Of neon and love

Michelle and Brett Friesen 

Back in the days of living on the colony, weddings were such a happy affair. The drama was all happy drama, the people were there to be merry. 
That's how I felt at Michelle and Brett's wedding. An overarching sense of happiness. A group of friends, family and relatives that all wanted to be there. I couldn't get enough of it. 

The sun was shining all day, having no alternative. Romping around Heritage Park prior to the 6:00 ceremony, we got some dreamy, clean shots and some dramatic ones too. I need to edit a dinosaur behind them all in the photo of them running. 

The venue, being a old car museum was wonderfully eclectic. Nothing like having a real airplane hanging above the guests as they're enjoying the spread of food. The neon too, soo much. 
I wish for more weddings this summer that make me feel this happy, comfortable and energetic. 
Thank you to Michelle and Brett for the merry time. And Brandie Sunley for helping me capture the day. 

And then, of course, there's the photobooth:

The first dress I ever made 'Biomimetic Bride'

Well this appeared in my life rather suddenly.

While attending an EL-wire workshop at Endeavour Arts, Catherine asked me if I'd like to team up and create a dress for Make Fashion, and without much comprehension of what that meant, I agreed. 

We spent the next two months researching, prototyping, sewing, building, and programming my design into existence.

Dianne Gibson [Corsetière] created the corset to fit our model Katherine E Mandolidis perfectly. Catherine Hazin [editor of Luxe, by Calgary Bride] created the dress and spent countless hours sewing on feathers. And Lia Golemba hand cut the leaf pattern for the bustle. 

I started out by researching on methods for manipulating light and I found fiber optics to be rather beautiful. They mitigated the need for having wires run all over the dress, but instead pumped light through almost invisible tubes. 
I had to create 3D enclosures that aligned the fiber optics to the RGB LED's. That was done using a Formlabs 3D printer. It uses two UV lasers to cure resin that slowly rises out of a liquid bath as a solid object. [really cool shit] 
The LED's had to be programmed to emanate a pulsating pattern created from the heartbeat of the Bride.  A gentle wave of light washed down the dress with every beat of her heart. That pattern was triggered by a Pulse sensor, processed using a Xadow Arduino computer which lit up 90 individual LED's to light up the fiber-optics. 

The making of the dress was supported by Make Fashion which were sponsored by OnConference, SparkFun Electronics, WestJet and Seeed Studio.


Facts about the dress:

-It has over a kilometer of fiber optic. 
-It takes 10, 3D printed enclosures to hold the LED's and fiber optics. 
-There are several thousand feathers hand-sewn to the dress. 
-The corset was hand made to fit the exact measurements of our model. 
-300+ man-hours were required to conceptualize, prototype, and create this dress. 
-one tiny computer is responsible for making everything run
- 3 batteries are required to keep all the lights lit up, and it will run for several hours.

We had many design challenges. Key among them was working with fiber optics. Finding ways to align them and ensure maximum light transmission took days to trial and error. There were simply no guides online that showed how to mate the ends of the fibers with lights without requiring expensive lens assemblies. 
Our biggest challenge was time. We had ideas aplenty, but time so little. I wanted to include wireless charging capabilities, make it water resistant, use fiber optics in entirely different ways, use better feathers like those of ostriches, bleached pheasants, and other assortments of white fluffery. I would also love create a housing array for the lights that is beautiful enough to have entirely exposed, in a different location, and beautiful in itself. 

We plan to keep on producing similar dresses for brides, made to order. Contact me at kellyhofer@gmail.com if you have questions or would like to discuss how you can get one for yourself and how you'd like your's to be unique. 

Video and better photos will come within a month. And more exciting projects and dresses, possibly mens-wear as well, within a year. 

Click thumbnails below to view large.

Photo by Jeff McDonald

Drew Malinowski: Dance


I picked East Village for it’s clean lines and sleek looking architecture.  A neighbourhood under heavy redevelopment, it’s really is shaping up to be one of the more chic looking places in calgary. It was but a few years ago when the area looked like it’s last building had been built in the early 80s.

This photoshoot was a collaboration of Drew Malinowski and Dave Latos. We set up lights around the EV discovery center and the river walk just nearby. Drew danced and Jumped several hundred times, keeping herself warm in the chilly october evening.

Matt & Rossana Keay Wedding

I met Matt and Rossana for the first time in the Devonian Gardens a few months ago. I didn’t have a lot of experience shooting a wedding solo, as I was used to shooting them as a second shooter hutterite-style. Which is to say, we don't photograph any of the ceremony or reception, only group/family and photos with the couple. But they looked at my work and gave me a chance.

The day started in Hotel Arts, with steaming dresses, applying makeup, styling hair and for the men it started with a hot shave at London Barbers. I was grateful for the schedule sent by the wedding coordinator, Cheryl. A two page, minute-by-minute breakdown of the wedding. Which we surprisingly stuck to. It was vital in ensuring I captured the beautiful moments from both parties which were separated by a floor in the hotel.

After the ceremony, which was short and beautiful we all drove to Shaw Millenium [skate] Park in a limo. Matt is a skateboarder. We transformed the graffitied walls, the dirty concrete and skate bowls into our studio with some help from a powerful Alienbee Strobe.  It was at that time that I realized why I was so skinny. I run a lot when shooting.

After two hours of shooting, we drove back to the Hotel for the reception. A pink flamingo room greeted us, a theme set by the folks at Fusion Bollywood.

During the reception the Maid of honor, April, performed a stunning rap song about the couple. I was surprised by that one, and utterly loved it. And then there was the money dance. The guests pinned money onto the bride and groom and then danced with them to the music of the bride’s dad.

I felt ecstatic at the end of the day. I knew the photos were good. I have high expectations for myself, and that day passed every one. I want every wedding I shoot to be better than the last.

Thank you Florian Lim for your help on this fantastic, sunny day. And thanks to Rosanna and Matt’s friends and family for making it such a fun day.

Thank you Matt and Rossana for allowing me to be the witness on your wedding day. It was an honor.

Converse Shoes.. Yankees Hats.. and Skateboards