The Other Side with Jessica G Photography's Jessica Glick
Jessica G Photography founder Jessica Glick discusses life in the "Big Apple," explains why chemistry is crucial when handpicking artists for a photo shoot, and shares why it was such a pleasure to work with Adam Duritz in this week's Other Side feature.
Jessica Glick is not a “Big Apple” transplant nor a big city idealist. As someone who was born and raised in the city, she is an authentic New Yorker through and through. Glick reveals, “I am not a musician, but I have a not-so-secret dream of becoming one. I use to write music and lyrics with my old piano teacher Larry Edoff, but everything has been lost in a storage unit somewhere in Queens. [Eventually] I’d like to do something with music one day.”
It was this love of music that sparked Glick’s interested in music photography roughly six years ago, when she began to, “…make a real conscious effort” to develop her skills and start up her company, Jessica G Photography. Over the past few years, Glick began filling her portfolio with live shots and portraits of musicians such as Didi Gutman of Brazilian Girls, Delorean, and Kenneth Whalum III. This year, the budding photographer covered the CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival for the first time, an event that allowed her to, “Try something new. The real highlight of CMJ though, was seeing Adam Duritz of The Counting Crows at Arlene’s Grocery and getting the opportunity to take a few shots of him.”
We were able to convince Jessica Glick of Jessica G Photography to step away from the lens long enough to tell us what it’s like to be on The Other Side:
Green Light Go: How did you get started as a music photographer? Was there a defining moment that inspired you to work in this field, or was this career path always in the cards?
Jessica Glick: I originally wanted to be a filmmaker. It wasn’t until I transferred from The School of Visual Arts to The New School that musicians really became the focus of my photography. I took an internship course and started working at Nublu Records, which was when I first began shooting artists. While working at Pianos, my college advisor (Brandon Graham) suggested I should start photographing live bands. It was then that I developed relationships with some of the talent in New York and made an effort to expand my portfolio.
I realized that working with musicians enhanced my ability to develop concepts for my shoots. Whether it was from the music or from the environment in which we met (usually in dark lit venues in the middle of the night), my creativity was stimulated.
GLG: In the past you’ve taken shots of Adam Duritz of The Counting Crows, Didi Gutman of Brazilian Girls, Delorean, and Kenneth Whalum III, to name a few. What bands or artists might you like to work with in the future?
JG: Even though Brazilian Girls have broken up, I’d still really like to photograph the rest of the members. I would also love to work with Lykke Li, The Stepkids, Anni Rossi, Bryan Greenberg, Citizen Cope, Manu Chao, Bjork, Tom Waits, Radiohead, Ray LaMontagne, Michael Buble, Britney Spears, Mos Def, and Jay-Z.
GLG: When you set out to photograph a new band, how do you determine a location and how to set up the shoot?
JG: For some shoots, the subject(s) and I will just pick a place to meet and go from there. New York City is a great setting, so it’s easy to find inspiration while walking down the street. For other shoots, I’ll listen to the music of whomever I’m photographing and brainstorm some story ideas. After agreeing on a concept, the band and I will find an available location that suits the idea. However, sometimes the simplicity of a studio creates the right environment.
GLG: From a photographer’s point of view, how do you know that you are a good match for a band? What things do you have to keep in mind before agreeing to work with an artist?
JG: If an artist doesn’t inspire me, it is unlikely that I’ll agree to photograph them. Unless there is a real motivation to develop something together, it can sometimes be difficult to create good work [for an artist that I am not drawn to]. On the other hand, I do enjoy the occasional challenge.
GLG: What is the best piece of advice you’d give a band that thinks they are ready to hire a photographer?
JG: If a band is confident in themselves as artists, then it makes it much easier for a photographer to capture their essence. Self-awareness is fundamental in creating good art.
GLG: What are the most rewarding and challenging things about being a music photographer?
JG: There’s nothing more rewarding than being able to work with someone whose music is important to you; a photo shoot can be a really intimate experience.
The most challenging thing about photographing artists is scheduling…it can be difficult to plan ahead with creative types.
GLG: What are you listening to these days?
JG: I suffer from musical ADD. Yesterday, I was listening to Lykke Li, Delorean, The Big Pink, and Rihanna. Today, I’m listening to Mos Def and a French rap group called Assassin. Tomorrow, who knows?
This week's Other Side is brought to you by: Lauren Mercury Roberts