Shooting Georgia


Geogia Borkowski_mkrajnak_052617_MG_7099

Georgia Borkowski

It’s funny how things work out, and how one thing can lead to another.

You may remember back in April, when I had the chance to shoot some events at the Asbury Park Music & Film Festival.

Of course, getting the chance to shoot Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny and Little Steven was a huge thing for me.

But something else happened too, which I’m excited to share now.

Screened at the APMFF was a documentary called Just Before The Dawn. It traces the rise and fall and rise of Asbury Park, and how music has played into that.

Here’s the trailer:

Featured in the film is a young musician named Georgia who learns and practices her craft at the Lakehouse Music Academy, a progressive music school in Asbury Park.

In between the screening of the film, which Georgia is featured in (and sings over the closing credits), and the Upstage Jam, I was standing in the aisle of the Paramount Theater checking out the scene.

A woman came up to me and said “Hey, don’t you go to my church?”

I said “If you go tot Allentown Presbyterian Church  in Allentown, I do!”

Turns out she does, and she recognized me as half of the husband/wife team that is always shuttling his brood of kids in and out of Sunday Services. She told me that was her daughter in the film and she’s a young (15) musician and that this summer she’s releasing her first album, with the help of the Lakehouse Music Academy and on the Moto Records label.

She also said Georgia will need promo shots for advertising, poster, website etc. I gave her my card and so our partnership started.

We traded some calls and emails and settled on a date, a Friday evening, to do the shoot. I started to think about the shoot and what types of images Team Georgia will need.

The Friday came for the shoot…and it was a lousy day. Chilly, drizzly. Not a great day for an outdoor shoot (cloudy I don’t mind, it was the chilly rainy I didn’t like). But I got ready for the shoot nonetheless. I’ve recently invested in expanding my gear list to better suit a mobile studio per se. I’ll be doing a post on what this all entails soon, but judging from the photos I got for this shoot, I think it’ll work out for me. Budget-friendly, too!

Georgia Borkowski_mkrajnak_052617_DSCF8018

Anyway…the Friday came…and something happened I didn’t plan on: Our babysitter was a no-show. Like, never called nothing. My wife was working and I had no coverage. So, in addition to it being a lousy day, I was in a lurch. Had to call Georgia’s mom, apologize profusely, and cancel. Aaargh!

Luckily, they were understanding (though she had done her makeup and got her outfits together). We rescheduled for a couple of weeks later, another Friday Georgia had free.

The worst part, for me, was that I had rented a 70-300 f/2.8 lens from that I love to use for portraits (and also a corporate gig I had planned for the same week).  While I used it for the corporate gig, I couldn’t extend the rental any more than I already had ($$$) so I had to send it back before this shoot was rescheduled. Frankly, I don’t know that I missed it, which is good to know. My Canon 24-105mm was great.

This time, we had babysitter coverage and the weather was MUCH better – still overcast, but warmer. Georgia lives very close to me, and her house sits on a the main lake in Allentown. We wanted to incorporate this setting – the lake and the dock in her backyard – into the shoot to emphasize her roots. Asbury Park has been a huge boost to her, and we had talked about doing the shoot down there (like a ton of other musicians) but Allentown is where she’s from.

Georgia Borkowski_mkrajnak_052617_MG_6769

The dock is where we started, and spent a good 30 minutes in various poses there. As my mantra, I was shooting entire-to-detail. Wide environmental portraits and closer detail shots. Full body to headshots

Georgia Borkowski_mkrajnak_052617_MG_6735

Georgia Borkowski_mkrajnak_052617_MG_6957

Once we finished on the dock, I wanted to do some portraits in front of a black muslin background I had set up. Here’s a BTS of what that looked like.

Black background_BTS_052017_IMG_5319

I set up a LED light and a shoot-through umbrella to give me a bit of fill light. Shooting my Canon 70D and my FujiX100T, I was really happy with what I got.

Georgia Borkowski_mkrajnak_052617_DSCF8092

Georgia Borkowski_mkrajnak_052617_MG_6936

Georgia Borkowski_mkrajnak_052617_DSCF8100

Georgia Borkowski_bw_mkrajnak_052617_DSCF8084

Georgia Borkowski_mkrajnak_052617_DSCF8087

We even got Flo into the act. From the Great Wall of China, to the markets of Mumbai, to the curve of a Taylor acoustic guitar…Flo finds her comfort zone.


Another little BTS…makeup and styling assist from Mom…



By this time, we were starting to lose some light, but we wanted to go across the street to the Old Mill and see what we can get there. Georgia works in The Moth Coffeehouse there, and has played there as well. Certainly plays into her musical history.

So, after a wardrobe change (for her, not me) while I broke the set down, we traveled a good 300 feet to our next location.

Georgia Borkowski_bw_mkrajnak_052617_DSCF8222

Georgia Borkowski_mkrajnak_052617_DSCF8145

Georgia Borkowski_mkrajnak_052617_DSCF8196

While shooting on this bridge, I asked Georgia to play something for me. Since she had a Johnny Cash t-shirt on, I asked her to sing Ring of Fire.

I got chills while I was shooting. Watch it here. (and disregard my big ol’ head getting in the frame)

Georgia Borkowski_bw_mkrajnak_052617_DSCF8246

BTS of this one….

Georgia Owens_BTS_mkrajnak_052617_DSCF8236

By this time, we were in darkness, she was tired and so was I. After some big hugs, I packed up my truck and Georgia and her mom walked across the street.

A couple of days later, I delivered the images to Georgia. In addition to these color and B&W images, I also provided some “editorial” images – some unique takes using different filters to give them an idea how they can use them for advertising purposes down the road.

Georgia Borkowski_edit_mkrajnak_052617_MG_6811

Georgia Borkowski_edit_mkrajnak_052617_DSCF8167

From what I’ve heard, the long history of the Jersey Sound is in good hands with young musicians like Georgia. She’s a bit indie, a bit alt-country, but all New Jersey. A very sweet girl too boot.

I learned a lot on this shoot (I hope we all learn something when we get behind the camera. There are somethings I’ll definitely work to do better (missed shots, better art direction) but also things I’ll definitely do again (loving the solid black background and it gives me other ideas of how to use it)

Georgia_Me_2_May 2017_MG_7094

I was very pleased to hear that Georgia loved the photos. and I’m excited to see how these images will be used, and hopeful that I can continue to be part of Georgia’s career.

Keep an eye on her!


© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017

Instagram | Twitter

BTS Sunday: Victoria Pearson in Japan

(c)JerseyStyle Photography_Victoria Pearson_Japan

January 2010, Hokkaido Region, Japan

First, sorry for the smallish nature of this image. Had to retrieve it from some back posts. The original, unfortunately, is on a hard drive that corrupted. And which I have not paid to get retrieved. And which I didn’t back up properly.

Anyway…..January 2010. I was on my first trip to Japan. This was part of an annual report story for the Johnson & Johnson Annual Report. The subject was a young woman who took one of our schizophrenia medicines, and used horse riding as therapy.

This was a pretty big trip where we hit Japan and China in the same swing. We were prepared for colder weather, but we didn’t expect to be standing in the snow photographing a woman with a horse. Windy and cold, indeed.

On set here was photographer Victoria Pearson (who is from Orange County, California, so not very used to winter weather at all), her assistant Jon, art director Stephen Doyle and our Japan fixer, Ricco, who stood all of 5 feet tall but was a firecracker for us.

And the horse handler, an employee of the stable we were at. She spoke no English, which is why we had Ricco there to do translation.

Vicki was shooting Canon with all natural light, just some reflector for fill.

Here’s the final photo that ran in the annual report.


Pretty nice portrait. One we didn’t really plan for but that worked out nicely!

Here’s my post from that day.

Vicki was great to work (and travel!) with. We still keep in touch, and almost worked together again last year. She’s on IG too!

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017

Instagram | Twitter

JSP Visual Week In Review ~ 06.03.17

JSP Visual Week In Review_060317

Turned another page and here we are at the middle part of the year.

Hard to believe it’s already been six months since we all did this.

Started the week picking strawberries last Sunday (early this year), then walked in a drizzily Memorial Day Parade with my boys. Baseball season is quickly coming to an end.

Then, a bit of sadness. My aunt passed away and we had the services this week. Normally, I’d take the slow route back up to Northeast PA, but, due to time constraints, had to take the turnpike both ways. Driving back to NJ on Wednesday evening, though, I was treated to a remarkable sunset over the hills and valleys of that part of Pennsylvania.

The good with the sad, I guess.


This week’s birthdays: Richard Caras, Larry Burrows, Joyce Tenneson, Howard Bingham,  Richard Nickel, George Hurrell, Keith Carter

What I read this week: Well, refer to yesterday’s post about all that.

What I listened to this week: Low Cut Connie

From the NY Times: Photos that evoke the film noir mystery (*sigh* even the NY Times doesn’t “get” film noir. These are nice B&W images. These do not evoke film noir to me.)

RIP Frank Deford

RIP Greg Allman

This, by author Benjamin Whitford. (apologies for the formatting)

Why photography is a fantastic way to maintain mental health.


“Our best pictures happen by grace.”– Joyce Tenneson

Going Greene: Summer Reading 2017


(c)JerseyStyle Photography_Summer Reading 2017_DSCF8345

I’m a big reader.

I usually have two books going at the same same time: One paper, one Kindle.

I read at the very end of my day, usually for an hour. About 30 minutes with the lights on, then, when my wife tells me to turn the light, I do…but then open my Kindle book, turn the brightness down, and keep going until I’m tired.

Now, this doesn’t mean I read many books per year. I don’t read fast. My wife can finish a book in a week. Not me. Takes me a while. Maybe it’s the way I read, maybe it’s the books I read. Dunno.

Since summer reading lists are popular now, and since it’s summer (to me) since it’s after Memorial Day, here’s what I’ll be diving into this year:

In paper:

I Don’t Want To Go To Jail – Jimmy Breslin

The Tin Roof Blowdown – James Lee Burke

The Confidential Agent – Graham Greene

The Man Within – Graham Greene

Natchez Burning – Greg Iles

Kiss of Death – Eleazar Lipsky

On Kindle:

The Man Who Would Be King – John Ripin Miller

The Last Moriarty  Charles Veley


A few notes on this list:

I get many of my books in the bargain bin aisle of the library, or rent from the library. In fact, I have a few books on my “to be read” list that I want to get from the library so they aren’t here.

I used to love reading Jimmy Breslin. Since he passed away earlier this year, I want to revisit some of his work. I think I have Table Money in my basement, and if I do, I’ll add that to the list.

I read Graham Greene’s Ministry of Fear while in Mexico back in February. It reminded me how much I like Graham Greene, so I actively sought out some titles by him. I’ve done “A Summer of (Mickey) Spillane” and “A Summer of James M. Cain” – this will be my “Summer of Greene”.  I started Confidential Agent last evening. It’ll be a Greene summer.

I love how James Lee Burke writes. Lush, full of atmosphere and description. Had to pick something up by him for the summer. Again, 50 cents from the local library bargain bin. If you’ve never read Burke, and want something new this summer, look for one of his books. Think you’ll enjoy it.

Know how when you get a new car, suddenly you start to see that color everywhere? It seems like the name “Greg Iles” has been popping up in my face all over the place. So I picked up Natchez Burning. It’s the middle book, I think, of the his triology about this character so I hope I can figure it out. It’s also a daunting size. I hope I can get through it. By Christmas.

Eleazar Lipsky was a New York prosecutor. And still found time to write.

David Foster Wallace…never read him. Picked the book up at a Little Free Library in Princeton.

Since I’m an Amazon Prime member, each month they offer you a free e-book to choose. That’s where I got The Last Moriarty and The Man Who Could Be King. So, I’ll give them a shot. Starting The Man Who Could Be King – since it’s about Washington and the Revolutionary War – tonight. Want to be deep into it prior to the 4th of July.

Now, I’m not promising I’ll finish all these. I’m a firm believer in, if a book ain’t working for you, close it and start another. I wasn’t always that way. I’ve tried to power through many a book I didn’t dig. Not anymore. Just this week, I closed The Five Red Herrings. Maybe not for good, but for now anyway.

That said, I’m still trying to get through Moby Dick. It’s been open for a few months now. I can’t say it’s a great read, at least to me. Some good passages, but overall it’s a tough one for me.

And then there is all the short stories and such that I’ll read in New Yorker, Esquire, Shotgun Honey, and that friends of mine will post or mention. I’m a big short story fan.

If you want to follow along with my literary adventure, check me out on Good Reads.

So, anything special on your summer reading list? Pop it in the comments below!


Oh, speaking of writing and writers…..this piece of bad news came in yesterday:

Dennis L


The “Dennis” in question is author Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island, The Drop, Gone Baby Gone). He’s the keynote speaker at a writer’s conference in New Brunswick, just up the turnpike from me, this weekend. I reached out to his people to see if I could get 15 minutes (max!) with him to do a portrait. I even mentioned how we share the same binding: He’s in TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND: Crime Fiction Based on The Songs of Bruce Springsteen, and so am I!

Alas, got shut out. Got to keep getting out there and trying though!

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017

Instagram | Twitter