Danny Seim - Menomena

Had the privilege of hanging with Danny Seim of Menomena and his dog out in Portland last month... They are both equally awesome.


Loren Prothero

Towards the end of last year, I had the pleasure of working once again with an old buddy of mine: Loren Prothero. This guy has been passionately hashing out his personal fire for music and life for quite some time now, and recently released a delightful little 3 track ep. (He also got married and had a beautiful baby girl in the midst of it all!) Check out some of my favorites from the day, and the cover of the final product:

You can purchase Loren's the pedestal ep here: http://tinyurl.com/4zq3byl


Nurture the seed.

I cannot believe it is already March 15...this year has been moving by with severe swiftness!

That said - I have much to be thankful for, and I hope you do as well. And, while I have loads of work and exciting news to catch you all up on, I can't help but start at the beginning with this quote that I dearly love:

"Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders."
- Henry David Thoreau
Nurture the seed, the fruit will emerge.


Santa's Elves on Overtime.

Well Santa's elves may have missed the deadline, but they are putting in some serious overtime to get this final little gift done. New website + blog coming soon friends...here's a little peek:


My friend Jimmy.

You may or may not know that I spent the past month on the set of a movie, but while I was there I made a new friend. His name is Jimmy, and he is one of the greatest characters I've met recently. I hope one day you can meet him as well.


Charity: Water

October and November have been 100% nuts (in a pretty fantastic way), but now that I've had a moment to rest, I wanted to start down this road to the Holiday's highlighting something I'm pretty stoked about:

For Christmas this year, my wife and I wanted to do something different in the spirit of giving and sacrifice, so we're targeting something that means a lot to us - clean water.

More than a billion people are living without water on our planet. Some walk miles every day to get to the nearest source: a stagnant, parasite-infested stream or pond. They lug it back to their families. They suffer from diarrhea, worms and skin diseases because they can't wash themselves. 45,000 people die each day from waterborne illnesses.

So it's pretty simple - instead of us receiving gifts from friends and family - we're asking them to donate the money they would have spent to our Charity: Water fundraiser. On average it takes about $5,000 to build a well for a village in need - so that's our goal.

The cool thing is that it's not only about clean water - it goes so much deeper. In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year just walking for water. Women and children usually bear the burden of water collection, walking miles to the nearest source, which is unprotected and likely to make them sick.

Time spent walking and resulting diseases keep them from school, work and taking care of their families. Along their long walk, they're subjected to a greater risk of harassment and sexual assault. Hauling cans of water for long distances takes a toll on the spine and many women experience back pain early in life.

With safe water nearby, women are free to pursue new opportunities and improve their families’ lives. Kids can earn their education and build the future of their communities.

We know that there's so many worthy places to give our time, attention and resources to year-round - but if you're looking for a place to give this holiday season, we'd love your help in bringing clean water to a village in need.

I love this time of year, hope to run into you all soon!

Cheers, Jonathan


I'm alive!

I guess you might say it's been for good reason that there hasn't been a recent blog post...

I've actually been too busy!

Let's give bullet points a go:

September 16: Donald Miller - an author I enjoy - posted a blog saying that a movie he (and others) had been working on for years was being put on hold indefinitely due to lack of finances.

I sent am email to a buddy of mine claiming a belief that they should have been able to raise the money, and I had a general idea how they should have gone about it.

My buddy (Zach) said he would have said the same thing to me first if he'd had the chance.

We knew a mutual friend of the author, and so we sent a hail mary email: Just two normal guys making a pitch to raise funds for a movie we had no part of. Typically you and I might refer to this as 'dreaming.'

Within hours of sending the email - we heard back, "Tell us more."

We bought some whiteboards and stayed up all that night in my garage putting together a pitch to raise an unknown amount of funds in less than a month. We sent it out on Friday.

Sunday night - the Director-to-be, Steve Taylor, came over to Zach's place and met with us...he even bought us coffee. About midnight, Don conferenced in - and in a matter of days Zach and I went from Joe Blow's working the corporate gig to Joe Blow's working the corporate gig and in charge of spear-heading a campaign to raise $125,000 in less than 30 days.

From there it's a bit of a whirlwind...we put together a viral marketing campaign in 5 days, launched www.savebluelikejazz.com, slept minimally, and tried to soak in an incredible story that somehow we landed upon. In the end the campaign raised just shy of $346,000. The movie was saved!

There's other news though...in the midst of all this, a couple really cool opportunities happened upon me. I was offered a gig to go cover the release week of what was anticipated to be one of the biggest record releases in recent history. The anticipation proved true! In fact - she's the latest (and one of the few) to sell a million copies in her first week! This was obviously an exciting gig, and one that allowed me to travel out to NYC and LA for the coverage. Along with that - once the movie was saved - Zach and I were both offered jobs on the set of the movie. While both these opportunities were beyond wonderful - they forced me to a crossroads: up until now, whenever good gigs came up I would take vacation from my day job and it all worked out. Well - turns out I didn't have 5-6 weeks of vacation time left. :)

That said - here I sit, proclaiming to you now...

I'm officially full-time Creative.

Exciting and scary are both terms that come to mind, but the adventure is on and I can't help but smile about it.

More soon, I promise.



Dan Hartman

A few months ago, late one night, I got a text along the lines of this from my buddy Nate:

"Hey man, I met this guy out on the road...His story is amazing. I want to bring him out to Nashville and do things right. I'll tell you more later. You in?"

Nate is the kind of guy I don't really think twice with, so all I could muster was a one word answer:


Fast forward to a couple weeks ago: there I was, sitting down for lunch at a local pub with the man in the flesh - meet Dan Hartman.

After a moment of introductions and guy-humor-small-talk, I said to Dan, "So man, let me hear your story."

He gently removed the bandana from his head and set it aside, raised his eyes, and began.

I couldn't help but stop and listen...hanging on his words. Major life moments are an understatement for this guy. It doesn't start here, but one notable point of the story is when he explains that by medical standards, he shouldn't be alive. In fact, for 14 minutes some time ago...he wasn't alive. He laid dead on the operating table. Flatlined.

Fourteen minutes.

But he didn't give up. He's here, and he's pouring it all out in his gut-wrenching lyrics, and delivering it with his soothing and soulful voice.

Thanks Dan, for not only sharing your story, but embracing it. You are truly an inspiration.

Dan filmed a music video and recorded an EP while he was here as well. When those are released, I will excitedly pass them along.


Quitting The Cover: A Self-Portrait.

Note: This piece originated as an entry to a contest Donald Miller is holding for his Living A Better Story Seminar in Portland this fall. As the ink began to flow, I quickly realized that this was far more than a contest piece. It was a grueling - and at times quite painful - storyboard of the most honest self-portrait I've ever displayed. It's long. It's raw. It's me.

"Our very lives are fashioned by choice...First we make choices, then our choices make us." - Andy Andrews

* * *

Many hours have been spent trying to write this piece – unsuccessfully – and I just couldn’t gather why…

Until now.

The simplified explanation is because I tend to be an arrogant & manipulating, wanna-be-superhuman ass. The process that lead me there, well, you can find that below.

I’ve got this reputation I used to have this reputation – one of ‘having all the answers.’ I was the father figure to friends, the go-to guy in my family when my parents split after 32 years of marriage, and let's not forget to mention the credibility I built from spending a lot of time at church and being voted ‘Best All-Around’ by my senior class.

So I took it. They asked, I answered. They didn’t ask, yet I thoughtfully spoke up. They asked me not to give my opinion, and I convinced them why I should. It was glorious.

Then, 4 years ago I moved to a new city, outside the only bubble I’d really ever known. I met a girl, dropped out of school, and started experiencing life in a whole new way.

Don’t worry, that’s where the cliché ends.

That girl and I? Well, I now call her my bride and the mother to our daughter.

She could also be described however as the girl who I couldn’t manipulate. The girl who called out my B.S. The girl I fought (loudly) with on the streets of New York City two days after our wedding…on our honeymoon. The girl who feels trapped because marriage has felt more like prison than it has freedom.

I can’t take all the blame, but I will take a good chunk of it.

I was the first boy she dated that ‘grew up in the church.’ She wanted that, badly, and I figured out a way to deliver. The problem was that the church I grew up in wasn’t authentic; it was a commodity to the suburban lifestyle. It taught façade, not facts. It taught legalism, not life. But it taught, and I learned. The system was in place.

So how did that affect our lives so significantly? Expectations, attachments, superficiality, lack of trust, backdoors, terrible leadership, and an ultimate feeling of imprisonment.

So here I was, dumbfounded as to why I couldn’t write this piece.

Then the sun rose.

This season of my life has been about shutting up. It’s been about learning not to attempt and manipulate a situation so that I can get the most out of it. It’s been about learning to strip it all away and just be raw. It’s cold, it’s naked, it’s wildly uncomfortable and it feels like hell...

...or perhaps another way to describe it would be along the lines of learning a few life lessons in courage + humility.

My many first unsuccessful attempts at this piece were forgeries full of eloquent rhetoric trying to win a free trip. I suppose my soul wouldn’t allow me to finish until I accepted the fact that manipulating words for a free trip isn’t living a better story. It’s a business maneuver, it’s my same ol’ routine, and it’s a lie.

Something had to give. I had to push past the flesh of keeping it pretty on the outside, and commit to going regardless of the outcome. I couldn’t just ‘hope to get a free ride’ and expect my life to change. Granted, a seminar won’t change my life, but I believe a willingness to sacrifice and community will.

Now, as I press on towards this path to freedom and life, I’d love to share a little bit of the journey I long plan to take.

I want to re-marry my wife, but not in a ceremonial way (well, if doves flew, I’d be ok with that). I just want us to embody life. In that role I want to be a leader. I want to serve and love my bride wilder than ever. Continuously chasing after her wild heart...with courage & vulnerability. Fight for her, woo her...hold her when she’s lonely and stand up when she can’t. I want to be on the front row as the feeling of imprisonment slips away and enjoy her finding freedom in her own story, watching from a distance...but never too far to miss out on the unfolding beauty.

I want to be a tender and loving, humble father who adores his little girl. I want to teach her about self-worth and living life to the fullest: laughing often, taking chances, and serving others. I want to show her how we love often, and love recklessly.

As a family I want to enjoy the majesty of God’s creation together. I long for us to invest and learn from other cultures and to never allow others expectations of ‘how life is supposed to be lived’ to get in the way.

As a unique individual, I want to look in the mirror and see someone who has taken the time to dig deep within, examine God’s masterful artistry to the best of my human brain’s ability, and put it to work in a way that is edifying, joy breathing, life giving + glorifying to him.

My aim? Full-time creative. My main trade will be photography, but there’s so much more. I want to invest the majority of my life believing in people and seeing them succeed. Whether this relates to photography, or creative vision, or an authentic conversation over a beverage or two, that’s how I want to do it. I have much to learn, but where I excel and find ignited passion is in the opportunity to capture and share a story.

Think about this. There’s a reason people love Rolling Stone magazine. Have a look and you’ll notice that the stories never stem from an hour-long interview with the same Q & A session rattled off by a disinterested journalist. Rather, a music fiend who is also wildly talented in story telling and capturing the details of life goes and spends some time with whoever the subject may be. They eat together, drink together, and it’s typically inevitable that they will cause some ruckus together. Ultimately, what’s happening during that time is relationships are being forged, walls are cracking down a bit, and authenticity is bleeding forth. Come time to check your mailbox, it’s the best damn story you’ve ever read on given subject.

I want to do that, but visually.

And I want to make a living that way.

I want to hear the story about the humble and out-of-the-ordinary beginnings, I want to hear the vision for the grandest plans, and I want to capture the passion that accompanies it from beginning to end. By the time they show up for ‘the shoot’ I want to have a built a relationship, been a part of the process, seen and know the passion behind it all. Then, I will have the confidence of my now friends to capture them and their dreams in the best light imaginable.

This can and will take on many forms, many of which are most likely beyond my current scope of imagination, but I do know where I want it to carry me…

I want to put food on the table for my wife and daughter, our friends, our families, strangers alike, and I want to do it intentionally.

I want to use the gifts within that I can’t hold down, and from that platform I want to help encourage and enable others to embrace their gifts and talents, and watch them soar.

I don’t want to live a life separated by God, family, philanthropy, job, social time and rest. I want it all to ebb + flow. Rather, I would prefer to break it down like this:


My mind spins a million miles an hour on a regular basis trying to figure out exactly how it is that I’m going to continue this semi-successful trek along eggshell trail, checking off the legalistic and manipulating list. In the process I’ve forgotten to dream, forgotten to live, forgotten to love.

I’m tired of busting my fleshly ass to try and create this attractive and enticing picture. I’m tired of making book covers. It’s time to write the story.

* * *

To find out more about Don's seminar this fall, have a look at the video below, and then hop over to www.donmilleris.com/conference to discover all the details you may need.

Living a Better Story Seminar from All Things Converge Podcast on Vimeo.

Hope to see you in Portland. Cheers - JF


In studio.

Chances are you don't know these friends of mine yet...but chances are also good that you soon will.

Stay tuned.


Rightful Recognition + Thank You.

There's a question out there in the creative world that is all too often misguided and typically ends up as a poor reflection of one party or another...

"Who are your 3 biggest influences?"

95% of the time I could care less. Not because I'm a jerk - rather because it's so much more than a simple question with a 3 name (band/inanimate object/etc.) answer. Beyond that, influence is so wide spread and ever changing that to meddle it down to a hardly thought through tip of the tongue response seems careless.

To me, just because someone's photography work blows my mind - doesn't mean they can sit on the top of my list. In fact, the photographer whose work I 'admire the most' (if that truly exists?) from a photography point of view does not sit on my biggest influence list.

Because it takes more.

I don't care what your job is or how well you perform it. There's thousands of great photographers, musicians, painters, etc. in this world. What stands out to me is what happens beyond your insane talents, that is - your inability to control your creative core, and the authenticity that bleeds forth (and of course in some way - I'm able to relate on some level to who you are as a human being).

With all that said - for the rare time-being, I can wholheartedly say that I do indeed have a 3-deep list, and I thought it time to give some rightful recognition. So to these three souls, I want to thank you for going before me, for being excellent at what you do and for blazing the creative trail of your innermost.

His 7 word Twitter bio is quite a good summary,
'Photographer to the stars and the suffering' - but he's also so much more. Yes - Jeremy is a killer photographer (whose work has most definitely inspired me) but beyond that, Jeremy stands out in a few different areas as well. You may remember Help-Portrait from a blog post (or two) on here - that was started in Jeremy's brain. Jeremy is also mind-blowing in the fine-art arena, and has a couple (1 & 2) remarkable books under his belt. Really though...that's not what pushed Jeremy over the top for me. I've had the pleasure of interacting with Jeremy on a number of occasions - and the guy is two things: real and caring. He authentically cares about relationships with friends, strangers, clients, and notably his wife and kids. Thanks for being a stand-up guy Jeremy, you impact many.

First - he's out of Seattle, which already is a bonus point (I love that city!), and yes, again - photog extraordinaire. But those are just details - what pushes Chase over the top? He is a creative across the board who finds inspiration everywhere, and then shares that inspiration and encourages others to do the same! Chase has this little saying that has gained him a fair amount of attention, "The best camera is the one thats with you." In his case...his iPhone. Which then led to this sweet little idea to have an iPhone app made called 'The Best Camera' which also led to a book, and a fully dedicated website. So that's awesome - but not enough. He also dabbles in some pretty slick film projects, and not only are they high quality in terms of production, but they also have meaning. Beyond that? Chase pushes the envelope in the creative industry doing things that only a few years ago would have alienated him from his peers (sharing behind the scenes 'happenings' as well as 'tips & tricks' of the pros). And to top it off? Chase's blog is a constant poker - either pointing the spotlight on someone else doing sick things in the creative community, or giving the general public some pretty awesome insight. Cheers Chase, next drinks on me.

Wait - John Mayer isn't a photographer? Well 1) yes he is, and a quite good one I might say but more importanly 2) I told you it's about more than just pictures. John is also a genius at his trade, no question. Many fond memories have included some of his licks on the soundtrack, but again - it's much more than that. It first started when I stumbled upon this video. I thought John made music? Oh my naivete. He creates, and creates, and creates, and can't help himself. In the midst of it all, he carries a career, and attempts to just live (though very publicly scrutinized) life. He makes savoring melodies, is a master wordsmith, takes his camera everywhere, cares about and promotes things that need promoting, and even bakes. Take a look back through his Tumblr and it's easy to see that his tortured artist self is just a man trying to utilize the gifts God gave him to the fullest. After all - its the only way he knows how to connect with his soul - to create - and I hope he does until the day he dies.

Be inspired, be influenced, and at the end of the day - be yourself.


Forrest Gump on life:

At one point in the movie Forrest Gump, Jenny asks:

"What are you gonna be when you grow up?"

To which Forrest replied:

"Why can't I be me?"

The more you understand yourself, the more you can move forward with boldness and confidence...Your responsibility and source of real freedom and success is to discover who you are. Lead with your own unique talents and personality. Be authentically you and let God use you.

(Inspired by and excerpts taken from Dan Miller's book, 48 Days To The Work You Love)