Chile IPA, Vegan Sausage, Sunday Fight, Weird Dreams – Taking Pictures of Famous Rapper in Studio – Rob $tone

Oh boy!

I had a weird weekend!

Also… woke up from really weird dreams.

Seriously. One of my dreams was that my nutsack stretched to the ground… and suddenly, for no reason, it was cut from my body. And I had to leave it in the bathroom sink. Stretched nutsack filling the drain with blood while trying to keep the nuts inside and I bleed all over the place.

That was the only dream I remember.

But I had other weird dreams.

Maybe it was because of the weird weekend.

Maybe it was because of the Makers Mark.

But I woke up at 8 am thinking it was around noon. Nope. It was still pretty early.

And despite drinking a bunch yesterday, I wake up feeling more than fine. That’s why I love Makers Mark. It’s a strong bourbon, but it doesn’t give you a hangover at all.

I should buy some bitters.

I skipped the blog yesterday.

There was a point in the day where I started writing the post, but I was angry, and I was venting, and it would have come out petty. So I didn’t blog. I just deleted it.

On Saturday.

Saturday the weirdness started.

After the blog post, I thought the rapper was going to cancel. I didn’t hear from him. So I went out to get tacos. As soon as I ordered tacos, I got an email.

It was his manager. He wanted to switch locations to a photo studio instead of where we agreed but still do it at 5 pm. It was already around 2 pm…

My brother was nice enough to let me borrow his car again. He went with his family to a pool party in their other car, so he didn’t really need it.

Like always, the car had the empty fuel marker on. Like always, I put half a tank or more in his car in appreciation to let me borrow it.

The line to cross the border was backed up a lot. The most I’ve seen it in the SENTRI lane. It was so backed up, I wasn’t even sure where I needed to enter the line. So I had to do a huge loop. I started to wait in line at 3:15 pm.

I thought I was going to be waiting at the border for more than an hour. I picked the right lane and saw the left lane moving faster.

But it wasn’t bad. It was less than 40 minutes. And the right lane ended up moving WAY faster than the left at the end.

I was in the area of the studio by 4 pm. I had an hour to kill so I went to Albertson’s to do some grocery shopping, texting my girlfriend pictures of everything to see if she wanted it. But it ended with “just buy whatever you want.” I didn’t have much money anyway.

Got a big beer (Chile IPA), parmesan cheese (for her), vegan sausages (for her again), and pepper jack cheese (for me). Well, everything is for sharing anyway. I’ll end up using the vegan sausages. And she’ll use parmesan in stuff she cooks for both of us. She wants to make ravioli. That would be great. It’s one of my favorites. As a kid, it was my favorite food.

We drank that beer on Sunday. It was a real good IPA with a mouthful of chile coating. It was delicious but never drink more than one at a time.

Went to the studio at 4:30 pm. I got a text from the manager saying they were going to be 15 minutes late.

A guy in the studio named Marvin let me in. Cool guy. He has a nice music studio setup with a nice photo studio space. Just softboxes, no strobes. So it wasn’t ideal.

I told him that studio photography is not my strength, and he helped me setup. He also offered me a beer, which I decline at first because I was driving, but I was nervous and sort of needed the drink.

One beer down, rapper and his crew were nowhere to be found.

Another beer down. Still nothing. I was getting bored and impatient since I had been waiting for more than an hour.




Hung out with the guys from the studio. They were working on a children’s book mixed with rap. It was cool to see the process. One of the guys was improv rapping to beats the whole time. It was smooth as fuck.

Disclaimer, I barely like rap or know much about it.

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

And finally. He arrives. The famous rapper with his crew. Bodyguard, manager, another photographer.

Dude has 100 million plays on his YouTube. And he samples songs that I like. And the songs are really catchy. So I’m enjoying them. In fact. I’m going to play some right now.

This is him:

So I lied. It has 97 million views.

I was nervous. I’ve shot other big rappers. But in the streets (well… at LAX).

I’ve shot Snoop Dogg, The Dream, 50 Cent, Matisyahu, Common, Kanye West, Ice-T, Beyonce, and way more. (Beyonce thrown in there for good measure).

But I was used to it. It was my turf. It was LAX. It was my game.

A photo studio it’s not my element. And with the dude’s permission felt really odd.

Of course, there was a lot of weed. Well, they had tons of weed. Smoking a blunt by the door. Everyone lit as fuck (except the bodyguard).

The photoshoot lasted less than 5 minutes.


They said they wanted a clean shot. I explained to them that I was out of my element. That I’m usually more on the street. More casual. More hidden. More natural. Not posed awkwardness.

Especially because I don’t know the dude!

But they said they wanted a clean simple shot.


“How does this look?”

NAH do it tighter. Crop it tighter.


“How is this? I’m happy if you guys are happy. I don’t want to take much of your time.”

Yeah man. That looks good.

“Well. Then that’s all I need.”

And just like that.

It was done.

If I had time, I wished I made it different. If I was comfortable. I would make it different. If I knew the guy. I would make it different. My biggest regret is having the ISO at 800. And some shadows.

But he is a rapper on his way up. I’m a photographer in his slow steady way forward.

I can’t imagine how it feels to be 22 years old and has that much fame in the game.

This is a shitty iPhone pic of the studio that I sent to someone. They have models on Mondays and I might have to head back and do some work there.

The crew was gone. That was Rob $tone.

I said my goodbyes to the guys in the studio.

And then I was back in my brother’s car. It was sort of surreal. It was sort of normal. It was done quickly.

I’ll publish shots once the magazine runs it. It’s a great story. And again. I get the cover picture. Dude already had great photographs, but for some reason, he didn’t want the magazine to use them and wanted a new photographer.

The shot is simple. It sort of looks like shots for American Apparel. It could have been better with strobes and better equipment. And if we were more comfortable with each other.

They say it takes at least 20 minutes for a model to get comfortable with the photographer. That usually the first couple hundred of pictures are a waste because it takes them that long to finally let loose.

I did it in 5 minutes. 80 pictures. Edited down to 32. Some 10 are great. One will make the cover. The other probably the inside spread.

And that was when I took pictures of Rob $tone. Two days ago. Back to paparazzi stuff. But not really.

Another cover picture and inside spread comes out in two days.

Cover shots.

Cover shots.

Cover shots.

It’s really cool. It’s really weird. It’s more of a career builder than a money builder. I don’t make much $$$ out of it. I make a standard agreement that I have with all the pictures. Which is silly. Some shoots are complicated, some of them are quick, some of them are demanding, some of them are fucking easy. So I guess the standard agreement for all is cool.

I have two more photo shoots this week.

One is about food. The other involves army (I think).

I’ll figure out both soon.

And finish writing articles.

After the shoot, I was still a bit incredulous and I needed to tell people about it. I talked to my Instagram boyfriend and he told me to stop by his house, he had some friends over drinking wine.

We hung out for a while in his pad. Awesome place. Funny shit that his WiFi is the same as the name of my Chromecast (Meow). And basically, his apartment is what my apartment would look like if I was making shit tons of money. Really nice and clean space. I was impressed. And at the same time. All good. The Instagram boyfriend is real chill. The people he was hanging out were cool. We played music on the television. We told stories. Dude also plays guitar and has plenty of guitars. No wonder we get along so great. Photography + guitars. That’s my main thing.

I’ll hang out in SD again. He’ll hang out in TJ again.

The border life.

Oh yeah. I gave my card to Rob $tone’s manager (who also was just a really stoner kid who is his friend). He got a kick that I give tours in Tijuana.

My day dreaming takes me to a fantasy of taking Rob $tone and his crew to places in Tijuana. It would be sick. It would be complicated. It would also make me nervous.

But $$$$.

It’s in his name. $$$$.

I got home around 10 pm.

Dropped my gear. Dropped the groceries. Said hi to my girlfriend who just slept all day after work.

Went to drop off my brother’s car.

Then went out with my friend and old roommate Ramon for some beers. Girlfriend joined. Girlfriend got bored. Girlfriend left.

I kept drinking with Ramon catching up until 3 am.

And then home.

And then Sunday.

Sunday was a mess.

Sunday there was no blog post.

I edited the pictures in the morning.

Fought with the girlfriend the rest of the day.

But I mean, we ended up like always all good. But it was a long day of arguing. Of figuring out each other even more. It’s been almost 6 months of living together. Her birthday is coming up.

We still making it work. We still figuring it out.

Fights are going to happen.

They are always going to happen. I think this one was the worst one yet.

That was Sunday. Day drinking and fighting. We went to Voodoo Stu’s for dinner. Blackened fish for her. Beer can chicken breast for me. It was fucking delicious. Especially the potato salad with smoked paprika. I need to get some smoked paprika. You can just sprinkled that shit on a baked potato and do magic.

It was Pinche Paco’s birthday. We met him there. We played a round of dominoes. I made a domino Jenga. It was silly.

And then back to the apartment. Feeling better. No more fighting.

This post needs a featured picture.

Here’s a picture of Rob $tone by Fuse TV.


My pictures will be a cover in 10 days…most likely, if everything goes fine. And then I can post them.

So celebrity throwback Monday is not my pictures. It’s Rob $tone. And other famous rappers I’ve shot.

Coffee. Work-out. Breakfast egg burritos. Back to the freelance border life.



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