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Cover Photograph for “Killer Joe” by Tracy Letts

2014-05-26 16.40.28

“Killer Joe” by Tracy Letts.

I’m excited to share with you that my photograph, “That’s Life in the Trailer Park” was selected for the cover of the Broadway adaptation of “Killer Joe“, by Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Tracy Letts. From the back cover:

“The Smith family hatch a plan to murder their estranged matriarch for her insurance money. They hire Killer Joe Cooper, a police detective and part-time contract killer, to do the job. Once he enters their trailer, their simple plan spirals out of control. Letts’s shocking and unforgettable first play, originally staged in 1993 in a cramped theatre in Evanston, Illinois, quickly became a must-see and ran for eight months before later runs in Edinburgh, New York and London, including four” months on the West End. It’s been performed in fifteen countries in twelve languages and is now slated for Broadway in Spring 2015. It was recently released as an acclaimed motion picture directed by William Friedkin and starring Matthew McConaughey.

Tracy Letts is a playwright, actor and ensemble member of Steppenwolf Theatre Company. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for August: Osage County.”

Backstory

Late last year, I was contacted by John Gall Design through my Flickr account:

“I am a book cover designer and wanted to know if it would be possible to use one of your photos on a book cover. Its called “That’s Life in the Trailer Park”. You would be paid of course. And you would have to supply a high resolution image.”

My excitement turned into depression when I realized that not only was the image was taken with my phone, but I used Wise Shark Software’s “Lomo Camera” app, which filetered and shrunk the image down to 800 by 600 pixels without keeping an original. There was no high resolution version to sell them. As luck would have it, I live near the park, and pass by it often. I offered to shoot it again with a real camera, and color correct it to make it look like the original low res digital Lomo. I passed by a few times, and my efforts were always thwarted, usually by cars or delivery trucks blocking the shot. Finally, I got the image I needed, except the skies were clear and not cloudy. I needed those clouds. I needed professional help. I turned the image along with some cloud shots I had over to my friend and professional photography retoucher Natasha Mishano, who was able to put together the final image for the cover.

That's Life in the Trailer Park by Xomiele
That’s Life in the Trailer Park by Xomiele
Trailer Park
Retouched version of “That’s Life in the Trailer Park” by Xomiele.

Controversy

Flagstaff residents may recognize the trailer park in the cover photograph as the site of the planned controversial off-campus student housing development, “The Standard”. The 30 plus trailers currently on the property will be razed, and the families relocated in order to make room for 650 fully-furnished bedrooms in 191 student apartments, five stories tall. In all, about 200 residents will be displaced from the historic Plaza Vieja neighborhood.

And while the park in the photograph might not exist if the developer gets their way, there is a protest planned for 4pm Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at Flagstaff City Hall that will attempt to prevent the Planning and Zoning Commission from rezoning the park.

Landmark Properties Protest in Flagstaff, Arizona
Landmark Properties Protest in Flagstaff, Arizona

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