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Joshua Beard, Foto. - Photographer, Teacher, Artist, Professional Foreigner.

Phototronic Imagitorium: Tiny Tyrant Photo Booth (or) “This isn’t what it is”

Posted by jbeardfoto - December 21st, 2013

Oh, ummm. Hey there. Sorry to keep you waiting. ..

Hope you weren’t waiting too long. I ran out for some milk and got a little distracted. You know how it goes. Bump into an old friend, move to another country, change your profession and start teaching kindergardeners… Before you know it, 3 years has rolled by and you find yourself with a new language skill and the ability to eat parts of animals you thought were only for zombies..

I’ve also started a blog, called Strange tiny People dedicated to displaying just how punk-rock kids are. I started this when I realized how much cooler my kids were than me. Seriously, if you think kids are lame and boring, then it’s only due to lame and boring education.

Creativity and story telling are a immensely powerful in developing individuality, something Asian education often neglects. This is why I’m pulling myself out of semi-retirement and starting up a brand new photo project traveling Asia and working with children to make some really cool photo-illustrations.

To get all the details, take a quick jump over to , and like us on the facebooks at .

Speaking of children, creativity, photos, and dog collars…


Ok, you gotta bear with me for a sec on this one..

So there is this other project I do from time to time called the Phototronic Imagitorium™. It started as a fun way to remember my friends when I moved away. Basically it involves a photo booth with me snapping away inside and a requirement that you dress yourself with a number of different props on a big table outside. Go check out the shenanigans from the first one here.

phototronic imagitorium photobooth - Joshua Beard, foto.

Serious Shenanigans indeed.


So me being the clever guy I am, I got the idea the other day to break out the old Imagitorium  to teach my students a little bit about being creative. The premise was pretty much the same: booth, me, photos, table o’ stuff. The one difference was that when I asked my children to use the props, they had to think of a different way to use it besides it’s intended purpose.

This isn’t what it is” became the motto of the session.

Is this pencil a pencil? No, it’s my antenna.

Is this dog collar a dog collar? No, it’s my bow.

Is this leash a leash? No, it’s my pet snake.

Some kids really took to it and some just liked wearing stuff they don’t get to wear every day. But everyone definitely had fun. And since the last post I put up (over two years ago….) was a class-picture day project, it seems fitting to do another now that they’ve grown up a bit:


Phototronic Imagitorium photo booth: Tiny Tyrant Edition - Strange Tiny People

Phototronic Imagitorium photo booth: Tiny Tyrant Edition - Strange Tiny People

Phototronic Imagitorium photo booth: Tiny Tyrant Edition - Strange Tiny People

Phototronic Imagitorium photo booth: Tiny Tyrant Edition - Strange Tiny People

Phototronic Imagitorium photo booth: Tiny Tyrant Edition - Strange Tiny People

Phototronic Imagitorium photo booth: Tiny Tyrant Edition - Strange Tiny People

Phototronic Imagitorium photo booth: Tiny Tyrant Edition - Strange Tiny People

Phototronic Imagitorium photo booth: Tiny Tyrant Edition - Strange Tiny People

Phototronic Imagitorium photo booth: Tiny Tyrant Edition - Strange Tiny People

Phototronic Imagitorium photo booth: Tiny Tyrant Edition - Strange Tiny People

Phototronic Imagitorium photo booth: Tiny Tyrant Edition - Strange Tiny People

Phototronic Imagitorium photo booth: Tiny Tyrant Edition - Strange Tiny People

Phototronic Imagitorium photo booth: Tiny Tyrant Edition - Strange Tiny People



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Picture Day

Posted by jbeardfoto - March 21st, 2011

For those that aren’t aware, during the day I teach kindergarden in China. I figured we needed a class picture day, and Olin Mills said we were slightly outside of the tri-state region. So I sucked it up and did it myself.

I do, weddings.

Posted by jbeardfoto - February 25th, 2011

It has recently occurred to me that many of you may not know that I actually do weddings as well. While I don’t regularly promote it on my site, I am not a stranger to weddings and bridal shoots.

Here’s the catch though: I’m not afraid to shoot you, but I urge you not to be afraid of letting your speacial day actually be, ya know, special. There are a thousand white dresses holding flowers in a park or against a floral background. Choosing this path is the same as saying “I’m going to go get some Starbucks, but my latte will be the most important and memorable there, because I’m going to throw a lot of money at someone to take pictures of me drinking it.”

I’ve done bridal shoots on rooftops, in warehouses, with dresses made entirely out of recycled plastic bags, and even a divorce shoot (which involved the refashioning of the wedding dress into a queen of hearts). Think about why the hell you are getting married and why the hell do you want it documented. How about a highway engagement shoot, or combat boots and white dresses. Many don’t even realize that there isn’t a law saying that your dress has to be white (although some areas of Texas may say otherwise). And don’t forget, I’m always available for consolation or a good keister kick in the right direction, which is another reason to always keep those combat boots handy.

If’s, And’s, or …conjunctions.

Posted by jbeardfoto - February 21st, 2011

Also, an old one I forgot to post from the states. I thought I should get around to posting it, since it has a butt in it and all.

And all that jazz.

Posted by jbeardfoto - February 21st, 2011

Last month I was bored and called up my friend Leru of Beijing’s Moonglow Burlesque to see if she wanted to have dinner. She told me that she couldn’t really have dinner because she was doing a show at Club Scarlett that night, but I should come hang out at the club. I decided to bring the camera along, and we decided to run around and take advantage of the club’s very fun backdrops. Keep in mind these are all spur-of-the-moment shots with pretty much only available light.

Hot, B

Posted by jbeardfoto - November 28th, 2010

The Buzzcocks came to Beijing. I didn’t get to go.

I was pretty annoyed about this, until the next day when one of my friends told me that it was worth it to save the 200RMB anyways since good punk rock does have an expiration date. So this turned out to work in my favor, since I really like the Buzzcocks, and would prefer not to have the image of Pete Shelley breaking a hip and wearing a life call on stage. I did, however, find out about a pretty rad punk show the following night that was much cheaper.

Some of you that fancy yourselves as aficionados of punk might remember the girl punk group from Beijing (I know, right?) called Hang on the Box, or HotB for short. They were one of the biggest punk groups to come out of China and one of the only ones to ever have an American tour. You can see some of it here: (Yes, that is the most effeminate punk club announcer I have ever heard too..)

They broke up about 3 year ago, but recently reformed with a slightly more mature sound. I got to go to their reunion show at Beijing’s Infamous Mao Livehouse.

I swear officer, it’s just a cigarette lighter.

Posted by jbeardfoto - October 18th, 2010

While there are still many pages left to transcribe from my personal logs over the past few months, I’m going to break continuity here for a bit to post an update from a recent event I not only photographed, but performed in.

Yes. This one has photos.

I have been keeping up fairly well with my poi practice routine (ie: to stretch in the mornings and whenever I’m bored in my apt/at a bus stop/showing off to students) since I’ve been in Beijing, but about 3 weeks in I got that ever-persistent urge start setting things on fire again. I found a juggling supply/fixed gear bike store called Natooke, run by an Italian performance trainer, Federico, and a German former-member of the German National Trick-Bike Team, Inez. Federico (“Just ‘Fede’,” he tells me. “Otherwise I think you’re from the government”) is a performance arts extraordinaire. Fede juggles, Fede spins fire staff, Fede eats and breathes fire, Fede balances things on his face, Fede does card tricks, Fede rides a bike with a front wheel that is over 5-foot in diameter. Turns out, he runs a juggling club which is welcome to all skills in street performance arts. After hanging out with these guys for a month or so, Fede comes over and asks if I wanted to do a fire performance with them For the China National Holiday Celebration. Far be it from me to let down a friend, especially one offering to pay me to perform in one of the most popular tourist areas in one of the biggest cities in Asia, I accept.

Aside from a bit of diva-ing from some guest Russian stilt walkers and an electric violinist, all goes well with the 2 performances. I ate fire, I breathed fire, and I finally got to use my fire poi in China that didn’t involve my neighbors thinking that Americans must play the weirdest form of paddle-ball ever.  When I wasn’t performing and working the crowd, I was snapping pics. While I don’t always plan to pull double-duty like that, I like knowing that I am starting to get more regular gigs through Fede. That being said, there was one snag:

Fede: “I received a call from the police today”

Me: “meep.”

Fede: “They said they were upset with me, and they mentioned you too.”

Me: “meep meep.”

Well it turns out the police weren’t very happy with the venue allowing fire performances with a crowd at such close proximity. I should take a second here to note that there are no real rules and regulations in China for street activities like this. There aren’t any proximity guidelines and mandatory on-site fire marshal requirements like in the states. You just do it, and you only here from the police if they don’t like it. But the trouble is when they don’t like it…

No actions were taken other than us being banned from using fire in any performances in SanLiTun again. However, it is still a bit nerve-wrecking, now knowing that there is a police record with my name on it in China. I’m still booked for at least two more upcoming gigs (including one as host while Fede is working in Tibet next month). There are other venues, and other performances. Until then, I at least have the incriminating evidence to share:

Phototronic Imagitorium -OR- ColumbiYeah behind closed curtains -OR- How I learned to stop worrying and love the bondage

Posted by jbeardfoto - October 3rd, 2010

So I know it’s been forever since I last posted, (in fact, I haven’t even made a posting since I lived in another time zone). I actually have tons of handwritten bloggings from my time in china so far in my trusty notebook, but I have just been too damned busy/tired/tied up by a masseuse to transcribe them into an actual post.

It has, however, just come to my attention that I never posted the amazing shots from the Phototronic Imagitorium(TM)!! These have made their way around face book a bit, but I never officially released them! (bad josh, no dumplings for you).

So if you don’t know what the Phototronic Imagitorium(TM) is, here’s the deets:

The Phototronic Imagitorium(TM) was my experimental and never quite official photobooth. It went through two test runs before being put into hibernation, with the second run set up at the FOM June Art Series, my last public event in the US. The basic idea was to capture all the awesome people I was leaving behind, and to capture their true awesomeness broken free of the daily shams. So the Phototronic Imagitorium(TM) was set up on the street, with yours truly inside snapping pics and purposely creeping out the subjects, along with a table full of funtastic wardrobe supplies. Everything from pipes and top hats to rope and duct tape. Subjects are not allowed in without choosing from the table of poppycockery, and the rest was magic.

Fire, in motion.

Posted by jbeardfoto - May 17th, 2010

Just thought I would take a moment to post a recent shoot I did with Columbia’s own pyromaniacs, Fire and Motion and Lunatrix/Columbia hoop Troop. If you have ever tried to accurately shoot fire, then you know its about one of the toughest live event subjects to shoot. With an arsenal of about every incendiary toy possible from fire poi, fire hoops, fire fans, fire staff, fire fingers and fire breathing, this quickly became the gauntlet of on-your-toes badassery-capturing.

Here’s the end result of the blood, sweat, and scorched eyebrows:

Fire and motion: Casey Hughes

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Salome, accidentally.

Posted by jbeardfoto - April 27th, 2010

Finally got around to editing a quick extra shot I took for another shoot back in October. I had no real game plan with this photo, other than she was simply hanging around holding the skull between shots and I really liked the feel of it. After a friend saw it, she instantly thought I had purposely intended for it to be Salome, of biblical/Oscar Wilde fame. I had no intention whatsoever for that theme when I made it, but it certainly fits. I do not know how my late grandfather, who was a Baptist preacher, would feel about it though.

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