Support us with Kachingle!
March 31, 2011 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Kyle Devlin and Justin Mayfield are preparing to hit the clubs. Instead of worrying about having minty fresh breath or enough cash for cover charges, they’re packing light stands and Nikon cameras in their second-story photography studio on Broadway. They choose tonight’s gear from an array of light-diffusing soft boxes and colorful backdrops strung like curtains against the walls.
There’s no such thing as a normal night for this pair, Mayfield says. Tonight they’re headed to Sideshow, a bar on Broadway where Mayfield will shoot photos and perform with the band Mary & The Giant.Related Articles
By day, Devlin, 32, and Mayfield, 24, are busy with Devlin Studios. They capture high school seniors, families and dancers preparing for recitals. By night they go mobile and take equipment to clubs, bars and restaurants across Columbia to photograph local nightlife. It’s a far cry from iPhone party pictures. Devlin and Mayfield use a combination of ambient and professional lighting to freeze moments in time without overexposure or blurriness.
Devlin and Mayfield’s after-dark photography venture, Night Life in Columbia, started in January from a friend’s offhand suggestion. At the time, Devlin had been working at his own studio, and Mayfield was working as a freelance photographer.
After selecting and touching up the best photos of the night, Devlin and Mayfield post them to their website, nightlifeincolumbia.com, where people can use their Facebook login information to view the galleries. If website users wish, they can purchase high-resolution digital images for $2 each and download them immediately. Devlin and Mayfield promote the city’s nightlife while publicizing their photography services.
Local bar owners see this as an opportunity to boost their visibility, Devlin says. The Night Life crew has been given the green light from owners at Room 38, Mojo’s, Sideshow, Eastside Tavern and others before snapping photos, he says.
Mayfield hopes Night Life will help create new friendships. “Our idea is that we’re building a social network of nightlife,” he says. The website interfaces with Facebook so users can see status updates from other Night Life members.
Back at Sideshow, Mayfield meets up with Devlin to set up a camera and flash. They take some test shots of each other, and Devlin calls it a night. Mayfield points his camera at two women, who pose on cue. He snaps some photos, introduces himself and shares the images.
“It’s like Party Pics, but it’s diving into the community a little bit more,” says Jessica LaHue, a woman in the photo. Party Pics is a special events photography chain that operates like Night Life in Columbia. Night Life opens up other photographic opportunities for Devlin and Mayfield. Later that night, LaHue invites Mayfield to take photos at a friend’s party.
Columbia possesses an array of theatres, bars and clubs. Devlin and Mayfield hope their business will continue to glamorize the city’s nightlife. “We want Columbia to be badass,” Mayfield says.