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Charlotte's "creative class" goes in front of the camera

Although Charlotte's banking sector has taken some hits this year (you know, the takeovers, the bailouts, the recent resignation by Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis, etc.) it's safe to say that the city can still be called "Banktown."

That business-centric moniker, however, has never been a fair description of our dear Queen City; contrary to popular belief, there's more to Charlotte than number-crunching bankers clad in suits and/or pleated khakis and such.

In locales all across town live members of the so-called "creative class" -- that oddly named group of citizens who work (full-time or part-time) as visual artists, actors, bohemians, stylists, trendsetters and more. Sadly, the existence of our creative class is a mystery to many. But one local woman -- the photographer who goes by the name Jasiatic -- has made it her mission to chronicle these stereotype-bucking denizens.

A self-described "small-city girl, with big-world dreams," Jasiatic was born and raised in Charlotte and decided to shoot pics seriously in 2002. Now, seven years later, you can catch her snapping portraits of some of the city's most eclectic underground personalities at her now-infamous "Headshot Parties." (The next one is scheduled for Halloween.)

Her work -- which can be seen daily at the CL-sponsored blog "Who Shot Ya?" (found at Clclt.com/arts) and on her personal blog (www.createtressphotography.blogspot.com) -- is visually striking. But, beyond the pretty pictures, her photos serve as a record of the countless faces and voices who sometimes get lost in our dollar-driven shuffle.

This issue, we've collected 10 of Jasiatic's most-striking photos ... images that celebrate those offbeat individuals who live among us. Flip through the following pages and you may see a few faces you recognize -- but some, on the other hand, may find themselves saying over and over: "This person lives in Charlotte?"

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