando Bloom, and still others he could be Al Pacino. He speaks intelligently and knowlegeably about the Chicago modeling market and unlike a lot of actors and models I've worked with, he has a very clear understanding of his strengths and how to utilize them. We worked together for a little more than three hours and from our shoot Dan found eight shots that he liked and will be using in the next year. Check out the Archetype website to see some of the other shots.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Laura Jacqmin

How many times have you been in a show and at some point during tech week a random photographer shows up, stands you under a spot light and clicks away with no concept of what the show is about? If a publicity still appears with a review, it looks like a still from a 1950's claymation film. I don't want to do that kind of photography. So, I asked to sit in on a run of each of the shows I'm doing publicity shots for at The Side Project.

Now don't get me wrong: I'm a dyed-in-the-wool theater geek. I can watch rehearsals for just about anything endlessly, but there are two concepts that even the pastiest of theater denizens approach with caution: "original script" and "first run through." Combine the two into one rehearsal and enter the theater at your own risk.

In my theater career, I've had my fair share of experiences with original scripts. Of course the most memorable was the reading I did where I was handed the script, sight-unseen, and asked to read the lead character -- an innocent from the Great Plains who gets off a bus to L.A. and in a page-long monologue (single-spaced, no less and in 8-point font) describes in detail his newly discovered love of being raped in the mouth until he bleeds. That experience, coupled with the afore-mentioned role as Satan/Hollywood agent, pretty much predisposes me to think that all postmodern, Judy-Garland, Mickey-Rooney, I'm-gonna-be-a-star scripts are poison. (And yes, I can play Satan and Virgin. It's called dramatic RANGE!)

Last night I went to the first run thru of Butt Nekkid, written by Laura Jacqmin. This was the first run without book, and the first time the playwright would hear her play since a reading seven months ago. In addition, there was a lighting designer and me. Actors are bound to be nervous. There was no set, lots of stops and starts while furniture was moved, actors calling for lines.

The play was a revelation. Above is a quick shot I snapped of Laura Jacqumin. She's a writer with Chicago Dramatist's Workshop, just received a commission from Victory Gardens, and is about to be recognized as possibly one of Chicago's most important theatrical voices in a decade. Butt Nekkid is set in the hip-hop music industry. It plays with the concepts of racial tensions, but it's not a MESSAGE play. At heart it's a stark love story for the twenty-first century. It's dark and raw. The characters are not just mouthpieces for ideologies, but fully drawn people with pure motivations, selfish motivations, conflicting motivations, who wrestle with moral ambiguities and are heroic one minute and despicable the next. Jacqmin is not only a smart, complex writer, she's practical. Her scripts are written with intimate spaces in mind, but not just for modest production values. Her dialogue is taylored for an intimate stage so that you feel like you're peeping into a private moment. That's not to say the dialogue is without style, but it's a silky flow of ideas instead of a mash of words. The characters have original, complex emotions that shimmer on a tiny stage. You know the people on the stage.

And thank the baby Jesus there is finally a playwright who can write a female character who isn't just "the girlfriend" or a male character with breasts. Jacqmin's Sarah is an apocolyptic ingenue. She's without any discernable power, yet she's not simply the reason for the events of the play, she's the driver of them. The men are her foils, her pawns.

The run thru was electric.

Keep an eye open for Laura Jacqumin and her work. Her production of Ten Virgins will be going up at Chicago Dramatist's later this season. And check the Archetype website later this month for the publicity stills for this production and Smart, running in rep with Butt Nekkid at The Side Project.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Gillian Humiston

Gillian Humiston is quite the unexpected actress. Before I do a shoot, I generally like to have met the client to get a sense of her needs and to determine how I might be able to address them. However circumstances were such that I wasn't even able to speak with Gillian before the shoot. We set everything up via e-mail. She sent me a copy of the headshot she was using, but my e-mail system compressed it to a dot, so I had almost no idea of what to expect when Gillian arrived.

The first impression of Gillian is just how tiny she is. And how young. She walked in, backpack slung over her shoulder and sort of plopped down on the couch. We talked about roles she's played. A recent graduate from Columbia College, Gillian tended to play teenagers. In order to find some common ground I always ask my clients about classical roles and wasn't at all surprised to find that Gillian has played Ophelia. She said that she's sort of resigned herself to "playing young," but she was really interested in more mature roles.

Then she pulled out the big surprise. Gillian is a certified fight choreographer and a company member with Chicago's ground-breaking troupe, Babes With Blades. She's in their current production of Horror Academy, running through Halloween. In talking with Gillian, we identified three marketing areas. She needed a shot that kept her in the youth market, one that pitched to more mature roles, and one that she could use as part of her introduction as a fight choreographer.

As seems to happen, my favorite shot was taken almost at the end of the shoot. We did it in the evening, but even with the air conditioning blasting it was still warm. Gillian's long hair was making her uncomfortable and while she's a complete professional and was doing an amazing job in front of the camera, her discomfort was starting show on her face. That's when we applied the fan. It was intended just to make Gillian a little more comfortable, but it gave her that romantic, wind-blown look. In addition, after a while it began to dry her eyes, which meant that she began to produce more tears, which generated the dewy-eyes.

Conflict and contradictions is at the heart of good theater, and Gillian is a bundle of wonderful surprises. Check out her work in Horror Academy, and check out for her other shots.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I first worked with Julia Maish several years ago on an original musical in which I played Satan, slurping through Hollywood as an agent and Julia was a singing nun fighting on the side of goodness -- I think while trying to get her screenplay produced. All I really remember of the experience is that the music track died during the closing number of the first act, and that Julia had the eleven o'clock ballad entitled "Every Wall Has a Door." To this day, just mentioning that song gets an eye roll and the reflexive response, "No it doesn't!" from Julia.

Shortly after that experience Julia joined a girl group that was originally called 3 A.M., later renamed Moonglow. Originally formed as a tribute to the Boswell Sisters of the 1930's, Moonglow has expanded their repertoire to include standards from the 40's and 50's. While the Andrew Sisters eventually became the iconic girl group of the 1940's, institutionalizing their swinging three-part harmonies, the Boswell Sisters were the their forbears, with much more interesting arrangements and intricate harmonies. The Andrew Sisters had the glitter, but the Boswell Sisters had the sophistication.

Moonglow captures that musical intelligence and sophistication in their shows. And, they're just plain fun. Julia is joined by Diane Compton and Mary Launder and they frequently perform at Chicago-area parties, civic events, and cabaret shows. Even if you think you don't like that kind of music, you really owe it to yourself to check out the Moonglow website, sample their sounds, and see if you can find a performance near you.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Introductory Rates

The response to our $100 introductory offer has been incredible and we will definitely be offering it again. However, through the month of October, we're still offering nearly 70% off our regular price.

Book now for a full package and pay only $275.

St. Sebastian Monologue Match Up

Archetype Images is proud to support the St. Sebastian Players' Monologue Matchup Competition. A full photo session has been donated as one of the grand prizes.

The competition is on Monday, October 29. Competitors arrive at 6:00 for registration, and the competition begins at 7:00. Visit the SSP website for details.

Friday, September 28, 2007

You Win!

Hooray! You're the winner! You followed all the links to the Archetype blog and for that, there's a great prize!

For the first week in October, just mention that you've been to the blog, and you'll receive a full package for just $100.

That's a 75% savings off the full, regular price.

Appointments for this offer will be taken through October 5, 2007, cannot be combined with any other offer, and must be completed in the month of October, 2007.

It's our way of saying thanks for giving us a try!

And keep checking back for random unadvertised specials.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Larry Neumann, Jr.

The Joseph Jeff Awards are nothing new to Larry. Many of the productions that he's lead have received nominations and been identified as outstanding by the Jeff committees, but his performances have been recognized three times over the years. Now, he's been nominated for his work in The Puppetmaster at Lodz. But another nomination for an award is not news for anyone who follows Larry's career.

Larry Neumann, Jr. has been described as a "Chicago treasure" or with similar praise in virtually every review he's received. When I sent out the notice that I was looking for talent to work with, I was thrilled when Larry expressed interest. What better way to start a venture than with a treasure?

I first saw Larry perform in an adaptation of Oedipus. A few years later, I saw him play Iago, but I didn't get to know Larry though until he married Sandy Borglum (who is also a brilliant, passionate performer.) I've seen him perform several times since those initial, classical roles, but his performances are so specific, so fresh, that I remember details from both all these years later. And it doesn't hurt that Larry is one of the nicest people I've ever met in the Chicago performing industry.

We met in a coffee shop to talk about career goals and how we might update his marketing images. He started off by modestly calculating that he works an average forty weeks a year as an actor. Those are paying weeks! He's listed exclusively with Geddes and he's very happy with the number and quality of auditions they set up for him. If there's something filming in town that needs a homeless man, a crazy man, or a world-weary detective, Larry seems to be the go-to guy. He loves to play the characters that are out on the edge, and we definitely needed an image that keeps in those markets.

But, by nature actors are dreamers and every successful actor I've ever worked with has set goals in terms of roles they want to play, companies they want to be part of, industries they want to crack, and Larry's no different. Larry loves working in Chicago and he recognizes that he'd be a fool to complain about the roles he gets, he has a definite taste for the classics and feels like he's just at the point where he'd love to tackle the great classic roles again. We talked briefly about Iago. He performed that role at The Theatre Building, and as was my habit for that show I sat in the front row on the aisle. I remember all of the actors in the lead roles. It was a simple production, and for some reason I'm remembering it all in blues and greys. At one point, Larry as Iago appeared next to me, startling me, and began one of his soliloquies. He was electric.

I think there isn't a great Shakespearean role that Larry in which he wouldn't be brilliant. He mentioned Richard III as a particular favorite. I'd love to see his Lear.

As expected, Larry showed up for the shoot simply, and fully prepared, open for anything. His existing shots, in my opinion, were over lit and lacked color. We did several set ups and lighting arrangements. We still had about thirty shots left and that's when I suggested something darker, what I called "the Iago shot." Of all the shots we took that day, and there were a lot of great ones, I'm particularly excited about it because it captures Larry's depth and showcases him in a light quite different from his current headshots. I think it shows Larry to the Chicago performance community in a way that they might not ordinarily think of him. Wouldn't you cast this actor as Iago? Yet, it is absolutely and completely Larry.

That's the goal of any good headshot, especially one as established within a market as Larry Neumann, Jr.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Brian Coleman

Do you remember your senior year in either high school or college? For me it was the year that everything came together and all my hard work starting paying off. I was getting the roles I wanted, I had freshmen looking up to me. The world was just waiting on the other side of the diploma and I just knew I was going to conquer it. And frankly, I'm pretty pleased with my success so far.

Brian Coleman is a senior at Northwestern and he's just bursting with enthusiasm and ready to take on the world. Brian had heard through a mutual friend that I was setting up shop and expressed an interest in working with me. Not apparent from the shot above, but Brian has an amazing smile. I have yet to see him perform, but I've been around long enough to know talent when I see it, and Brian is the real deal. He is one to watch.

As with all my consultations, we quickly settled on the topic of Brian's career goals. Initially after graduation he intends to work in Chicago. He's already performed with About Face, which is not a bad debut credit for any actor. Brian intends to do it all. He's a dancer, so he's very interested in musicals. He's an actor and doesn't limit his ambitions to the stage. And he's practical. He realizes he needs to make money, so he's after the print and modeling work. He's going to do it all.

We talked about a lot of things, but when we talked about print work, I asked Brian what types of products he imagined he could sell. Toothpaste was his initial response. But for me, I told him there was something about that glorious head of hair that said Gap to me. He laughed. He's fully aware that he has Gap hair.

So, or our shoot among other things I studied the pictures in a Gap ad. This shot isn't meant to mimic those ads so much as it's meant to evoke them. Couldn't this kid sell you a T-shirt?

Brian Coleman: remember that name.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Congratulations, Larry Neumann, Jr.!

Archetype actor Larry Neumann, Jr. nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Welcome to Archetype Images Blog!

How is this different from the website?

Well, here we will feature information about the actors and share the experience of the shoot. This space is all about the talent who consult with Archetype Images to help them develop marketing tools to establish their presence within their selected market segments.

That sounds pretty intense, doesn't it? All that formal rhetoric for a simple actor headshot?

Yes. And here's why.

In the more than twenty years that I've been part of the Chicago performance community, I've seen it happen time and again. Performers who approach their craft with a business discipline establish success at a higher rate, and more quickly, than those who do not. Frequently, performers with unbelievable talent simply languish, performing year-in and year-out in humble storefront productions for five people. They do it for the love of the craft and that is an admirable and noble cause.

But we live in a materialistic society, and rent (like attention) must be paid. Life must be lived and to do that, for the vast majority of people, that means a living must be earned. Discipline, dedication, and communication are the key tools for advancing a career.

Archetype Images is dedicated to helping Chicago-area performers develop the marketing tools, and primarily photographic tools, to focus on the communication aspect of the business.

Simply put: The Archetype Images website is about us. The blog is about you!

So, we will be featuring artists here and helping give them a boost in the performing community. We've just started and already we worked with some amazing talent! Check back often for updates to see what people are doing in the Chicago area.