"Jake La Botz is a creator of dark poetry and haunting song, the kind of music that gets in your bones and rides you for days, a sound and vision only those who've been to the bottom and clawed their way back up can generate. His midnight gifts evoke Hank Williams and Skip James as much as Tom Waits and Dylan. Not everybody will get this music - because not everybody is ready for the truth."
- Jerry Stahl (author of Permanent Midnight)
One day at work, I had an email from my Editor In Chief… who was sitting practically next to me… with a link listed, asking, “This guy is your vibe, yes?”
As I went to his page and poked around his website while listening to his music, I felt myself get inspired. As if I time traveled to a time that was a bit simpler. A bit rougher. A lot more human.
My email in return said something along the lines of… “yes, please.”
Suddenly, I found myself set designing in my head, looking up lights and mood board inspiration, sketching out ideas to create the right feel for him and his band to play their music in.
Before things were even fully settled in logistics (as in... a date confirmed of them playing), I had a set in mind, light bulbs ordered and a vision to put him and his band in.
Never, has my pre-shoot set appeared so suddenly and clearly. and never... have I had to be an electrician or a build it from scratch set designer (I normally use photoshop to create all of that stuff... real life set design... what!?)
Good thing the date was confirmed, I had some killer (slightly nerdy) interns to support me in building and figuring out the "how the hell are we going to make this work" stuff.
We got (from left to right): Jimmy Gene Sutton, Ira Elliot, Jake La Botz, and Doug Corcoran
The actual meeting and greeting of him and his band: seamless, welcoming, joyful and natural. It’s as if I’ve known them a while, and this was some sort of reunion.
The performance: inspiring, heart rattling, collaborative and story telling. As we were testing the video, I was live on my own Facebook page (privately) - and it’s a little gem. I won’t lie, I’ll leave it for my own reminder of how simple collaboration can be.
To see the live through inked, you can go here:
And… photographing men… Well, that’s a whole other can of worms for myself. It’s a different art, working with testosterone. Being behind the lens and seeing the vulnerability and authenticity of a man… and dancing with it, directing them as well as letting them be at the same time. Definitely a talent I get to nourish, and have been nourishing since. Photographing them… Well. I think their humble hearts made it seem a lot easier than I was making it in my head - I definitely rushed through it a bit. Regardless, I am proud of the end result.
I’m grateful for opportunities like this. To combine my love for music, for story telling, for poetry - and to use my visual capturing talents to combine the two. Grateful, that the people I work with let me jump into something new, to work with people I admire and am intrigued by. There are a lot of moments like this in my life, and I haven’t been sharing them nearly as often as I should. Hell, this blog doesn’t have any of my photoshoots with Inked, nor the people I’ve gotten to meet and the people I’ve gotten to work with.
So, Thank you fellas, for inspiring me to be grateful for what is. Slowing down and breathing in what is.