Tag Archives: Dave Navarro

Platinum Baby!

My very first platinum print ever is going up for auction on April 16th at the Belasco Theater for the Above Ground event that Dave Navarro and Billy Morrison organized, and I couldn’t be more excited about it! Over the years, I’ve been asked numerous times about selling some of my work and I’ve always been hesitant for a few reasons. Part of it had to do with me feeling that many printing techniques didn’t feel special enough. Then I learned about platinum printing a couple years ago and my ears perked up, but I never had time to dive into it properly. It was another thing that I always wanted to do but never did. Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I got an email from Dave Navarro (yes, you know that awesome guitarist from Jane’s Addiction and one of my favorite humans) about the possibility of contributing something for the Above Ground charity auction. I knew immediately that I had to do a platinum print. This was the perfect excuse to learn more about it and, finally, do it. What I learned is that it’s going to take me a bit to get it down properly. By a bit, I really mean a long time.  You see, making platinum prints is an art form itself and it takes some time to master the process.  However, I’m super-lucky to know someone who has already mastered it and was willing to let me see the process from start to finish.

The next step was selecting the image.  At first, I wanted to create three prints and let Dave and Billy choose which one would go up for auction. Then I realized how much it actually costs to print each one and that idea got quickly thrown out. So, my image selection became even more critical.  I took two images with me and talked to Larry (my printer/friend) about it.  I loved how dramatic one of the images was, but I wasn’t sure if it would work because it was a bit grainy. The other image was pretty and technically great and I’m sure would have made a fine platinum print, but it was missing some of the drama of the first one. Once we started and I saw the chemicals react with the print, I knew I made the right choice. That moment is probably the most excited I’ve been in a long time and, in my opinion, it came out great! I’m making a limited edition of five.  No more of that image will ever be printed in platinum again.  The other four won’t be available until after the auction and it’s exciting that I already have a list of interested people.

I’m hoping, though, that the first one will fetch a good sum because it’s going to a cause that is dear to my heart.  One hundred percent of the proceeds from the event are going to support mental health via Music Cares.  If you know me, you know how important mental health is to me. My mom has been sick since I was four-years-old, so I’ve been to just about every psych hospital in the LA area and have seen firsthand how vital this cause is. Everything around my life revolves around helping my mom and maintaining my own mental sanity in the process. Some days are super hard and other days you wouldn’t even know there’s a problem. So, when Dave asked me if I would be willing to contribute something, he had no clue how much it would mean to me, I’m both honored and excited to be able to contribute something to this amazing event.  It’s another reason I went with platinum. I wanted the print to be special and I think I achieved that.

Down the road, I plan to do more prints of different iconic images I’ve taken over the years and, hopefully, there will be an art exhibit soon (I’m already manifesting the shit out of it). I love that because this is a handmade item and it’s both expensive and time consuming, none of them will ever be mass produced. No two prints will ever be identical which makes them even more special. And, did I mention, they are platinum!?!  Side note:  I’ve said platinum so many times the last few weeks that you can play a drinking game with it. Ha!

To buy your ticket to Above Ground before it’s sold out click here.

Ask and you shall shoot

IMG_0155I was raised to never ask for anything. I’m not sure if it’s Mexican culture that dictates that it’s not polite to ask for anything, or if that was just Chilo (mi Abue’s thing). I lived with my grandparents from the ages 5 to 8.  During that time, it was so instilled in me to not ask for anything that even when someone gave me something, I never accepted it.  This was particularly hard when I was a kid.  I remember someone once tried to give me a toy, and I couldn’t accept it even though I really, really wanted it.  To this day, I’m still being shamed for asking my mom for money when I was 19.  Really.  But despite how I was raised, once in a blue moon when I have a wild hair up my ass, I go against everything I was taught.

So this brings me to Jane’s Addiction.  I got to shoot Jane’s Addiction three times.  The first time was at El Cid, in Los Angles, the second time was at the Music Hall in Tucson, Arizona, and the third time was last weekend at The Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas.  Two of the times, I bit the bullet and asked Dave Navarro if I could shoot the shows.  I remember the first time I asked him, he said the guest list was full but to ask him again for the next show (The El Cid one).  When I did, he apologized for only being able to get me in without a plus one.  I emailed him back something along the lines of “Seriously, Dave, I’m super stoked that I’m getting in. There is no need to apologize”.  He then apologized, again, and my mind was blown.  The second time I shot them, remembering that the local shows are a lot harder to get into, I asked his manager (who happens to be an awesome lady) if I could shoot the Tucson show. She was super sweet and hooked it up. I hadn’t shot a show in a couple of years. Despite the fact that one of my pictures made it to his Facebook fan page (the cover photo) I felt like my pictures sucked overall and I went into a depression. I remember feeling incredibly disappointed with myself, and put down the lens for a few months.  Side note: when you shoot most concerts, you only get to shoot the first three songs, unless you’re Ross Halfin or some other kick-ass photographer. The first 3 songs of the Tucson show I pretty much got nothing. Then I saw some other photographer go somewhere else and continue shooting, so I said “fuck it I’ll shoot until someone tells me not to, too.”  Had I not done that, I wouldn’t have gotten that shot or anything else.

I’m skipping a couple of stories that happened in between the Jane’s shows including Camp Freddy in 2012 and the 2013 SSMF.  The pattern was pretty much the same.  I shot the shows, then I went into a severe depression following the shows because I thought my pictures sucked, so much so that I deleted all my social media accounts.  And after a few months would go by, I found myself missing it deeply.

About two month’s ago, once again, I began daydreaming about taking pictures. I began Instagraming and Tweeting old photos like crazy.  When I remembered, I tagged people on them or @ them.  Both Dave Navarro and Dave Kushner retweeted a few, Billy Morrison retweeted a couple more, Robert DeLeo also retweeted one, and then Juliette Lewis regramed one of my pictures, and, for a minute, everything went bananas!  At that time, the only thing I knew for certain was that this time around, I wasn’t going to quit no matter what.  I was heading in a different direction when my friend (one of my favorite humans ever) convinced me to do this site.  Riding on all the craziness from the Juliette Lewis’ retweet, I finally accepted his help and within a couple of days this site was born.  Since then, every waking hour and even during my sleep, I have been obsessing over pictures (except for a few days when I had a Game of Thrones marathon).  It was during one of my walks in the park, when I thought to tweet Dave to see if I could shoot one of the Vegas shows.  I knew that if I didn’t tweet him at that very minute, I never would, so I just went for it.  He tweeted me back instantly to contact his guitar tech, Dan.  And that’s how I got to shoot the Brooklyn Bowl show. Do I still question the quality of my work?  Absolutely.  I came to the conclusion that no matter what, some part of me is never going to be satisfied with my shots.  I’m always going to wish I did better and that’s a good thing.  Normally, I would go curl up in a ball and hide for a few months (I’ve never really curled up in a ball, literally, but I was practically there).  This time around, I’m breaking my patterns.  I can’t recuperate lost time, but I can choose not to continue making the same mistakes.  As for asking for stuff, while I’m still not very comfortable with it, I have to admit that sometimes you just have to do it.  I mean the worse that can happen is that they say no, and if they do, the sun will still shine the next day.  Maybe one day, I will be so good that bands will start asking me to go shoot them.  That’s one of the goals.  In the meantime, the fact that one of the members of my favorite bands, called ME last week, shows me that maybe I do have some mad skillz after all.  I look forward to my phone blowing up with more awesome calls in the near future ;P



My Journey with Camp Freddy

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Taken at the HOB show I snuck into in 2005

I lost count how many times I saw them. They were one of my favorite addictions. I always said the Camp Freddy experience was like a straight shot of Rock ‘n’ Roll to the veins. My journey with Camp Freddy went from fan girl, to fangirl with a camera, to fangirl with a camera who took really good pictures, to photographer who shouldn’t have smoked some of B-Real’s joint, to “where’s WendyBird?”.  The first private show that I saw them in, I snuck in. It was at the HOB and we literally just opened the door from the restaurant and made our way in. It was afreaking awesome show. I remember fearing that someone was going to catch on, and we were going to be thrown out. But that never happened (side note: one of my pictures from that show taken with a point-and-shoot camera made its way to rollingstone.com). But I digress.  After that, as I got better at my craft, I didn’t have to sneak in any more. Still, those butterflies (actually more like fireworks) in my stomach never left. In my head, I was still that chubby Mexican girl from the SGV who snuck her way in through the restaurant door. Eventually, I let all my fears and insecurities get the best of me, and I removed myself from the scene and thus stopped doing what I was born to do. I will forever regret that. What I didn’t realize back then was that even if I didn’t feel like I belonged, and even if I felt like all the other photographers had more of a right to be there, my contribution was just as valuable, and that I was, via my documentation of it, part of the experience. I didn’t need that shot of Rock ‘n’ Roll because my veins already oozed it. Ha! Maybe I’m going a little too far there, but you get the point. So now that Camp Freddy is over, if I get the chance to be part of the Royal Machines experience, I’m going to pack a ton of Tums and show the world my world, one kickass foto at a time. Here are a few Camp Freddy shots. I’ll post more in the Gallery section of my site tomorrow. Sweet dreams world. XoXo

PS. The moral of the story (besides that Camp Freddy was a freaking kick ass experience) is that there are many people in the world who are going to bring you down, you don’t need to be one of them (this advice was given to me and I’m finally getting it).