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Kim Sherman and Cotten Music

Posted: March 20th, 2011 | Filed under: collector, feature, good friend, home, musician, photographer, retail, singer | 41 Comments »

Kim Sherman and I go all the way back to about 1983 or so. I was a punk kid, with a studio down on Second Avenue North, (current home of Mulligan’s Irish Bar). I lived downstairs, and had a studio upstairs on the second floor. I shot about three album covers a week at that time; the music business was on fire at that time. Kim was doing a record with Phil Johnson for The Benson Company. Fifteen years go by, and we met again through a mutual friend — this time, through photography. (She’s another in this line of strong Renaissance women — she collects art; she cooks; she does photography; she writes songs; she collects bicycles; she co-owns a high-end guitar store. I think I’m going to rename this blog StrongRenaissanceWomen.com).

It turns out, Kim and I both grew up in Kentucky, about two hours apart. Her father farms about 1900 acres in western Kentucky — mostly corn, soybeans and wheat. She has three sisters, and loves her very tightly-knit family. In 1996, Kim joined ranks with Darcy Cotten to run Cotten Music in Hillsboro Village. She’s now writing songs again, and collaborating with friends. A few years ago, she purchased a gorgeous Manuel Zeitlin-designed loft on Belmont, and helped design the interior, even down to importing some of the wood flooring for her sleeping loft, from her father’s barn in Kentucky.

She’s as fine and honest a person as you’ll ever come across. Pure as the day is long; kind-hearted and genuine. Wander into Cotten Music in the village, look down at that tile floor, and feel the history.


Dave Cloud: Lounge Singer, Performance Artist

Posted: March 4th, 2011 | Filed under: artist, feature, great face, musician, singer | 3 Comments »

The first words I heard about Dave Cloud were “Budweiser” and “Springwater”. So that’s got to add up to trouble. Angela Messina had worked with him, with Harmony Korine, on a Bud commercial in Angela’s basement. Then I heard that he’d done over 300 performances at The Springwater, which must count for something. Just to survive that. So I meet Dave over there one afternoon about 3 o’clock, and we get to know each other, shoot some portraits, and hear his story. Fascinating character. Sitting in the background, in the video, is Gary Gray.


Tom Mason: Performance Artist

Posted: March 3rd, 2011 | Filed under: artist, feature, great face, musician | 4 Comments »

I met Tom Mason many years ago. We chose him as talent for a PacifiCare campaign. Not sure what we cast him as, but all I remember was that he had a nice spirit, and a great face.

When we photographed him last week, we met near his home, in Shelby Park. It was pouring rain, and we hid out in a picnic area in the park. He brought his Shakespearean books, his trumpet, his mandolin, his scarves, and his monologue! The rainy weather was just perfect for his Irish brogue and his speech. We’d wait for a break in the rain, and make a run for it, out to the riverfront, shoot our take, and then make a run for it, back to the picnic cover.

Tom Mason is part magician; part pirate; part Irish; but 100% imagination and spirit. (Watch the video below).


Joshua Black Wilkins: Musician, Tintypes

Posted: February 19th, 2011 | Filed under: hopefully good friend, musician, photographer, singer | 7 Comments »

I’d heard about Joshua, (here and here), from several people around town. Then, one day, I stumbled onto his tintypes. They definitely caught my attention. I know how much work goes into them, and it just impressed me that he wasn’t yet another one of these “young guys with a 5D and an iPhone” — that he was putting in the hard work to create these tintypes. So we wrote to him, asked him to be photographed, and he said yes. So off I go, headed to Inglewood, and he spread out the tintypes on his kitchen table, (see video at the bottom of this post). I should have brought my tripod, and copied some of them for him on the big camera, just to see what they’d look like blown up to 30×40 or so, but I got too caught up in the shooting and his music (and his amazing cat). I think after trying “the official approach”, he ended up going to Home Depot and buying a roll of aluminum, and then some cans of matte black spray paint, and customizing his own approach to the backing material for the images. Then he refines his technique of applying the photo emulsion to the aluminum, and then slides them into traditional Fidelity 4×5 holders. Then he explained the whole thing about the UV light issue with tintypes — the emulsion only responds to blue light. I tried to wrap my head around all the limitations, which made me respect him even further. Also, in the video below, he sings that classic Tom Waits’ song, “Picture in a Frame”. He is the real deal; you can just feel it. He came to photography from carpentry — that’s always a good sign.

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Separate from this post about Joshua, here is a small tintype that I bought recently at Downtown Antique Mall. Yes, it’s a gorgeous image, and and it’s fascinating to wonder who these people are. But one thing that i can’t communicate on this blog is the tactile quality, and the weight of the piece, and simply how it feels lying in your hand. It is a special object. I keep it on my mantle at home.


Buddy Jackson: Sculptor, Musician

Posted: February 16th, 2011 | Filed under: artist, good friend, musician | Comments Off


Angela Messina: Textiles, Music, Art

Posted: February 15th, 2011 | Filed under: artist, designer, musician | 1 Comment »

I bought a house in 12South neighborhood in 2005. When I’d leave my house on Gilmore, and drive toward 8th Avenue, I’d always drive by this one particular house that caught my eye. Imagine a small house, and the front porch would be covered with giant handmade cobwebs made of fabric. I think maybe, at one point, there were also baby dolls out there too, hanging and suspended from the gutters. It was definitely not your run of the mill 12 South yuppie presentation. So I made a mental note to one day meet this person who lived there. When this MyDayWith project came along, it seemed the perfect excuse. As it turns out, the producer that’s helping me with this knew her previously — a commercial had been shot in her basement, and Lisa had met her at that time.

So the resident of this wonderful home is Angela Messina. She went to college in Memphis, and majored in textiles. Now, she’s a musician, and works in art department for film, here in Nashville. She worked on that incredible photo session for Jack White and the Raconteurs, that Steven Berkman shot on collodion. She showed me the vinyl version of the record while I was at her home; it’s quite the accomplishment.

What drives her are patterns. Patterns and graphics. And even better if the sun is shining thru a window, casting a patterned shadow on an existing pattern. Angela’s home is packed with her obsessive creations: fabric mazes on the ceilings; a sewing room in one bedroom, packed to the gills; a bookmobile in her driveway, that’ll one day be a traveling art gallery; the back yard is painted, with fabric hanging from the bushes. She is simply a pure, pure artist — she lives to create. Her back porch is a meditative, calming area, with a bench seat and a table, and a screened in area, to let the breeze pass through on a summer night.