Monday, February 25, 2008

Calling Twin Cities Bands: I Want YOU!

I'm starting a photography project with local bands that I'm super stoked about. Basically, I've spent the past year shooting live shows, and love it dearly, but I'm trying to dig deeper.

Here's the deal...

I love candid photography and am comfortable with it but I want (and need) more practice doing promo shots. I have always been interested in the intimacy of the rehearsal process (I spent 15 years in rehearsal as a now pretty much defunct theatre actor and director.) So the project is a series of rehearsal and promotional shots with local bands. If possible, I would love to come in during one of your rehearsals, photograph you and your band (or just you and your instrument...whatever is applicable) practicing for no more than an hour (and usually less than that) and then spend maybe 30-45 minutes doing promo shots around your rehearsal space...outside the building, in the car, in the grass, in the weird creepy attic, what have you. Rock'n'roll...hip hop...indie rock...punk...rockabilly...instrumental...I'm interested in a ton! It's cool if you rehearse in just a grungy room in a house or a studio space or whatever. I like the challenge. (Also, I'm dropping a bit of my tax refund on some new gear.)

Here's some examples with The Spaghetti Western String Co...

Click here for the rest of the photos from that shoot.

There would be no money involved in the initial session and you all could use the pictures for whatever you wanted (as long as I am always credited!) It's something that's really fun and beneficial for me and you all could get some shots out of it. Contact me at malexajones at gmail dot com if you are interested and we can hopefully make something work.

Seriously, I'm fun and respectful and quiet (during these shoots...outside of these shoots, I'm a uber enthusiastic banshee.) I swear!



Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I'm not in a very good mood right now so I apologize up front for my bitching and moaning...

Well, there they are...the new members of Marah. No more Adam, Kirk & Dave P. Wanna know what else...those are MY pictures of Dave & Serge...which when I saw on their web-site last night produced a mix of excitement and disgust (heightened cause I was dead tired.) Cause wanna know what else...THEY NEVER ASKED IF THEY COULD USE THEM! MARAH?!?!! Come on guys...that's not right. You KNOW that's not right. Just ask me. I'm not a stranger. I've met and partied and stayed up all night with you (this excludes the newbies...who will have personalities and voices to me soon enough.) I just dealt with your break-up right before a much needed Minneapolis show and then I see my photos on a poster with the new members...and you didn't ask. Bands and musicians ask (I hope...god I fear how many of my photos are floating around out there and being used against my knowledge) even if it's just for myspace but especially web-sites or European press. Not only does it make me feel awesome and proud but this is MY business and I am a professional. When I saw that poster last night, at first I was really excited because it was one of my favorite bands using my photography, then it quickly dawned on me that THEY NEVER ASKED. I'm not sure how REAL that poster is it simply something they created for fun (which is not really for fun anymore cause it's on the front page of their web-site) or are my Barcelona friends gonna walk by the venue to have that poster outside?? One of my favorites and I just feel a little taken advantage by them right now. So it's VERY bittersweet. Like I hear nothing from them after I put my pics up on the forum for others to see, after working my ass off on them, and then all of a sudden, six months later, there they are again. Sigh. Seriously people...don't do this. I love music and live shows more than anything. I don't know how to play any instruments, am a horrible singer, don't care about theatre anymore but still need to produce art. I take pictures. In almost every case, I will give you my art. Just don't take it from me.

Ummm...that was a tad more of a rant than I had originally intended. It's also the straw that broke the camels back and I'M CRABBY.

I realized something last night. I take photos for you. I write for me. Neither is more important than the other because they are both art I feel like I have to make. Appreciate or don't but know that it is my insides. I care about them both. And when I care about something to this extent, it means a helluva lot to me.

I guess I'm just sad, too.

I'm sick of being disappointed by people. I'm sick of feeling used, like I can easily be taken advantage of because I am the way I am: funny, independent, anti-confrontational and just generally wanting to have a good time, make nice and make some noise. I never give myself enough credit and have a horrible time taking compliments (though that doesn't mean I don't like to hear them.) Part of what drives me is proving my own insecurities wrong. In my past, I have been told that I'm too fat to do what I want to do with my life (family and a billion kids on the school bus), that I'm a lesbian who watches other girls undress (middle school locker room), that I'm not a good enough writer (teacher), that I'm grasping at straws with my personality (old roommate), that I'm a fair weather friend (girl from the middle school locker room), that I need to see myself as beautiful (mentor), that if I don't take myself seriously, no one else will (second father/mentor.) It was all spread over 26 years, yes, but shit like that has a way of sticking. Some of this has been said by people I would take a bullet for and others who I would sooner leave on the side of the road in a hail storm. No, I'm not the same girl who didn't want to wake up the next day thirteen years ago...I've made some awesome advances with my self-confidence even in the past year. I'm proud to own the Jones. But strength will forever take work. I don't want to be the same person thirteen years from now that I am today. I won't be. Because some song is guaranteed to change my life again.

I guess I just need a break. If I had my choice right now, I would pack up my car and get outta this city, blaring Jungleland and The Temptation of Adam and Rolling and Brother Run Them Down and War Drums and Outfit and Umbrella and The Magician and Radio Nowhere all along the highway, stopping at my home in Kansas City for a few nights, snuggling with my dog and devouring Arthur Bryant's bbq, waking up to the sound of peacocks screaming and running next to the creek, making shrinkie-dinks with Morgie and falling asleep next to her in that amazing bed, catching every Bruce Springsteeen/Jason Isbell/Josh Ritter show in every surrounding state and ending up in the Gospel tent at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival, po'boy in hand and head in the clouds, far away from everything.

Fuck winter,'s messing with my mind.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hey Twin Cities this festival!

My friend Stacy Schwartz, photographer and booker for a hella nice local music fest, needs bands...

Attention bands and performers of all types! The Stone Arch Festival of the Arts is now taking applications for their outdoor festival June 14/15, 2008. This year there will be five performance stages showcasing local and regional acts. Last year's bands included Romantica, The Alarmists, Jeremy Messersmith, The Mood Swings, and Martin Devaney. We're looking for 35 - 45 bands to play over these two days. The festival runs from 10am - 6pm, so there's still plenty of time for you to play a gig that night. Over 100,000 people attended last year's festival so it's a good way to get your name out there! Contact Stacy Schwartz at for more information. Applications are due March 15, 2008. Press here to get the application.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day to MEEEEEEE!

I recieved a message from Jason Isbell today...


These pictures are great! We'd love to use them on our MySpace page. What is your mailing address? We'll send you a thank you package once things slow down a bit.


I immediately started laughing and ran out to call Jen where we proceeded to list about a dozen inappropriate packages Jason could send to me (yeah, imagine that.) I just had to tell everyone that knew how much this could have meant to me. JASON ISBELL! Then, I couldn't stop smiling. It felt a lot like my first photo as POTW on hwts or my first shot in To beat this pony for the zillionth time...JASON ISBELL IS ONE OF MY VERY FAVORITES! HIS ALBUM IS ONE OF MY VERY FAVORITES! HIS SHOWS ARE SOME OF MY VERY FAVORITES! And he liked my work enough to even CONSIDER sending a package. I don't care if it's a postcard. I don't care if it's the album, which I own in several different formats. I don't care if it's a t-shirt or a big ass bottle of whiskey. I don't care if it's nothing ever. Because, in this case, it seriously is the thought that counts (though a "thank you package" would be so effing amazing.)*

I do this because there is nothing I love more than a really rad show and it's become a mission to try to capture that, in pictures especially, words often, or shouting it from a mountain top always. I get so much out of live music and I love being able to repay those artists with my work. I know I have A LOT to learn. I know that concert photography can be "a dime a dozen." It doesn't have to be, though, and I want to continue to challenge myself to capture what I experience. It's not lucrative but it's my life and when a musician takes the time to even say thank you, especially those that aren't from around here, it means the world to me. I've made really amazing friends through this because I've left a venue with 4GB of shots, bawling and/or grinning from ear to ear, and I sent those musicians my pictures, and then all of a sudden you're having two hour conversations about art and life over pad thai or laughing ridiculously at a candyshop in downtown St. Paul or analyzing the Bruce Kingdom and everything that involves over greasy bar food. It's been almost exactly one year since I started doing this seriously and I will continue on, because I'm as excited about it now as I was that first time I looked down to my LCD screen and saw what a good camera could do. So, that's that.

And also, I know it's just myspace, but seeing MY picture as Jason Isbell's profile shot gives me a giant girly boner...and also great...going to the Drive-by Truckers page to see that same shot in their top friends. Hell. Yes.

And also, this must be a tiny tiny tiny tiny TINY fraction of what Jim Walsh felt when he got that hand-written thank you note from Bruce Springsteen.

And also, first step, Jason, many MANY steps later, Bruce. I'm just saying.


Press here for the rest of my shots from that night, including Will Hoge's co-headling set. God bless the Varsity's lighting.


*If one of Jason Isbell's people, Jason Isbell himself (god help me), or someone who has ever had a conversation with Jason Isbell happens upon this, I swear to the gods that I'm not a creep or crazy (in the bad way.) Just wanted to throw that out there for the sake of my (ever dwindling) dignity.

Happy Valentine's Day, LUVAHS!

Alexa, She Who Pines Away For A Package from the Postman