Thursday, April 8th, 2010 at 9:21am - Music
My last picture post from the my trip to Mississippi for the Rebirth Retreat is very special to me. The morning after we all went out to Ground Zero, while having our morning get together of the group, Will announced our exercise for the day. We had to go meet someone we didn´t know; talk with them, hear their story, and then create a portrait of them.
Upon hearing this, I was definitely nervous. I know for myself, that to truly create a portrait of an individual is one of the hardest things for me as a photographer. In my own head, if I´m going to create a portrait of someone, it really has to capture their essence, not just be a pretty picture of them. When I shoot couple´s portraits in my wedding work, it comes very naturally, because I love playing off the energy and interaction between the couple, and I encourage this since when they´re focused on each other, its easier for them to forget about me and let their true nature shine through. But to capture an individual´s essence, I need them to completely trust me while interacting with me, they´re not focused on someone else. So a challenge for sure, but a challenge I was excited for.
So as I thought who do I want to get to know and create a portrait with, it all the sudden hit me. I wanted to meet the woman from Ground Zero the night before who had just floored us with her music. So I asked my friend Laura Beth if she could make some calls, and I called David the guitarist from that night to see if he could help me find her, which is how I ended up getting in touch with her.
Her name is Jacqueline Nassar, and I kid you not when I say she is someone our kids will be reading about in music history books one day. She is 19 years old, and has had quite the life so far. When she started sharing her story with me, I couldn´t help but imagine the movie that will one day be made about her life as she told me about all the wild experiences she´s already had. Let me share a little about her to give you an idea of how inspiring Jax really is.
Jacqueline grew up in Clarksdale, MS, and started playing music when she was seven by picking up the drums. By eight years old she had picked up the guitar which has become her main instrument. She picked up music so fast, that in 3rd grade she started homeschooling so she could play out in blues clubs till 4 and 5 in the morning, which was making it hard for her to get to school on time. When she told me this I was floored, but you can really see the character that she developed from it as she is very confident and sure of herself without being arrogant or narcissistic, such a wonderful trait in talented people. Not to mention it has helped her become the gifted musician she is today; playing Guitar, Drums, Bass, Keybnoards, and she sings!! Pretty incredible.
Jax graduated from the Arts and Education program at the Delta Blues Museum in 2000 as Most Outstanding Student, and by time she was 13 was presented the first Robert Johnson award for Youth Excellence which was presented to her by Robert´s grandson Steve Johnson and Morgan Freeman. She´s been described as a "pint sized" Stevie Ray Vaughn, and watching her rip on the guitar I can sure see why. But on top of her being a guitar virtuoso, her voice and singing is simply mesmerizing.
Jax has grown up playing the blues but has also found a deep love for rock and roll, and her original music shows this. Her music has appeared on TV and in at least one movie.
Jacqueline Nassar is going places with her music, I highly encourage you to check out her website and her myspace. Thank you so much Jax for taking the time to meet with me and allow me to create some portraits with you. I can only dream that maybe one day we´ll get to jam together. I am so excited to see you thrive and prosper, and if there´s any way I can help or be of any service, please don´t hesitate to be in touch.