HELLO friends this is Jake J. Thomas bringing you another episode of the Dialogic podcast.
I hope you all are well. I wanted to take some time today to discuss the important of creating content during this uncertain time. More than just the importance of creating content I want to think about the best kinds of content to create during this time. This is especially for anyone who has children, works with children and cares about children. One thing that I’ve noticed is that pressure tends to exacerbate whatever problems already exist. This situation is similar to a stress test that a financial institution would use. The stress is identifying where the weaknesses are. If a part of the system doesn’t seem adequate to withstand a moderate amount of stress it puts into question the viability of that part of the project. The failure to endure the stress opens up the space of removal.
I think now is the time to double down on the kind of content I was already creating; content that is actively imagining sustainability. I don’t think that now is the right time to judge anything or to look for silver linings. I want to share my experience of concern for people’s health and for the economic consequences of what we are doing, and this heightened concern motivates me to work on inventing solutions to the bigger problems we face.
We are identifying problems because of our inability to achieve certain goals. The symptom is dysfunction, the inability to reach a goal, which creates an emotional response. How do we respond to the feelings we have when our old ways of proceeding no longer work? Do we jump back into action? Do we find new ways to achieve our goals?
This is certainly a very stressful test. One thing that has worked for me is to challenge myself. Giving myself some kind of tangible goal that I can use my will alone to achieve gives me a sense of control. I also have an intense energy inside of me because I am a passionate and caring person and if I don’t find a way to channel that energy then I have no way of controlling it. The best way I have found to focus that energy is through hiking long distances.
If you are going to waste six hours looking at your phone, you could have spent six hours doing pushups, hiking, working on some physical fitness goal. Let’s not sell ourselves short. The feeling that I have if I spend six hours hiking is so vastly superior to the way I would feel if I sat around watching Netflix looking at Twitter that it is a no-brainer. The thing is, we have these programmed habits that have to do with economic schedules. We have monthly, quarterly and annual cycles that have deadlines that need to be met. We are drawing lines through the history of our times with the choices that we make, and sustainability is the most important thing to be thinking about and working on during this time and for the foreseeable future. While we are reimagining how the economy will function, we should also be preparing for other big concerns and that is what we should communicate in our work. I believe that art and marketing do and will merge at their highest level to work as a kind of attraction/ conversion cultural machine transforming people into agents to work on the task of imagining and sustainability and executing our plans sustainably.
So many things are going to change and probably one of the first things we will want to do is to figure out what we can have in terms of values and principles that will not change when the circumstances change. Transparency in communication and accounting, nonviolent communication, whatever it is that we can agree on as a fundamental unchanging character of our community will help us to endure all of the pivots that we will have to make when our circumstances radically change. A principle-based set of ideas will give us some structure that will help to navigate the chaos.
So, I have a bunch of things on my mind that I want to communicate to you, and that is the first topic actually. That is what I want to talk to you about the most today: this idea of community and communication. It’s such a strange thing to think that virtually no one in the world is unaffected by this pandemic and nobody seems to be clear about how to deal with the problems, so we have this very common situation and that alone is not going to create community. It’s going to take communication for us to be able to understand that our common situation puts us in the position where it is best to build community. But how does that really work? What does it look like? How do we build community in a way that feels good to us. I think that a part of the challenge of community is the fact that we have so many individual differences and that is part of our value system. We tend to reward individualism and we have a strong sense of accountability and you can’t be accountable and you can’t earn rewards if you don’t have a strong sense of individuality, but that can work against building community. In other words, if we have a culture that values individual efforts, then how do we focus on things that affect the larger whole? We have individual efforts but we also have team sports. How do we pay attention to individual contributions while staying focused on the team? These are age old ancient questions about society itself about organization, about families, etc.
The first answer to the question what makes building community difficult is the fact that people get into conflicts and a conflict taken to extremes becomes uncomfortable for everyone and at its extreme conflict eventuates in violence. So, the attempt to build community can actually lead to violence. So, here we are in this unknown window of time where we are prohibited from gathering in groups. We need to keep doing good work even though we can’t get together.
I’ve always tried to imagine myself as part of the human family even though I have a clear idea that I only know a tiny fragment of what that means. I belong to this vast family of humans and I know so little about the majority of them and it is this proximity and lack of knowing that creates the fear and the intrigue. There is the idea that it may be rewarding but the fear that cultural contact could be fatal.
But here we are in this time where getting together is impossible, so maybe getting to know each other is possible from a distance. If we take this challenge, then maybe we can actually work on understanding each other and creating cross cultural bonds. I would guess that if given the opportunity we might find out that we have very similar situations as other people in other parts of the world.
When I am looking to connect with people in other parts of the world I am trying to think about the personality types that exist here and I’m speculating that there are other people in other parts of the world who have more in common with you than with the people who are in your own family and since we can’t come together physically we have an opportunity to learn from each other.
I'm addicted to wildlife photography. It's just too much fun when you come across a Blue Heron hunting. Here's a story from yesterday's hike...
Here's a link to the blog with photos: https://jakejthomasphoto.com/2020/03/30/heron-addict/
Some thoughts and strategies for how to crush this challenging time.
1. Practice breathing. Choose a breathing exercise and practice it for four minutes four times a day. Use this exercise to help calm yourself and to check in with your breathing ability. The benefits of oxygenating your body through deliberate breathing are not to be underestimated.
2. Track your hydration. Choose a drinking vessel and decide how many of them you are going to drink during the day. Water is cleansing to the body and will help you to keep your system functioning optimally.
3. Clean aggressively. This is a battle against a virus that can be won with hot water and soap. This is the ultimate Spring Cleaning challenge. The more you clean, the better you will feel. It's the one most effective thing we can do. Don't just wash your hands. Wash all of your shit. Soap and water the fuck out of your life right now.
4. Design your menu. Food is such an important source of comfort, sustenance, and vitality right now. Good food is one of the best ways to protect your spirit and your bodily health. How do we avoid the temptations of sweets during this time? For one thing, it is a matter of understanding the basics of nutrition. Sugar is basically harmless if consumed during a period of exercise when the body needs fuel. If you eat a bunch of ice cream and sit around watching Netflix it is going to do much different things than if you eat a bunch of donuts during the middle of a 16-mile hike. If we get smart about food, we can eat lots of pleasurable things and still hit our nutritional goals and not gain a bunch of weight. Now is the time to get smart about food and to treat it as an art.
5. Exercise your heart. Cardiovascular exercise is super important during this time. The best form of exercise right now is walking. If you walk for a few hours a day, you will be giving yourself the opportunity to rejuvenate and recharge your system.
6. Work your networks. Communication is super important during these times. Not only do we need to stay in touch with family and friends, but we need to keep open lines of communication with our professional colleagues, our business partners and our clients or leads. Choosing a number of people to connect with every day ( I chose 5) and checking it off will create an accountability loop.
7. Limit social media. Until people start using journals to vent their anger and fear, it's probably a good idea to be very careful about how much social media you consume. Social media is an important tool to use during this time, but it is also a very easy distraction and waste of time. Take a look at your screen time. Imagine if you had spent that amount of time cleaning and exercising. We should use social media for networking and for entertainment, but not all day every day.
8. Choose love and play. There is nothing more motivating and powerful than the feelings of love and the effects of play. These are not trivial things, but essential to our functioning as humans. What do you love to do? Who do you love? What do you want to share? How do you find a lighthearted sense of play?
These are challenging times, but we have the tools we need to emerge. Of course, the number one thing we need to be doing, so obvious that I didn't even add it as a pillar, is to stay home and to keep a physical distance from people you are not already exposed to on a regular basis. The first and most important way to defeat the virus is through not allowing it to spread. So, we stay home, clean that fucker and get our minds and bodies right for when it is time to go HAM again.
We are down to essential services and that means that we need to get serious. People are having a hard time adjusting to this new reality and I want to help. I have three main ideas right now:
1. Get a journal to vent your emotions. Don't do that on social media. We need that space for important communications.
2. Be solution-based. Do not waste time thinking about things that you cannot change. Figure out what you can do and do more of it.
3. Make it simple for the kids. We have a responsibility to engineer this transition as safely as possible for the young ones.
That's it for now. Keep the lines of communication open and clear, focus on solutions not complaints, take extra care to be good to the littles.
We are on lockdown, sheltering in place and we don't know where our food is going to come from or how long this is going to continue. A full half of the United States is about to be in full blown crisis mode. I'm strongly suggesting that the way to ground this transition is by sending citizens rations and making the food supply chain transparent. This is a time to stick together even though lots of people are probably going to have a hard time doing so.
We discuss our experiences with vlogging and the benefits to doing so.
Jake talks about the different techniques photographers use in looking back at and editing their photo’s.
We discuss the difference between discovering someone and their content on Youtube VS Instagram.
We talk about Vanessa Beecroft, her upbringing, past art work and current.
Jake speaks about the experience one can have with a painting.
We talk about the change and improvement in digital media.
We talk about audience and their content appetite.
Why do we get into unsustainable situations?
How do we get into a more sustainable lifestyle?
We discuss our first night hike up to the UCSC library.
We also discuss a recent photo of the Wolf Moon rising over the Boardwalk Jake posted that got some traction.
We talk about adapting to a schedule change and coming up with studio lighting and a Portraiture Project.
Returning to research, we hatch a sustainable plan of doing night hikes up to UCSC’s library.
Instead of learning about styles and techniques we want to learn about the people, the leaders of the art world, art history, the tradition we are participating in.
The problem with using research for pose ideas is that it feels more natural when you create the pose, organically. (Having maybe some ideas/ inspirations in your head)
We discuss the difference between working organically and intuitively in creating work VS trying to produce work based on a certain style or even sometimes after a specific photograph. We decided imitating other people’s styles or photographs feels less interesting than coming up with our own organically.
One of the values of doing research is that you become proactive about what you are consuming in terms of culture. You dove deeply into a subject and have more control over how what you see which will affect what you do creatively, it’s like a visual diet. Becoming smart about what you chose to see will affect your creative output, just like being smart about the foods you eat will effect your performance.
Research and exposing yourself to art history is going to give you the benefits of having really rich influences, it’s like choosing your inheritance. You’re adding to your mind, it’s like adding decoration to your home, it’s beautiful and thought provoking.
It’s been done.
It is not smart to “shoot in the dark.”
Asking why you like something will lead to a deeper understanding of yourself.
Often times we don’t see artist - we see the only the art.
Researching sustainability: researching sustainably.
Think Local, think organic.
Old model of cover shoots included huge energy costs in production.
The reason for high production value of old school photo shoots is to eliminate the competition through production costs. In order to keep the bar high in a sustainable manner new techniques for increasing the production value will need to be invented.
The new goal is high value low carbon cost.
A ‘low carb-on diet’
We discuss the idea of an artist needing to create a body of work. What does it mean to choose what you want to leave behind as a legacy, as an artist?
We start by talking about how to brand yourself authentically as a creative. Then we introduce our listeners to Wilder Creatives. Jake talks about the scheduling of golden hour and the difficulties behind doing so.
We discuss the following:
Wilder Creatives, who we are, how we started, our purpose, our origin story and the mission of our brand
How important scouting for light is and why we prioritize finding good natural light
Our Vlogging Wilder YouTube series where we take you behind the scenes on our shoots.
Food as an art form and as content for marketing
Lack of healthy options for fast food early in the morning
How important laughing can be
Different kinds of laughter
1st Wilder Creatives project
We discuss why we love Hip Hop. Madison explains how the music moves her and Jake dives into an explanation of the Greek concept of catharsis.
Then, we are rudely interrupted by a less than civil citizen and we left that part in for you to hear. Haha what a tool.
What follows is a conversation about apologizing. When is it good to apologize? When is it a bad habit. What is a real apology? What do apologies do? We get super philosophical about saying I'm sorry. #sorrynotsorry
We hope you have a badass and unapologetic start to 2020.
We discuss a Ted Talk given by Cameron Russel, entitled: "Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model."
How does the way a person looks affect the way you think about them?
How do you use personal style to control the way you are perceived?
What does it mean to be a model, today? Do you have to be represented by an agency? What about Instagram Influencers? Do they count as models? Where do you draw a line around what it means to be a model in the age of social media.
What matters more? Looks or confidence? Russel talks about having won a "genetic lottery" and explains how she feels about being a beneficiary of a legacy of valuing a certain aesthetic.
Can anyone be a model? What does it take?
A model is an important part of a creative team that makes marketing materials for businesses. When we respect the work that a model does, when we focus on what they bring to the task of making compelling fashion photography, when we start to think about a model as an artist instead of just an attractive body, then we will start to crack open the narrow halls of conventional marketing to create a more interesting world full of diversity and fun. All kinds of different people are sexy and cool and when we begin to change our minds about beauty, fashion and art, then we will inherit a richer world.
What is an artist's job?
How do artists build up their credibility through their work?
What does self-compassion look like? How is it different than self-pity?
Self criticism or self love? When do you choose to improve or soothe?
How do you track your progress as an artist? Do you have certain goals that help you to keep things moving forward?
In this episode, we discuss coping mechanisms and how to maintain your sanity during the holiday rush.
We read this article, HERE: https://positivepsychology.com/coping/ and found it to have lots of helpful insights. How do you deal with the stresses that come from the demands of the end of the year.
Thanks for listening!
So when we get drops eventually, I think Highway to the Danger Zone has gotta be one of them.
Sings… Highway to the DANGER ZONE
We could just pull that out
That was so funny. Hello friends this is Jake J. Thomas Photo
And Madison Marie Models with another episode of the Dialogic Podcast
Welcome back. Thanks for listening.
Just going through some of the photos since we last recorded a few days ago. The day to not be disclosed. We looked at one of the photos and it reminded us of this hike we took, you know our hike we’ve been talking about
Our morning hike
This time, I researched the map a little bit ahead of time and we took an alternative route and it led us up to this insane cliff.
That was before the beautiful enchantment. Yes I do remember that.
Yeah, we were walking and walking and all of the sudden… you could see there’s a canyon because you could see the tree line of a ridge kind of far away, but what you didn’t see is that as you approach the edge of the cliff you kind of expect it to be a hill that’ll taper down a little bit.
It’ll drop off a bit. A little drop off.
Even if it’s a cliff it’s gonna have little ledges, but as you get closer you see nothing.
You see zero, you see zilch, which means it’s either straight down or carved into the hillside.
Es no Buenos
As you’re standing there, it’s very far down.
It is. It terrified us, honestly. As soon as we saw and realied and recognized we said respect we gon go--we’re gonna go ahead and go right back onto the trail.
Yes, we left the edge. We turned around and left the edge. And then it made us think about like movies,
action scenes. We choreographed this whole action sequence, the different shots, the different angles, how it would follow you up like if you were running up the trail
up to that
all the sudden you get up there and it stops
it shows you from across
duh duh duh
and you see how far the cliff is and then it’s from above you and it shows you balancing there on the edge
and so anyone out there who wants to fund a little independent movie, we have the setting for you.
We sure do.
We already choreographed the whole thing. But, so we followed the cliff edge safely on the trail about ten feet away from the edge until we came to this part of the trail where there was this not to be named loop that we were either going to take or not, but the beginning of the trail had all of these signs that said danger.
There’s the Danger Zone.
Hello friends welcome to another episode of the Dialogic Podcast.
It’s Madison Marie Models
and Jake J. Thomas Photo
It’s Sunday night here, and that doesn’t matter cause it’s Tuesday morning
I love it
You know what you could be listening to this on a Friday. You could be listening to this on an alien spacecraft. We don’t know where these things are going.
No clue. We do hope you enjoy.
Hopefully you enjoy it, aliens. Come to earth and be nice, it’s fun.
We love you.
She just made a sign at the audio recorder.
I know, I love when I do this. I’ve done this a few times.
There’s no video.
But, I can see her in the reflection of these sunglasses.
I look a little alien in these sunglasses.
Ok, moving on.
In this podcast, Madison and Jake recount a day of hiking to a waterfall scouting locations for an upcoming shoot. With all the rain, their trip into the forest has some seriously exciting moments.
Thanks for listening!
In this podcast, Jake and Madison discuss their quest for healthy and delicious snacks and their research into the businesses that make them. We discuss the Rx Bar, Bob's Red Mill and contrast their marketing and business models.
Madison has been researching the toxic effects of beauty supplies following up on her interest with the Honest Company.
We also ask about the business of modeling. How does a young model find work? If brands are not actively hiring, how do you find a way to get gigs? What kinds of social media efforts lead to paid work? How can models proactively look for opportunities?
Today we talked about the biggest danger on the internet today: ourselves. In a world where we have access to pleasurable content at any time, restraint takes on a new value. It's like a huge all-you-can-eat buffet of sexual content. When you have this kind of access, how do you create a healthy diet of content? How do you set limits on what you consume?
How do you set healthy limits on the content you consume?
What is your relationship to sugar? To porn?
Follow us, HERE:
Jake and Madison talk about the new direction their work is taking.
Inspired by a shoot they did with a Synergy Clothing dress, they discuss ideas about creating the best content for working with brands.
How do you use research in your creative work?
Which brands communicate values in a way that resonates with you?
How does the history of a brand, or a region or of a medium inform the photography you make?
Here is a link to the photograph we made with the Synergy dress: https://www.instagram.com/p/B5daYQcgkFc/
Follow us HERE:
In this podcast we discuss some ideas about how to create a successful family in the social media and internet era.
What do you all think? Do we need more examples of happy and highly functioning families?
How do you build structure into your family life? How does social media affect your family?
Love to hear your thoughts.
Follow us: https://www.instagram.com/madfrawg/
In today's podcast we discuss our creative work together. We talk about our intentions in making art and creating a space for others with similar goals.
Where is the line between art and porn?
What is the best way to combine business and art?
What are safe ways to do photography with a nude figure?
What are we doing with our Patreon?
How to consider family relationships while making art?
These questions and others are answered during our 1 hour conversation.
We also discuss The Honest Company and the idea of having purpose for your brand.
Follow us: https://www.patreon.com/officialmadisonmariemodels
We got together with our friend Erin Anderson to talk story about modeling, make up and creativity.
Here's a link to the blog with some photos from the night.
It is with great pleasure that I announce to you that I am in a relationship. I have found someone extremely lovable and I am humbled and excited to say that she feels the same way about me. We are deeply compatible, and we have a lot to offer the world. I want to introduce you to Madison.
We met on a shoot. We got together to make some photos and our chemistry was undeniable. While we both behaved in a professional manner, we quickly realized there was a strong connection forming. After a few joyful and creative times working together, we finally kissed.
As a creative team, we are just beginning to feel the potential. There is so much magic happening already, and I’m happy to have the opportunity to grow with someone special to me.
Anyways, just wanted to share the good news. Love to you all.
Here is a podcast we recorded before we admitted our feelings to each other. It’s a good way to meet Madison before we have the chance to meet you in person.
Gillian Young is a unicorn. She's a gorgeous model, a badass personal trainer, a content creating machine, a snacking-whilst-on-the-road, warm-smiling, soft-speaking badass good-witch mama. She's one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram for her inspirational stories and ideas. With a background in television production and world traveling, Young brings a bubbly bright spirit to every encounter. I hope you enjoy this conversation we had at her home in Carmel. Gillian is a wonderful person to work with and her focus on mental health makes her a very important leader in the region and beyond.
You can follow her in Instagram, HERE: https://www.instagram.com/gillianyoungfit/
Check out her website, HERE: https://www.gillianyoung.com
Gillian also recently started her own podcast and you can find that, HERE: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3YzzwkjGw8d5EulYGhJ74n?si=nT8hjhVVQ0CFimApoBJyRA
I had the tremendous pleasure of speaking with Aniela Iannarino about her amazing drawings and paintings and how she translates what she's going through into these elaborate abstract works with personifications of her feelings and animistic energies. Check out her work on Instagram, HERE: https://www.instagram.com/aniela.iannarino/
Thanks for listening!
It is with great pleasure that I announce that I have three great episodes of the Dialogic podcast recorded. One of the things that I love about the Internet is the way it has disrupted old corrupt economies by removing the middleman. In the art world, you used to have to go to art centers like New York or Los Angeles in order to achieve relevancy. Now, with social media people are able to share directly with the public.
As an artist and lover of art, I want to use this podcast to start conversations with other artists to discuss how the industry is changing and how to make the most of this era.
With that said, let me introduce Brooke Mallory, the next guest on Dialogic. I came across Brooke’s art on Instagram and I immediately recognized a serious engagement with form and a fun confident style. You can check out her Instagram, HERE: https://www.instagram.com/malaysianplain/ She also has an Instagram dedicated to her artwork and you can find that, HERE: https://www.instagram.com/bnmworks/
In this podcast, Brooke and I talk about art and digital media, psychedelics and 60s music, social media and design, and a lot more. I was really impressed with Brooke’s voice and her ability to express her thoughts about artistic process and an entrepreneurial mentality.
One of the ways that Brooke makes money making art is by accepting commissions. She has a very strong style of drawing and is open to the challenge of fulfilling someone else’s vision. Have something you want to see as a drawing? Hit her up.
Brooke also does graphic design and is learning about digital marketing. With experience in the cannabis industry, Brooke is available for work as a freelancer. If you are looking for some fresh energy for your brand, contact her to see what ideas she might have.
In this episode, Jake sits down with Heidi Rhodes to discuss her modeling for fine art and commercial photography. They also dig into Heidi's curatorial practice with Instagram Stories.
In addition to being a stylish and creative model, muse and curator, Heidi also owns and runs two businesses:
http://www.hhfreshfish.com and http://shuckedrawbar.com
Contact Heidi for an Oyster Bar at your next celebration.
Thanks for listening!
I went to High School with Ryan McDonough and we were in most classes together. We were both part of the college prep track, but we were both artists. Ryan recently sold his business and retired and I went to sit down with him to learn about some of his journey through the startup world of Silicon Valley.
Teddy Danielson of Taking Pure Joy
In this podcast, Teddy talks about her relationship with food, her decision to study the culinary arts, her own eating disorder, and her decision to start a business in food.
Important for anyone who has or knows someone with an eating disorder, Danielson's story is an inspiring journey towards health through food.
Unfortunately, there was a technical difficulty and the camera shut off halfway through our conversation right at the point where she enters treatment. We will sit down again soon to continue the conversation, but enjoy this introduction to a very wonderful woman and culinary artist: Teddy Danielson!
What is the current state of social media?
What does Marshall McCluhan's book "The Medium is the Massage" have to do with the present day?
The shift towards substance. The resurgence of blogs and the rise of podcasts.
Ironically, the Message has now become the Massage.
Also: I share my fondness for the Youtube Channel The Bite Shot and discuss using her tutorial as inspiration for a photo shoot.
Do you do product or food photography? How do you use color to your advantage in your work?
Check the Blog Post HERE: https://jakejthomasphoto.com/2019/08/03/color-theory-and-food-photography/
Jeanie Simon, The Bite Shot
Santa Cruz is more than its parks and beaches: it's a collection of small businesses. The way businesses present themselves to the world through signs and lights makes up a big part of the character of Santa Cruz.
Today, I want to talk to you about being a photographer in Santa Cruz, being a Santa Cruz photographer, why I love it what’s so great about it what I want to do with it. For one thing, it’s an incredibly beautiful place. I remember when I used to paint more than I photographed, and now I photograph more than I paint, it was always a little bit frustrating to me because there’s not as much of an appreciation for painting (although, that may have changed, and maybe it was just my painting), and I always felt that because it is such a beautiful place people have more of an admiration for the actual landscape than for someone who is painting, especially abstract painting. It’s kind of parochial, and by that I mean small-town vibish, in terms of the kind of art that people seem to like here. So illustration goes over well, basically you have to have some sort of demonstrable skill, but I always thought that.. you know, abstract art happened a long time ago. Duchamp’s great experiment with the readymade was over a hundred years ago, it was in 1917. And having a love for contemporary art, I always saw Picasso’s route as the way to go. You show early that you can paint realistically, and then you seize all of that freedom to do what you want to do with paint. But, you have to be in the right market for that. And maybe that has changed now, I think it’s an interesting question and an interesting time, but I still like the idea that art no matter what it is, should be free. There should be an element of freedom in that. So, there is no right way to do it, is what I’m saying. But this is a place that has so much physical beauty and, being a Santa Cruz photographer, you are so lucky, because you get to experience these amazing vistas, and you get to photograph people with these incredible back-drops and you get to know the landscape itself. That’s a part of your job: both photographing the landscape and scouting the landscape to see what would make a great background for a portrait. Just to give you some of my background, I did a BFA in painting at Lewis and Clark College from 94-99, I moved down to San Diego started working down there and got into a graduate program in Literature, but moved back to Santa Cruz and entered the PhD program in Literature, which I did from 2003/4 to 2010/11. It was a seven-year process and that was what they called normative time for a PhD completion in that program. What I got into the program writing about thinking about working on was how the digital age was changing our culture so that both image and text were going to be more equally important to culture than they ever had been before...
What the heck is happening to Santa Cruz? This is the first part in an investigation into the state of Santa Cruz. It's also a question about how you know a place and a call to action inspiring you to think about and investigate the place you call home, wherever that is.
It’s Monday morning here in Santa Cruz, getting close to the end of March, spring is here, the sun is out the grass is as green as it will ever be, the fields are full of mustard flowers, the people are enjoying being outside getting fresh air, the puddles are drying up it’s been a wet year and California is out of drought. So things are proceeding apace here in the Golden State as all around the country our common story unfolds and around the world we march closer towards whatever future we are building and every day that becomes clearer and less clear. It’s a big mystery the unfolding of history as we are in the midst of it. Not only is it a hugely complicated topic, the history of our contemporary time (what’s happening in Europe with Brexit, in the Middle East, in Africa, in Asia, with Russia on the internet with troll farms in the Americas) all of these enormously powerful complicated things are happening in the midst of the most voluminous torrential outpouring of cultural production the world has ever known. We are both in a time when big things can happen quickly when global changes are already underfoot and we are more distracted than ever before. And yet at the same time we have more opportunity to communicate to come up with solutions to the problems we face to use our technology to our advantage than ever before. It seems like this is something that happens a lot in history and it just continues to intensify where there’s this paradox: it’s the best of times and the worst of times. Having all of the potential for it to go well and at the same time discovering these pitfalls these traps falling into these patterns failing to live up to our potential. There’s no getting around it: the human being is a flawed creature, an animal with many faults, but beautiful nonetheless. And maybe that’s part of the nature of the game: to accept our imperfections, to celebrate our flaws, but how we do that, why we do that when we do that what that means is something worth thinking about. So the topic of today’s podcast is: being candid, authenticity or TMI? Are you just being your real true self and helping other people to see behind the curtain so that they can relax a little bit and not worry as much about keeping up false appearances? Or are you somebody who is using this platform to seek attention in a way that isn’t really going to work for you in the way that you want because you’re really just asking for pity or sympathy by sharing the things that are too negative in your life? Now how do we go about thinking about this topic? This could be a recurring topic because it is relevant to all of our lives. There are lots of ways to do it.
It’s the middle of winter, approaching spring. We’ve been experiencing some significant weather, what they call an atmospheric river. Rainbows, green grass, clean air and lots of healthy people doing healthy things. We also have our own problems here in Santa Cruz, as I imagine exist everywhere. We’re only human and everyone has room for improvement. Everyone has a space they can grow into and some of us are out here doing that. Shoutout to everyone who is getting up early, getting some exercise, doing some writing and doing whatever it takes to get yourself into the right frame of mind to accomplish what you need to do.
Life is full and complicated, and it seems every day to keep getting more difficult, so maybe we can forgive ourselves for our mistakes and slips but perfection is an illusion that can rob us of the will to keep trying. Better to abandon the myth of perfection and focus on the concept of growth and improvement. Occupy yourself with doing what you gotta do to get better. Maybe you’re good enough, maybe you don’t need to improve, maybe you don’t have that drive to achieve. I’m not here to judge you. Hats off to you if you’re content with where you are. If you are striving to do better, however, I commend you too. For those of us out here trying to do our best to create a better future for our children there’s a different motivation. That’s what gets me up in the morning to do my pushups. My little girl. She’s so funny and full of personality and style and style tips.
Today, I want to talk about a few things, but also want to discuss what I don’t want to talk about. I don’t want to talk about current events. Let me explain why. It’s an interesting paradox. Why things are the way they are in a seemingly twisted loop like an infinity sign that has no beginning, no up nor down. While it seems like people aren’t that good at living in the moment, maybe that’s just me, and it appears as though people have a lot of fear about the future and regret about the past, the ever-elusive present moment is where we live but is also continually slipping away and is something that we have a hard time staying with.
To really live in the moment is a great challenge, which is one of the reasons why people practice meditation. To try and calm the mind and focus the attention of consciousness to what’s happening right here right now. But at the same time, and here’s where the paradox comes into play, when we talk about the news (current events) there’s such a huge value placed on what’s happening right now that it creates an interesting and sometimes destructive pressure to be the first to break a story, to be the first to respond to a story, to be aware of what is happening right now. And of course, the consequences of that are: making hasty judgments, being victimized by click bait articles created solely to get you to pay attention even though there might not be any substantial reason and that is one of the ways we are being tricked and failing to see the broader perspective or to touch on the deeper points.
That’s what I want to do. I want to keep things in perspective and to create a broader context of understanding that helps to make sense of the things that are happening, not just to be involved in what is happening today but to think about some of the longer historical trends that are leading up to the present moment and to try and predict where things are headed. I don’t have the ability to tell the future, but I think it’s worth thinking about history and looking at the lines of flight, the directions of change, the movements of movements in order to determine where to put your energy if you want to be an active part of this change and how to shape the next thing that emerges onto the field of historical being. That’s what I want to talk about today: how do we check ourselves from our reflexive reactions to what we come across in the news, and how is that changing,
Today, I’m going to talk photography, as it is core to who I am and key to what I do. When people ask me what my podcast is about, I say it’s about photography, digital media, culture in the digital era, art and literature. It’s a form of questions, an inquiry. There’s a certain mysterious element to it as well, because it’s kind of unable to be forced. I feel like if I tried to come up with a strict theme for a talk I don’t think it would go that well, not that it IS going that well, but it would go less well. So instead, it’s: marketing, social media, multimedia, art and business and culture.
Maybe it would be good to develop a more formal framework? If I’m going to do 30 minutes a day should I break that down into segments? What would that look like? What kind of segments should I create?
Today, though, I’m going to be a little more focused because I want to talk photography. There are so many ways to talk about photography because it’s such a huge field. There are all of the categories of photography to consider and it helps to think about what each kind of photograph calls for. The basic thing that combines all segments of photography is that you have to get great photos.
Whatever the purpose, whatever the format, you have to go out with your assignment and figure out how to bring back the best images. Whether you love it or hate it, people’s response is going to play into the mix, too and there are always trolls. That’s why being a photographer is kind of like waging psychological war because you’re going to deal with so many people trying to get into the field as well. But it helps to think about the categories. The more you know the better chance you stand.
There’s photography you do for the public (journalism, art, marketing) but when you do marketing photography you’re doing stuff for the public on behalf of a client and this is a great way to make money if you can pull it off. When you get the chance to work with a business and they give you some idea of what they want, then you get to create a voice that matches the brand’s goals. It’s a lot of fun to help businesses to convert people into fans.
How do you make someone a fan? You have to be compelling to them in one way or another. They have to want to see what you’re going to do next.
Back to the categories. Each of the categories has different considerations, and lots of overlap. Like with landscape photography where you’re depicting a stretch of space and architectural photography where you’re showing a landscape with a home. It’s like a cross between landscape photography and portraiture, but it’s a portrait of a building.
When it comes to people, there’s a lot of categories, but there are also types. There’s candid photography and posed photography and those modes of representation can exist within each of the categories. For example, if you photograph an event where someone is talking and you get a great photo of them at the podium, that is a candid journalistic photo. However, if the speaker is not in a place to get a great shot and you approach them after the talk and ask them to get a photo then it is still a journalistic shot, but it’s of a posed variety.
Thinking about what category it is will help to make decisions about the equipment and technique to use in order to get the shot you want. We start with the constraints. What can’t be done? Many of those are obvious and eliminate the techniques that are inappropriate to the situation, but it’s a helpful orientation. The limitations of a situation or a category of photography help to determine what can be done and how.
So, I want to come up with a concept for a shoot right now. That way I can walk you through how I make my decisions.
We are in winter and we have all of these cool trees without leaves and you can see their structure. I came across a huge maple tree that cast a massive shadow across the street and I want to
New Year’s Eve in Santa Cruz, pushups done, drinking beer, doing podcast, listening to said podcast and writing about that very podcast. Thanks for listening, thank you for following along. Just gonna have a little fun with the whole thing if I can, if I may, if I must: oh yes all three of the above, because I’m a content creator and I’m creating a cloud of thought that I’m going to distill it later on at the time of writing. But, we’ll see, because life is an experiment, especially as an artist. That’s one of the most important things you can be: experimental. Scientists and artists are similar in a lot of ways. Art overlaps with lots of different fields: the politician, the decorator, the scientist, the clown.
This age is radically different, though, due to the Internet. It’s as though our connectivity is so prolific that it is now entirely taken for granted. In the past, you could think about people in a more atomic way as little beings bouncing around and reacting to each other. The dream of the atomic family.
With the advance of digital culture, the wildernesses inside of us will recede further and further as more and more is available to see online. The habits of humans are very deep things. When you think about the fact of the unconscious being caused by the repression of thought and you look at an age where nothing really can’t be seen, there’s not much left that’s taboo, what does this mean for the unconscious? What does it mean for culture’s movement? Is there a tipping point, or is there a sweet spot of repression? Is there a way that it goes too far, but there’s also a way where there’s enough that is allowed without everything being open and free? Is there some level, some amount that suffices, have we reached the golden age of the allowable? The golden age of the allowable is the sweet spot of the permissable. More license would make us too decadent. Right now we’re still kinda lusty and hearty, on our way up fucking and drinking but we’re not decadent, creating strange games for people to play while we sit on couches and eat delicious food.
Anyone and anything that has ever been or will be could be found out there in the world today. There’s so much going on. That’s why the little vignette is both the best and the worst medium for today. With all the storm of content that gets thrown at us every day it’s hard to stop and take on the commitment to read a 600 page literary novel. But you just have to get people hooked, and hence the vignette. I think that people should be camped out for three days ahead of time to get the first copies of your books and they will be wearing costumes of characters from your book.
That’s why as an artist, it makes sense to adopt a spontaneous loose style where you can work and work and be super prolific but are creating tons of little things and can release them all. You want to create a compulsion to follow. You want people to be looking for what you’re going to do next. Anything short of people camped out for three nights will not do. You need to have a community of people fully one hundred percent fireworks behind the project.
How do you create that, what will happen, how will you know it?
It will happen something like this: after llistening to someone like me for 6 months you’ll start your own business and you’ll take your projects to the next level. All you can ask of yourself is progress. But the other thing is when you are really on it with the stuff you’re creating that’s all you have time to think about. That’s what you’re most excited to see. How did the photos look? How do the clips go together? How did that description sound? How does the blog entry look? It’s all a matter of repetition. You get better at everything by doing it repeatedly and through using the equipment so much it’s like the camera is melded to your finger and then you have this confidence when you approach someone for a portrait that...
This is Jake J. Thomas bringing you another episode of Dialogic two days before the end of the year, going to be easing into 2019. What kinds of challenges will we face, what kinds of opportunities? Now is a time for reflecting about that. I said last podcast how good I feel about going into 2019. From being a dad to working with creatives, I really enjoy my life and love how I make a living. This whole industry is so interesting and it’s a powerful time to be a creative. I look forward to making the most of it as much of the time as possible. Waves have been good, but I haven’t been on it as I’ve been sick and getting ready for the new year.
Finally, I was able to do a full workout and broke into a really strong sweat. I ended up doing 60 minutes yesterday and today doing 720 pushups and 720 squats. I want to get to 1000 each but in 50 minutes and if I can do that every day as just a core of my fitness then I feel confident that I can be a force to reckon with in the years to come.
I’m on an interesting self-reflective kick, but I don’t want to let it veer into narcissism. I’m not doing this because I love the way I sound; it’s a tool of self-reflection and improvement. I think that podcasts are going to be an increasingly important tool for businesses to share their stories with the public, so I think that this experience is critical in being able to help others. I’m sharing some of the technical aspects of my podcast as a map or a challenge to you. Do a half-hour podcast a day with free form but limited to 30 minutes and then you play back that podcast and you write about what you hear what you think about what comes across as interesting and then you use that writing as the description in the YouTube video, for a blog post, as the podcast description. It’s a way of being self-reflective: it’s a way of learning to speak what you mean and to mean what you speak. The act of communicating in front of the public creates apprehension that can play tricks on you and cause glitches of consciousness because you’re insecure about it. But with that feedback loop you can improve quickly.
What are you working on for 2019?
Half an hour recording, half an hour listen/ write/ upload. In one-hour you create a video and audio podcasts but you also generate copy. You have a page long blog, a description for your podcast, 20 tweets, three Instagram captions, and maybe more. It’s a very generative thing. When you set that as a goal for yourself you start to think about things in a different way, trying to make the connections stronger, finding the thing that you want to talk about because you know that you’re going to have to talk about something. This kind of self-reflective activity can really be transformative both because it provides a space for reflection and because it inspires a shift in consciousness from passive to actively looking for subjects.
It also pushes you to come up with tactics for when you can’t think of any content. There are categories that you can invent that you can always turn to and use for a day’s content.
The reflective loop helps you to see what is working and what isn’t. It pushes you to be honest about how you really are. It’s one of the reasons why fitness is so important, because you can’t really fake it. You’ve either done the work or not. If you have done enough work, then your body is an amazing machine that can do more than you could imagine. That’s reason enough to keep committed to a physical routine. It’s like the runner’s high: that moment of space that’s created by the endorphins from running where you can focus your mental activity and reflect on your reality from a different perspective.
It’s all about finding these practices that will generate movement and will encourage self-reflection and transformation. To use it to drive ourselves in a positive direction, to give ourselves momentum to endure any storms we might encounter.
Dialogic podcast, holiday check-in with the meme-savy people about the week between Xmas and NYE, the taint. Taint nothing but a weird little chunk of surreal time. It’s also a time of mass-reflection, people are pretending to get introspective; it’s resolution time. I want to think about it in a way that could be useful to myself and if it helps me it will help someone else. Upon reflection, I had feedback from a friend that seeing my sweaty selfie posts about pushups inspired her to take her fitness routine seriously and helped her to get back into shape after a back surgery. That alone made it more than worth it. I post my sweaty selfies because you can’t fake that kind of effort and with so much fronting and faking on the Internet I like to show honest moments.
When it comes to the holidays, like with many things, I am of two minds about a lot of it. I like to think that, when this dynamic is well-balanced, it gives me flexibility in my approach to things like the holidays. Sometimes I think we should just skip it and other times I’m ready to go all-in. Meh.
Everyone approaches the holiday with their own style. It’s different as a parent, though. Having a 5-year old daughter with a birthday two weeks before Xmas is a blast because she has such a great time. She loves her presents and she adores spending time with her family. I’m super grateful that I get to be her dad. I always knew that being a dad would be hugely important to me, which is why I waited so long to become one. I didn’t want to do that without the right situation, turns out that for me becoming a parent means that you go all in and do it the best that you can and worry about not doing it as good as you would like to, even though you understand that loving them and loving being a parent is the best thing you can do. I feel super grateful about being a dad.
When you have a kiddo, it’s all different, so shout out to all the parents out there doing their best to figure it all out. Unconditional love, how do we do it better, more consistently?
I like to talk because I feel that I have something to say, that I have a voice and I want to exercise my voice to become stronger, more focused on providing you with value. This podcast is going to be a daily thing, that’s my resolution. It’s going to get a little sillier, a little more focused, a little higher cardio levels, a little more footwork footwork footworkish.
I’m not against resolutions. I think that the world is amazing but imagine if everyone improved even just a little bit. People have a spectrum of behavior, a scale of desirability. From seduction mode to sedated on cold medicine stupor everyone has a range of feelings and styles they exhibit. Resolutions are just choices to strive for one or another version of self. The desire to become more fit is a choice to solidify a version of yourself through habit. You’re choosing to go in one direction instead of another one. You’re not laying on the beach smoking herb with some beautiful friends. There are different values and benefits to any lifestyle. People get confused when making a choice into thinking that one lifestyle is better than another when really you’re just choosing the set of benefits, costs, and consequences that you prefer over the other ones. Choosing fitness means getting discipline, structure, physical ability etc.; however, choosing to be artistic and spontaneous has its own set of rewards. In certain contests between lifestyles there are definitely advantages. The lawn-laying wine drinking artist may be at a disadvantage to fight the physical fitness enthusiast, but when it comes to writing poems, vice versa.
It's not that one way is better than the other, but that you can’t often do both at the same time. You don’t have to choose one or the other, but you have to schedule the time out. Either at a certain time of day or a certain number of weeks during the year you have to change directions, you h
I discuss self-discipline: what it is, how to build more of it, and why it is important. I also delve into Dale Carnegie's methodology for working with people by being positive. Finally, I give some thoughts about the situation at the border, and what a future could look like if we changed our relationship to other countries could look like. Thanks for listening. Peace!
What can we learn from the recent California fires? How can we create a more civil public discourse? What does Turkey Day have to do with the Camp Fire? All these questions and more are discussed in this episode.
In this episode, I share some thoughts about the history of racism and my own personal experiences with it. I draw from this smart article: https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/01/05/260006815/the-ugly-fascinating-history-of-the-word-racism
Racism is a huge problem in our culture and understanding its roots is part of how we get rid of it. Thanks for listening to the podcast. Peace.
In this episode I discuss Plato's allegory of the cave from The Republic and talk about how philosophy and self-help books can go together to great effect and why. Excuse my voice, I've had a cold, but been staying with the pushups, baby. I hope you enjoy your listen.
A brief interlude to talk about fitness, sweaty selfies, commitment to exercise, waking up early, and sharing your grit and resolution on social media. Shouts out to Jocko Willink, who is the greatest show your sweat waking up early dude on the Interwebs.
In this episode, Jake opens up the topic of sexuality and honesty in the digital age. Sure to be a recurring topic, he sketches out the history of social media to provide an explanation for why we are in our current situation. He also suggests embracing the concept of self-help and recommends Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People as a starting point for getting better at living a principled life. Honesty, buddies. It's not easy, but it's the only way to go.
In this episode, Jake does some freewheeling thinking about cultural sensitivity and being overly sensitive in the social media outrage culture era. Using the Rosanne Barr incident as an example, he discusses our need to be culturally sensitive when talking about culture and race, and also makes a case that we also should be better at accepting apologies and looking deeper into the issues than the surface disturbances.
In this podcast I start my read and riff series, where I read from books I think will be valuable to you and then riff on what they mean to me. In this episode, I begin to read and discuss Susan Sontag's famous book of essays On Photography. I delve into Chapter 1 "In Plato's Cave" and discuss how these issues are relevant to today's photo-crazy world. Thanks for listening, I hope I give you something to think about.
Tired of boring art? Want to help create the change you want to see? How about: be aggressively creative. Life is too short to not make kickass art. Listen to me rant about how I want to live and create. I didn't mention them in the podcast, but I was inspired by Jocko Willink's podcast when he talks about the necessity of hard work, with Robert Hughe's characterization of modern art as creating the Shock of the New, and I was also inspired by the models I worked with on a body painting project last weekend: Alex, Dominique and Stephanie. We did some aggressively creative work. Check out @jakejthomasphoto on Instagram for a glimpse of the badass art we created.
Jake strives to give his friends encouragement about how to navigate the perilous world of digital media. We all need some constructive criticism, but how do you manage the feedback you're encountering. Jake's answer is to be your own best critic. Know your faults, own your mistakes, and be kind enough and encouraging enough to keep up the will to continue working. We don't want to be delusional, but we do want to stay motivated, so it's important to filter the feedback and to be selective with what criticism you allow into your consciousness.
Jake takes a slightly different approach by ranting against drugs. He believes that you don't need anything more than a couple of beers and Cannabis. He understands that being an artist comes with a lot of baggage but he wants to stress to you that your best work is only going to come from hard work and never the influence of drugs. Peace!
Jake reflects on meeting and photographing one of his favorite young rappers, Maliibu Miitch. He shares some thoughts about how to offer and provide value as a way of opening doors to creative collaborations, reminds you to keep the desire of your audience or client first, and discusses what good management is and can do when it comes to the arts. Not only was he super happy to meet Maliibu, but he got to meet her manager Donnie, DJ Flipside, Haiti and her fiancé Chase Money Marz.
Maliibu Mitch on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maliibumiitch/
Maliibu on ITunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/maliibu-miitch/701153270
Maliibu's Manager Donnie on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brovazent_donnie/
Chase Money Marz on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chasemoneymarz/
Chase Money Marz on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6snOIiDamg&feature=youtu.be
DJ Flipside on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iamdjflipsidenyc/
Haiti on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hboy
Jake discusses three people who inspire him: Jocko Willink, Anthony Tashnick, and Gary Vaynerchuck. Hopefully he inspires you to think about how you're using social media, how you balance your digital life with a physical one, and to find people who inspire you to be your best.
Jocko's Podcast: http://jockopodcast.com/
Anthony Tashnick on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anthonytashnick/
and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Anthony-Tashnick-495002753864382/
Gary Vaynerchuck's podcast: https://www.garyvaynerchuk.com/podcast/
In this episode, Jake discusses the first part of Te-Nehisi Coates' powerful book The World Between Us, pays tribute to the activism of his friend Michael Jolson, meditates on the power of art and literature, and asks the question: "How would it feel to have a black son."
In this episode Jake discusses the phenomenon of Internet Trolling. He describes what it is and offers three key ways to deal with Trolls. He also goes on to describe the work of two exemplar Trolls: Donald Trump and Tekashi 69.
He also drinks two delicious organic ales created by: Taylor Settani (https://www.instagram.com/bluebelln7/) for Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing (https://www.instagram.com/scmbrew/) with artwork done by Randall V. (https://www.instagram.com/randrawll/)
Ever wondered how best to deal with Trolls? Jake answers by pointing to the excellent examples of Chris D'elia (https://www.instagram.com/chrisdelia/) and Gary Vee (https://www.instagram.com/garyvee/)
Becoming a parent rips open your heart, if you care, and helps you to relate to most of humanity. Unfortunately some kids are going without adequate food in this county, and likely in yours. This episode is a call to action to inspire you to think about how to solve the problem of childhood hunger in your hometown.