From Paparazzo to Festival Organizer and More: Henry Rollins + TRF

I had a great birthday.

One of the best I ever had.

The most memorable birthdays I ever had was when I got Super Smash Bros. for the N-64 when I was 13.

The other was three years ago when I turned 25, quit my job and went on a road trip.

Then this last one that I turned 28. I won’t get in to much detail, but it was four nights straight, almost 96 hours without sleeping (small naps now and then but not for more than an hour). It started with a San Diego Reader party on Wednesday. Thursday we had a TRF meeting with the whole team to finalize some details. At midnight it became my birthday and we started celebrating heavily. Didn’t sleep for more than an hour from like 9 am to 10 am and somehow I forced myself to stay up my whole birthday to crack of dawn on Saturday. That morning I got up early (slept for like 2 hours maybe) for a video shoot with a model from San Diego for TRF and I took the opportunity to take pictures with my iPad.

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It made me miss photography work a lot. Not with celebrities, but with models (in LA you get asked for pictures a lot when you have great gear). If I could do that with just an iPad (plus a bunch of editing), imagine what I could do with my old gear? I used to have such good gear. My favorite was my last setup with NPG when I had a Nikon D3 with a 70-200mm/2.8f lens in one bag (it was my boss’s old camera, the same one that snapped Britney Spears shaving her head and showing her lady parts coming out of a car). And a Nikon D700 with a short-lens (kit), flash + grip in my other bag.

My freelance life is growing. In an ideal life I could do each of my jobs for 3 months a year (with some flexibility of course). And travel all over.

I’m currently juggling all of this somehow:

1. Writer: San Diego Reader, San Diego Red, b1mas4 (in Spanish), translating and ghostwriting for a French guy that hired me all the way from Thailand to do work on his webpage. In addition to updating this blog, Tijuana Adventure and TRF. Other small writing jobs come at me often.

2. Musician: Even though I haven’t gone to practice with them, once I have a car, I know I can get back on the groove with The RockinJazzBigBand as their bass player. I’m also getting gigs by myself with my classical guitar music thanks to a friend from the jazz band as intermediate between the sets of their band (The Zinchiladas). Finally, with my alternative math-rock project Donkey Chow. We had a show at Mous Tache bar in Tijuana the other night and went great. The name might change and recordings will be coming out soon.

3. Tijuana Adventure is going great with more visitors to the site and emails every now and then with people interested in a tour. However I’m way too busy with the music festival and the VIP tickets Tijuana Rumble Fest! Which takes us to #4.

4. Tijuana Rumble Fest. I’m organizing and co-ordinating the event. It has been a lot of work since a friend invited me to throw a festival with him back in March. From a tiny idea, it caught on fire and turned into a huge festival.

5. Photography. This is still not for profit and I don’t have gear except my iPad. But working with a model was so much fun and I know I could get way better pictures if I had better gear and if it was magic hour instead of 2:30 pm. If there’s one thing that I’m super grateful for my 4 years as a paparazzo was learning the best of many amazing photographers. People depict most of the paps as idiots with a camera, but trust me that taking pictures of someone that doesn’t want their picture taken in the middle of others in a public space is not an easy task.

The rest of my birthdays have been utter shit. I remember in one of them I got air-kicked on the chest by simultaneous legs of two different people that were friends of my older brother. We were playing Caballeros del Zodiaco and I went flying and smashed against the wall dramatically, fell down slowly and was injured for the rest of the day.  Of course this a decorated story, I was 8 at the time and that’s how it remember happening. I cried the rest of the day because my thumb had a huge bruise and I had scrapes all over my knees and elbows.

Anyway, one of the favorite people saw back in the day was Henry Rollins. This was in September 1st, 2008.

Henry Rollins

There were a lot of paparazzi waiting at the Tom Bradley International Terminal for someone I didn’t get pictures off and that I completely forgot by now (it was probably Victoria Beckham or something). But Henry Rollins came out before her and I snuck out of the way and into the parking lot where he was headed to take pictures. He approached me and for a moment I was scared of him. He asked me if he take a look at my camera, I gave it to him nervously. He then commented on the grip for the flash and asked me about what sort of camera gear I used. Apparently the PunkGod wanted some recommendations on what camera he should buy.

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