Pick a card… any card

© John Gellman

Magician Doc Docherty visited my Flatiron Studio for a photo shoot this afternoon. You may have encountered Doc performing on the street, or at a party or restaurant where he does extraordinary card tricks and close-up magic. Doc does not cut women in half, or make elephants disappear. He specializes in tricks that are much more intimate, right in front of you. I have always loved close-up magic. It’s all about the skill of the magician, and doesn’t require assistants or expensive devices designed to fool you. If you think you can tell which cup is hiding the little ball, let me tell you the odds are not in your favor. If you pick a card, go for the Queen of Spades.  Very entertaining.

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For Fathers Day – my dad

Harold Gellman

This portrait of my dad, Harold Gellman, was taken sometime around 1943, when he would have been 22, and was as lean and fit as he ever was in his life. He served in the Army Air Corps during WWII. He literally could barely change a light bulb, so the Army wanted to make him an aircraft mechanic. Fortunately for our pilots, someone made a good decision and sent him to Officer Candidates School instead. He served as a logistics officer at an air base in Natal, Brazil and rose to the rank of Captain. After the war, he married my mom and became a great dad to their three sons. He passed away in 2008. I think about him and my mom with love every day.

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Flame azaleas – texture and color at Roan highlands

© John Gellman

Gimme a few days and I’ll be back to posting pics of musicians and hippies in Asheville, but first, here’s another shot from my hike last Sunday along a short portion of the Appalachian Trail through the Roan highlands. As you can see, the flame azaleas were amazing. I was unaware until preparing this post that the flame azalea is not a true azalea, but is actually a variety of Rhododendron. Such are the benefits of Google search. Roan Mountain is known for its spectacular Rhododendron flowering in mid-June each year, and the mountain did not disappoint. Thanks to my buddies Matthew Jolley and Alex Stitt, who hiked with me and helped carry gear. My camera stuff is heavy and I’m not getting any younger. Also, thanks to Mitzi Gellman, who takes better landscape photos than I do, and who told me to go to Roan Mountain because the Rhododendrons were peaking.

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Roan highlands from the Appalachian Trail

© John Gellman

For those of you who were beginning to wonder about me, I am still capable of getting my ass out of Asheville and shooting an occasional landscape. This is one of my favorite spots in the mountains. Located on the North Carolina/Tennessee border, it’s a one and a half hour drive from Asheville, and then a one and a half hour hike from the nearest road. I must add, it’s a helluva lot easier to walk from my usual downtown Asheville parking spot to the Orange Peel, than it is to walk to this vista on the AT from a parking spot along the road at Carver’s Gap. In addition to the view and the nice hike on the AT, there was an added benefit. The temperature was in the high eighties when I left Asheville, and it was in the low seventies at the Roan highlands. All in all, a very nice way to spend a hot Sunday. Still, after Sunday’s hike, on Monday I’m definitely taking the elevator to my fifth floor studio.

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The Resonant Rogues – European tour poster

© John Gellman and The Resonant Rogues

I did a photo shoot with the Resonant Rogues in my Flatiron Studio last week. While it may seem like an excuse to post yet another photo of a lovely woman with an accordion, I must point out that Sparrow Pants is also holding her banjo, and Keith J. Smith is in the pic too. Sparrow, who designed the poster, obviously has quite a talent for graphic design as well as music. The Resonant Rogues final show before heading to Europe for the better part of the summer is this Sunday night at The Crow & Quill in Asheville.

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Crooked Railroad rolling into town (Making music – Step 2)

© John Gellman

One of the newer bands to emerge out of Asheville’s thriving music scene is the outlaw country rock n’ blues outfit, Crooked Railroad. I did a photo shoot with them a few days ago in my Flatiron Studio, and this was the result. The band members are (L to R) Mark Yoder, Oliver Steen, and Munchi Jones. Those of you who have followed this blog for a while may remember Mark. An amiable Amish craftsman, he is a luthier who makes his own instruments. Mark was featured here in May 2013 making the very guitar pictured above.

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Jacoby’s cool tattoo

© John Gellman

I photographed Jacoby’s girlfried, Ella, with her accordion a few days ago, and now it’s time for a pic of the other half of the couple. Jacoby Conatser has a really nice banjo, and he plays it very well. He brought it up to my studio for a photo session, and I did get several nice shots of him with the instrument. But this is what I was after. I mean, that really is a striking tattoo. I see five banjos a day, but Jacoby’s tattoo caught my eye and made me want to photograph him.

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Kessler in the studio

© John Gellman

Guitarist Kessler Watson posed for me a couple nights ago in a vacant office that makes a wonderful studio just across the hall from my tiny studio/office in Asheville’s Flatiron Building. I like this location so much, I am going to try to secure it, even if I need to do a kickstarter campaign to finance it. Kessler is playing his vintage Gibson Melody Maker guitar. The guitar is in need of some restoration, but sounds great. It dates somewhere between 1959 and 1963. Kessler is not sure. The guitar has been in Kessler’s family for a while, and was given to him by his dad. It’s a beautiful instrument.

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