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Art 4 Art (photos for musician Josh Garrels)


I’ve been saying for awhile now that I’d really like to get into more artistic portraiture, making art for artists. This is one of my first ventures, and I could not be more excited about it.

A few months ago a friend introduced me to a musician named Josh Garrels.  I fell in love with his work instantly. Seriously, I cannot say enough how much I dig his music, it’s incredibly rich in lyric and verse, I find something new every time I listen to it.  I went to a concert and loved the music even more live. A few times during the concert Josh mentioned his Peruvian wife. My ears always perk up when I hear about Peru, as I lived there for 4 months during college and it still has a place in my heart. Afterward, I just had to go meet his Peruvian wife. I met Michelle, a cute little pixie of a girl and found out she lived in Pucallpa, a jungle village located off the Ucayali river. As I look at Michelle I realize I met her when I was there doing a short mission trip in the jungle many years ago! How crazy it that!?  A sign maybe? Turns out she’s quite the photographer and artist too, and we’ve been doing some work together since then. I ran the idea of artist portraits by her and Josh, this is some of the work that ensued.

Here’s a link to a download of his most recent album. It’s AMAZING! Here is a link to a recent documentary being made on his work, I can’t wait to see the whole thing, super exciting.

One of my favorite shades of blue is just the kind of  blue that you find in a lot of maps. I call it Robin’s Egg Blue. You can call it awesome. I found a bunch of maps at a shop in Portland called Scrap. If you don’t know what Scrap is you should check it out,  everything you’ve never wanted is there. It’s essentially one big moderately organized junk drawer, it’s filled from ceiling to floor with bins and shelves containing; rubber bands, bottle caps, half uses tubes of glue, opened containers of glitter, old paint, zippers, fabric samples… and on and on. I felt like a scene from Portlandia, as I sat there digging though hundreds of maps just trying to find this shade of blue. Tah dah!  I left Scrap happy (scrappy!) with my spoils and proceeded to make a huge collaged map back drop. Worth it.

I’ve  had this specific vision in my mind for a shoot for a while now, all the way down to the wardrobe.  As I got to know more about Josh’s music and themes, I began integrating some other visual elements in,  hoping that the shoot would mirror and tie into  one of Josh’s recent albums, Love and War and the Sea In-between. I tried to integrate that concept and color scheme into these photos, with the sky above and the sea below.  A bit like a map come to life, with the planes dangling from the sky  and the red twine strung through the scene echoing the bold curvy lines on the map.

I picked the wardrobe specifically to tie all of the colors and themes together. I think it worked really well.

I’ve been really into  pairing photos with still life or other details to accent the content of a photo. I think this works really well with these pictures.

I know there are a ton of pictures here but I just could not pair them down, and this is not even 20% of the outtakes which I liked. *Sigh Culling has got to be the worst part of my job.

We did a few couples pictures just for fun. Cute! Ridiculously cute.

There you have it. Art 4 Art.

I really loved the experience of shooting these pictures and working with an artist who I love was tons of fun. Really looking forward to doing more of this kind of work in the future. Josh is launching a new website next month that will be featuring photos from our shoot. YAY! Check out it site and work, again, it’s AMAZING. I’ll post a link when his updated site is up.

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