Yes! No...Maybe? Depends.

Yes! No...Maybe? Depends.

Chris Fisher, Jamaal Eversley and Samantha Webb in Geena Matuson's short 'Depends,' filmed at Rock 'n' Roll Rib Joint in Medfield, MA. Cinematography by Denez McAdoo.

So much expression in so little time! The short spoof 'Depends' features the range of acting (and facial expression) talents of Chris Fisher, Jamaal Eversley, and Samantha Webb, part of my ongoing 'Fauxmercials' series.

This was an incredibly fun shoot, and still more fun to edit. Watching these actors is hilarious, and it makes picking the perfect take all the more difficult. So, I put together a few Instagram videos and, rest assured, there will most definitely be an outtakes reel.

We did this super 80s, sexy-lady-enters-bar tracking shot that had the perfect lighting, and I just can't get enough of it. We have our DP Denez McAdoo and Assistant Assistant Camera Dylan Kiely to thank for the beautiful footage, and Gaffer Dan Perez de la Garza and Assistant Gaffer Andrew Frechette to thank for the perfect lighting setup. And who doesn't like to watch a woman walk into a bar in slow motion, amiright?

I've synced audio thanks to Djim Reynolds, and attached some great electric guitar music thanks to Matt Costanza. Color grading nearly complete, the video will be completed before April, as several beach-themed #Fauxmercials still need to roll out in time for summer. Keep watching for more behind-the-scenes looks and screenshots from my new series!

- The Girl Mirage


Side-By-Side with Berklee World Strings

Side-By-Side with Berklee World Strings

The Medfield Strings Orchestras practice before their performance side-by-side with Berklee World String. Photo by Geena Matuson.

For the first time in its history, Berklee World Strings performed a side-by-side concert with Medfield Strings Orchestra on Wednesday evening. This was, in fact, the first time Berklee World Strings had performed side-by-side with any middle or high school program, and it was truly sensational...


Shuk Machane Yehuda

Shuk Machane Yehuda

The Calm in the Chaos, photographed at Shuk Machane Yehuda in Jerusalem by Geena Matuson, December 2016.

We jam-packed a lot of activity into this seven-day Israel trip as we traveled through nearly half of Israel with Shorashim, ending with Shuk Mechane Yehuda in Israel and a walking tour of Yemin Moshe, the first Jewish neighborhood outside the Old City of Jerusalem.

Check out my favorite shots of the market as I went on a photography adventure with my friend Jess! That first shot I'm calling a portrait which I titled 'The Calm in the Chaos.' Ha, I didn't even realize what I'd captured until reviewing the photos back in the states - life.

When I was buying tea, as I oft tend to do, one of the sellers misunderstood my question, so I thought the tea was super cheap. As we walked into the shop to weigh it, I repeated my question, and a different seller (more of an English-speaker) explained gram measurements "because Americans just say '1 gram' of everything without knowing what it means." Because yes, that comment makes me want to buy from you. Pretty much every loose tea seller out there displays measurements in grams, so I know my stuff, and he tried to play it off.

Once I was given proper pricing, I bought just a quarter of a gram of tea, and the guy laughed. Next time I buy tea, it will be from a different vendor. I wish I'd gone around to other vendors and purchased different teas, as there were so many kinds I hadn't seen before, and they were amazing.

Street photography captured at Shuk Machane Yehuda in Jerusalem, Israel.

As I'm sure you can gather that I love watching - documenting - people in their daily lives. Jess and I ventured out to the street to capture more life at the market.

After our market excursion we walked through Yemin Moshe, where it was made clear I traveled across the world solely for the perfect pet photo.

The Perfect Pet Photo, captured in Yemin Moshe, Old Jerusalem, Israel.

What you're not seeing is 300 photos of various stone textures that I took throughout the one-week trip, haha. I just love all the textures around Israel, and figure I can use the images in other projects.

Yep, texture on texture on texture with that classic old lady shot. She caught up to us as we stood in a courtyard, looking at textures.

Several members of the Shorashim #Bus636 group heading back to the USA after a week-long trip through Israel, December 2016.

And, after a long trip, I even had a bat mitzvah! As it was explained to those of us who never had the ceremony, you 'are a bar or bat mitzvah when you reach age thirteen,' and at this point you read from the Torah in front of your family and peers. Back in the day, people who already spoke Hebrew didn't need a year of training - they were native speakers and were good to go. Now in Israel, we were given the weekly Torah passage or Parshah, and found a section with which we could each identify. Israelis from our group helped with the translations (thank you!), and some of us also supplemented the ceremony by picking our Hebrew names.

I chose the Genesis Chapter 40 passage, "And they said to him, 'We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter for it.' Joseph said to them, 'Don't interpretations belong to God? Tell [them] to me now.'" This was quite something, considering I know little to nothing about religion and my own Jewish roots, despite nine years of JCC summer camp. My chosen Hebrew name is 'Gila,' not only similar to my own name but chosen to represent joy and loyalty, creativity and friendship. Thanks to my new friends Marissa and Shiran for the help on this - and thanks to Google, too, haha.

My friend Itamar captured it all on video, and one day I may share it with you. Suffice it to say, it was apparently quite the tear-jerker.

And thus ended my trip to Israel! Going through these photos, writing these posts, has been the closure on that trip that I needed. As soon as I got home - well, first I slept 18 hours - and then, I began looking for opportunities to head back over. Who knows what the future will hold!

- The Girl Mirage


The Lowest Point on Earth

The Lowest Point on Earth

A view of the Dead Sea in Israel. Photography by Geena Matuson, December 2016.

Itamar and Nir with Shorashim group #Bus636 at the Dead Sea in December, 2016.

After an early-morning hike up Masada in the Negev Desert and a camel ride, we drove down to the Dead Sea. We drove in a seemingly endless spiral, and just as I felt like I was going to hurl - we stopped! It takes a lot to get to the lowest point on Earth, haha.

I heard some pretty horrific things about the Dead Sea salt permeating your skin and various orifices, so I just walked in to my knees. I forgot my sandals, and walking into the water was not the wisest of moves. I mean, you see a pile of salt and you think, 'if I step on this, it will crumble' - because it's salt. Well, logic does not prevail at the Dead Sea, where rock-hard salt mounds are like unmoving sandpaper blades grinding into your flesh.

So, did I sell you on the Dead Sea? Yes, it was beautiful and I would recommend a visit, but I would not recommend going in. That's just me.

The weather was great for about thirty minutes, and in that time I took some nice photos! We also stumbled upon some other Birthright Israel Shorashim groups, like this one from Tunisia.

That night we made it to the Western Wall, or the Wailing Wall, and the weather turned from rain to hail. I was told that the Western Wall is usually so crowded you can barely see or touch it, but the weather was a blessing in disguise; so few people wanted to stand in the cold rain that the wall was wide open...

The next day we visited Israel's military cemetery, Har (Mount) Herzl. Here, soldiers and military personnel of all ranks are buried side by side. The grounds are beautiful and graves are covered in memorabilia that family and friends have brought to honor their loved ones.

Upon entering the cemetery, we were asked what we think of when we think 'Memorial Day.' Someone said 'barbecues' and a few other summer-themed, fun activities. I said, "Big sales!" because, of course, in America, every holiday is just a celebration of capitalism. The Israelis laughed and thought it was strange, and told us that their Memorial Day, Yom Hazikaron, is a day of memory and education. All businesses are closed and the TV shares documentaries and news about fallen soldiers. If you're in the military at the time, you will take a field trip to the cemetery and spend your day learning about the life of an individual, fallen soldier. It sounds a lot like how a memorial day - a day of remembrance of fallen soldiers - should be characterized.

On the way to Shuk Machane Yehuda in Jerusalem, Israel.

After the cemetery, we headed to Shuk Machane Yehuda, or Machane Yehuda Market, for food and more shopping. I bought tissues, of course, because that's apparently my mainstay accessory. I also caught the best pet photo ever, so there's that...

- The Girl Mirage


Bedouins, Masada, and Camels - Oh My!

Bedouins, Masada, and Camels - Oh My!

View of Masada in the Negev Desert, Israel. Photography by Geena Matuson, December 2016.

After Shuk Ha'Carmel in Tel-Aviv, we drove to Kfar Hanokdim in the Negev Desert to stay the night in Bedouin tents - or rather, one giant tent all together. (Those Bedouins had a gift shop and everything).

The next morning, we embarked on a sunrise hike up Masada in the desert and learned all about the ruins. I captured these images just as the sun came up. I still can't get over the sheer vastness of the country, and how far you can see into the distance.

The view from atop Masada in the Negev Desert, Israel, 2016.

I don't think you can really tell how high up the mountain we are, but someone said we climbed 4000 steps! I didn't feel like there were 4000 individual steps, but maybe there were, and maybe this was such a cold early-morning hike that I didn't notice the steps? Haha.

Jessica Harshman always stood very still, so I captured quite a few photos of her gazing across various landscapes, haha. My friend Jessica Gallagher Steuver also took some amazing photos while sporting the 'Bedouin Sheek' look, both a play-on-words and a fashion statement. Apparently there's decent reception on top of the giant mountain, as you can see from the shot of our guide Itamar on his cellphone!

The view from atop Masada in the Negev Desert, Israel, 2016.

The view of lower-level Masada in the Negev Desert, Israel, 2016.

Standing at the top of Masada looking down at a couple on a slightly lower plateau, you can truly get a sense of the vastness of the mountain, and the Negev Desert as a whole.

During our hike down the mountain, I turned around and snapped a shot of our group. That steep rock is just one small, lower level on the mountain we climbed.

It was really a beautiful morning, and the one day the rain seemed to stop for our outdoor adventure. In fact, it rained later that day and even hailed later that night as we made it to Jerusalem.

After our hike up Masada, we returned to the Bedouin hospitality area to eat lunch and ride camels! It was pretty windy, but the ride was great, and the clouds made for a beautiful scene.

Group camel ride through Israel's Negev Desert with Shorashim #Bus636, December 2016.

Group camel ride through Israel's Negev Desert with Shorashim #Bus636, December 2016.

These lovely dromedary camels, a one-hump camel equipped for desert climate (yes, I like camels), had little seats with handles on their backs! - and I never held-on, haha. I was too busy taking photos, and the ride was pretty safe. Check out that beautiful camel portrait, right? Alexander Camelton smiled for a few more shots, too ;)

After the ride, our bus spiraled down a seemingly endless peak to the lowest point in the world - the Dead Sea...

- The Girl Mirage