Rhett: He’s back folks. I’ve mentioned before what a talented, creative guy Nathan is and it would be a disservice to you all to not have him contribute on here regularly. His art, which I wanted to showcase here, is the main reason I came up with this idea of pairing a song and a picture in the first place.
I don’t know anything about photography, but there is something about the style of picture that he takes that I love. It is the type of photography that I want to put on the walls of my home and in the book on my coffee table. Pair this talent with his witty comments and you have one hell of an instagram follow. Just copying his pictures into this post got me excited for you all. My favourite thing is his ability to turn the simple and mundane into something beautiful. There is a real knack to that.
In another edition of Like PB & J, I’ve asked Jones to pair a picture he’s taken with a song he likes. The rest was open to interpretation. Enjoy.
PS. – there are links throughout the post, so don’t forget to click on those if you want to explore some more!
Rain dogs by Tom waits
Nathan: A while back I was listening to Rain Dogs by Tom Waits, which I usually do when I feel the need to connect emotionally to a deranged sewer rat who is crawling out of the gutter with his boxing gloves on, ready to take on the world and win (which also brings up Ready to Win by Tokyo Police Club vibes). Waits’ music to me inspires a gritty confidence, not tied up in an effortless and perfect delivery, but a tenacity and willingness to endure. I’ve pondered whether one can capture that same kind of emotion in photography and what it might look like.
With modern cameras it is easy to shoot a photograph that is technically on point, but I find emotion often to be wrapped up in the mistakes, out of focus, double exposures, pan focus, gritty subjects. It’s an ongoing practice to eschew easy beauty in search for gritty truth, but I would argue that Bruce Gilden’s photography embodies this ethos to an extreme degree, as do Danny Clinch and Mary Ellen Mark. This photo often reminds me of that energy.
American wedding by gogol bordello
This photo may just be an excuse to push Golgol Bordello on people, because I think they are a blast and high on my list of bands to see. I shot this portrait in Georgia, as this guys offered us vodka out of his cut off bottle cap after a ski run. He didn’t speak any English, but he seems like the kind of guy who would be annoyed at the lack of vodka at an American Wedding. Dig more into GB’s catalogue if their phrase “gypsy punk” gets you going.
Buckaroo Man by dave stamey / The Yellow Stud by Chris LeDoux
The Wood Mountain Stampede was the first rodeo I shot (thanks to my buddy Ashton Lehman), and has a significant impact on what I’ve been interested in shooting the following years. The speakers crackled the same rotation of songs over the weekend, with Buckaroo Man and The Yellow Stud sticking out, distilling the essence of the rodeo into song. Dave Stamey has a catalogue of really fun cowboy songs if that happens to be your flavour, and worth kicking your boots up to. Through both song and poetry, cowboy culture has a long history of storytelling. Its seeming suspension in time also lends itself to photography in many ways. Check out Kurt Markus or Joseph Haberle for some great western lifestyle photography.
What keeps me up now by benjamin tod / Somedays (I don’t feel like trying) by the raconteurs
I shot this photo during a pretty low period of my life and to me it sums up how I felt at the time. The ability to recognize that there was a world out there, but the inability to see it or process it correctly.
A couple of tunes that remind me of that period are What Keeps Me Up Now and Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying). I think both touch on processing and trying to deal with your demons and the days where you don’t really feel like keeping on. On the plus side, science says that listening to sad music makes you happier.
bald butte by colter wall
A large chunk of my inspiration for shooting photos comes from rural landscapes and finding ways to look at the prairie landscape with a new lens. A little known Saskatchewan singer, Colter Wall, has a few tunes that pay homage to the prairie landscape in a way that makes me nostalgic for the place I still live. Bald Butte specifically paints a beautiful picture of the south, with its rolling grass hills and expansive skies.
This is my prairie by corb lund / Edna by ellen froese
There are few songs that sum up growing up on a farm to me as much as This is my Prairie and Edna. My introduction to photography was getting a little Olympus point and shoot and wandering around the farm and snapping shots of everything that seemed interesting. That upbringing has continued to influence my work, as shooting my grandparents while they are still on the farm has been an ongoing project. “This is My Prairie” touches on stewardship to the land and reminds me of the frustration that my Grandpa had watching trees that had been across the road since he was a kid get brushed. Edna is the heartbreaking tale of a couple that move off the farm and wrestle with the end of certain family farms.
Everything Adriene Lenker does seems to have an ephemeral and ineffable quality about them, seeming to wisp around your eardrums and tease emotion out of you. I have too many photos of clouds, flowers and grass collecting digital dust somewhere, shot because the moment seemed right and never revisited. Here are a few. Would recommend listening to the song while lying in the tall grass, letting it dance around your head as the clouds slowly march past. Photography, I think, in its simplest form is the act of noticing. Adriene makes me want to slow down and breathe in what’s around me.
Like PB & J – Nathan jones
- RAIN DOGS – TOM WAITS
- AMERICAN WEDDING – GOGOL BORDELLO
- BUCKAROO MAN – DAVE STAMEY
- THE YELLOW STUD – CHRIS LEDOUX
- WHAT KEEPS ME UP NOW – BENJAMIN TOD
- SOMEDAYS (I DON”T FEEL LIKE TRYING) – THE RACONTEURS
- BALD BUTTE – COLTER WALL
- THIS IS MY PRAIRIE – CORB LUND
- EDNA – ELLEN FROESE
- ADRIANNE LENKER