Portraits by Daisy

Portraits by Daisy is a renaissance faire portrait photography service which offers what we have termed “Pixelographie.” As there were no photographers in medieval or renaissance times, there is necessarily an element of fantasy in our work.

Instead of conventional snapshots, we try to blend modern electronic imaging technologies to reflect something of the character and professional quality of 16th century portraits. Underpinning the fantasy, we use a darling little pixie in a jar to show that our “Great Wizard” has captured pixies and put them under his spell. We keep them in magic boxes and feed them lightning so that they will paint pixels for us, amazingly fast and amazingly well!

As patrons pass by, our pixies are on display on our sales desk, along with framed prints and portfolios for browsing through our past and current work.

Also on display is our list of services and prices. We try to keep our competitive prices as low as we can, preferring to make our images affordable to as many patrons as possible. This gives us word-of-mouth exposure and increases the opportunity to improve on the quality of our work.

Unlike most event photographers, we structure our services and produce our images in the manner of a professional studio photographer. Our work products are the electronic images themselves. These are not mass produced snapshots. Mistress Daisy (Kathy Slatton) is the artist behind the camera, producing portraits of such quality that she is sought out by faire actors and performers as well as faire patrons.

Our Studio

Our studio tent (The Pixelographie Pavilion) is arranged with beautiful rugs on the floor, tapestries on the walls, benches and pillows to rest upon. An ornate mirror often draped with silk hangs on the wall for patrons to check the perfection of their garments. We have goblets, tankards and other personal items at hand that are appropriate for use by the greatest of nobles and the lowest of their servants. For patrons without renaissance garments of their own, we provide period-appropriate capes, hats, belts, doublets, cloaks and other coverups which evoke the accurate character of renaissance clothing without requiring extensive dressing or undressing.

The translucent white roof of our studio tent provides diffuse daylighting without the need for artificial light sources. The daylighting provides a quality to Mistress Daisy's portraits comparable to that of the most sophisticated permanent studios. Use of natural lighting frees us from the power demands of studio quality lighting that could overstress the capacity of many faire sites. If necessary, using our magick battery wagon, we can work independently of the faire's electrical distribution system for up to 8 hours a day.

Pixelographie Pavilion

When each portrait sitting is over and our patrons are completely satisfied, we provide electronic images on a small CDROM concealed inside a muslin pouch along with our contact information and a written transfer of copyright. Each sitting includes at least four different poses. Paper and canvas prints can be provided at a competitive additional charge for each.

In an indoor or outdoor setting, we can also set up portable frames for tapestries and other backdrops suitable to the nature of the event.

Our Style

We always dress in period costume. We attempt at all times to speak in period language to the best of our abilities. We are not perfect and sometimes say “thank you” rather than “gramercy”; and we sometimes forget when it is “Good morrow” and when “Good din!”

Daisy has found that patrons prefer having a nicely dressed upper-middle-class shopkeeper waiting on and catering to them. Their comfort allows her to easily make sure that she has their best side and captures their best moments.

She has an unusual ability to connect with people on a personal level very quickly. Whether empathetic or intuitive, she can nearly always find that special spark in her subjects that will make her pictures unusual and artistic. With the addition of appropriate clothing and some friendly play-acting she paints images far superior to the conventional “snapshot” portrait commonly seen at renaissance faires.

Candid Publicity Photography

Nearly all of our publicity photography is done by John Kinney. John normally dresses plainly as a yeoman or disinherited son of a lesser nobleman. Since most of his work is capturing candid images of faire activities, he dresses to blend in with the general background of the faire to avoid attracting attention. He does his best work being there to unobtrusively capture the magic moments when they happen!

All of this makes us The Smoke Island Company. We are active “rennies”, we are respected professional photographers, we have a new approach to imaging renaissance festivals and we will be around for a long time. We think we have a quality service to offer our customers and have found that nearly all of them agree, whether they be individual patrons, cast members or faire managers.

Kathy Slatton and John Kinney

- The Smoke Island Company -