Personality of the Month: August

Thursday, August 07, 2008 | |

MOLLIE MONTANA--photographer

BurlesqueAtlanta: If you were a performer instead of a photographer what stage name would you choose? Why?

Mollie Montana:
What's wrong with Mollie Montana?

BA: Show us your favorite burlesque picture you've taken. What's so special about that moment or your capture?


Calu's Peepshow

Even though it's not technically a great shot, I think it captures the essence of burlesque. Also I love hats.

BA: If you had to choose one personality to represent burlesque in Atlanta who would you pick and why?

MM: I think the Blast-Off gals and guys have really got it down. They've got a great, true Burlesque act--blending comedy with great dancing. They aren't too serious about it, and they do a great job. I think they should be the next famous and iconic Atlanta act.

BA: You don't have any tattoos but if you did what would they be and where would you put 'em?
MM: Geeze, why do you have to expose me as the huge nerd I am in such an unnerdy forum?

I would get something representing heliocentrism, because I find the history, politics, and science that surround that concept fascinating. I think the struggle to find the truth even in the face of great adversity and absence of popular support pretty damn admirable, and it also is a struggle that--even though it shouldn't--continues to the present day. Oh and I would get it on my upper back (shoulder) because it's easily hiden and would probably age relatively well.

BA: As a woman do you feel that burlesque is a progressive movement for women (body pride) or a step backwards (over sexualization)? Where do you think you fit in as a documenter of the movement?

MM: I think it's pretty damn moderate, actually. Which I suppose in a way makes it progressive, since it pulls a wider audience than more progressive acts.

BA: You've seen my personal favorite performer, Dirty Martini, up close and in person. Is there anyone locally that measures up?

MM: When I saw Dirty Martini, she only did one number and it was short and limited in scope. I didn't see enough to get a good feel for her, so unfortunately the question's pretty unanswerable.

BA: What do you see as the future of burlesque in Atlanta?

MM: I think there will be more collaboration both among Atlanta troupes and between Atlanta and non-Atlanta troupes. And I think more people outside Atlanta will know about and be excited about the Burlesque scene in Atlanta.

BA: Who is the best performer you've never seen?

MM: You forget, Mr. Turnley, that I don't actually know jack shit about burlesque outside Atlanta. Remarkably I've never seen Dames Aflame, so I'd definitely say them.

BA: What advice do you have for overcoming the dark lights and crowded conditions of shooting burlesque?

MM: Dark lights kinda suck. Most people like to use a flash if they'll let you (ask forgiveness, not permission!), but if they aren't *too* dark, I like to forget the flash and just use a prime lens, high ISO, and then make it black and white.

As far as crowded goes... Don't be afraid to get up in the front, and don't be afraid to sit on the floor (remember kids, sports photographers do it!). Often sitting (or standing if it's a standing venue) on the floor in front of the front row works best, and you can usually get up there even if you aren't early. However, be careful, because sometimes this isn't the angle at which performers look their best.

BA: How much would someone have to pay you to don a pair of tassels and swing 'em Sadie Hawkins style?

MM: In public? Will they get me a new full-time job so I won't have to worry about losing my current one? Our culture needs to get over their damn fear of boobies!

More Mollie Montana can be found here.