Thursday, July 28, 2016

Two years

On the Beartooth Highway, Montana, July 2016. (photo by Callum Snape)

SOMETIME IN THE LAST MONTH THIS BLOG CELEBRATED ITS SECOND ANNIVERSARY. Thankfully I was too busy to put up a post on the day, which is something I'm grateful to note; the whole impetus for starting this blog was that I wasn't too busy doing anything, particularly photography, and that was something I was desperate to change.

The photo at the top is from roughly where I was when this anniversary passed. A return to travel writing - and the chance to travel with my cameras - is obviously the biggest thing that's happened to me and my "career" in the last year. If you know anything about travel writing you know that the money isn't great, but the opportunity to wander the world and take photos makes up for it, at least for me.

There were some other happy developments in the last year, the earliest of which was my second photo on a Jon Spencer Blues Explosion record. As I recalled it last year, with my return to live music photography, the shoot that produced this band portrait was very spontaneous and ad hoc, but the results exceeded my expectations and a few months later Jon called and asked if he could use the shot on their live record, to be released on Record Store Day. Thanks Jon, Judah and Russell!

The next big project this year was already in the works when I shot Jon and his band. After posting my photos of White Zombie in their pre-stadium days, I got in touch with J. Yuenger, who was guitarist in the band after this lineup. He posted a shot on his blog, then told WZ bassist Sean Yseult about the shots. We had a nice back-and-forth on Twitter about it and I felt like that post had gone very nicely.

Not long afterward I got a call from the nice guys at Numero Group in Chicago; they were working with J. and Sean on an epic box set retrospective of the band's scuzzy, lo-fi New York period, and wanted to use some of my shots. Of course I agreed - Numero is probably one of the best reissue record labels in the world, and a chance to work with them was hardly something an old record geek like me could turn down. Thanks J. and Sean!

The biggest project of the last year, though, was the 25th anniversary reissue of my friend Jane Bunnett's Spirits of Havana record. After I'd posted a bunch of photos from our trip down there at the turn of the '90s, Jane and her husband Larry called and asked if I'd work with them on the package for the reissue, which would turn into one big photo essay from our time in Havana.

It also gave me an opportunity to work with my old high school buddy Joe Gisini's company, Pagewave, who put together the package. It came out last month and looked great, but the biggest surprise was when I cracked the shrink wrap and saw the following paragraph down among the production credits:

To be honest, I was a little choked up. Two years ago, when my wife encouraged me to start going through my old negatives and put them online, I had a vague hope that the work would create some sort of momentum that would give my old work new life, and encourage me to take new photos.

Two years on I'm shooting again, enjoying it, and finding new homes for old work that might otherwise have faded away on my office shelf. And for that I'd like to thank my patient wife, my children, my friends and the people who take time to visit this blog. I hope I can continue with that momentum, and produce new work worth your time and patience.

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