Making Men & Marsupials
An 18-month Men and Opossum Calendar? i Must be joking!
It all started with a joke and a picture of my boyfriend holding an Opossum.
Well, it actually started months before that when I did a Family Pet Portrait Session with Starfish the Opossum and her mom. It’s pretty much impossumble (see what I did there?) to not fall in love with that sweet, tailless critter. It didn’t feel like I sought them out after that; opossums kept finding their way into my life. When I posted a photo of my boyfriend holding an Opossum to facebook with the joke caption “maybe I should make a handsome men and opossums calendar!” I was met with an overwhelming “YES” from too many people to ignore.
And so it simply had to be.
becoming a Wildlife Rehabilitaor
Between the time I hatched the idea and started planning the calendar, a baby Opossum showed up under my house. Not only had opossums found their way into my life but now they had found their way into my home! I dove head-first into the world of Wildlife Rehab. In what seemed like the blink of an eye I had 4 orphans to care for. The calendar took the backseat for a minute while I ate up everything there was to learn about caring for orphaned opossums (t’s not easy, gang!). Before long, it was apparent one of my four kiddos was non-releasable. Muu (short for Mini Muffuletta) had some sort of neurological issue that caused him to fall over. It was so hard to watch and I started on the long, long road to trying to fix whatever was wrong with him. In that process it became apparent that Muu was to be the star of the Men & Marsupials calendar and that the project should be a fundraiser for Wildlife Rehab.
Producing the Calendar
Finding the men for the calendar was easy. I’m already known in my social circles as a New Orleans family pet photographer. So I put an open call out on facebook for men interested in posing with Muu. I got so many responses from men who wanted to participate! I’d never taken on a project of this size with so many people and moving parts involved. So a lot of spreadsheeting and calendar sharing followed (thanks, google!). Within a few weeks, I had 18 unique shoots planned out.
These were some of the most fun animal portrait sessions I’ve ever done. The guys were all elated to hang out with Muu- who is adorable and adventurous- and it made for great smiles and fairly quick sessions. There were a few hiccups here and there (mostly Muu deciding the Man or a prop was his new bathroom) but for the most part, the shoots went smoothly. It took three weeks to get everything in the can.
Keeping it local
I’m an excellent photographer but when it comes to design I really don’t know diddly squat. So the layout took me some time! A dear friend and incredibly talented artist, Chandra Leming, whipped up the logo for me. Can you believe it’s hand drawn? Y’all really need to holler at her for your custom logo needs. She knocked this out of the park on the first try (www.chandarchandar.com).
I never thought twice about using a local company to print the calendars. Printing companies are struggling to stay afloat in the digital age. I used Moran Printing and they did an incredible job! When I saw the proof (hand delivered to my house by one of the awesome people at Moran) I nearly cried. It’s hard to put into words the feeling of dreaming something like this up, doing all the work to make it real, and then actually getting to hold the final product. This calendar project became my baby and it exceeded my expectations in every way.
finding 15 minutes of fame
Perhaps it was my incessant instagram posting, but a writer at People.com discovered the Men & Marsupials 18-month calendar and wanted to do a story about it! Two days after the physical copies were in hand and a brilliant article came out. As you can imagine, I had a very busy weekend of calendar shipping! It was amazing seeing all the different places the calendars were headed. One even went to Germany (danke schöen)! Check out the article here.
If you haven’t ordered yours yet, head on over to the shop and grab yours before they sell out! There won’t be a reprint of this calendar. Once they’re gone they’re out of here!
Before I take off, I would be remiss if I did not mention a very important detail: Muu is NOT a pet. Opossums are illegal to keep as pets in Louisiana. It is only legal to have them in your possession if you are a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or have an educational permit for the animal. Opossums are wild animals and deserve to be in the wild.