On a Sunday evening a few weeks ago Stay Fresh photographer Jess P. shot me a text saying, “Michael wants to do an American Beauty shoot, but instead of roses he wants to use potatoes.” Immediately I texted back, “Yeah let’s do it! And I’ll pose with Bomb-Pops!” Then she said “We should get Paul with donuts. It could be a Stay Fresh Valentine’s Day shoot.” We quickly went back and forth and came up with a plan to shoot some of Stay Fresh’s clients and friends American Beauty style, featuring items unique to each individual—items that would surround them if someone were having a steamy daydream of them.
We ran the idea past Michael that night, he was totally in. Jess, Michael and I put our heads together and came up with a plan of attack for the first-ever Stay Fresh Valentine’s Day shoot. We reached out to podcasting giant and star of Comic Book Men on AMC Bryan Johnson, Glazed & Confused owner and donut slinger, Paul Valenti, and Sophistafunk’s main keyboard man and Funk ‘n Waffles owner, Adam Gold.
Crispyonthemic. Tots. $PUD$. These are all names our first model goes by. He has Irish heritage, raps exclusively about potatoes and if there is a dinner party happening he’s always got salt potatoes at the ready. Making Syracuse better every day with creative input and inspiring concepts for our city, Michael is one of the main gears in the machine that is Syracuse. These days you can find Michael John Heagerty promoting local art events he curates at Wildflowers Armory — a unique and vibrant shop hosting merchandise from a squadron of local Salt City Artisans. Michael is pictured, above, wearing his signature spuds and Terrell’s Potato chips. (Because he keeps it local.)
Being both a star on film and TV, Bryan Johnson is no stranger to the camera. Along with Walt Flanagan and Brian Quinn he hosts the podcast Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave. The pod has reached 400 episodes has a slew of videos, a claymation featurette, and bonus pods. To capture Bryan in this dreamy angelic pose we entered the minds of TESD listeners. Bryan is pictured here in a bed of recording cables with his trusty Shure Super 55 Deluxe wearing some really tasty Valentine’s Day threads supplied by MeUndies. Check out the podcast at tellemstevedave.com, soundcloud, and itunes.
When funk master supreme Adam Gold heard what we were shooting he said, “Sign me up!” Adam owns the restaurant and music venueFunk ‘n Waffles and is the key master of the award-winning band Sophistafunk. As I’m directing him to lay in this fluffy cloud of waffles I say “Shit, I shoulda asked you to bring a keyboard”. Of course, Adam replied, “I have one in the car!” Adam’s love for music and food brings a creative, bright and delicious flavor to Syracuse. Adam is pictured laying on a bed of his flavorful waffles with his 1983 Moog Rogue.
This next creative cherub is Paul Valenti. Paul, has created a whimsical world of confection at his donut shop Glazed & Confused. Paul and his team at Glazed, produce some of the most creative and outlandishly delicious donuts around. Paul is seen creating a Valentine’s Day sprinkle donut, laying in a cloud of his fried treats.
The Stay Fresh logo is a blue and red popsicle, so we initially thought let’s shoot Tommy with Bomb-Pops! Let me tell you, Bomb Pops? They melt really fucking fast, and when you have over 100, it turns to a purple sea of goo. So we had to resort to Plan B. We thought there are a good amount of toys, and comics around the shop lets use those! With some extra comic help from our homies at Cloud City, we created a very fun “I Spy” background featuring the creative inspiration for what Stay Fresh is today.
Thank you to everyone involved for making this a super fun shoot. Happy Valentine’s Day from Stay Fresh!