St. Louis

#unionstationhotel

I am sitting thousands of feet in the air on my flight back home from an amazing weekend in St. Louis. It’s funny how life works and how are lives get tangled up and intertwined with others due to unexpected circumstances. Back in November of last year, 2018, Wes and I were to head to Nashville to work the Nashville Night of Champions Body Building show. Unfortunately, Wes had been moved around by work and was unable to attend, so I took off on a solo trip. I was there simply to capture the BTS ( behind the scenes) of the event and was not the official event media. Upon getting checked in, I made my way around the arena and came upon a vendor booth selling apparel, but immediately after speaking to the guys there, I knew it was something more than just clothing. It was a life style, a call to be more, to simply be yourself. Or as like like to say, BYFS ( be your Fn self ). It was clear they were passionate about this motto, and I found myself circling back all day long and hanging out. Long story short, I had just met the owner of Stand Alone Apparel and the men who help him make it work at these shows. He introduced me to everyone, even his wife and baby girl but I also met new friends. Since November, Brandon and I have spoken a few times. I have posted pictures of my apparel I picked up from them, and he is always quick to give us a shout out. He contacted me a few months ago, and asked me what it would take to get to St Louis this past weekend to document the show they were setting up at. We made a plan, he flew me to the show, gave me a room at their Airbnb, and just welcomed me in like family. For this I’m grateful. It was nice to be surrounded by like minded people, who have more tattoos than I do and to work along side them. It was also pretty dope for 5 grown, tattooed men, carrying a Tiffany Blue Yeti cooler to walk into a place downtown where they LET YOU THROW AXES at stuff. By stuff I mean target walls, and toward the end of the night we also had metal throwing cards, and ninja stars.. yep, ninja stars.  I wont say who was the victor overall but believe me when I say, I’m competitive so I brought the inner Viking out and hurled axes with the crew.  We met new people everywhere we  went and St Louis was welcoming, except for one old dude that tried to run us over, all of us while we crossed the street. He wont soon forget us, especially Dean. 

Brandon and I talked business, and its clear that Stand Alone Apparel and Throat Punch Pros, will be collaborating more and more in the near future. We have big plans, that you don’t wanna miss. 

So from running to catch planes, to throwing axes, eating good food, taking lots of photos/videos, and hanging out with people that have your back, I can honestly say it was a successful trip. I’m excited to be headed home to see my family and wrap them in my arms but it wont be long before you see us teamed up again. 

Now for the goods, go check out the video over on YouTube and hit the bell to subscribe because more heat is coming down the pipe soon.

https://youtu.be/Pvxb3Dz2tQc

So dont forget to BYFS or get Punched in the Throat. 

J

 

#standaloneapparel
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#historic
#stlouisarch
The man behind, @standaloneapparel never stops working.

The man behind, @standaloneapparel never stops working.

I can’t stop…

We just got back from a trip that took us a few days. As you may or may not know, we had decided to purchase a Ram Promaster van to help us as we grow with our travel situations. On that trip, because it’s us, we took our cameras. Granted we didn’t go all out on anything. We took only the basics. No tripods, lights, gimbals, nothing. Just our cameras. While we were driving in a rental car to go pickup our new van (aka Betty White), Jeremy sat beside me staring out the window. Suddenly, he jumped. His camera quickly to his face, his hands placed on the Lens, and I heard him say “Shit… I think I missed it!”

He was wrong … so wrong. The picture that I share with you now is that exact photo. Shot from a window while traveling at about 70 mph … he made time stand still. He took a shot that I have stared at for probably almost an hour now. He snapped a shot that will be the only piece of artwork that will be displayed inside of Betty White …. eww… that sounded horrible. Just remember, Betty White is our new van/camper van …

i wish I could put into words the feelings that I get as I stare at this photograph. The thoughts that come to my mind. I simply don’t have the words … but if I don’t share it with everyone, you can’t have the opportunity to feel the same as I. So without further ado, I present to you a beautiful piece that I have nicknamed “The Silence”…. you’re welcome.

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The internal battle

So, just like every business owner (or at least I THINK this is how they all are).. I’ve worked my “day job” for the last 12 hours and am currently sitting at a bar top with my iPad in hand. As I sip on a glass of whiskey on the rocks my mind won’t turn off. Like at all. I’ve sat and starred at the SEO tab on our website, I’ve researched key words, I’ve looked up google add words, and literally gotten lost in so much data that I think I have used pieces of my brain that I haven’t in years. I began realizing that I was stressing so badly over these little things that I hadn’t even stopped to enjoy the spirit sitting to my left, and that within itself is a horrible thought. So let’s talk, shall we?

We are a small company. Like legit, there’s two of us that do this. We do have other shooters come in with us from time to time or collaborate on projects with others (insert IMD cert here ) but for the most part it’s just two tattooed dudes and their families that do this because of two simple reasons. #1 we love it. That feeling we get when we finish an album and get to deliver it to a client…. that’s like the best feeling in the world. #2… because if you don’t hire us we’ll punch you in the throat (hence the name..). And #3 because that last one was a total joke, it gives us the opportunity to capture moments in time that without these cameras, would be lost FOREVER. Any ways…. You get it, right? We do it not because we are going to become rich and famous, we do it because we love it. NOW for the other side…. We DO love it, but with the craft also come the costs. Like costs’ that we didn’t think of. New gear, travel money, a freaking van, flights, hotels, cases to put our gear in, drones that we crash and have to buy new ones, and the freaking list goes on and on and on. THESE, are the simple reasons that we charge for what we do. We want to be the best. Produce the best films. The best photos. The BEST experience to all of our clients. To do all of that , we try and expand. New website, looking to sell some merchandise (mainly because Throat Punch is the coolest name ever … I mean if you don’t want a T shirt that has our logo on it, why are you even reading this……) This is where the battle comes in.

I DO NOT want this to become something that we are slaves to. We want this to be fun not only for our clients, but for US. Yeah… we are fucking selfish, and that’s ok too. If you know us you already know that we aren’t afraid to speak our minds. To tell you to fuck off if you’re being a dick. To tell you that your idea for the “most amazing photo ever” is truly a pile of bull shit. WE will remind your uncle that’s trying to take “wedding photos” with is iPad to sit the fuck down, cause you hired a professional….. We want to make sure that you have fun, get the perfect experience, and we are the ones that can give it to you. So what the hell am I doing worrying about SEO or SEM or whatever its called?? It’s simple…. we want to be the best. We already know that we are the best photography company on the east coast. We know that Jeremy Gouge is a force that most can’t hold a candle to. Peter McKinnon, MIGHT…. be able to teach Wesley something but he’d do well to take a class from Jeremy to learn something himself. Soooooo here’s the end of the story. If you’re reading this, and you’re a computer guy/internet GURU freaking call me! We want our site to work well only to get us in front of some of the most rad people wanting to make some rad memories, and us catch them all! So HELP US…. Cause after all of this, and looking, reading, and typing this 30 minute rant…. I know that I am a much better film maker than I am in Internet Web maker…. Yep …. I suck balls at that :)

Grayson Highlands Senior Session

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Today is the first day of April, and we are BOOMING. We are out of town and shooting every single weekend of April, and booked 2 more weddings in the last 7 days but so far, my favorite session is the one I’m about to share with you all. This one is special because the young man we are writing is family. Don’t get me wrong, anyone that chooses to let us capture moments in the life for them, well your family as well but Austin is literally family. We have only known him a short almost 3 years but that doesn’t change the fact that hes one of my sons. Not biologically but who cares about that crap. He is quick to remind me how smart, witty, and unique he is. SInce he has been here, he has grown so much. Both in height, and confidence but also in this new family of his.

We have been talking about options for his senior portraits for months, but as most guys, hates having his picture taken. He has stalled and stalled until that was no longer an option. So we decided it was time, and our location of choice was Grayson Highlands Park in Virginia. Our family took a day trip here last summer and immediately fell for the place. The views are spectacular and anytime you can roam with wild ponies, well that’s just special now isn’t it. It was a rare occasion where he and I had the entire afternoon/ evening to ourselves. The lack of cell service also provided for some interesting conversation as well. I honestly couldn’t have planned a better day to spend with Austin. As per usual, here are the photos.

This is what life is all about, spending time with those you care for, and to capture those moments to enjoy for a lifetime.

Living in a van down by the river

As I sit here, I've became oddly aware of how much noise can be found in silence.  The droning sound of the fan above my head.  The air that it pushes down across my ears.  The slight tick that can be heard as my fingers pound on the keyboard.  The leather from the couch as I move ever so slightly from time to time with the motions of my arms.  My beer beside me as the bubbles from carbonation seem to pop over and over again. Even swallowing sounds as though there's an ocean in this loft....  Sounds a bit much, doesn't it?  This... is my "Sound of Silence". And this.... is what I want away from.  No more loft... No more sitting here listening to nothing... It's time to get outta here, and I think we are all going to enjoy what happens next.  

Now onto the great news....  The countdown is on!  This time next week, we'll be climbing into one of our friend's planes and heading out to Missouri to pick up our new work van/home.  Yeah, I just said slash home.  I've wanted to do this for a number of years now, but present circumstances have now given me the opportunity to live IN A VAN, down by the river.  Work has been crazy as of late, and there has been a LOT of travel and it has costed more money than I care to even share. So this... was the perfect opportunity!  We have found a Promaster high top, extended 3500 diesel van that will both serve as a living space, and mobile office as we are quite sure that we will be needing it more and more.  If I said that we weren't both super stoked to be getting this.. I'd be a HUGE liar.  We both are as excited as two 10-year-old kids with our first Playboy magazine, and I had an idea to go with this plan.  


I think that some of you might actually enjoy getting to see two tattooed dudes from Tennessee climbing into a private plane, picking up our new pride and joy, and taking a couple of days worth of road trip stupidity as we come back home..... soooo.... Stay tuned for our short film/video/vLog whatever you wanna call it.  Probably most Jeremy and myself driving, having conversations that we think are brilliant while most of you will disagree, and HOPEFULLY.... some beautiful scenery as well.  Make sure you follow us on Instagram to see some of the money shots, check us out on YouTube for the video of the fun, and check back here for more details and quite possibly some further blog posts about what we do to the van until you see the finished product!  

Times are changing.... and we are NOT afraid of change

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Well…. WE’ve discussed this for well over a year. Looked at all the options. Debated what was the BEST decision for us both as a business, and with our finances. And the thumbnail for this blog post is what has became of all of this. As 2019 is already well in full swing, we have found ourselves with shoots happening on location in St Louis, Asheville, Knoxville, Bristol, Nashville, and Shelby just within the next 45 days! We are a small business, and those hotel rooms or Air BNB’s can take a HUGE amount from the bottom line, so this….. was what we feel is our next best step!

DON’T WORRY! As we begin building out our Ram Promaster 3500 eco diesel camper van/mobile office we will be taking you along for the ride with us! I personally have enjoyed watching multiple YouTube videos of others completing their builds, seeing how everyone has done little things to make life on the road easier, and I hope that you will enjoy our journey as well. If you haven’t already jump over to IG (Instagram) and give us a follow @throatpunchpros. After working long days at a normal 9-5 job you can enjoy watching me smash my fingers, cut myself, scream, yell, and possibly bleed too!

Wish us the best, and we hope to see you all soon as we travel across the country making our dreams come true…… and probably hiking every chance we get too!

Grayson Highlands and Dinosaurs

Adventure Portraits

I was blessed to be able to capture William and Rebekah’s wedding 2 years ago. I have also had the extreme pleasure of working with them several times since that November day. Rebekah messaged me asking about doing something special to celebrate their upcoming anniversary, and I was excited to see what they had in mind. Little did I know at the time there would be a dinosaur on a mountain top but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thrilled that it happened. Let me back up and catch you up. She and I were discussing locations, and she mentioned that they really wanted views and mountains, and knowing where they live, we quickly settled on the amazing Grayson Highlands State Park, in Virginia. She mentioned they wanted to wear their wedding attire to celebrate and to do something different. I asked how quickly we could make this happen! We found a date that worked for us both, and once we were close to the day, the weather was throwing us curve balls. We are booked almost every weekend for the rest of the year so finding another day seemed difficult if not impossible, but fortunately we aren’t afraid of the elements. Any of them! So we decided to go for it and believe me when I say, it was the best decision we could have made. They planned to hike up comfortable clothing and switch over once we made it to the summit. The week of the session, Rebekah messaged me to let me know she had a surprise for William and wanted to make sure we could make it work and we worked out the logistics quickly. We met up at the entrance to the park, hugs were exchanged because we are friends and friends hug it out. I knew where I wanted to take them and after checking our location via compass we chased sunset. This is where the pictures speak for themselves because this is how we communicate our vision best.

We had sunshine, fog, and a sky of fire for about 60 seconds. Being confident in your ability and with your equipment allows those moments to not pass in vain. What are you waiting for, contact us now to join the fam. Also the beast ( that still needs a name ) my Pentax 645n medium format film camera came out for a few frames and I am excited about those frames for a few reasons. The film was provided by a great friend of ours, the ever so talented Katy Sergent of Katy Sergent Photography and she also shares a passion for the outdoors and Grayson Highlands State Park. This creates a new value that cant be explained or duplicated in my opinion. Those will be coming soon so follow us on Instagram.

Foggy Mountain Love Story

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We recently saw a post of someone looking for referrals to have some photos made while they were in town. This was a cool situation and one we were quick to respond to and step up for. Wes saw the post in a random Facebook group were he quickly replied throwing our name in the ring. The situation is unique in a few ways so it only seems fitting that they chose us because we are nothing in the market if not unique.

Travis and Melissa are traveling from Maryland and visiting family in Pigeon Forge, TN. Melissa messaged us promptly and after seeing Wes' comment and it was obvious that we would get along well. I should start by admitting that Wes and I both manage our Facebook page and its easy to get ahead of each other because we strive to be prompt to our clients and available. This means that sometimes, we are both messaging people at the same time and one another to clarify everything. What was interesting is not only are Melissa and Travis in East Tennessee which holds such a special place for me personally, but they are also Jeep people and enjoy getting outside. I don't think it could have worked out any better. We discussed their preferences and we quickly suggested the Beauty Spot in Erwin, TN. She mentioned they would love Mountain views, and fields if possible. Both of these are easily found at this amazing location. So we had a plan and we were ready to go last Monday. We agreed to meet in town so they could follow me up the mountain. This is another amazing detail of our story. They eagerly drove the 2 hours from where they are staying on vacation just to work with us. I checked the weather and Monday was the only day of the week with a low percentage of rain, but Melissa was happy to shoot in the rain if it came to that, and I am happy to make that happen anytime.

As I drove to meet them, I noticed how beautiful the fog was dancing across the tops of the trees. I was quick to realize that we may or may not have the views promised, and the doubt set it, but just for a minute. I remembered how much I love a challenge and I made a decision to tackle any obstacle thrown at us.

We met up, introductions were made and we were ready to head up. Unfortunately, at this time, they were about 30 mins late due to traffic and we started later in the day to catch sunset so time was against us. As we took the pull off into the gravel and climb the fog was heavier than I expected but no turning back now. Once we made it to the parking area, and we surveyed the area we were ready to go. I have to admit how easy they made this session. I was thrilled to work in fog so heavy you could barely see 20 feet in front of you. This created some issues I wasn't expecting, like did you know if you have someone roughly 15 feet away shooting thru the dense fog, the fog shows up as grain in the images. I love the character it provided. It gave depth but also something else, something almost magical. Ok, enough typing already, let's see some pictures.