Adam Barnard Photography: Blog https://www.adambarnardphotos.com/blog en-us (C) Adam Barnard Photography (Adam Barnard Photography) Thu, 04 Feb 2021 01:28:00 GMT Thu, 04 Feb 2021 01:28:00 GMT https://www.adambarnardphotos.com/img/s/v-12/u454158218-o600699589-50.jpg Adam Barnard Photography: Blog https://www.adambarnardphotos.com/blog 120 67 Intro To Finality: Accelerated Course https://www.adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2021/2/intro-to-finality-accelerated-course

The crowd booed loudly as The Undertaker walked down the entrance ramp of the Spectrum in Philadelphia in 1992. Led in the ring by the equally pale and slightly more unnerving Paul Bearer, Undertaker set his sights for the ring, ominously sizing up his opponent. I felt the warmth of the stadium dissipate, giving way to a cold that ran up my spine, or so I had thought I’d felt. I sat with my eyes wide open under the bent brim of my Seattle Mariners hat, mesmerized by this gigantic and, apparently undead, man walking slowly and methodically towards the ring. I had no idea what “kayfabe” meant as a squirmy, semi-hyperactive seven year old. I just knew this thing was the scariest thing I’d ever seen, and my attention was completely focused on him. I was so entranced in his entrance, I couldn’t hear the roar of the crowd as his opponent, the equally sinister Papa Shango, standing across from him. I was captivated by the energy, the pageantry, the excitement of a WWE (then WWF) live event, and The Undertaker captured all of that by himself.

That day at the Spectrum, my very first live event, was a wonderful touchstone in a lifelong fanaticism with professional wrestling. My brothers and I spent hours acting out all of our favorite promos from the Ultimate Warrior, belting out the theme songs of our favorite Superstars, and became deeply distressed at any sign of Hulk Hogan losing the upper hand. Saturday mornings were sacred, the squared circle our church, and the Superstars our Biblical figures, with their storylines as revered as the stories of Moses and Abraham. I can’t think of my childhood without the thought of the WWE in my mind. My brothers and I agonized over which Superstar would win the Royal Rumble and who, if anyone, would beat the Undertaker at WrestleMania. WWE had grown with us, with Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage giving way to Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, then giving way to The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Each year that passed brought a new storyline to become deeply involved with, new drama to be captivated by, a new WrestleMania to wait for.

We couldn’t have known then the impact The Undertaker would have on professional wrestling and a generation of children, including the wide eyed, brown haired little boy in the nosebleed section of the Spectrum that day in 1992. His storied career has spanned more than three decades, the majority of that time as “The Deadman”. We watched him slay giants, be buried alive, become one of the darkest villains in the history of sports entertainment, transform into the American Bad Ass, and then take his rightful throne as the real “Mr. WrestleMania” (sorry, Shawn Michaels, but you know it’s true). His final match, the cinematic “Boneyard Match” with AJ Styles on night one of WrestleMania 36, was the capstone to an illustrious career. The match was derived out of necessity, due to the cancellation of all live sporting events during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and gave The Undertaker the ability to end his career in a less physical environment. His last few in ring matches left a lot to be desired, with one so heavily panned and so damaging to both opponents, it nearly killed them both. Suffice to say, The Boneyard Match represented a closing moment for me, and so many latchkey kids like me. Another piece of my childhood is gone, and I’m not so sure I’m ready to watch any more heroes ride into the sunset.

Life is funny sometimes. Some days bring reminders of good moments in your life. The smell of freshly brewed coffee brings you right back to the afternoons you spent swimming in your Uncle Lon’s pool, while he enjoyed his Marlboro Lights and black coffee in the covered porch of his Levittown home. A crack of a baseball bat connecting with a 98 miles per hour pitch sends you back to a hazy summer afternoon spent in the nosebleed seats at Veterans Stadium with your brothers, dad, and favorite perpetual teenager, Uncle Rick. Even something like the smell of lotion sends you to the summer of your first vacation crush when you went to Cape May Courthouse with your mom and brothers, and the impending heartbreak that comes with saying goodbye when the trip is over. While her name has been eternally lost in translation between your short and long term memories, you can see her brown hair blowing in the wind as you dug your toes in the sand together, and you can hear her laugh at the terrible joke you told her seconds before she kissed you. I can’t even tell you the last time I rode a bike, but when that freshly cut grass smell hits my nose on a beautiful spring morning, I can feel the wind on my face as I race my friends through the neighborhood before another lazy day playing outside in the backyard. Wonderful, amazing moments that push the course of your life in new, exciting directions, and these life receipts are tangible reminders of your past.

Other days bring grim reminders of your inevitable mortality, and the unstoppable aging process that precedes our irreversible fate. Those reminders perpetually yield an absolute sadness, a melancholy that lingers over my daily routine like an obnoxious itch on your leg after a mosquito bite. It’s like a bitter aftertaste from a terrible drink your brother swore was delicious, and you knew better than to trust him on his decision making because he’s done this shit to you before, but you drank it anyway, and no amount of water will dilute its foul remnants burning a hole through your tongue. No one and no actual thing prepares you for each loss you experience in life, nor do they provide a buffer from the successive losses of your childhood that accompany each passing year. There’s no guide to prepare for the first major loss in your life, as Uncle Lon slips away from cancer. The life lessons and tough skin Uncle Lon’s passing brought most certainly did not prepare you for the loss of Uncle Rick, also from cancer. Although you were older when Uncle Rick got sick, and you “convinced” yourself you could handle it because you knew it was coming, that the inevitability of his passing was sealed in his book of life, you’d literally give anything to sit with him and talk baseball for at least another five minutes. There’s a profound shock that comes over you as you see these titans of your formative years lose their battle with the beast. Invincible figures, individuals you picture being alive with you forever, suddenly become fragile, jaundiced, sick... mortal. You lose close friends, and each loss never gets easier, as if I’m expecting the sudden, unexpected, and mentally devastating passing of Scott Palek to somehow cushion me from the air constricting, guttural sadness I felt when I learned Jeremy Fischer passed away. Seventy pounds gained and twice a day anxiety medicine told me that I wasn’t prepared at all.

I didn’t want any of this - I didn’t fucking sign up for this.

It’s a ride we only get off of when our cards are punched, the last stop on the train of life, barreling a hundred miles per hour through the universe with the brake lines cut.

Time’s up, kid. Last stop, eternity.

WrestleMania 36 brought one more reminder of this non stop train we live on, and although it wasn’t nearly as devastating as actual loss, it still conjourned the feelings of mourning of a time that’s passed. I remember speaking to my wife a few days before WrestleMania 36, prior to the cancellation of the public event, and saying, “I can’t believe Taker’s wrestling again. I don’t know how much more his body can take. He’s getting older, and I’m afraid he’s going to get hurt. I wonder if he’s actually going to hang it up this time.” I said these things, not at all expecting him to actually hang it up. I had the same thoughts about GoldbergSting, and other titans of professional wrestling coming back for one more round. Like Goldberg and Sting, The Undertaker owes us no more than he’s already given us. He’s entertained me, my brothers, and legions of fans across multiple decades, putting his body and safety on the line in death defying, jaw dropping, heart pounding fashions, each and every time. I, like so many others, plead for more entertainment, more excitement, more action. In reality, we’re pleading for a return to a time that doesn’t exist anymore. We project these fleeting wishes, these last sparking embers of the past, onto The Undertaker, a man who represents the last tangible piece of those times.

The Undertaker hasn’t transitioned like Robin Williams, The Ultimate Warrior, Chris Farley, Ryan Dunn, and countless other people, places, and things that no longer exist but in my memory. The idea of the character, his aura, and what he represents, now exists only in memory. The Undertaker was one of the last tangible pieces of my childhood that existed and, just like that, is gone before I even have a chance to say goodbye. I remember that day so clearly in the Spectrum, and become lost again as a child, discussing with my brothers whether or not he was really dead, and what was really in that urn. 

Perhaps we all remain children in some way mentally throughout our lives. I certainly don’t feel 35. What exactly is it to feel your age? Is it a mindset? Is it a complete dismissal of things that you once enjoyed? I still collect action figures and comic books, does this make me less adult? I often view myself in moments of anger or sadness as the same shy, quirky seven year old with the bent brimmed Mariners hat, desperately seeking validation and acceptance, hoping someone loves him. I’m the hurt little boy, embarrassed about being yelled at for getting too excitable again, reaching for his dad. I can feel my dad running his rough, dry hands through my hair as I cry into his shoulder, trying to understand why I felt so big and why I had to be this way. He’d just sit and reassure me that I was perfect just the way I was, and that it was perfectly okay for boys to feel feelings.

As I turn the calendar of another year of life, I find myself a year older, and another year as a father. I’ve shifted the life roles from child to father, comforting my own son in the same way my dad comforted me. “These are big feelings, buddy. It’s okay to feel them the way you do. I understand, and I love you just the way you are.”

My father has become the wise, gray elder, passing wisdom and guidance on days where I can’t imagine my children acting any worse, with a gentle reminder that days like today don’t ever come back, and the best way to view life was to just breathe and enjoy the ride. I snap back into the moment, looking towards three sets of little eyes above chocolate covered cheeks, and then repeating the soundtrack to Frozen 2 to hear the sweet singing voice of my youngest serenade me one more time.

The seven year old boy is crying quietly. His arms are crossed on the railing at the Spectrum, pulling his bent brimmed hat over his face to hide the tears streaming down his face, as another one of his heroes, and another, perhaps final, piece of his childhood makes the inevitable transition from present to past. As The Undertaker walks down the aisle and through the curtain for the last time, he takes his place with Uncle Lon, Uncle Rick, lost loves at the beach, and infinite life receipts, to peek out from time to time to remind us of who we are, the roads we’ve traveled, and where we’re headed next.

But the shy little boy in the nosebleed section is desperate for one last ride, one last match, one last moment in the sun before his childhood is gone forever.

 

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(Adam Barnard Photography) https://www.adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2021/2/intro-to-finality-accelerated-course Thu, 04 Feb 2021 14:00:00 GMT
The Art of Letting Go https://www.adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2021/1/the-art-of-letting-go

THE ART OF LETTING GO

I bought a record player last week. It wasn’t a huge expense, but probably one I should have run by Courtney first. I had an older record player that was left at my grandfather’s house after he died, and sometime in the transport between Philly and Pittsburgh, it was completely destroyed. Over the past week or so, we’ve started collecting some new vinyl to spin. An easy choice pickup was Continuum by John Mayer, one of my favorite records of all time. It’s also one of Court’s favorites, too.

One of the earliest memories from our courtship was me playing “I Don’t Trust Myself Loving You” in my dorm room and her delightfully exclaiming how happy she was that I listened to John. I’m immediately transported back to 844C, South Campus Apartments, West Chester, PA. I’m standing in front of my iMac, turning up the volume to an appropriate level for a dorm. Although, truth be told, if I had it my way, I’d have turned that motherfucker up to 11.

“Yes, I love this song.”

“Wait,” she said, shocked to the point of almost losing speech. “You like John Mayer?”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

“I never would’ve guessed you like John Mayer,” she said.

“Are you kidding? He’s one of my all-time favorites.”

I’m imagining us sitting close to each other on my bed. I can smell her perfume through the mustiness of the dorm room, our own Delta Tau Chi. I remember the excitement that came with living on campus, living out the life I had always wanted – the college experience. There was something so special about her. I was terrified of being vulnerable, but she made it easy to be myself. I can see her smiling at me as I’m trying to hit the notes of the hook, just about making it each time.
 


Suddenly I realize she’s talking to me in present time and I missed what she said. I can tell she’s angry with me a little.

“Sorry,” I say, “just in my head again.”

Here I go again, getting lost in my past. Typical.

This, friends, is precisely the problem. The story of my life is the story of my life and my inability to let go of my past tribulations.

I find myself lost in thought with the “ghosts” of my past pretty often. I relive the moments of sublimeness, trying to uncover or decipher exactly what it was I was looking for, and perhaps what I’m still looking for. My life has been a series of different steps, different achievements, different losses, most of which would teach any normal person the lessons they were looking for. That’s just not how I’m wired. I dig, inspect, dissect every single action that took place, wondering, searching, looking for answers I already have. I’m never fully content. I’m constantly in the search for everything.

I’m so busy drowning out the world with distraction that I’m never alone with my own thoughts. I’m never vulnerable enough to be honest about how my past has affected me. My friend Charles tells me all the time that I carry too much. “It’s hard not to, but you have to let things go.” I used to get upset when he’d say that. But he’s right. I can’t let go of things. I’ve never been particularly good at doing that. It’s a skill I can’t seem to master, no matter how many times I think I have it down.

“Charles is right, you don’t let go,” Court said to me. “You’re like Luke Skywalker staring off at the horizon. You’re looking too far ahead instead of what’s right in front of you,” It choked me up. Not because she properly used a Star Wars reference, but because she’s right, too. It’s too scary, too painful to deal with my ghosts. I’m so focused on the road ahead of me, and what lies behind me, that I don’t take the time to see the life right in front of me. So many days spent looking in the rearview mirror as the present flies by me at 165 miles per hour, so many nights staring at the moons of Tatooine.

I reflect on specific touch points in time. Each of these memories is triggered independently by a smell, a touch, a chord, anything. Each one leading me back down the same familiar path of exhausting examination, each bringing the moments back to life. Another opportunity to carry too much.

A warm summer night in Philadelphia, 2008. Driving down Chestnut Street, off to find my next fling, my next shot, my next anywhere but here. Anything that would take me out of the monotony of the stifled existence I was living. I can feel the warm breeze on my face as the cigarette smoke ripples up my face and into the sky, high in the clouds where I usually spent most of my time. Dreaming of a better life, a better love, a better anything. I can feel myself right back in that moment, driving down that dark road on my way to another bad decision. I was miserable, desperate for the sweet escape of the darkness. I wanted to feel love, passion, excitement. I wanted to feel the warmth and comfort of a life fulfilled. Driving into the darkness, I was obsessed with the idea of those moments, and what lied ahead for me, without the baggage of my current situation.
 


 

High school, 2001, getting ready to process another roll of 35mm film in the place I only ever wanted to be. I couldn’t have given a fuck less about school. The darkroom, tucked away on the first floor of the west side of Rock North, was my salvation. I don’t front when I’m creating. I don’t pretend, I don’t put the mask up that I’ve shown to everyone but a select few who know me best. Creation allows me to be something I never want to be on any other occasion: vulnerable. It was the place I could turn off and express the creativeness and let the rich blue and purple hues of my existence shine. All of these years later, I can still smell the developing chemistry, the feel of the film on my hands as I wind it into the reel for processing, the serenity of the water running in the sink to help finish the development process. I’m standing at my enlarger stand, imagining the exact moment when I’d leave this pretentious town in my rearview, being exactly where I want to be. I’m picturing being front row, photographing John Mayer, or the Wu-Tang Clan, or hundreds of other artists and performers I imagine myself capturing through the lens. The quicker I can get out of this horrible fucking town, the better.
 


Sitting at the bar of The Note in West Chester, 2010, drinking my way through the worst heartbreak of my life. I can smell the stale cigarettes on my hand as I slam back another shot of whiskey. I can feel the sadness creeping back, a numbing feeling that feels like white noise all over my body. Things got so confusing so fast. It was perfect one minute, not perfect the next. “Fuck the world” was the motto, and there was no turning back. I was all in on that approach. It wasn’t just the heartbreak that brought me here. It was the collection of moments that took place in my life all at one time, with seemingly no end to the upheaval in sight. Karma works its way into play. Platitudes don’t help when the whole fucking world is on fire, and I had no time to listen to anyone telling me “keep your head up”. I can feel the burning of the whiskey as it enters my system, another step in the numbing of the noise. This was supposed to be it. This was supposed to be the ending to this part of the story and the beginning of the right one. This was not how things were supposed to go, especially when it was so perfect. This just isn’t fair.
 


Each of these moments above represent the collective incompletion, the perpetual emptiness, the endless vacuum. They’re specific touch points that feel so real, so tangible, that I relive them in frequent succession. The ghosts of my past, the tribulations of Adam Daniel, the opportunity to carry too much.

How desperate I am to let go. So why can’t I?

The joy that must come with letting go sounds wonderful. But how? What will bring me the joy I’m looking for? What will allow me the serenity that comes with the acknowledgement of your ghosts, and the understanding that they belong as important markers in your timeline? What will grant me that knowledge that these ghosts belong as remnants of your past, not as things to dwell on and dissect, but to learn from?

There’s a comfort that comes with holding on, and the ability to keep myself rooted and surrounded by my ghosts so completely. Perhaps it’s my method of control in such an uncontrollable life. Perhaps it’s so much easier to stay complacent and content with the current state of affairs than it is to continue the hard work in search of the individual, the “I” that is my soul and consciousness, and the purpose of it. Perhaps it’s because it allows me to hold everyone else accountable for their transgressions while ignoring my own behaviors. Perhaps it’s so painful to deal with my ghosts, so extreme a thought that I could be perceived as vulnerable, thus appearing weak, that I choose to try and rewrite endings to books that have already been completed. Whatever the reason is for holding on, it's causing immense strife and struggle, and I'm too busy with my face in the clouds to see the successes and blessings in my life.

I’m a successful person. I don’t say that to brag, and I generally don’t ever celebrate myself or my achievements. Somewhere along the way, I learned that celebration of self is akin to full on braggadocio, and it’s better to remain fully humble than to give the impression of any grandeur. But I can’t deny this reality. I have everything I’ve ever wanted and so much more. The greatest heartbreak of my life led me to the greatest love of my life, who gave me the three greatest souls to walk this earth. Three beautiful children that grace me with the joy and unconditional love I’ve searched for my entire life, who keep me humble, grateful, sincere. I have accomplished so many incredible things, due to my own determination, fortitude, and unwavering confidence in my ability to create something magical with that opportunity. I’ve met my heroes, chopped it up with my inspirations, and created pieces I never dreamed I was capable of. I continue to be successful due to my own determination, perseverance, and unlimited belief that anything is possible. I’m missing out on this wonderful life, and to miss this beauty would be criminal.
 


My therapist used to end our sessions with “I Am” affirmations. I kept the journal that I logged my statements in and refer to it at least five times a week.

“I am worthy of love.”

“I am capable of being loved.”

“I am not the transgressions and mistakes of those who came before me.”

“I am capable of letting go.”

2021 me is channeling the passion of 2008 me, and although it didn’t turn out exactly as we thought it would, we still got everything we wanted and more.

2021 me is envious of the excitement, passion, and unlimited potential 2001 me had, but I’m so excited to tell him how fantastic we’ve become at photography, how much joy it’s given us, and how we’re only just beginning. We’re living our dream and still shooting film. Is would be proud of us.

2021 me is grateful that 2010 me didn’t punch his card. I want to tell him that the closure we’re looking for won’t come from anyone but ourselves. Everything we want is coming, even if it’s not what we thought it’d be. Your move, chief.

“You need to let go.”

I am capable of letting go, and I’ll get there.

I’m just working on it still. 
 
Now playing: Quinn XCII, “Notice Me”, A Letter To My Younger Self

____________________

Thanks for reading, friends, and thanks for joining me on this adventure.

Peace.
-AB

 

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(Adam Barnard Photography) 35mm photography analog photography bang energy bill goldberg brogelio broken heart christmas coronavirus covid-19 depression and love elliott smith facebook film photography foundation radio Global pandemic jane the virgin john mayer letting go moving on one second everyday philadelphia pittsburgh thisisgoober vinyl records west chester university https://www.adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2021/1/the-art-of-letting-go Fri, 29 Jan 2021 14:00:00 GMT
Intro to Editorial Basics: Global Pandemic Edition https://www.adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2021/1/intro-to-editorial-basics-global-pandemic-edition

INTRO TO EDITORIAL BASICS - GLOBAL PANDEMIC EDITION

Hey friends. I hope everyone is hanging in there. The past few weeks have really been trying for all of us, and I'm looking forward to the day we don't have to consistently worry about the state of the democracy all the time. I've officially been off Facebook for a week, and to be honest, I haven't even noticed the difference. It's been... relieving. Freeing in so many different ways. Some folks can stay on there and remove themselves from it. I'm not one of those people. I'm a 0 or 100 kind of guy - do it all the way or don't fucking do it at all. Certainly an Achilles heel that's brought both success and trouble my way. In any event, it's been a delightful week without it, and I'm not sure when, or if, I'll be back there.

I'm still working out the details and design of ThisisGoober.com. I'm in the process of new logos, trying to find a photographer here in Pittsburgh who can take some shots of me, the final touches on what I want this to be. I have another really exciting thing coming down the pipeline, but I won't share it just yet. You'll have to keep tuned in!
Sometime this year, or perhaps even when this pandemic is finally under control (whatever the fuck that looks like, if it's even actually going to be a thing), I'll be creating and self-publishing my own photography book. Initially, I set out to create a book that encompassed my entire film photography catalog. High school, college, 2016 to the present - I wanted to show the best of the best in what I do. One of the very few things I know I'm good at. Photography is like a drug. I imagine each capture feeling like the way a musician finds the perfect chord progression, the perfect stroke on the artist's canvass. It's magic, there's no other way to describe it. I thought maybe the collection would be crafted perfectly enough to show people I actually am good at this, and something I could look back on and be incredibly proud of.

2020 was different. This was the year that changed the way I take photos. It changed the way I look at the world. 2020 feels a lot like the way I look at my life around the time of 9/11. It's marked by "Everything Before" and "Everything After". It's hard to imagine life pre-COVID. I had mentioned today to Courtney how much I missed just even having the option of going to a comic con, or a movie, or a fucking bowling alley. Anything that used to be a part of the social norm we enjoyed freely for our entire lives, the parts that aren't safe to do anymore. With the worldview shift, there's just no possible way you can possibly go back. It's irrevocable - it's never going to be the same.
I didn't intend to have this project fall into my life. Much like the 1 Second Everyday videos, this photo experiment grew organically and became something more than just a way to capture moments during this completely fucking insane time we're all living through. It's hard to imagine that we're coming up on almost a year of this pandemic. I had rolls of film I needed to shoot, and this became my normal. It became an escape, a way to track the days that felt like weeks, and the weeks that felt like years. Tracking and documenting the moments that we were forced to be together, whether we all wanted to or not. It became so much more than some rolls of film. It's a living documented history of an ordinary man, with an ordinary family, living through extraordinary times. I never imagined I'd be capturing our daily quarantine life, Philadelphia post-protests, the gasps of humanity trying to keep itself treading water, the constant reminders of the fleeting but unwavering optimism of life.

"Stay home, wash your hands, wear a mask" - mantras we repeated while scrubbing our knuckles until they bled.

"It may not be okay right now, but it will be."
I remember how isolated I felt at the initial onset of the pandemic. How unusual the entire experience was. Could we go outside? Could we do anything?

What do you mean there's no fucking toilet paper anywhere?!

This "desk" here at my old home in Coatesville became my every day view. I picked this spot purposefully so I could see outside to the beautiful spring weather. I can still smell the fresh warm air coming through the windows, mixed with that flavor of Bang Energy I was drinking when I captured this shot. I can feel the anxiety of another trip to Walmart and whether everyone would actually be wearing a mask this time around.

The sunshine, the breeze, the trees - I needed the juxtaposition from the grind I saw on my calendar every day. Endless conference calls, Teams meetings, revenue tracking spreadsheets. It didn't help that I worked in Center City and the building I managed experienced an occupancy loss of 26% in three months due to pandemic-related closures, job losses, and cancelled student events. It was an absolute nightmare. I worried constantly about my job - whether I'd continue to be employed or whether I'd become another victim of the destruction COVID-19 was inflicting on employment. Whatever luck or happiness I felt because of my gainful employment was washed away quickly by the memory of daily death rates climbing, an "administration" either completely unable to or willfully ignorant of the realities happening in the country, and the complete destruction of previous accepted societal norms.
I'm excited to start compiling this book, and write my stories, musings, and thoughts. I don't have a timeline on when I'll finish it. It'll be like everything I've done, I suppose -when the time's right. You'll all be the first to know when it's ready and where you can find it.

I remain perpetually optimistic that things will be okay. Not just because Biden's going to be inaugurated Wednesday, not just because we have the vaccines on the way. I remain optimistic because we have no choice but to be optimistic. I'm a firm believer that the feelings and emotions I put into the universe are the responses and echoes I receive back. The more negativity I have in my mind and thought process, the more negativity will come my way. I know it may seem unreasonable to even say this based on everything that's happening in our world right now, but things will start looking up. Things will get better. This is a wonderful life.

It may not be okay now, but it will be.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Around the time of the onset of the pandemic, my friends and I recorded a series of voice memos about how life was changing. We released it as a special episode of Foundation Radio. I listened back to it recently, and it's one of the things I'm most proud of ever creating or being a part of.

"COVID-19 Killed The Radio Star" can be found here at this link.
Thank you again for being here with me on this experiment. I love all the feedback I've been getting and I hope that, if you have any, you'll share it with me.

Write again soon. Peace.

-Adam

 

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(Adam Barnard Photography) 35mm photography analog photography bang energy bill goldberg brogelio christmas coronavirus covid-19 elliott smith facebook film photography foundation radio Global pandemic jane the virgin one second everyday philadelphia pittsburgh thisisgoober https://www.adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2021/1/intro-to-editorial-basics-global-pandemic-edition Sat, 16 Jan 2021 14:00:00 GMT
Intro To Post Zuccland Society https://www.adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2021/1/intro-to-post-zuccland-society INTRO TO POST ZUCCLAND SOCIETY

Hey friends. Hope you're all well and enjoyed your holidays. 2020 was absolutely dreadful, and we don't need to rehash that trauma here just yet. It was nice to spend some quality time with the family. I didn't change from my pajamas for the entire Christmas weekend. That's unheard of for me. Lots of one on one time with my kids, catching up on Jane The Virgin (#Brogelio for life), and enjoying the silence with Courtney brought a wave of calm over me that I haven't experienced in quite a while. This move hasn't afforded me as much time with them as I imagined it would up front, but now that things are leveling out, it's been magic.

The relocation to Pittsburgh has taken its toll on each of us, collectively and individually. It's been a challenging couple of months, but it's taught me so much about being content with simplicity. It's helped us find out our quirks, our strengths, how many times we can watch the episode of Community called "Regional Holiday Music" without snapping. This move is what we wanted, something Court and I talked about for a long time. Pittsburgh wasn't the destination we imagined as our starting point, but it was the idea of leaving where we were for the bigger things we know we're destined for that made us take the jump. As much as we love West Chester, and as much as I love Philly, I felt like I wasn't able to break through my creative ceiling the way I envisioned. I've been trying hard to find my footing in this new city of ours, one I've explored before but never laid roots in. Feeling creatively stuck on top of feeling displaced is unusual as hell. It's like walking in sand with clay shoes. As much as the time in quarantine and relocation exile has allowed for some serious self introspection, I still struggle with the idea of purpose.



Throughout my life, I've searched for purpose. The meaning behind this existence, the identity of self, who the individual - the "I" - is and what that represents in the greater context. Often, I've combined the search for everything with opportunities to reinvent, explore, take control of the seemingly uncontrollable forces that surround me. Most times, I'm excellent at tuning out from anything that causes me great discomfort, sadness, or general malaise at the mundaneness. I find things to occupy my mind; another record, another smoke, another mindless flip on Reddit. I've become so focused on blocking out anything that forces me to look inside that I've blocked almost everything. The second I allow myself a fleeting moment to feel anything - anything at all - that I've refused to acknowledge, I feel the white noise overtaking the emotion. I breathe, inhale, suppress. It took me a year of therapy, and the loss of 62 pounds, to understand how okay it really is to feel. To not feel "less than" because I feel so deeply. To not apologize for who I am. In spite of how many times I made myself a chameleon to impress folks who I never had any business trying to impress, the abrasive, sensitive, quirky hip-hop head, the person who's existed internally through my consciousness, is loved, valued, and worthy of receiving love. As long as I can get out of my own way, I'll finish the journey I started. One way that I can get out of my way is to step away from the cesspool that is Facebook.

How much actual time I spend on Facebook doing fucking nothing is egregious. Scrolling mindlessly, finding the same echo chamber shit to instigate my anger about the world, contributing nothing of value. I'm continually convinced that this social media experiment will be supremely detrimental to us as a society. I'm desperate to disengage - learn to live without the concrete block of residency in Zuccland on my back.


I started to imagine life post-Facebook. The concept of losing contact with my friends by not being on there is nonsensical. Court and I have multiple friends who've left the platform completely or are almost non-existent on there, and we've found ourselves talking to them more than we ever did on Facebook. The most important part to this equation is that they seem happy to actually exist in the real world, rather than vicariously through their digital avatar. They have their health, sanity, peace of mind. I haven't known a day off the site since 2007, and I'm concerned about having to actually be alone with my thoughts for longer than ten seconds before I drown out the sadness with the white noise on my iPhone. It's a necessary move, both for my sanity and my family.

As I pondered my post-Zuccland reality, I wondered how I'd be able to still reach you with the creative endeavors I've been working on. Will I keep Instagram? I have to stay on Twitter - that's James' line to Goldberg. I have so many rolls of film to post, I have a self-published book coming, new episodes of the podcast. How am I going to do get all of this shit out? It dawned on me: you have a sexy social media handle. Use it, pal, and go forth to find peace.

I'm excited to officially announce my new venture: ThisisGoober.com. It'll be a central location for everything that goes on in my world. Streamlined, connected, sexy. New episodes of my podcast, new photo essays, new blog entries - everything in one place. It'll officially be my space - a place to explore my life, mind, feelings, processes. Once new posts go live, you'll get an email letting you know it's ready. Don't worry about having to sign up again - I'll take of transferring everyone there after it's live. I'm hopeful to have it launched within the next three weeks - still sorting out hosting, logos, and some other final items.

For now, you can find me here:
Instagram: @thisisgoober | @adambphotos
https://www.foundationradio.net
https://www.adambarnardphotos.com 

In case you missed it, our 2020 year in review video is done. One second, every day in 2020. Click here to see it. Shout out to 1 Second Everyday, the app I've used to create this visual time capsule.

Honestly, thank you again for being here. It means a lot to me. Can't wait to share what's coming!

Live Long and Prosper, May the Force be with You, and please wear your mask.

Peace.

Now playing: Elliott Smith, "Say Yes", Either/Or

 

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(Adam Barnard Photography) bill goldberg brogelio christmas coronavirus covid-19 elliott smith facebook foundation radio jane the virgin one second everyday philadelphia pittsburgh thisisgoober https://www.adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2021/1/intro-to-post-zuccland-society Fri, 08 Jan 2021 14:00:00 GMT
Kelli + Derek - 04.14.2018 https://www.adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2018/4/kelli-derek-04-14-2018 I've known Kelli since our radio station days at West Chester University. Many beers shared, many nights spent laughing loudly and telling stories with our massive group of friends and cohorts. When she reached out to me about doing the photos, I agreed without question. I was so excited that she thought of me to capture this amazing moment in her life. There was one problem, though... I've never done a wedding before.

I was extremely nervous. Terrified, actually. I'm generally a nervous wreck. What if I messed up? What if they hated the photos I took and then my reputation as a photographer would be out the window? I'd sell every piece of equipment I owned and stick to writing. I was truly terrified for the first ten minutes after accepting the offer to do it. 

Then something magic happened. Everything lined up. It's like the universe handed me this amazing opportunity to be at a scenic, beautiful location to capture this amazing, non-traditional ceremony. The universe is constantly speaking to me, presenting me opportunities and positions to advance my craft and passion while helping to document the most important day of their lives. Kelli and Derek held their intimate wedding ceremony at a family home in Jim Thorpe, surrounded by scenery only seen in movies. Spending time in the woods prior to the ceremony and reception allowed me to fully submerse myself with the surroundings. I found myself complete at peace and relaxed, which is exactly the reason why they chose this place to get married. There's a serenity in being off the beaten path, a way of life that's unique, calm, tranquil. It brought the focus that I was desperately searching for to go out and crush these photos. I knew I had it in me, I just needed the universe to remind me. 

The ceremony was beautiful, filled with several wonderful speeches on the warmest day of the year thus far, as well as an emotional letter from Kelli's mother, who was with the couple in spirit. The couple couldn't have asked for better weather or sunnier skies. The reception was a raucous affair, complete with a Jenga set hand crafted by the groom and a cornhole tournament, garnished by a dive into the lake, and concluding with fire spinners and jugglers, breaking up the evening darkness with spinning bursts of light. I can't imagine any other way to have begun this journey into wedding photography than this.

Cheers to you, Kelli and Derek! Nothing but happiness and love, forever and ever. Thank you for your trust and allowance to capture this stunning day.

-AB

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(Adam Barnard Photography) intimate wedding non-traditional wedding pennsylvania weddings pocono wedding poconos wedding wedding photography https://www.adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2018/4/kelli-derek-04-14-2018 Mon, 30 Apr 2018 15:03:00 GMT
The Re-Education of Asher Roth https://www.adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2017/10/the-re-education-of-asher-roth Asher Roth is unabashedly and proudly a reflection of the man and artist he wishes to be. He has traded in his gelled, frat-boy haircut for a long, untamed mane. Wearing comfortable clothes and tube socks emblazoned with pineapples, you’d never guess this was the same person who produced what is arguably the ultimate party anthem for college kids across the country.

“The ‘I Love College’ stuff, setting aside its success, came with a certain facade and image that I had to uphold. ‘I Love College’ was just a journal entry,” Roth says. “I had moved to Atlanta with my college buddies. I had just left school after two years, and I was like, ‘Damn, I miss school.’ I wanted to go back to West Chester. I’m 21 years old — why am I here in Atlanta? Next thing I knew, the song blew up because people related to it.”

Outside of the coincidence that we were born six days apart in the summer of 1985, Roth and I grew up about 25 minutes away from each other in Bucks County. We share a similar life education. We share fanaticism and connectivity with hip-hop music.

Hip-hop is a saving grace in my turbulent life, an escape from the grind of the mundane. Sometimes fun, oftentimes dark, but always a connection I’ve experienced on a primal level. I can recall moments growing up through my adolescence when I immersed myself in hip-hop, understanding implicitly the themes of sadness, grief, strife and triumph. That early footing led me to a weekly column in the Bucks County Courier Times, producing pieces about hip-hop and profiling local artists.

Roth’s roots in hip-hop eventually led to a modest brush with fame, fortune and limelight. As we enjoyed several Yards Brawlers on a warm August afternoon at Silk City, a fabulous diner on 5th and Spring Garden in the beautiful tapestry of life known as Philadelphia, I found that our worlds were more connected than I anticipated, even if our journeys were different.

When we talk about West Chester University — a school we both attended in the early aughts — Roth recalls his time there fondly. A smile creeps across his face as he remembers some of the best haunts in town.

“Well, I know Jake’s Bar doesn’t have 50-cent drafts and Riggtown Pizza doesn’t have dollar slices anymore.”

The life-shaping moments of that time are still tangible, even though it feels like an eternity ago. It appears to take him back to a comfortable time, before things became complicated by fame.

“I was there on and off for about two years," says Roth, who grew up in Morrisville and graduated from Pennsbury High School in 2003. "I left because I knew I could always go back to school but the opportunity to do music was a narrow window. I was halfway done with college and in a place where I needed to start taking either music or school seriously. That’s when I got the call from Scooter Braun.”

When Braun, then a rising young music executive, called early one morning, Roth and his friend Tom Boyd, who managed Roth’s Myspace account, thought it was the cops. They hung up on him.

“Scooter called back and said to Boyd, ‘Yo, this is the most important call of your boy’s life, put him on the phone.’ At that point I was utilizing the Yes Theory,” Roth explains, “Just say yes and go with it.”

Roth flew to Atlanta to meet with Braun, who introduced him to some people he knew. One song Roth had written — a sharp-edged a cappella piece called ‘Just Listen’ — caught the ear of Jermaine Dupri, Chaka Zulu and other heavy hitters in the Atlanta rap scene. Suddenly, Roth had an opportunity he didn’t even know he was looking for.

“Scooter was not a manager yet, but he was an obvious move maker,” Roth says. “I’d seen him in photos with Ashton Kutcher and Big Boi. That’s enticing to a 20-year-old. I was like, ‘I want to be there.’ ”

Roth’s early music wouldn’t categorize him as a socially conscious rapper.

“People don’t understand that when ‘I Love College’ blew up, we had to make sense of that stuff. We had to build an album around a popular single. I thought we (expletive) nailed that mission with (2009 debut album) 'Asleep in the Bread Aisle,' regardless of what anyone thinks about the album content-wise, or as far as imposing on hip-hop’s mission statement.”

Roth’s follow up to "Bread Aisle," however, was his criminally underrated 2011 single “G.R.I.N.D.” The song marked the beginning of Roth’s turn toward creating more socially engaged music. "G.R.I.N.D.," which stands for “Get Ready, It’s a New Day” and was produced by the ensemble 1500 Or Nothin,' is an organ-infused head-nodder, with a hook that will have you whistling it for days. Underneath its catchy sonic appeal, its message is one of struggle, purpose and a call to action for the real richness in life: loving what you have now, in this moment.

“We were able to shoot a video for ‘G.R.I.N.D.’ because Rich Isaacson (of LOUD Records fame) championed the hell out of that song and stood behind me.”

In the video, Roth abandons the frat-boy look of "Bread Aisle." His hair is grown out and disheveled, and a red-blond goatee adds to his new rakish appearance.

The song was a departure from Roth’s “I Love College” vibe and marked the beginning of his re-education. He was about to learn how difficult it is in the music business to make the music you want to make, rather than the music your label and your fans want you to make.

“G.R.I.N.D.” was not a financial success for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which being a lack of support from his label. But Roth still believes in it.

“It’s a beautiful song, and I have to laugh because people say to me, ‘ "G.R.I.N.D." is such a great song!’ And I think, ‘Where were you guys six years ago?’ ”

The song allowed him to spread his artistic wings and begin to find his unique voice in a sea of hip-hop artists mostly talking about the same thing — themselves.

“When you listen to Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan or The Roots, they’re telling other people’s stories. I don’t want my music to be all about me," he says. "Everyone was like, ‘Dude, you’re in the business of being famous, you need to own up and be Asher Roth and tell that story.’ But there is so much cooler (stuff) going on. My story is like, whatever.”

Roth talks about how he wants to be a vessel, to put himself in a position where he can talk to other people and see what they’re going through. To truly master your message, he says, it has to come from an authentic place. He feels he’s mastered that from the beginning.

“I think authenticity is what got me in the door in the first place. I was this kid wearing flip-flops and I think that was endearing to many people, because it wasn’t a persona, it was just me. The hardest thing to do in the music industry, and also in the entire entertainment industry, is to just be yourself, and find out who you are.”

Roth followed “G.R.I.N.D.” with his most creatively fluid project to date: 2012’s "Pabst and Jazz." A masterpiece in eight songs, it features the most sonically soothing backdrops to Roth's melodic, melancholy approach to rhyming produced yet. It allowed him to flex his muscles on the mike and provided the listener the experience of hearing his artistic growth in real time.

Roth’s frequent collaborator and best friend, Chuck Inglish (The Cool Kids), provided the best scoring to his voice, specifically with the bouncy cut “In The Kitchen.” DJBooth.net, the internet’s premiere place for all things hip-hop, said the record legitimized Roth’s status as a rapper to be taken seriously. Five years after the release, it remains the genesis of Roth’s independence.

“ 'Pabst and Jazz' was so uninhibited,” he says. “It’s just a reflection of who I am. It’s where I found my voice. I was the ripe old age of 27. You start becoming an adult at that time.”

It also marked the beginning of the end of his blink-and-you-missed-it affiliation with Def Jam. Roth jokes, “I want a T-shirt that says, ‘Remember when I was on Def Jam?’ ”

Not long after leaving the label, Roth parted ways with Braun after several years of stagnant career moves. Roth insists there is no bad blood. The experience gave him a larger and much more in-depth understanding of business and the industry. It set him on his path of internal searching, perhaps more than he expected or intended.

“I lived in Atlanta, then in NYC, then did the LA thing for four years. I’ve seen and done a lot — a lot of awesome, exciting stuff and a lot of nonsense. Now I want to make sure I concentrate my efforts on the right things — becoming a well-rounded individual and surrounding myself with supporting and loving relationships. The fact that I can ride my bike here and walk in, and I don’t have to have a bodyguard, I don’t have to roll in with an entourage — that makes me a happy, wealthy person.

"It just came down to priorities. Def Jam and Scooter had their own priorities and I had mine, and we just weren’t mission-aligned.”

Roth’s not concerned with the past. He’s hyper-focused on the now and beyond, creating his own lane in a system that has seemingly closed every access point available to him.

His new media outlet, RetroHash, is the nexus for his innovative and original ideas — uninhibited and unfiltered. Created for the masses without any label oversight, Roth has his sights set firmly on this project and its untapped potential.

“It’s going to be a place that has original programming, so one day we’ll do our 'Radical Magical' Podcast. Tuesday, we’ll do live streaming with Twitch, then we might throw in an episode of the 'Lemonade Stand' series I started in L.A. or the Bongress stuff we’re doing to educate people about marijuana. It’s all about fan engagement. I decided that I wanted to create my own sandbox, which is what RetroHash is.”

Roth is also fully invested in advancing the Philadelphia hip-hop sound. He co-headlined the All Love Summer Block Party with Chuck Inglish in July. The festival, a brainchild of Roth and 91Republic, featured a hand-selected conglomerate of musicians from the Philadelphia area, including rapper Voss, another throwback to our West Chester days. Roth has ideas on a grand scale for this city.

“I didn’t come back to hang out. I came back to Philly to build off that 'Pabst and Jazz' sound. We want to do more direct-to-consumer stuff. We’re focused on engaging with 500,000 empowered people who want to interact with us instead of 5 million kids who are casually listening to your stuff and don’t even know who we are.”

I press Roth on his aspirations for his second act, and the conversation quickly turns to bigger issues.

“We need to stop opening prisons and start opening schools. We need to invest in public education. Things like Charlottesville, or the kids who have been picked off by the police — yes, these things have been happening forever, but now with social media and our smartphones all of these things are right in front of our faces all the time. How we react to it is important. I just want people to be compassionate, inform themselves, stay educated, and be present.”

He goes on to talk about the significance of his return to Philadelphia as a home base for this new endeavor.

“I came back to take everything I learned on my journey and instill it with that spirit of Philadelphia. This city is amazing. I know that at the end of the day, this is a long-term, sustainable thing we’re building — being homegrown and being about education. I know that it’s going to work. It’s going to take a while, but we’re in it for the long haul.”

I ask what point or message his journey has presented to him, what his takeaway is, and what he thinks is the most pertinent message he’d like to convey.

“The most important story to be told,” Roth says, “is one that is about progression and growing up — finding and bettering you.”

I finish my beer and place the empty bottle on the table, feeling more inspired and creative than before this meeting. Roth’s enthusiasm is contagious. As we’re wrapping up, he stops mid-sentence at the sight of good fortune.

“Dude, is that penny on the ground heads up?”

I look to my right. Sure enough, the shiny copper coin is grandly displaying Abe Lincoln’s face.

“Scoop it up, man!” Roth insists.

If this is any indication of what his future endeavors hold for him, then Roth’s got the universe on his side.

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(Adam Barnard Photography) asher bucks chester college county def i jam love roth west https://www.adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2017/10/the-re-education-of-asher-roth Sun, 15 Oct 2017 20:56:24 GMT
John Mayer - "The Search For Everything Tour" Review https://www.adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2017/8/john-mayer-the-search-for-everything-tour-review John Mayer certainly doesn’t have to search far for everything. He’s been selling out shows across the country, on a world tour for his most recent album release, “The Search for Everything” a 12 song bluesy/folky/poppy selection of indulgent greatness you’d expect from this generation’s premier guitar player. Fresh off his most recent stint as the lead singer for Dead and Company, Mayer returns true to form with another installment of classic love songs, introspective, soul searching lyrics, and solid jams.

Mayer brought his show to Camden, NJ, at the BB&T Pavilion on August 18th. He set the tone of the show by opening with “Helpless”, a blues-infused cut full of allegory to a not-so-distant part of his life filled with embarrassing and difficult public moments. He followed with an eclectic medley of past bangers, from a mash-up version of two songs from his first album, “Room for Squares”, the classic “No Such Thing” and “Why Georgia”, to the first single off “Everything”, the smooth “Love on the Weekend”.

Few artists that I have encountered are able to speak to me in a way that John Mayer does. It’s as if every release is done during a period of internal struggle in my own life. His quintessential 2006 release, “Continuum”, was rediscovered during a time of great emotional pandemonium and reconciliation in my life. The album reminds me of a time of complete destruction, and in its place, a rebirth of someone new; a reflection of the man I knew I always was. It’s a gathering of 12 songs, or 12 steps, in the reconstruction of life, and Mayer excels at capturing the human condition in every word.

His most breathtaking performance in this show was “In Your Atmosphere”, a cut released on his live double album, “Where the Light Is”. The song, a moving firsthand account of the stages of heartbreak, is as fresh and devastating as the first time you hear it. Hearing the song performed live is an exercise in self-reflection; feelings and emotions of love crises and existential search for the proverbial “everything”. Mayer effortlessly hits every note, both in voice and guitar; as if he’s still actively in recovery of this dearest one he’s lost (“Wherever I go/whatever I do/I wonder where I am in my relationship to you.”). It’s a transcendent moment that blurs the line between artist and consumer; a moment where you can close your eyes and visualize the sweeping hair across her face on a sun drenched L.A. afternoon on the 101 and the infinite sadness of watching her walk away for good. It’s true grief in six minutes. His voice haunts the lovelorn subject (perhaps himself), and reaches into the depths of the soul to invoke the helplessness of post-loss. It’s a perfect record, beginning to end, and the record should be required listening in any context. He rounds out the performance with selected cuts spanning a wide spectrum across his catalog, from his folk heavy album “Paradise Valley”, to his incredible John Mayer Trio, strumming out some of the best blues riffs I’ve heard in recent memory.

He closed his performance with an encore that included “Moving On and Getting Over”, a pop-folk cut from “Everything”, and the definitive and most flawless record of his career, the subdued and melancholy “Gravity”. The performance is a constant reminder of Mayer’s musical genius, and a solid reminder that excess can certainly bring him to his knees again if he’s not careful.

Some things are better heard and not said. The emotions projected through Mayer’s guitar strings are as eloquent as any lyric or poem ever written, perhaps even better than any written word could make it. His performances are not to be missed. As long as Mayer continues on this renewed search, we’ll be there with him, ready for the next piece of everything.

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(Adam Barnard Photography) bb&t pavilion camden nj continuum gravity john mayer katy perry the search for everything https://www.adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2017/8/john-mayer-the-search-for-everything-tour-review Sat, 19 Aug 2017 04:45:00 GMT