The Brisket King

Check out the magazine Seattle Met. In it you’ll see a portrait that I took of Jack Timmons, owner of Jack’s BBQ. Jack is a Dallas native and ex-Microsoft employee. After attending a Barbecue Summer Camp hosted by Texas A&M’s Meat Science department, Jack decided to open his own restaurant in the SODO district of Seattle.

Going into this photo shoot my goal was somewhat simple. Create an environmental portrait of Jack relaxing and looking natural. Thankfully I was able to create that image of Jack in own backyard where he was smoking up a delicious batch of (best I’ve ever had) brisket.

For this photo I ended up using three lights. One large softbox off to camera-left is the key-light, one medium softbox in the back left is the rim-light, and one small light with a grid was used to bring out the front of the smoker.

I’m pretty happy with the lighting and how natural Jack looks in the image. On a lot of the editorial photo shoots I do, I’m not able to get a lot of time with my subjects, and that was the case with this shoot. Luckily I had an idea going into this shoot, and an ideal setting. Jack’s dog ended up walking into one of the last frames just long enough for me to get this snap this photo. It ended up being the shot the magazine chose to use and I’m really happy with the photo.

A Gun That Shoots Knives

joshua huston, josh houston, portrait, on location, on assignment, portfolio, editorial photography, magazine, musician, headshot, freelance, seattle

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I shot this portrait of musician, Stubby Abbot. Stubby is the lead singer of local Seattle band called, A Gun That Shoots Knives. Their shows are always high energy and the band will usually dress up in costumes. They’re a ton of fun to see live. As I’ve mentioned Stubby is the front-man for the band and I’ve always loved his hair mainly because of his shaven part. When playing live shows he’ll often dresses up as Superman and I’ve always thought he kind of looked like Kent Clark. I definitely tried to make him look like a super-hero in this photo and I’m really happy with the results. He’s definitely got that Clark Kent vibe in my opinion.

I  worked really hard to make this portrait look dramatic yet not to serious. I created the dramatic light by using three lights, all with grids, and small softboxes. I chose to use the wood-paneling background to take away some of the seriousness that the light and facial expression of my subject created. I’m very happy with this image and I’m hoping to take more headshots like it in the near future. I’m hoping to use this photo to promote myself to some local Seattle magazines and advertising agencies. Hopefully they’ll like it as much as I do. More photos coming soon!

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Old Album Covers Inspire New Portraits

joshua huston, josh houston, portrait, on location, on assignment, portfolio, editorial photography, magazine, musician, haji basim, alley, black-and-white, freelance, seattle

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I just shot this image of my friend, Haji Basim. Haji, is a local Seattle musician originally from Atlanta, Georgia. A few weeks ago Haji pulled out an acoustic guitar, sat on the trunk of his car, and started playing one of his songs for me. It was an amazing experience, one that I will never forget. As soon as I heard Haji start playing I knew that I wanted to photograph him and how.

As a kid, my first inspiration to photography was my grandfathers old album covers. For this photo I wanted to do something reminiscent of those those old albums. I’m really happy with the results. I located the background for the photo in the U-District neighborhood of Seattle.  Haji is originally from Atlanta and even though this alley is located in the city of Seattle it looks very rural to me. I also wanted to pose him as if he were in movement, heading to somewhere and I think that reads in the photo too, at least I hope it does. Again, I’m really happy with the photo and Haji is too. He is planning on using it for self-promotion for his upcoming shows. I’m excited to add this to my website  I hope to make more portraits like this in the near future. More photos coming soon!

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Meeting Jim Marshall

Today, while cleaning I came across an old photo book by one of my favorite photographers of all time, Jim Marshall. Jim’s work was the first photography that got me excited about taking pictures. To me, Jim created the most iconic photos of the 60’s and 70’s era. He was always granted behind-the-scenes access to the great musicians, and actors of his time. His images black and white images are timeless candid photos that show a very personal side to his subjects. His subjects included people such as Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Woody Allen, and Ray Charles, just to mention a few. I guarantee you’ve seen some of his images and if you’re not sure check out his work.

 

Jim came to speak at my commercial photography program at Seattle Central Community College to promote his new book, Jim Marshall Proof. A photo book filled with his never before seen proof sheets along with a large copy of his final picked image. Next to each image a short story is included about each individual shoot he did and how he went about selecting the “hero shots”. I remember finding out one day after class that he was coming. I was shocked. He was coming to our class  I remember the night before he arrived I set out my wardrobe for the approaching day making sure to get my favorite Jimi Hendrix shirt ready. On the shirt was a photo that Jim took of Jimi Hendrix at Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.

 

As Jim walked in to face our class the next morning he saw my shirt and yelled, “that’s my image, and I never gave permission for it to be printed!” I was completely embarrassed, but that feeling soon washed away when Jim smiled at me. For the next hour Jim talked to us about his images, and the stories behind some of the most iconic photos in rock n’ roll history. He talked about photos like his famous shot of the Allman Brothers Band for their Live at Fillmore album, and his personal friendships with bands like the Grateful Dead, and Rolling Stones. Towards the end of Jims speech, I over-heard one of the local Seattle camera reps who was in attendance, whisper to one of my instructors that there would be an open bar later in the evening for Jim. I decided that even though I wasn’t invited I had to try to get in.

 

That night I arrived at the downtown Seattle bar with two close friends from my commercial photography program. As soon as we walked in we were spotted by one of my instructors who looked at us with wide eyes. I’m assuming he was expecting the entire class to be behind us. We quickly tried to blend in and not look out of place. Jim was at the bar talking to what seemed like every camera rep in the Pacific Northwest. After a few minutes one of the camera reps, which was a close friend of Jim, and who also knew I was a huge fan of Jim’s, invited me over to personally meet Jim Marshall.

 

I was completely star struck and at first wasn’t sure what to say. Fearing I’d say nothing, and regret ever coming, I quickly stared asking Jim questions. Jim was such a nice guy and answered anything I asked. He told me stories about hanging out with my favorite musician of all-time, Jimi Hendrix. He told me about photographing Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, and the story behind the photo of Cash flipping off the camera.

 

At the end Jim asked me, “What is so exciting about talking to an old man like me?” I told him how seeing his images as a kid I was inspired to take photos and eventually pursue photography myself. And I told him that I hoped to one day be an old man and sit at a bar telling someone the story of meeting Jim Marshall. He smiled big after hearing that, and mentioned that he was into astrology. He asked me when my birthday was and I told him February 4th he smiled again and said that’s interesting because his birthday was February 3rd. He then bent down, reached into his bag, and produced the photo book he was promoting. He quickly wrote a note in it that reads, “To Josh. From Jim Marshall”. I still can’t believe it! What a day! I’ll always remember it! Without me knowing it, my instructor also snapped off some photos of Jim and I talking which I’ve also included. Check out Jims WORK and I hope it inspires you like it’s inspired me.