JSP Visual Week In Review ~ 03.23.19

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I was thinking in general terms this week.

Maybe because I shot a general.

But I mean I like being a generalist. I like that my IG profile shows a range of work.

I love when people are portrait photographers. But I really dislike going to their IG and just seeing face after face after face.

Sunday night, I shot a punk band.

Monday morning, I shot a CEO and an Army general.

This month I’ve shot corporate headshots, actor headshots and sports.

Next month, I’ll shoot a corporate event, more sports and who knows what else.

I’m basically the utility infielder of photography.

And I’m OK with that.

There’s something to be said for being a specialist. And for a long time, that’s what I thought I wanted to be, both in my day job and in my passion.

But I like being a generalist.

And I want to be the best generalist I can be.

Generally speaking, of course.

_______

This Week’s Links: 

What I Read This Week: Working on The Last of The Stanfields by Marc Levy

What I Watched This Week: Singin’ In The Rain

Medium: A Photographer’s Case for Twitter

DP Preview: A Message To Landscape Photographers

PDN: The Film-Friendly Beer

NY Times: Alec Soth of Art and Doubt

Interviewing A Photo Book Legend

Camera Light

Watch (5 min): David Bailey on his life in pictures

“I didn’t choose photography; it chose me. I didn’t know it at the time. An artist doesn’t think first then do it, he is driven.” ~ Ilse Bing, born today, March 23, in 1899.

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

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Corporate Work: The General

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General (Retired) Stanley McCrystal

And so, after a very late Sunday night (I got home from The Bouncing Souls around 11:45 p.m., downloaded my images, pulled some selects to send to the promoter so that they were in his in box by morning, set up my cloud back up and went to bed around 1:30 a.m.) I was up by 5:45 a.m. on Monday morning.

By 6:30, after a couple of cups of coffee, I was on the hop to New Brunswick to shoot an event at corporate offices. The event was a talk on leadership given by the man above, General (retired) Stanley McCrystal.

This man has a heckuva resume:

Defense Distinguished Service Medal 
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal 
Legion of Merit 
Bronze Star

Me, shaking his hand: “General, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

The General: “Call me Stan.”

This event was supposed to happen back in early February, but bad weather prevented him from getting to New Jersey from Washington. No such issues on Monday as was sunny and bright.

The talk was about an hour and the photography I did was standard fare: The company CEO introducing General McCrystal, the General giving his talk on stage, shaking hands and signing books afterwards.

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So, I got the shots I needed to get. But I knew the shot I wanted to get.

It’s the shot above – a pretty nice portrait using window light and a clean background.  Some fill on the left side of his face would have been nice, but I didn’t have time.

I shot this in about 20 seconds.

Well, two years and 20 seconds.

In the lobby of the building I was in, there’s this gray painted wall. It’s small (it’s the outer side of a doorway leading out of the building) and there’s usually a big plant in front of it. There a huge glass widow to the right of the wall, if you’re looking at it.

I discovered it a couple of years ago when I shot some corporate headshots in this lobby. Then, used it again when I had to do another shoot.

Luckily, it hadn’t been painted over. So when the General was done signing books and shaking hands, he, his handler and a couple of corporate PR reps walked him out.

I trailed behind, for two reasons: One, to me the shoot wasn’t over yet. Something could happen, a photo possibility could present it self even in the waning minutes of the time the General was on site.

Always be ready, don’t put your camera away until you pack up and leave the set.

But two, I really wanted to get a portrait of the general. A nice, noble, clean portrait. That was one of the reasons I got there so early before the event, to maybe ask for it then.

But he was behind closed doors with the CEO until it was time for the corporate shots to start (I got some nice ones of him and the CEO which I’ll make prints of and send to both but nothing too exciting for here.)

So, I trailed after them, like a puppy off his lease, my Canon on my shoulder, my  Fuji in my hand. Followed them out into the lobby. Saw the General do his final handshakes…and I could see his mind already moving on to “what’s next.” His handler, a nice young lady, had his agenda in her hand.

But…then I stepped up. He was ready to go out the door.

“General, excuse me, can I please impose on you to get just one more shot, a nice portrait.”

“Oh….sure…ah…ok, where do you want me?”

“Just right here in front of this wall.”

“Here?”

“Yes, right there is great.”

I moved the plant over just a little bit…I could feel the eyes of his handler boring in to me…but I quickly dialed in my f stop (F.5) and my exposure (1/500th), snapped three frames, and said thank you.

We shook hands again and off he went to the next stop on his book tour.

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Same frame, a little tighter crop, and in B&W because I love B&W portraits.

I got what I had to get.

And I got the one I wanted to get.

Patience…and an ask…came through.

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

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Event: The Bouncing Souls At Crossroads

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It’s a little difficult to calculate how many bands The Bouncing Souls have influenced over the years.

The Souls – a punk rock band from Central New Jersey – started their career of short, intense songs 30 years ago.

Not many bands that get started expect to still be doing it 30 years later. Especially a punk band.

But these guys – lead singer Greg Attonito, guitarist Pete Steinkopf, bassist Bryan Kielen, drummer Greg Rebelo – have been at it a long time and their influence stretches far and wide. Kerrang Magazine ran a great article on this very topic. Many of the bands I’ve shot – from The Gaslight Anthem to The Vansaders – are standing on the very tall shoulders of the Souls.

I won’t lie. I didn’t always know about The Bouncing Souls. You move to New Jersey, and and you hear about Bruce, listen to Bruce. But then the circle widens and you start to find out about the history of music in the Garden State.

And because I like those bands I mentioned above, I fell down the rabbit hole, found the Souls a few months ago and have been listening to them every since.

Had to find their roots. Now I know.

When I found out they would do a pre-“Critical Moments” tour, acoustic show  (billed as the Hopeless Romantics Club) at Crossroads, I made a couple of calls and got on the list to shoot them.

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Pulling taps on St. Patty’s Day

So, on St. Patty’s Day evening, a full house crowded into the intimate club that is Crossroads and they saw themselves a very fun show.

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Greg Attonito

This was an acoustic/storytellers affair, almost like what Brian Fallon did back in December. Greg ran the show and directed traffic, even taking song suggestions (and coaching the rest of the band through some of the more vague ones.)

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Pete Steinkopf

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Bryan Kielen

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George Rebelo

They played for a solid two hours, giving me time to work the room to see what I could see.

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One really fun part of the evening: When the band did The Ballad of Johnny X…and Johnny X (far right, next to Pete) came onstage to play guitar on it!

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Another really fun part: Before the show started, I overheard someone mention “Wilkes-Barre.” I had to dip my head into that conversation, and explain how I grew up in the Wyoming Valley, just outside of Wilkes-Barre.

Then, during the show, Greg from the Souls name-checks WB (I thought I heard him wrong, can’t really remember what the context was.) But after the show, as people are milling about, I see the same guy from earlier. So I ask him about if he heard it too, and he confirmed it for me.

He introduced me to his three friends, and they said they were getting ready to drive back to Wilkes-Barre that night (he wasn’t drinking so he’d be doing the driving.) It was a pleasure talking to them, so I had to snap their picture.

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After promising we’d meet back up in Asbury Park for Stoked For Summer in July, I told them to have a safe 2 1/2 hour ride home.

I was glad to shoot this show.  It was a very fun evening, though albeit pretty chill. My favorite song of the night was Lean On Sheena. Next time I shoot the Souls, I hope it’s one of their full-on punktastic productions.

Then, after picking up some merch, I had to shoot one more before I hit the highway for home.

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

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Musicians & The Mosaic: Dan Amato

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I’m trying to remember the first time I heard Dan Amato play.

I think it was over a year ago at a Light of Day show in Asbury Park. And he pretty much blew me away.

Dan is a singer/songwriter that sounds like he would have fit right in about thirty years ago – with Chicago and Fleetwood Mac were writing hits.

He’s not a rock ‘n roller, he’s not a swooner. But he a songwriter composer that creates some  of the freshest-sounding music I get into.

I pitched him to be part of my Musician & The Mosaic project last year, but we couldn’t make our schedules happen. Heck, we had more success hooking up in NYC last fall than in AP.

But last week, I was in working out of Asbury Park for the day and put it out on my Instagram that if anyone wanted to take part in my project to ping me.

Dan did!

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He had just enough time to swing by Ocean Ave before he had to get to class at Monmouth University.

It was a beautiful, sunny day in Asbury Park, but still a little chilly (about 55 degrees – it was 75 about 30 miles west, where I live). He brought along his beautiful new guitar, an ES Style Les Paul.

I know nothing about instruments except out the look and this looked beautiful.

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We didn’t have a lot of time, but that was ok, I worked quick. We did a few set-ups in front of the mosaic wall, then I moved him over a little so that I could get the Casino in the background.

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He even strummed a little for me, but to be honest, it was pretty windy and I couldn’t hear what he was playing!

We were in done in about 10 minutes, enough time for me to add him to my Musicians & The Mosaic project and him off to his next class.

I walked across the street to AP boardwalk and had to pay my usual respects to the Casino – still standing but looking more ghostly every time I see it.

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Check out Dan’s music – Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen – on Spotify, YouTube, Pandora and other services!

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

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