Mikey Vibe & I F**king Love SA

If you’re a regular visitor to this personal blog of mine or a stalker of mine over on Instagram, you know Mikey Vibe is my best friend. Aside from that, I think he’s some sort of muse of mine too.

Idk. But I’ve probably photographed him more than anyone else in my life and I’m sure I’m the only person who’s photographed him as much as I have. Literally.

He was one of the first people I photographed when I first picked up a camera. And during the same time, he was beginning to venture off to start his own band, Deer Vibes. Aside from him being my best friend, I think the one thing that keeps me photographing him so damn much is that fact that I’m documenting him.

Yesterday, I had the honor of attending his solo performance at Dorcol for the I F**king Love SA Podcast. It was such an intimate show. He played Michael J & Foxes songs, Deer Vibes songs, and some new solo stuff. The night totally had that VH1 Storytellers vibe, but without the storytelling and just cute little banter from Mikey.

Liquor City

This is a quick story about Waco, liquor, people, loneliness, happiness, local businesses, and nostalgia.

We leave Waco and move back to our hometown of San Antonio in just a few days. We’ve been living in Waco for 2 years now, so I’m excited to go back to the city I call home.

Since I knew we’ve be moving back someday, I didn’t want to make friends.

It didn’t make sense to me to invest in creating friendships in Waco. It was already difficult because I was on and off the road a lot for work or visiting family and/or Ethan. That doesn’t mean I didn’t try to though. I tried apps and websites. I even met up with someone from an app who also was temporarily living in Waco. I thought our hangout went well, but then I got ghosted. People are weird. It’s also strange and awkward trying to make friends when you’re 35 years old and living in 2019.

One thing I’m known for is my love of beer and whiskey. And just down the road from our Waco apartment is a local store called Liquor City. Throughout the years I’ve bought a lot of PBR, Lone Star, and various whiskey from this man and his wife. All the whiskey bottles we used at our wedding for flowers came from this place.

I’ve shared a few conversations with him through the years. He’s told me stories about when he lived in India and overall how important family and hard work is to him. I told him our story and he told me that even in bad or difficult times that it will all be worth it. For family, you have to do what you gotta do and make it work.

So I didn’t make any friends in Waco, but for these reasons, I made it a point to photograph him and his wife yesterday. I appreciate kind and hard working people with a small business. I plan on mailing him prints.

Restless Farewell Show

For those that follow me on Instagram, I asked you if I should create a separate profile for my photography work that isn’t my wedding/portrait work. Everyone said to continue doing what I’m doing.

I don’t know why, but I’ve felt like I should be separating my wedding and portrait work on Instagram. After feeling conflicted about not being my full-self online and yet also not feeling like I shouldn’t be my full self online, I opted to go all in. Fuck it, right?

I get annoyed seeing this highly curated feeds on Instagram. Yes, weddings and portraits are my main bread and butter, but truth is, photography, in general, is what fuels me. I don’t photograph everything, but what I do photograph has a special place in my heart.

So, I’m done hiding. I’m done trying to curate my life on social media. I’m just going to throw my full self out there on Instagram. My photography website is just for my wedding and portrait work. My personal website is for everything else related to me and what I care about. And my Instagram will be treated the same way as a general hub for me. I’m done stressing out over how to curate my feed.

These photos felt like the perfect place to begin my not-give-a-fuck-anymore photos to share on Instagram. Restless had their farewell show after about 6 years of not playing. I never had the chance to photograph them back in the day, so it was great to be hired to photograph this incredible night.

Band photography always takes me back to my roots of where I started as a photographer. I love photographing the passion of people whether it’s bands performing or the passionate love between a couple. I blend my crazy way of documenting bands with photographing events and people. It’s chaos and I absolutely love it.

So let’s raise a glass to not giving a fuck. My IG feed is about to be a mixture of whatever the fuck I care about. It will be a clear reflection of who I am – not just a curated business feed.

Mikey Vibe’s DV B-Day Show

It’s been a long while since I’ve been able take time for myself to snap photos. I talk a lot on Instagram about how I NEED to create for the sake of creating. It’s therapeutic for me.

When I have no end result in mind or any need to deliver anything, it frees my mind. I get to experiment and forget about anything going on in life. It takes me back to when I first picked up a camera. It fuels me.

For me, it’s a reminder of why I continued to use a camera after picking it up in 2010. It’s my expression and voice that I put out into the world. And even at that, it’s not for anyone. It’s for myself.

So far, this blog has a large amount of photos of my best friend, Mikey Vibe. One day, maybe I’ll release a book of all the photos I’ve taken of Deer Vibes. They’re the first band I started photographing after I picked up a camera.

Music was a part of my life before photography. Once I failed and failed trying to keep music going, photographing bands became what healed me. It kept me out of severe depression.

I missed writing and playing music, but I still got to create something for what used to be close to my heart.

Here’s some snapshots from Deer Vibes’ B-Day show for Mikey’s 30th birthday over at VenturaSATX.

For the photographers interested, this was all shot on a Fuji X-Pro 2 with a 23mm lens. That’s it.

Pro Tip: Get as close as possible. Never use a zoom. Get on stage if you can. And in my case as you’ll see, have a whiskey shot with the entire band on stage during the show.

Snapshots From A TPR Event

These days when I’m in San Antonio, I never really know how to feel about how to spend my free time. I was in San Antonio a few days ago and wanted to take a nap after my shoot. As I laid down, I got a text from my best friend Mikey saying I should hang out with him at an event he was performing at. And because he’s my best friend, I put my boots on and met up with him. I’m glad I did.

He was performing for a Texas Public Radio event and the event was great to be at. They had different speakers tell a story about their lives for 7 minutes each. I cried for about half of them. In between talks, Mikey performed his Michael J & The Foxes stuff.

These are some of my snapshots from the night.

My Happiness and My Fear Of Buzzwords

I’m gonna be honest. Today, I deleted some of what I was planning to post because I began questioning how I’m being perceived online.

There’s a lot of buzzwords going around these days. A lot of them bother me. It makes me think about being younger when kids would call names. Skater because of how I dressed even though I didn’t skate. Emo cause of some of the music I listened and still listen to even though I don’t understand why being emotional is a bad thing. Nerd because I wore/wear glasses. These are all generalizations based on perceived looks.

And the buzzwords I’m concerned about these days with regards to myself are personal brand and influencer.

I have no problem sharing how I feel online. I do it because I feel most people don’t do it. However, I feel that since I’m a wedding photographer I feel like I should not share so much of my personal life online regarding my wife and my stepson. I don’t want people to think I’m doing it for “branding”. And now that I’m trying to go into the world of sharing educational stuff for photographers, I’m afraid of someone calling me an influencer sometime in the future. In fact, I got my first email last week from some company saying they wanted to help me become a better influencer on Instagram after they saw my Instagram profile. I deleted the email and didn’t respond.

These are just my current thoughts I wanted to add to this post because I’ve been thinking a lot about my emotions. They’ve been through the roof the past month since I’ve been stuck in Waco with a slow wedding season.

Last week, I arrived in San Antonio to stay for a few days. And it’s almost certain that every time I visit San Antonio, I go visit my best friend at his bar. After feeling like I was beginning to lose my mind, it was nice to be there.

I was thinking about how funny it is that I used to hate San Antonio when I was young. The problem was though, that I was inviting infectious people into my life. I was going through a lot of trying to find myself. And you can’t find people to accept you for who you are if you don’t even know yourself.

While I was at the bar with my best friend, I realized how much I enjoy documenting things or people I love. I no longer can imagine living anywhere else other than San Antonio. I can’t wait to move back. A lot of what and who I love is in San Antonio, but I know that at some point I’m going to have to move past that. We all get old and things are unpredictable in life. I can’t rely on it all.

These are a few snapshots from that night. They aren’t amazing pieces of art, but they document how happy I felt visiting after being away for a month.

My Thoughts On Portraits

These are photos from a shoot last year that I still need to blog on my main photography website. Except this wasn’t during the shoot.

My friend Anoush Anou and I were collaborating on different ideas. We were mixing and matching outfits to certain parts of the outdoors we’d stumble upon while walking. It was a little cold and a little misty that day. In between places we’d shoot she’d wear her jacket with the hood on. I wanted to document her as she is and not be in the modeling mindset. So along the way, we stopped real quick so I could snap these of her.

Yes, I love creating beautiful looking portraits. But the heart of what I do is just documenting people as they are and how I see them and the world around me. People are beautiful. We all have different passions and go through different experiences that shape our individual personality. That to me is more interesting than re-creating the same looking Instagram photo just for the sake of creating a nice looking photo for likes.

How I Got Into Photography (The Short Version)

How I Got Into Photography

I’ve begun to start to talk more about my start of becoming a photographer lately because I’m no longer ashamed of myself. I’m also finding that people find my story intriguing.

A really long story cut short, I wanted to be a rockstar.

In my early 20’s, I had a band that toured and got offered a contract by a label. We turned it down and broke up circa 2005. I then felt lost in life for a few years and went through a deep depression.

Throughout my depression of trying to find myself, a friend recommended I pick up a camera. After I shot my first roll of film I became obsessed, because it was another form of creating something. I also felt I was good at something else other than making music. I would go out to a dive bar and photograph bands to connect with the music lifestyle I left behind while still expressing myself through creating photographs.

This photo is from 2011 and a part of that journey. This is how I literally learned how to use a camera. In these environments. Every dial, switch, camera technique, flash technique, etc, I all learned here. This is my roots.

Even In My Dark Times, I Still Find Light

I got into photography by accident in 2010. And I’m glad it happened. I feel it saved my life.

After I picked up a camera I became obsessed. I’m someone who likes learning new things. But most importantly, I’m someone who enjoys creating for the hell of it. It’s all I’m good at.

Photography pulled me out of a really bad depression.

That’s a story for another time. But the point I wanted to make in this post is that photography deep down still keeps me out of depression.

It numbs me in a good way. It forces me to think about moments. I feel things much deeper when I’m in the moment and taking a picture. And ultimately, that’s why I take pictures. It’s because in the moment, I’m feeling something and I want to document it and keep it to remember.

About 90% of the time, the photos I take are because I want to remember good things. For me, it’s this ongoing reminder of what to live for.

So when I find myself not taking as many pictures, I know something is wrong.

This has been something I’ve never really talked about publicly. This is also something that I feel people who are close to me also don’t understand.

I haven’t been picking up the camera lately.

However, I have noticed that when I’m out and about, the times where I do pick up the camera and take pictures is when I’m with my best friend and typically at his place of business, Ventura SATX. And this makes a whole lot of sense since it’s mygetawayy when I’m in San Antonio. Mikey is my best friend and even in my dark times, I still find light to photograph and want to remember. And his girl, Dani, is pretty awesome as well.