Editorial vibes with Julie 'JAW$' Nelson.
Editorial vibes with Julie 'JAW$' Nelson.
Vision matters. But sometimes you have to dig for a while with no sense of what you’re looking for so that you’ll know it when you see it.
David duChemin was the one photographer I continually resorted to in not only studying his documentary work but also his written words and his thought process when photographing anything way before even having a camera in hand.
I figured out the technical aspects of photographing and I'm still learning to this day, but it's that "no idea what you're looking for" drive until you finally discover what you enjoy photographing, documenting, and creating that has kept me inspired to pick up my camera everyday and I without question attribute him to instilling that in me through his writing.
If you've ever struggled to figure out which questions to ask your clients on the phone, or if you've ever felt stuck when it comes to pricing, I highly recommend listening to this short but insightful podcast episode MIDCONVO with Ed and Paul. I always appreciate it when other creatives share not only the tools they use to create, but also the business side of things, because it's not something that's typically discussed.
I finally had the chance to connect with a New York-based personal trainer that I've admired for a long time. The one and only Julie 'JAW$' Nelson.
Paintings, sculptures, and art in general are sometimes labored over in the stillness of an artist's studio for months or even years before being seen anyplace. Most individuals, I believe, would never get the opportunity to see behind the scenes of these studios, but thanks to a combination of pure curiosity and Instagram, I was able to pay Emilio Perez, a Cuban-American artist residing in New York, a visit after seeing his work online. Surprisingly, his Brooklyn studio, which is more akin to a full-fledged residence, is close to studios I've rented for personal photoshoots in the past, so I was well acquainted with the neighborhood.
There was a time when I connected more with local artists, but somewhere along the way of discovering myself as a photographer, I lost touch with that camaraderie of what it means to exchange ideas, processes, and recognize that inspiration can come from the most unlikely of places, such as the person in front of you and not always within a glaring small screen.
There are times when I feel more like a sociologist or anthropologist than a photographer, when taking images is motivated by a desire to learn more about someone else rather than simply having something pleasant to share at the end of the day and visiting Emilio at his studio was certainly one of those instances.
I was recently in Florida for a photoshoot with a friend, but I flew in a day early to take advantage of the opportunity to reconnect with Annie Cooper, with whom I had the pleasure of working earlier in 2021. Annie is such an incredible athlete and is so active on social media that I find myself bookmarking so much of the useful material she gives as a reference for future training.
Life rarely changes in a positive way without an increase in responsibility. That can mean taking ownership of your health or committing to a relationship or starting a business. Whatever it is, if you want the trajectory to change, the amount of responsibility usually has to change.
It's impossible to envision how this reality does not relate to some aspect of our lives in this very moment.We all have personal goals and objectives that we want to reach, but it's important to consider how whatever action you're likely to take to attain them will almost certainly need you to take on more responsibility, no matter how appealing it is to simply stay in the shade. In terms of my photography, there's a lot of newness going on behind the scenes, including increased risk and responsibility, but I can't keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. It's the way the world works.
I recollect the news of Anthony Bourdain's death vividly back in 2018 and the way it destroyed everyone's day with unexpectedly widespread impact. To me, he was more than just an author and a host, above all, he was a guide.
He taught you how to communicate with people regardless of their native language. He taught you how to savor different cuisines without being afraid of them, something that we have the liberty and endless option to do living here in New York. Even if you didn't have the financial means or the will to go on these journeys, Bourdain taught you to perceive the world as a large and intriguing menu to be savored in good company.
I recently finished reading a book entitled In the Weeds by Tom Vitale who was Bourdain's long time director and producer. In it, he “takes readers behind the scenes to reveal the insanity of filming television in some of the most volatile places in the world and what it was like to work with a legend.” Clinging to every word, every tale in the book was a true thrill since, aside from his show and documentary on Tony's life, it's the closest thing to understanding who he was as a person when the cameras were off.
Despite all of the shared experiences throughout the book, I can't help but return to this phrase, which, strangely enough, occurs at the end of a chapter in which Tom muses on Tony's death:
“After Tony died, one of the first thing people ask is if he left a note. I was horrified when I realized that I’ve been unwittingly helping him make one for 16 years.”
There's just too much good stuff here, so take your time reading it. You'll need it, not because of the list's length, but because of its depth. Here’s some of my favorite:
Given everything we've been through in the last year as a result of COVID, our experience of what it means to go on vacation may be colored differently but that doesn't mean we can't still enjoy traveling. I get it. Everything feels different because there’s more loops to navigate than ever before, but they’re all preventative measures that benefit everyone so we can recapture the joy of what it feels like to going somewhere new or revisiting old spots that mesmerized us the first time.
For the past three years, my wife and I have set aside four days in the Fall to visit a location that meets 4 criteria: it’s logistically easy to get to, has gorgeous beaches, wonderful food, and provides enough downtime for us to enjoy each other's company without the kids.
We've previously visited Cartagena, Colombia with our full family and had a fantastic time, but traveling with a large family and with children changes the dynamic in comparison to how quickly a party of 2 can move from point A to point B, so for that very reason we returned but this time just the 2 of us and I wanted to share some photo of our experience.
In no particular order, here's a few of our favorites places in which the food was absolutely delicious:
Lodging: NH Cartagena Urban Royal
Colombia is one of those places where you don't just see the sights, but also feel them, and while you might be inclined to spend your time exploring the culture and people on a bright sunny day, you'll be surprised at how equally charming the town is once the sun has set.
My wife and I went out to dinner one night, and to really appreciate the fact that we had an entire 4-days to ourselves without the kids, we toured the streets of Cartagena at night, avoiding any guilt we would have felt if the kids had been with us.
We are not responsible for whether or not anyone can afford us. We are only responsible for the service/product/value we bring to that client. Don't be afraid to be expensive.
It took me a bit to figure out this one. I used to think that if a potential client contacted you to inquire about your service and decided the price was too high during the conversation, it meant we'd automatically not be booked for nothing else. Lowering your prices seemed to be the answer but eventually I realize that regardless of how great your work may be, you have to be content with knowing that your service will not be for everyone and it's up to you to respect that by not devaluing what you already offer.