This is Nick. While on assignment in Anchorage recently, I stayed with an old friend of mine in town. One night, during my visit, she took me out to dinner at a pizza joint in Anchorage; her friend was there, she said, participating in a ukelele jam. Pizza and ukeleles? Yes please!
She introduced me to Nick "The Dream" Weaver, a co-worker of hers. He was a tall man with a big presence and gentle smile; he was holding a steel resonator ukelele and sitting amongst a dozen and a half other tiny-instrument players.
In my head I thought, "I want to photograph these people." I had my camera with me. Why didn't I pull it out and ask? I don't know. A resolution for the new year is this: when I see a person that I want to photograph...ask them!
When we showed up, it was a billion degrees below zero outside (Alaska in December...there are reasons that tourism plummets!), but warm in his house, a space he was still moving into. There was very little there...a couple of changes of clothes, some cookware, a table, a few chairs...and piles of beautiful instruments.
While arranging the room for the portrait, Nick played endlessly entertaining songs; people like him remind me how many wonderful musicians there are in this world who I will never hear. Every time I'm at a campfire, wedding, potluck, street corner, and hear a talented person pushing music out through their voice or instrument, I'm simultaneously thrilled at the experience and saddened that relatively few people will ever give them credit for their art.
Luckily, it's the age of the Internet, and people have the option of playing the street corner of the web. Nick is on ReverbNation and YouTube.
This was a photo done for fun, and I'll be sending him a copy. Most people are quickly willing to sit for a portrait, especially when in the context of their own passions and things they identify with. Ask to take portraits! Often you're offering a gift to the subject, not the other way around. Remember that.