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The Light Pours Out Of Me

#punkNashville profiles: Model Citizen Rob Rufus

#punkNashville profiles: Model Citizen Rob Rufus

So maybe you don't know about  Rob Rufus - author, musician, cancer survivor, advocate, & activist - but you really should. Read his book, Die Young With Me: A Memoir; listen to the music he makes with bands The Blacklist Royals and The Bad Signs; follow him around on  Instagram. You'll be glad you did.

Rob & I sat down in East Nashville in March and we: a) had a great chat b) made some kickass photos. This is not your standard interview. I didn't record any of our conversation, and I asked a couple questions via email. I am your unreliable narrator - and this is my first profile of punks I know and meet in Nashville. All factual mistakes are mine, and all photographs too.

In no particular order, here are some of the things we talked about:

-life in West Virginia (Rob grew up there, in Huntington, and I lived in Charleston for six years)

-dogs (Rob has two, I have one)

- how I hate the f'in Eagles, but love the Documentary Now spoof "The Blue Jean Committee", and we agree that it is great

- how terrific the movie Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox story is - Rob says it's the most accurate portrayal of life on tour that he has seen

- book recommendations (I recommended Jenny Lawson, aka 'The Bloggess' and her memoir Let's Pretend This Never Happened). I asked Rob about five favorite/important books in his life, and his five are: Born on the 4th of July, by Ron Kovic; IT, by Stephen King; Post Office, by Charles Bukowski; On The Road, by Jack Kerouac; and A Prayer For Owen Meany, by John Irving. Look them up yourself or find them at your local library because

- Libraries and librarians are awesome and do more than people know to keep free speech alive (Librarians are more punk rock than you! Ahem but I'm not biased)

-His next book, which is fiction (ooh!), and the publishing process in these interesting times that we live in.

- Creativity, process, working in different creative mediums, and his writing process:

 "My normal writing process is to get up early, and watch the news until I'm disgusted enough to check out of the world for the day.  Then I sit in my pajamas with my dog Boots at my side and zone out into make believe for the next 5-10 hours. I used to listen to music while I wrote when I first started, but now I can't.  I find it hard to concentrate.  I turn on white noise to help my stay in my own head, and try to get in that zone."

- How much cancer sucks (Rob is a survivor, which you can read about in his book, and I used to work for a cancer research group in Madison, Wisconsin)

- Strange business ideas (look for our collaborative obituary business - Rob will write your obituary for you and I'll make the great photo they'll publish in the paper!)

- Great bands (I recommend The Savages and Warpaint) and Great Bands We Have Seen Live. Rob's Top Ten-ish: 

1. Bruce Springsteen in Nashville, when he threw me his harmonica and danced with my mom on stage during Dancing in the Dark (I have proof!)
2. The Descendents somewhere in Europe.
3. The Dwarves when they played two songs, broke all the equipment and walked off stage.
4. River City Rebels in Pittsburgh back in '99 or so.
5. Green Day in '97
6. Rancid every single time.
7. AFI when "All Hallows EP" came out
8. Brian Wilson doing "Pet Sounds" at the Ryman

-Rob's favorite tour story: "When we played a Women's Prison in Germany.  It was, as I'm sure you can imagine, weird as shit.  I was thinking it'd be like Johnny Cash in Folsom, but it was more like 4 scared man-children in the prison yard with a bunch of hard ass German women...they ended up being really sweet though!  One of them even kissed my brother on the lips!  They were so nice, he didn't even get mad when a weird rash appeared there the very next day..."

-The double-edged sword of the internet. We live in interesting times, indeed. Self-promotion, internet dating, Facebook. The fate of poor catalog underwear models.

-The joys and perils of living a nonlinear life, by circumstance and by choice. 

-Record Store Day.

- Some of my DJ stories from back in the day that I will not repeat here.

Stay tuned for more #punkNashville profile stories! And if you know someone I should talk to and photograph for this series, please send them my way. Keep on rockin', friends.

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#guitarmonday: April Woke Up Too Early edition

#guitarmonday: April Woke Up Too Early edition

#guitarmonday already.

My dog, Blixa von Blixenstein III (Destroyer of Worlds - retired) woke me around 4:30 a.m. today to take him out for a stroll in the rain, so the day's moving before I was ready. We're also moving residences this week, with attendant feelings of excitement and dread, anxiety and panic, and being ready but never being ready.

So, life as usual. I need fast music for today, and probably all week. So here's some Dream Wife for you - I've listened to this song like five times in a row this morning. Shut up.

And here's a few photos of lady musicians who rock, whether their instruments are voice, guitar, bass, or all of the above. You know I'm all about the ladies who rock (and want to photograph more, always and forever). Also, I got to spend some time with my friend  Jane Rose last week, which always makes me feel peppier. Photos below: Cara Lippman of Cara Being Blue, and Jane Rose.

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#guitarmonday: Words, words, words edition

#guitarmonday: Words, words, words edition

#guitarmonday is here again, and I don't know about you, but sometimes I get really tired of all the words, words, words on the Internet. So, I'm putting more words about it on the Internet.

But here are some photographs from last week's #DreamTeamWednesday studio shoot, featuring model Rachel Vanderpool (with awesome makeup by Natalyn McCants!) and her guitar.

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#guitarmonday: Don't literally set things on fire Edition

#guitarmonday: Don't literally set things on fire Edition

It's #guitarmonday again, and your song today is a little something something from Big Black.

We may all be tired, but let's set something inside us on fire and get some awesome shit done. Just don't light on fire anything you might need later, in both the interior and external worlds.

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Frequently Asked Questions #2

Frequently Asked Questions #2

Frequently Asked Questions #2: MOST FREQUENT OMG

So what do you think the question is? 

Upon hearing that I'm a photographer, the Q: Oh, so do you do weddings?

Answer: No. Well, not in a wedding industry way. Not in the way you think. I will not show up with two (or three) camera bodies slung around me from a Holdfast sling with a couple of large zoom lenses attached. I will not herd your relatives. I will not sell you prints or photo albums. I know many REALLY GOOD wedding photographers and I give them mad props for their skills. I'm envious sometimes - but I've learned that I don't work well at large, high-pressure events like that.


If, like my friends Ansley & Brian, you had to put off your wedding because of life events (like ARMY & DEPLOYMENT) and have a courthouse wedding but still want to have wedding portraits made (without the wedding!) , then I might be your girl.

Or maybe, like my friends Anna & Brian, it's a second wedding for both and you don't care about a large ceremony and your wedding is quirky and 15 people maximum (yes, that's my limit!) including guests, then maybe I'm your girl.

OR, like Mark & Tim, you're a LGBT couple having a small wedding or legalization ceremony then I might DEFINITELY be your girl.

To sum up: wedding/couple portraits without the wedding? YES. LGBT weddings of 15 people or less? DOUBLE YES. Teensy weddings/elopements/courthouse weddings of 15 people or less? YES PROBABLY.

I'm a portrait artist and accidental photojournalist. I like to get up close and try to make photographs of moments of feeling and intensity. The more authentic, the better. And yeah, I'm a hopeless romantic.

I'll do photos of couples, sure. But I'm not going to be very traditional about it. Check my page, Hopeless Romantic, to see more.

I think a lot of people think the only way to make a living as a photographer is as a wedding or child portrait photographer. I'm out to prove them wrong.

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#guitarmonday - actually on a Monday edition

#guitarmonday - actually on a Monday edition

It's Monday! It snowed last night in Middle Tennessee. What? So here's my answer to cabin fever for #guitarmonday.

I need something new in my ear holes, but I'm not ditching the Savages - they can STAY.

It's a week of meetings and art receptions and administration and wrangling and ugh, I'm tired just thinking about it. But Friday is my Born Day, woo!

What's up for your Monday, and your week? Hopefully some rocking. Even if it's just for five minutes in your kitchen. Seriously. ROCK OUT.

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#guitarmonday on a Wednesday - cut me some slack edition

#guitarmonday on a Wednesday - cut me some slack edition

So #guitarmonday is two days late and I'm not going to explain myself about it.

While trees are blooming where I am, spring is chilly and overcast which puts me in a permanent post-punk mood. Even for post-punk from, like, six years ago. I'm a sucker for those jangly guitars, man.

I swear I've got more content lined up; I just had a shoot/interview today that you're gonna like. I guarantee it.

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#guitarmonday on a Tuesday - Busy AF edition

#guitarmonday on a Tuesday - Busy AF edition

#guitarmonday on Tuesday because OMG SO MUCH TO DO.

Here's your song - more sunlight means I have more energy (up to a point) (and yes, I have wondered if I'm a solar-powered android) and I like some peppy songs sometimes. So here's The Futureheads covering my beloved Kate Bush. Her album Hounds of Love is one of my faves, definitely on my Desert Island 10 list.

This week I'm in art administrator mode. If you didn't know, I'm a part-time art space curator, at both the Copper Vault multi-concept restaurant space in Springfield, and Aspire Springfield where I co-work and set up my studio for photoshoots. The end of the month and beginning of the month are busy times, as I'm usually changing out art shows (at the Copper Vault), coordinating with artists, marketing, announcing, planning receptions, etc. All that good stuff. I love doing it and working with artists, but it is a fair amount of work. I think I frightened a customer when I walked into the Copper Vault swinging a hammer in my free hand - oops. I'm building up an extensive "hang bag" of tools and hardware for hanging art. This week we're also repairing and painting walls at the Copper Vault in advance of the new show, so there's that to do as well.

I had a really terrific time photographing the Nashville CARES' Avant Garde: Neverland event mid-month. It was the right kind of fun for me, with good people and good music, and costumes! You know I love making cosplay portraits, both casual and formal. So it was a great match of job and organization. I'm going to include a couple of photos below.

I'm still working my way through hundreds of photographs from this event! 

Stay tuned for a photo editorial this week, as well as another edition of Frequently Asked Questions!

Ciao for now.

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#guitarmonday - Sunny Day Edition

#guitarmonday - Sunny Day Edition

#guitarmonday this week is courtesy of a sunny day in Tennessee, making my soul feel bouncy.

I'm feeling a bit bouncy, too, after a great lunch with a friend on Friday, and photographing a super-fun event Saturday night. Stay tuned for more about that. I'm glad I was able to say yes to that - I'm working on figuring out when to say Yes and when to say No when it comes to photographic work - I probably always will be. I can report that it gets a little easier as I bushwhack up my mountain.

Anyway, I thought it work mentioning that I just opened a store at redbubble.com so people can buy merchandise like apparel, mugs, throw pillows, and stickers featuring the Punk Rock Photography logo, my dog Blixa's face, and some of my photographs. I had more fun making this shop than I thought I would, and I particularly enjoyed making leggings that feature my plastic astronauts: Astronauts on your legs!

and mugs with Blixa's face on them: Look at my doggo!

I'm totally going to make a big Punk Rock Photography logo sticker for my car.

I couldn't resist making a Punk Rock Photography logo clock so that it can literally be punk rock time all the time!

I think I'm hilarious because I AM. 

You can see my full portfolio and store HERE:

Punk Rock Photography at Redbubble.com

Ciao for now! Have fun!

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