On-location with Jesse Brand

On-location with Jesse Brand


A few months ago, I began a relationship with Talk It Up TV, a video production business in Bellingham. I produce on-location photography for the team, capturing behind the scenes stuff, fun things that catch my eye, etc. They’ll use the photography both on their website as well as some stills in the shows themselves. It’s been fun, it always brings something fresh for me to capture. My favorite shoot to-date was with Jesse Brand, a talented country artist who is steadily making his claim to fame in the music industry. Better yet, he is from the small town of Ferndale (if you don’t know the place, it’s one of those you swear you could toss a rock from one side and hit the other end of town). Talk TV got whiff that he was going to be in the area and snagged an interview with him.

The Talk TV productions are swift, always around two hours for a shoot, from arriving and scoping out the environment, to shooting and packing back up. They are quick and dirty productions, but they always amazingly piece together an entertaining segment. This leaves my shooting fairly light, IĀ kinda play the fly on the wall for most of the shoots, taking a snap when I can. It’s a challenge to capture a good chunk of visually engaging materials since I can’t be popping off flashes, heck, even taking pictures in general when they are filming (the shutter on my camera is pretty loud, and it’s not a good practice to have a camera shutter competing with the voices of our interview). The photos are hit and miss, and I’m ok with that, it’s what I have to work with.

Upon walking into the cookie-cutter bar in Ferndale, I was in my “documenting” mode for photography. About a minute later, my brain was doing what it does best, thinking out of the box, and documenting mode went bye-bye. There sat Jesse atop a simple bar stool on the “stage” (aka a carpeted rise in the floor… hey, it’s Ferndale), guitar in hand, casually passing conversation with the TV crew. Behind him, a flag pinned over a window. Taking one look at it, I knew I had an easy, great shot in the bag, I just needed a light to create the drama. I ran back out to my car, snagged a light stand, a mobile softbox and tossed a hot shoe flash in it. I walked up to Jesse, “Hey Jesse, my name is Matt (handshake), ya don’t mind if I blind you for a quick minute do ya?” Great guy, Jesse, he was happy to accommodate my light stand invading his space for a few pops of the flash. The Talk TV crew was about to start filming, so I worked fast and squeezed out 10-15 pops, and my impromptu shoot was done. The resulting photo is what you see at the top of the page. Does is get more American/Country than that?! And the best part was about three-fourths of the work was already done for me, I just had to nail the lighting and squeeze the trigger.

The rest of the shoot was taking a few fun ones with Bob and Anny, the hosts, and then tucking the flash lighting away and rockin’ ambient light during the taping of the show. Jesse was kind enough to play a couple songs for us. I gotta say, I’m no country music lover, but I actually like his stuff. More of a rougher voice, and not your typical country style. His presence was not announced to the town, so we had a pretty calm bar to enjoy the music, just the production crew and the bar’s regulars there to enjoy the tunesĀ (how do people get to be a “bar regular” anyway? Nothing else to do in the early afternoon? And they give kids a hard time for playing video games…huh…).

Speaking of, the show for this taping is being released this Friday. Checkout talkituptv.com for the video!