On Face Value

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Matt, Age 6

The great portrait photographer Richard Avedon once said, “Faces are the ledgers of our experience.”

I like taking photos of people. Set-up head shots, against a backdrop or environmental…the whole thing.

I really like photojournalism, I love documentary photography. But…

I want to be a great portrait photographer.

Like Avedon. Like Penn. Like Platon.

A few weeks ago, I decided to enter some of my portraits in the LensCulture Portrait Contest.

Not the one of Matt, above. These:

Basketweaver

David Burnett

Georgia Owen

Remember Jones

Whiplash Redemption

LensCulture recently announced their 39 Winners & Finalists.

Lots of great and interesting work here. Some that even make me raise my eyebrows and scratch  my head.

I wasn’t part of the 39. Maybe I was number 40. Who knows.

I guess I still have a lot of work to do.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2018

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Judging A Book By Its Cover

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Happy World Book Day!

Books have been a part of my life as long as I could remember.

When I was little, it was a treat to go to the library during school. I couldn’t wait. I loved looking at all the books, finding something new to read.

I loved the smell of the school library.

During the summer, my Dad would come home from his corrections officer’s shift, eat dinner, then take my sister and I to the library. I won’t say we wandered for hours….we have maybe an hour to pick out what we wanted (we often went when it rained – Dad’s chores were put on hold by rain so he’d have some extra time).

So I’d go the Hardy Boy section or the Mystery section and pick out a few.

There was just something magical about being able to go off on a adventure without leaving my small town.

To be able to have my photos on the a book cover, or inside a book, is a supreme thrill to me. I don’t think that will ever go away.

I’m honored to be able to work with Altus Press, Bard Constantine, Joe Clifford, Tom Pitts and others on working with me to help give their books live.

People DO judge a book by its cover, you know.

Go pick one up a book today.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2018

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JSP Visual Week In Review ~ 04.21.18

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Spring FINALLY seems to be on its way around here. The grass is greening up, buds on the trees are finally opening.

The temps are still pretty cool on the whole, but at least we had no snow this week. Spring certainly it taking a long time to get here this year.

Hopefully, though, this portends to a hot summer.

Big week coming up this week…a few interesting things happening and some cool stuff happening next weekend.

Stay with me and I’ll tell you all about it.

____
This Week’s Links:

What I Finished Reading This Week: Shutter Island (I really liked this one. Read like a Stephen King book, though.)

What I Started Reading This week: Down the River Unto the Sea

What I Watched This Week: A lot of NBA playoffs (Trust The Process)

What I Also Watched This Week: A Three minute watch: “My past is always in front of me.” A beautiful film from Cuba by Joe McNally and his team.

Flickr Bought By Smugmug.

A year ago this weekend, I was shooting some local guys rocking out in Asbury Park.

Telling hidden stories.

Echoes of Picasso.

Finally, I shot this portrait of my aunt in her living room back in 2015. She celebrated her 85th birthday last weekend. Happy birthday to her!

“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.” ~ Ansel Adams, who passed way on April 22, 1984, 34 years ago today.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2018

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A Wonder(bar)ful Night

Wonder Bar

“Hey girl, you want to ride in Daddy’s Cadillac?
‘Cause I love the way your long hair falls down your back
Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley’s at the Seaside Bar
We’ll run barefoot in the sand, listen to his guitar.” ~ Bruce Springsteen, Seaside Bar Song

The Stone Pony is the famous one. People come from near and far to go to the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

But when I heard Bruce and the E Street Band, with Professor Roy Bitans setting the tone on the electric organ, launch into Seaside Bar Song, I think of the Wonder Bar. Just two block up Ocean Ave from the Pony, it could very well be as legendary as it’s more famous neighbor. At least by Jersey rock ‘n roll standards.

Ironically, for as many times as I go to Asbury Park, I’ve only be inside the Wonder Bar once. And I didn’t even hear a band. It was a few January’s ago, after a Polar Bear Plunge. The pub inside Convention Hall, Anchor’s Bend, was crowded and I was hungry. I went across the street – the sky looked a lot it did in the above photo, even though I shot that one on a June evening – and had a burger and a beer.

It tasted good.

But last Friday night, I got inside the Wonder Bar to actually hear some music, and shoot, of course.

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Last weekend, at Monmouth University, the Darkness On The Edge Of Town: Springsteen Symposium was held. Back in 2014, I was part of another Springsteen Symposium at Monmouth. But alas, my calendar was already filled up so I couldn’t attend, unfortunately.

But there was one part of the program that I did get to attend – and shoot – a jam session at the Wonder Bar on Friday night. And the participants included a number of musicians from the Monmouth University music program, including my buddy, Zack Sandler (who, the previous Sunday, played with Bobby Mahoney’s band as they opened for Rock n Roll Hall of Famer Bon Jovi at the Prudential Center in North Jersey. Quite the week for Zack.)

The seaside bars on the Jersey Shore are known for their jam sessions. Musicians from various bands will gather round and play some good tunes. This jam Friday night was no different.

The main musicians on the stage, besides Zack, were Joe Rapolla, a professor of music at Monmouth, and students Dan Amato and The Sentimental Gentleman (one which is singer Nicole Govel)

But the musicians weren’t just from Monmouth U. Others on the stage included Mike Masefield, (electric organ), Ian Gray (trombone) both with Remember Jones (and in advance of opening the next night for Ronnie Spector), original E Street Drummer Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez, David Hernandez on keyboards, and legendary Jersey Shore blues guitarist Gary Cavico.

It was a crowded stage for sure. Now, you walk into a little bar on the Jersey Shore and you see any of the elements below, you know you’re in for a fun night. Crowded stage or not.

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Stage set up, pre-show

Joe and his students got things going with a fantastic rendition, appropriately enough, of Darkness On The Edge of Town. 

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Gary C, Zack Sandler, Professor Joe Rapolla

From there, the 45-minute set just took off.

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Dan Amato, Zack Sandler, Joe Rapolla

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Zack Sandler, Dan Amato

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Zack on sax, Ian on trombone

 

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Mark Masefield (with Tillie looking over his shoulder)

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Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez

 

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Nicole Govel, Zack Sandler, Dan Amato, Ian Gray

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Dan’s guitar – Paramus (NJ) Proud

I first saw a number of these guys play back in January. There was no Elvis this time, but it was a heck of a set. There’s just something about being in New Jersey, in Asbury Park…and hearing bands do Springsteen songs. It just feels right.

I was busy shooting stills, of course, but here’s a quick 30 second clip of the jam doing Springsteen’s Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) to give you a little flavor.

When I left my house in Upper Freehold, it was 85 degrees. By the time I got to Asbury Park, it was 65. And by the time I left the Wonder Bar (and ran across the street and up the boardwalk a bit to catch a short set by Bobby Mahoney at the Asbury Park Yacht Club, the night mist was setting in.

The temperature was about 55 and chilly, but the air smelled salty, like the ocean on my left as I walked further up the boardwalk to the Casino. There was nothing up there, though I was hoping for the High Voltage coffee shop to be open. But I still had to keep walking through the midst, to step into the cover of the hulking relic.

The ghosts of Asbury seemed to be out. I thought I saw one in the distance. But, no, it was just a lone person, carrying his guitar in his right hand, headed home after whatever gig he played that night. The same path, I bet, Springsteen himself would have walked after a gig about 40 years ago.

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I paid my respects to the Casino, turned around and walked back down to the other end, where Convention Hall is, and where my truck was parked across the street. The wind was blowing and I hunched my shoulders down against it.

The wind blew, the waves were crashing, a guy on a fat-tire beach bike pedaled past me. Otherwise, I was along on the boards. I half expected to see Rosalita – or Bruce himself – materialize out of the midst. But no such luck (it would be until Sunday that he showed up in Asbury Park. With his 92 year old mother. At, where else, the Wonder Bar.)

On this night, though, thanks to some young music students – and the old S.O.A.P (Sound of Asbury Park) guards – some of my faith was restored.

The darkness lifted, at least for a while. A wonder(bar)ful night.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2018

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