Monkey Behind The Lens

Horn Crop a 584

I was once on the golf course too many years ago to remember what year it was, but I saw a golf cart barreling down the opposite fairway zigzagging like you never seen before. I spoke saying look at the drunk fool, that guy is either gonna run that cart into the lake or tip it! That’s when one of my buddies said how do you know it’s not a monkey driving the cart. I couldn’t stop laughing for five minutes because of how true his statement was, how did I know it wasn’t a monkey? I didn’t! Since I’ve heard that reasoning I thought better about making statements from the surface and re-composing my thoughts before I spoke (all light hearted of course). However, there is some real truth behind the question of course, one is responsible for whatever happens when he is the person in control. When I place my camera in my hands and press the shutter I am the monkey behind the wheel because great capture or terrible capture I am the only one the comments will be directed too, no different than a monkey driving a golf cart.

My father was a hobbyist photographer who loved capturing his friends, many who were well known like Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Jim Brown, Cleavon Little, and various professional athletes. My father is no longer with us and I have all his many camera’s and other equipment not to mention the thousands of photos he captured. His Hugh volume shots of Los Angeles Lakers players still astonishes me today, personals of Magic Johnson, Cooper, Kareem etc. and how did he get access to the Forum’s (Lakers home base at the time) floor to get those action close-ups? In any event it really doesn’t surprise me because he knew the right people but he has more baseball athletes in the mix which was his first love. Even as a child I remember him listening to the Dodgers on the radio every time they played if he wasn’t actually at the game.

My father was a jazz lover and an accomplished conga player who turned me onto some of the hip and coolest jazz masters on the planet. One of his favorite players besides Miles, Coltrane, Henderson etc. was a cat named Charles Lloyd, a tenor sax man who has a live album he recorded in Monterey Ca. entitled “Forest Flower”  sunrise, sunset with Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee, and Jack DeJohnette which also became a favorite album of mine and which I still own today, yes I still have all my vinyl. By the time I was 18 I had explored all the heavyweights of jazz and had ventured into the era of Creed Taylor productions, you remember those cool ass colorful album covers which featured a new jazz sound. Freddie Hubbard’s “First Light” Stanley Turrentine’s “Salt Song” Deodado’s “2001 Space Odyssey or Prelude” etc. I was in a cool place with jazz playing consuming all my spare time. I must have spent every available nickel I had except chick date money on albums. Probably should have bought music lessons instead!

So here I am today, still a lover of jazz with several saxophones, flutes and a keyboard that I’ve finally decided to learn while becoming  a very accomplished photographer. Someone asked me lately why did I take so long to discover I wanted to photograph jazz players, my answer was, I don’t know, but it’s a perfect time I guess because jazz has always bought me joy! Jazz allows my spirit to soar! Jazz speaks a language we both may hear but sometimes understand it as if it was French to you and Spanish to me! Jazz is a never ending experience that can bring about one’s passion for anything in life!

Photographing the artist that play the chords and runs so eloquently that touch my soul in a way I sometimes can’t explain is a way for me to revisit that experience again and again when I look at the image. Welcome to my space called JazzPhotoWorks, I hope I enlightened you about my passion and hope you enjoy my works good or not so good because I’m the monkey behind the wheel (lens).

Sincerely,

Gary