At The Studio Door - Brian A.

At The Studio Door - Brian A.

"I really know where I stand in this universe.  I'm a black man.  And I feel that the color of my skin is something very special - powerful.  But the world we live in - it's kind of backwards."

Love Stories

Love Stories

What is love?  What draws people together and what causes the spark?  What happens when one person feels 'love at first sight' and the other takes longer to warm up?    These are some of the questions we had for couples and friends.  The mystery and magic of love explored in our Mobile Studio.

Jack Daniel's Motel No. 7.

Jack Daniel's Motel No. 7.

The Mobile Studio helped kick off Jack Daniel's Motel No. 7 five-city tour in late November 2015.  It was a perfect fit for us; an-immersive-experience-within-an-immersive-experience.  Loved the energy of the guests and creating portraits on the custom-built set of an old-school "royal suite" took the Mobile Studio experience to a whole new level.  

Rainforest Foundation

Recently the Mobile Studio partnered with Babël-New York to benefit the Rainforest Foundation at the United Nations.  Every year thousands of Indigenous leaders from around the world gather at the United Nations for talks to ensure a sustainable future for their people and the planet.  Our hope is become part of the solution, helping to raise money and awareness to this important cause.  

Sarah C. - Reinvention Stories

Sarah C. - Reinvention Stories

Sarah Capers @ Narativ Story Salon

Tell me about a time in your life when you reinvented yourself.  What happened?

Sarah Capers @ Narativ Story Salon
Sarah Capers @ Narativ Story Salon

"I moved to Spain and I had to come out. Which was a hugely challenging and exciting thing. But I got to try on a whole different world with a lot of different people and it was way more fun than I thought. I moved because I wanted to learn the language, but also because I needed to get away from my boyfriend at the time whom I was leaving.  And I needed to have the opportunity to find myself where I didn't have everyone looking over my shoulder.  I think I knew that I needed to be away, I don't think I really knew why. But I moved and then it was like the world opened. It was amazing. The best frigging time of my life.  I got to just shed anything previously that I'd created for myself and start anew in a really magnificent way. With a new language and with new people and it was badass."

In collaboration with Narativ.

Melissa Fang - Reinvention Stories

Melissa Fang - Reinvention Stories

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"Tell me about a time in your life when you had to reinvent yourself.  What happened?"

It was recently, because I guess my reinventing was I changed from one job to another. Which means that I have to present myself in a more confident way.  Instead of being shy Melissa at the previous job where I was not going to be anything or do anything -- I'm now more in control. I feel like I'm in the process, actually of reinventing myself as we speak.  It's hard. I'm forcing myself to make phone calls to people I don't know to do things that are just like 'I would never have done this.' But it feels good when you take these steps and you do something, even if you don't succeed in your goal, I feel good taking little steps towards changing my life."

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Sue Bernstein - Reinvention Stories

Sue Bernstein - Reinvention Stories

Sue Bernstein of Bernstein Arts

"Tell me about a time when you had to reinvent yourself -- what happened?"

Sue B:  "I had to reinvent myself to represent artists when I'd been a singer for all my life. That was a reinvention. And suddenly instead of being able to have all my emotions come out I had to be the person to hold them in and be level-headed.  That was very difficult for me."

Sue Bernstein of Bernstein Arts

"How did you manage?"  I understood the needs of the performers because I've been there. So I just did it. It was hard, though, because I was just suddenly seen as a businessperson when I'd always been a creative artist.

Sue Bernstein of Bernstein Arts

See Sue’s work: www.bernsarts.com

In collaboration with Narativ.

Sean Scherer - Reinvention Stories

Sean Scherer - Reinvention Stories

Recently, Jonsar Studios partnered with Brooklyn based Storytellers Narativ at Industry City for an evening of listening, storytelling and community.   Narativ transforms the way people communicate, teaching people how to be better listeners and tell stories that connect, engage and inspire. The goal was to elicit stories from attendees that centered around the theme of reinvention.

Sean Scherer NYC Artist

Can you tell me about a time when you had to reinvent yourself -- and what happened?

Sean S.:  "After witnessing what went on in lower Manhattan during 9/11, I had to get out of the City. A year later I moved upstate and bought an old house.  I needed to restore the house, but what I really needed to do was to restore my senses after everything I had lived through or witnessed - particularly during the year after that day.  So I completely reinvented myself by getting a job teaching upstate and opening up a store.  It's created a whole new second half of my life."

Sean Scherer NYC Artist
Sean Scherer NYC Artist

See Sean's work:  http://kabinettandkammer.com

In collaboration with Narativ.

Portrait of an Artist - Self

Portrait of an Artist - Self

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"I'm a silkscreen artist.  My goal is to make something that explains the unexplainable - to bring about connection, to make people feel some part of it and make it useful to them.  My ideas come from trying to empower people to be themselves - to get people to stop fronting -- to stop trying to be something they're not."

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"I had a vision I wasn't going to make it to 21.  I don't know if it came from a movie I had seen -- but for some reason I thought I wouldn't make it.  And then I got shot three times.  My bones were shattered."

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"I was in the hospital and I had a vision of my Grandmother.  She came to me and told me I was on the wrong path.  It was a bright light and I heard her voice very clearly - saying: 'you're doing the wrong thing -- you need to change your life or you're going to end up dying.'  That was the biggest changing point of my life."

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"The main purpose to being on this planet is to create.  Whether it's to reproduce or to make something - or to bring the light.  If you're not doing that, you may be wasting your time."

Working on Innocence

We were nearing the end of the evening of a #MobileStudio event at The Bowery Hotel.  One of the hotel security personnel with whom we are friendly asked us if we could make time to photograph an acquaintance of his. This is how we were introduced to Jonathan Fleming. Jonathan is a man who was wrongfully convicted for a Brooklyn murder in 1989 and served twenty four years, seven months and twenty days before he was freed -- his conviction overturned and thrown out. A free man at fifty-one after having given his youth to a system that was more interested in convictions than justice.   Read Jonathan's story here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/09/nyregion/brooklyn-district-attorney-overturns-conviction-in-1989-murder.html?_r=0

Jonathan was soft-spoken as he explained that  bitterness is not a choice for him during those long years in jail. “I know for a fact that if I had lived in bitterness I would be angry for the rest of my life and I didn’t want to do that, I just want to live my life...  That was my focus, just working on my innocence.”

When asked what life is to him now he replied, “Life to me is having this opportunity. When I was in prison, I was dead. I really feel that I was dead. This is life, being out here and being able to live the rest of my life with my mother.   My mother is very ill. When I went to prison my mother was forty-seven years old. She’s seventy-two years old right now and she’s very ill and I’m just so happy  to have the opportunity to live the rest of my life with my mother. Life is good…Life is good right now.”

We are honored to have had a moment with an individual who has learned the fine art of living under very difficult circumstances.

Rodeo Clown

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Noah's Mom  asked if we would photograph her son as a Father's Day gift for her husband. The fact that we're always looking for an excuse to hang with kids made it an easy yes.  We've photographed many kids over the years - our roots as assistants were with one of the top NYC children's photographer, so we've been on set with plenty of kids and yet it always presents it's own particular challenge.  What we've come to realize is that photographing children is about 10 percent skill as a photographer an 90 percent skill as a Rodeo Clown. The trick is to pace the clown act just enough so that you capture the fleeting seconds where the child actually stands still.  Or not.

Girls Write Right

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The 2014 GirlsWriteNow.org Awards held at The Bowery Hotel was an inspiring evening spent amidst young writers in the beginning stages of discovering their voices and who they are. The theme was in perfect alignment with our mission of discovering just who lies beneath the surface of the skin and bringing her to light. Gloria Steinem, Dawn L. Davis and Roberta Kaplan were the evening's honorees. To hear them speak and see the impact of their words and presence on the young writers was striking.

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What's Magic

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The opportunity to run the mobile studio at The Bowery Hotel is always a joy for us -- the perfect mix of quirky and elegance. The fact that this was the venue for the first anniversary celebration of Babël, made it all the more fun and we wanted to create something unique for the occasion. We followed up select portrait sessions with a mini-interview off-set. Spending an evening asking individuals for their personal definition of magic and whether magic plays a part in their life was at times moving, humorous and eye-opening. Many answers were similar in that it was a challenge to explain the unexplainable. People were caught off-guard with the question -- expecting something more mundane -- what's your name, what do you do, etc. Still transcribing answers, and in the meantime the images speak for themselves. For us, that is magic.

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Primordial Soup

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Summer of 2013 Jonsar Studios 2.0 was born - you could say in the primordial soup of the Afropunk Festival  in Brooklyn.  What started as an "Art Project"  for us turned into a passion.  Three days of intense portrait making in an iconic and unique scene, with no goals other than completely immersing into the sheer love of being in the moment with cameras changed the course of our professional careers.  Had to revisit some of these images that speak to us on many levels.

Wonderland

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Bringing the Mobile Studio to The Children's Aid Society's fourth annual spring fundraiser was truly a joy.  Knowing that the proceeds from the event were going to benefit foster care programs for over 500 young people gave us a deeper sense of purpose.  We are awed by the dedication of the Board Members, Volunteers and Donors.  

Dancing in The Streets

Learning to dance Salsa was something we've always wanted to do and when we signed up for classes at http://dancemanhattan.com/, we were fortunate to have some amazing teachers - some of whom have become lifelong friends.  Having our very first Salsa instructor and his lovely fiance´ come to our studio recently made the Engagement Session all the more special.  We knew we wanted to create several images that said something about them as a couple and also celebrates their love of dance.  And we can't resist shooting on the streets whenever possible.