The Email

October 31, 2013

I had just seen an advertisement announcing that tickets were going on sale for the John Mayer concert and the concert was going to be on my birthday! I thought… Might have to get tickets for that. And literally, the next day I got the email from some of my favorite people at iHeart Radio. The email read something like…. “Hi Jen, You around to shoot John Mayer at the theater this week?” I read it and thought – WOW! I really love my job. I think that pretty regularly but after an email like that, I really know how fortunate I am!

I got to spend some time shooting one of my favorite performers and he didnt disappoint. We got to make some beautiful portraits and even though it wasnt my birthday, I got to watch him perform too!

John Mayer

John Mayer

For some of us in the photo industry, we have seemingly seen it all. From that experience, we know how to behave in certain situations and we know what sounds about right. Which brings me to an assignment last week. I got a call to photograph with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and music legend John Fogerty. I was excited about the opportunity and I mapped out a plan for several portraits. I had a few hours the afternoon before and I was able to source some great textured pieces to include in the  images and the whole thing was really coming together. I arrived and setup and was admiring the dozens of different guitars that John had brought with him to play and I had planned on using in the photographs. My colleague at ClearChannel made the ask and requested that we use one of the guitars in our shoot – the response was an astounding no. A few years back, I would have been stunned and disappointed but gone on without the guitar in the shots.  But after countless shoots and dealing without hundreds of handlers, I knew this “no” was not a “no – you cant use a guitar in the photo.” Rather, it was a “no, I dont feel like going out of my way to get a guitar over to your photo shoot 50 feet away.” We made the ask several more times with several different people and we did so politely but firmly. There was pretty much no way that “Experienced Jen” was going to shoot John Fogerty without a guitar. And sure enough, with a bit of perseverance, we pulled it off and Im thrilled that we did. John was great and as much fun as it was to create portraits, it was just as much fun to photograph him performing.John Fogerty John Fogerty

TBP

May 3, 2013

TBP – initials for The Band Perry and Turtlebox Pictures – thought it was good karma. And it was. Had a great shoot with the team from iHeart and Kimberly, Neil and Reid from The Band Perry. While I had a blast photographing the trip, it was a bit bittersweet. It may be the last hurrah for shooting in one of all time favorite spaces in New York. Rumor has it this awesome spot  on the corner of 6th Avenue and Lispenard is on its way to becoming a Starbucks…

The Band Perry

Riding A Bike

June 21, 2012

I was scheduled this week for a shoot with the performer K’Naan and as soon as I found out, I started researching him. I originally thought he was a rapper but after reading up on this Somalian musician, he didn’t quite fit that mold. He seemed to be a combination of Bob Marley, Drake and Nelson Mandela all rolled in to one – a performer, a poet and seemingly all around great guy. I wanted to do something a bit different and decided to rebirth a project I started a few years ago where I shoot 4×5 polaroid and then have the subjects graffiti on it. Seemed like a good idea (and it was) but I didn’t know that Polaroid had REALLY been discontinued! It has – save your phone calls. I unearthed the 4×5 camera from my garage and miraculously discovered that everything I needed was still in the case (even a sync cord!). My box of 5 year old polaroid still seemed to be functional so I gave it a go.

Using the 4×5 was like riding a bike but in this age of instantaneous gratification, it was like going for the greatest bike ride ever when you haven’t been in 5 years! It was so wonderful to shoot with it and I am definitely going to be hunting for Polaroid on ebay. What made the shoot so great was K’Naan’s willingness to partake. As I didn’t have many sheets of polaroid, I was only able to do a few frames but love what we came away with. When I asked K’Naan to “graffiti” his polaroid, he sat down and just started writing without hesitation. “I am trying to prove to my self the kind of a man that I am, while the world is trying to prove to me, the kind of a man that Im not.” WOW! I assumed that the words were lyrics to a song but whenI asked him, he said – “No, its just sort of what Im thinking today.”  We decided that maybe that will become lyrics soon!

Thanks K’Naan. It was an honor!

Take It Easy

June 15, 2012

Its been a music sort of month and I have been having a great time shooting with Shelby and Emily both of whom work their asses off. I was asked to shoot one of the all time greats in the music world and I was looking forward to the opportunity. I would be working with Joe Walsh of the Eagles on the eve of his new album release. We worked together to make some portraits and we had a great shoot. I couldn’t help but notice that he was wearing a MIchael Jordan Jumpman wristband. I assumed that he was a hardcore MJ fan or maybe a Bulls fan from way back but it was a strange accessory for his otherwise all black outfit. When I asked him about hit, he looked at it inquisitively and said, “MJ – no, Im not a fan. I just needed a wrist band and this one was on sale at the Nike store next to my hotel.” I loved it! From the portrait session, we went to the album launch and while I am not a Joe Walsh fan, I did know just about every song he performed. Some beautiful portraits and an outstanding concert – it’s easy to recognize greatness when you’re that close to it. 

Last week I was fortunate to have two spectacular shoots with some of the biggest names in music. I started off early in the week with B.O.B. Who knew I was a fan? While I had done my research on B.O.B aka Bobby Ray, I love photographing people that I dont know much about. He was super chill, very quiet, somewhat reserved and quite easy to photograph. And then he got on stage. His energy was astounding and he put on a phenomenal show for his fans. He then proceeded to spend about an hour signing autographs and posing for pictures. It was an impressive display. And then there was Carrie Underwood… Equally as pleasant and a sweet southern girl and then I heard her sing! While I had obviously seen her on her media blitz earlier in the week and had witnessed it on American Idol, nothing compared to seeing her perform in person. There is nothing better in my profession than being able to hang out with the people who are some of the best in the world at what they do. That will never get old!

A new favorite Dierks

February 8, 2012

I thought I only had one favorite Dirk and that would have been Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavs. I have shot that Dirk probably 20 or 30 times for editorial and feature shoots and at the past few All Star games. He is truly a gentleman and I always love to work with him. Well, no disrespect to Mr. Nowitzki but he may have net his Dirk match! I had the good fortunate of working with Dierks Bentley this past week prior to his performance in New York. We had beers and shot at a great hole in the wall bar downtown, spent a few minutes outside taking some portraits and then I photographed him live. Like his German namesake, Dierks was easy to work with, totally laid back and a Southern charmer. He got great reviews from his NY shows and had a huge crowd at his Today Show performance. (I think New York is secretly filled with country music fans.) I dont know that I am buying cowboy boots or a ten gallon hat anytime soon but Dierks put on a phenomenal show and I might actually buy a song or two on itunes.