In the last few months I have gone on the road with a band and sat backstage at legendary venues. Shot amazing photos in crazy cool venues. Listened to amazing music and laughed with friends.
I took a road trip and explored the back roads of America. Attended South by South West. Saw historic places and sat on the beach a bit. Before the trip I was scared and filled with anxiety of what was going to happen next. I took the time on the trip to practice calming myself and going with the flow. I worked on not getting worked up over things I could not control. I grew a beard ...I am still working on not getting worked up and on the beard.
I came to the conclusion that we only get one shot at this thing and we better experience it all. Do our best to be good and most of all have some adventures. I was inspired before the trip by seeing Jason Lees photos he had been doing around Texas to get off the four lane highway and see side roads and shoot some photos and take a look around (more on that in a bit). And I did just that. Explored. Shot photos. Got lost. It was great.
After all the craziness that has been the last few months of my life I landed here in Texas for Texas School. This came about from the recommendation from John Hartman, My old neighbor growing up, that i come here and learn from Russ Harrington. Russ is a music photographer who has shot some amazing artists you all probably know. Look him up seriously. I was scared and excited when I got here. I don't do lighting with my photos. I don't know the first thing about setting up lights to shoot someone. I figure I am going to be in a class of people who know WAY more then me learning from a guy who kicks ass at what he does. I figured I would be found out to be the fraud I sometimes feel I am with my art. But I was here to learn. And learn I did.
Not only did I learn about lighting etc. I met some amazing people. Kind caring super talented people from all over. People who share a passion I do for capturing images. We may not shoot the same things but that passion is there. And now a friendship is there as well. I could tell you all about things we learned but that would take to long. Just take Russ's class and find out for yourself. www.russtalks.com :) We learned and we laughed and I think we had a few drinks. Russ was kind and so enthusiastic about what he does. It showed huge in class and it was inspiring. I hope to take what i learned in his class and use it for shooting bands and things from here on out. Most of all make it weird. Use what you have to create and make some lemonade.
To cap the week off I went with a classmate and friend today to Jason Lees photography office. It's not open to the public. I was lucky. Extremely lucky and very thankful to my new friend who helps Jason out with photography things for taking me to meet Jason. We got to look at prints for his new photography show and his new book out soon. We got to look at old slides of Beck performing that he shot a few years back. We got to chat a bit about finding cool stuff on side roads of America. There was a passion in him for what he does that was upfront and beautiful. Follow him on instagram and go buy his book when it comes out. Sure he is a pretty famous actor but to me he was a guy that loved capturing great stuff. At the end of the visit I asked if he had a print to buy. He gifted me a test print of his. Signed it on back. Pretty damn cool. Went to Deep Ellum as well and wandered a bit. Had a great dinner. If you read this, thanks Steve. Meant a lot.
Photography does not have to be perfect. It does not have to follow some formula put together. Just make it look weird and cool. Experiment. Try. Fail. Try again and create new things. Don't follow the same old trail. Get off the beaten path.
I will forever be grateful for the friends I have made this week. I hope to see them again. shoot photos with them again. Laugh and have a few drinks. I hope to take some road trips around and get lost and explore. I hope to keep learning and make myself better. I thank John Hartman for suggesting I be here. I thank Russ for his patience and sharing his talent. I thank my Mom and my Aunt because without them I would not even have come here. I thank my new friends and fellow photographers for being awesome. I guess I don't hope for those things. I will make them happen. For the first time in the last few months I am not terrified of the future. I am excited.
I fly out back to Wisconsin tomorrow. Land in Milwaukee and then drive to Chicago where I will then proceed to drive with friends to New Orleans for a wedding. The road goes on forever and the party never ends. Make it weird my friends.