Often, when I'm writing a song, I treat it as a short film. A series of scenes, an appropriate degree of arc, and a dose of drama and whimsy. When I'm shooting, I'm looking to capture a bit more mystery. It's one moment in the film. Hopefully, that moment will spark something in your imagination, to wonder about the rest of the story. We all have one.
The mediums aren't so different in that way. Songs are visual, and photographs are musical. There's a sprinkle of synesthesia between them. Where does the story start? What should be in focus, and what should be in the background supporting? I love that process of elimination, the edit that comes after the gather.
Today I am applying for a position that I'd really love to have, with the New York Times. If someone asked me to draft up my dream job, this is what I would come up with. Travel, writing, photography, culture, adventure, challenge, people, food.. to report back from localities around the world. Am I the most experienced on paper? Can't say. I run across great, talented humans out there all of the time, and I'm positive they want this too. So here we go, here we are. Let's see what happens if I step out. Maybe I get this job. Maybe it's the next one. Maybe this leads me to something different entirely, something I haven't imagined yet. In any case, I'm excited and curious where life takes me from here.
Where would I go first? Eat first? Talk to? What would be the first photograph? Their stories are already taking shape. I see a porch somewhere in Spain or South Africa, strumming and drumming, singing with a group of new friends before setting off into the city to shoot and forage for dinner. One of my most vivid childhood memories is my mom sitting with me, teaching me how to visualize the result that I wanted. She showed me how to focus my imagination. Forever grateful for that.
These are a few of my favorite photographs from the last couple years of travel.
Jalama Beach, CA
A quiet fisherman and his wife spend a sunset in the waves. She would collect shells as he cast lines into the waves. Jalama is one of the more remote beaches in California. It's a treasure at the end of a coiled 14 mile road, and is known for it's high winds and big open waves. The Jalama Burger has garnered some of it's own fame as well, and rightly so. The grill is on the beach, and doubles as a general store. The beach has a modest number of campsites, and you likely won't leave there without a new friend or two.
Joshua Tree Acres, Joshua Tree, CA
In the California desert, you can get lost to find what you need. An escape from the city, or a way of life. There are few places that can match the spiritual energy of Joshua Tree. Here, a couple have built a retreat, using vintage airstreams as centerpieces and domiciles, with a shared clubhouse and a hot tub in the center of the property.
Immediately, you're struck by the colors. A woman in pink with a ink cake. The bright orange spit of al pastor. A man wrapped in a pink and white towel, asleep inside of a small structure surrounded by lush greenery. A vibrant beach town south of Tulum and Cancún.
The flying pole dancers greet a group from a cruise ship, putting on a dramatic show of climbing, waiting, and then swinging down in a beautifully coordinated descending dance. Be prepared to reward their work if you stay for the show. In a local taco shop, a family works together, chopping, serving, washing, cooking, and the youngest, shown above shares his works of art and toys with you. All in the family.
New York, New York
A family in Brooklyn out on a crisp spring day. The sun peeks out, but there is still a heavy windchill towards the end of the thaw. My favorite time in the city. The birds are dancing around the army of feet, darting back and forth to peck at anything that looks like food. A boy tracks the movement of a floating bubble above the east river, giggling a little when it pops.
Sonora Desert, AZ
The moon rises to sit briefly atop a saguaro. The giant cactus can sometimes grow more than 40 feet, and they are native to this area of desert, from Arizona into Mexico. A solo hot air balloon ascends at sunrise, a time that is not to be missed out here. Not only are the colors incredible, but the temperature allows for more comfortable exploration and hiking.
Shell Station, UT
A man in overalls was selling his wares, using his truck as a makeshift office. I bought a couple of small painted skulls and some old custom coins. I thanked him, and said, "Have a good one!" He replied, "I may not have a good one, but I've got a young one!"
Los Angeles, CA - November 10th, 2017
A protest march is organized after Donald Trump is elected president, through the streets of downtown L.A. I thought about how different their thoughts must be, the older man and the young boy. I wonder what they talked about later that day.
One World Trade Center, NY, NY
Two young sisters run to catch up with their mom, setting a quick pace to the train. The little one was all complaints, but having the shortest legs, she had a rightful gripe in this situation.
Echo Park, CA
A woman observes an art piece at a small outdoor festival in East L.A. Live bands were playing in an adjacent lot, and I believe the band that was playing at this moment was called Ice Cream.
There's a gas station and petting zoo, called The Middle of Nowhere. This Llama was all smiles and when I went for the selfie, he snagged my t-shirt with his teeth. There was also a donkey and another llama with white fur.
I couldn't tell if this bloodhound could see me, or if he was sleeping. But he didn't seem to mind posing for a snap.
I was inspired by the little boy taking the photo of me taking his photo. It's that kind of interaction that gives me hope. The playfulness of life should be celebrated, as often as possible. Be amazed, kind, and fearless. Onwards.