My visual, audio and literary stuff is free here, but my hold-in-your-hands books, prints, and CDs cost real money. If you want to buy something tactile from me, contact me at stujenks at gmail dot com, or message me on Facebook. If you simply want to look and read for free, that's fine too, but don't hesitate to send me your sofa change. My snail mail address is P.O. Box 161, Tucson, Arizona 85702. Keep those cards and letters coming. And sofa change too. Love and light, Stu.
"Star Circle at The Biscuit, The Mustang Mountains, Arizona" (c) 2016 Stu Jenks.
I went out to shoot the meteor shower last night. No meteors crossed my camera's view but I did see a bunch with my eyeballs, and I got a nice star circle out of the night. And nothing, my friends, nothing is like gazing at the bright glow of the Milky Way above your head.
Many thanks to Jill for contacting me to assist with this article. It's a big deal to be asked by the largest photography retailer in the world to help keep people safe and sound. More than happy to help y'all.
...As a bookend for the encounter, Jenks offers one last piece of etiquette for the end of the night. “As you load up and prepare to leave, turn back to where you’ve worked and thank the land. Say, ‘Thank You’ out loud,” he suggests. “Show a bit of gratitude to the land that provided your images and this experience. For me, it puts food on my table, but it also puts joy in my heart.” - Jill Waterman, B&H.
I was preparing to hike to the top of C.J.'s Fault yesterday, to shoot lightning just past sunset, when I noticed lightning bolts hitting a similarly high ridgeline a few miles to the east. I walked a few hundred yards toward the peak when I heard these three words in my head.
Don't die dumb.
Yeah, I thought. I know.
I walked back to the car, put my gear in the Buick, then drove to a lower elevation. I shot these two images an hour or so later. They are probably not as good as what I would have gotten atop C.J.'s Fault but that's OK.
Because I didn't die dumb.
"Did you hear what happened to Stu Jenks?" a not-so-close-friend says to another acquaintance.
"No, man. What?"
"He was hiking up to a high ridge last week to shoot lightning but then lightning hit him on the head and killed him."
"That's a bummer," say the other guy.
"But here's the kicker," says the first guy. "The hill he was on top of? It was the same hill he wants to have his ashes placed after he died."
They both laugh.
"I guess they didn't have to move his body very far," says the second guy.
They laugh even louder.
I don't want to hear those two dudes laughing from the other side. Ever. No-sir-ree-Bob.
Heading out tonight to shoot, equipped with battery-powered Christmas lights and with my grandmother Nannie's mirror. Wish me luck. I always go with some plan, that I tend to throw away once I'm in the space. Hope plan B works out, but you never know. I have high standards for my stock photography work. If it's crap, you won't see it here.
Also, I'll be talking more about politics on my blog.
One of the unspoken rules of being a working artist or musician or writer, who isn't rich to begin with, is to not to speak your political mind because a good 1/3 of our customers are conservative folk, that we don't want to insult, so they don't then buy our work. Well, screw that. There is too much going on in 2016 for me to keep quiet any longer.
Arizona is in play this election. Polls show Thump is only up by four points in Arizona, a Republican Goldwater state, mind you. Senator McCain might lose his re-election bid to a very competent Democratic woman. And a narcissistic businessman with orange hair wants to be the king of America.
No matter what any of the talking heads on TV says, there are really no undecided voters out there. It's all about turnout. If progressive people of colors, forward-thinking women, hopeful young people, and liberal and moderate white folk don't show up at the polls in November, Donald Trump just might win. If however we show up in force, it will be a landslide of biblical proportion. Ann Kirkpatrick will send John McCain back to Sedona, and we might actually get the U.S. Senate back in Democratic hands. (Sadly, due to gerrymandering, the U.S. House is pretty hopeless, but who knows. Maybe.)
So vote, ye moderates and liberals. The other side, those conservative white folks out there? They will show up, no matter how much they dislike Trump. They will vote for him. We need to vote for our side.
And if you hate or distrust Hillary Clinton and are a progressive, you need to get over that, hold your nose, and think of the greater good.
Three words, people.
The Supreme Court.
I frankly don't want to see one of the guys from Duck Dynasty on the Court. Or freaking Chris Christie either. Abortion needs to stay legal, Obamacare need to not be overturned, and voting rights needs to be restored, just to name a few important issues.
Politics may be athletics for ugly people, but policies matter. Laws matter. The Social Contract matters.
So here endeth my political message for today. If you disagree with me, fine. Just don't be a jerk and type troll shit back to me. It's not polite.
Wish me luck tonight. Hopefully I'll get some good images that I can make a little coin with, and that will make y'all smile.
I'll listen to what the land and the sky says to me, and I'll bring those voices back home.
1997, Photography Studies, Pima Community College, Tucson, Arizona. 1979, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Studio Art: Sculpture, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Selected Solo Exhibitions:
2016, “20 Years: 1996-2016,” Wee Gallery, Tucson, Arizona. 2015, “The Little Ones,” Wee Gallery, Tucson, Arizona. 2014, “The Ancients,” Wee Gallery, Tucson, Arizona. 2009, "At-One-With," Jewish Community Center, Tucson, Arizona. 2008, "Nine Prayers," Hotel Congress, Tucson, Arizona. 2007, "A Very Large God," Unity of Tucson, Tucson, Arizona. 2005, "If There's a Heaven...," Endicott West Art Foundation, Tucson, Arizona. 2004, "Mystery And Magic,” Metroform Limited Gallery, Tucson, Arizona. 2002, "Circles and Spirals," Tohono Chul Park, Tucson, Arizona. 2001, "Analog and Digital," Safehouse, Tucson, Arizona. 2001, "Circles and Spirals," The Image Gallery, The Screening Room, Tucson, Arizona. 1998, "Sacred Spaces," Hercules Florence Gallery, Pima Community College, Tucson, Arizona.
2016, Victor Mothershead: U.S. Secret Service by Stu Jenks, Fezziwig Press 2015, Step Zero (The Special Edition) by Stu Jenks, Fezziwig Press. 2014, Balthazar and Zeeba: A Christmas Novella by Stu Jenks, Fezziwig Press. 2014, A Rolodex Of Haikus by Tunafish Smith (Edited by Stu Jenks), Fezziwig Press. 2014, Air & Gravity by Stu Jenks, Fezziwig Press. 2013, Pamela’s Baby Rocking Chair by Stu Jenks, Fezziwig Press. 2012, Step Zero by Stu Jenks, Fezziwig Press. 2012, The Fatal Figures (Or How I Got In Trouble With The Law In Art School), by Stu Jenks, Fezziwig Press. 2011, The Transpersonal Papers: 1861-2010 by Stu Jenks, Fezziwig Press. 2011, Bozo In Love by Stu Jenks, Fezziwig Press. 2011, Dementia Blues by Stu Jenks, Fezziwig Press. 2009, Hoop Dancing: More Journeys Through Nocturnal Photography, by Stu Jenks, Fezziwig Press. 2008, Flames Spirals: Journeys Through Nocturnal Photography by Stu Jenks, Fezziwig Press.
Music And Audiobooks:
2003: The Three Surrenders: Soundtracks for Photographs, Vol. One, Fezziwig Press. 2005: West Of The Fires: Soundtracks for Photographs, Vol. Two, Fezziwig Press. 2008: Gladstone Mothershead: Soundtracks for Photographs, Vol. Three, Fezziwig Press. 2010: Hoop Dancing (The Audiobook), Fezziwig Press. 2011: Deaths & Injuries, Fezziwig Press. 2013: Pamela’s Baby Rocking Chair (The Audiobook), Fezziwig Press. 2014: Balthazar & Zebba: A Christmas Novella (The Audiobook), Fezziwig Press. 2015: Angel Ghosts, Fezziwig Press.
Selected Group Exhibitions:
2016, “Into the Night: Contemporary Art and the Nocturne Tradition,” Tucson Museum Of Art. 2016, “In Full Bloom,” Tohono Chul Park, Arizona. 2015, “Small Works,” Tohono Chul Park, Arizona. 2015, “Dia de los Muertos,” Tohono Chul Park, Arizona. 2015, “The Photographers,” Contreras Gallery, Tucson, Arizona. 2015, “The Sky Above,” Tohono Chul Park, Arizona. 2014, “The Trees: Myth, Symbol and Metaphor,” Tohono Chul Park, Tucson, Arizona. 2012, "Vicios y Virtudes" (Vices & Virtues), Raices Taller 222 Gallery, Tucson, Arizona. 2010, "Night Moves: After-Dark Images," Tohono Chul Park, Tucson, Arizona. 2009, "Print Pop," Lulubell Toy Bodega, Tucson, Arizona. 2009, "Curious Camera," ArtsEye/Photographic Works, Honorable Mention, Tucson, Arizona. 2008, "La Celebración y el Sufrimiento," Union Gallery, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona. 2008, "The September Show," Point Of View Gallery, Raleigh, North Carolina. 2008, "Big Ideas, Small Frames," Dinnerware Artspace, Tucson, Arizona. 2008, "Darkness, Darkness," Three Columns Gallery, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2007, "Salon Des Refuses," Dinnerware Contemporary Arts, Tucson, Arizona. 2006, "Big Deal 13," SOMarts Gallery, San Francisco, California. 2006, "Transcending Boundaries," Point Of View Gallery, Raleigh, North Carolina. 2006, "Tough Lovelies: Agaves and Yuccas in Art," Tohono Chul Park, Tucson, Arizona. 2006, "The Art Of Photography,” Lyceum Theatre, San Diego, California. 2005, "Día de los Muertos: Contemporary Expressions," Tohono Chul Park, Tucson, Arizona. 2004, "Hotshoe Salon" Studio 455, Tucson, Arizona. 2004, "Wildfire!", Tohono Chul Park, Tucson, Arizona. 2003, "First Annual Winter Group Exhibition," Metroform Limited Gallery, Tucson, Arizona. 2003, "Small Works Invitational," Metroform Limited Gallery, Tucson, Arizona. 2003, "46th Annual International Awarded Exhibition," San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, California. 2002, "Rocky Mountain Biennial," Museum of Contemporary Art, Fort Collins, Colorado. 2002, "Spite: Ten Years of The Toole Shed," Museum of Contemporary Art/Hazmat Gallery, Tucson, Arizona. 2002-2004, "Saguaro: Popular Image and Cultural Icon," Arizona Commission of the Arts Touring Exhibition (with Tohono Chul Park), Arizona. 2001, "Response," Tucson/Pima Arts Council, Tucson, Arizona. 2001, "In God We Trust," Zahorec Hughes Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio. 2001, "Michael Cajero, Stu Jenks, and Rudolph Nadler," Jewish Community Center's Fine Art Gallery, Tucson, Arizona. 2000, "La Petite VIII," Alder Gallery, Coburg, Oregon. 2000, "44th Annual International Awarded Exhibition," San Diego Art Institute, California. 2000, "Visions VI," Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington, Kentucky. 2000, "Nocturnes 2000," Pacific Media Arts, San Francisco, California, Curator's Choice Award. 2000, "Tucson/Pima Arts Council Fellowship Exhibit," Tucson/Pima Arts Council, Tucson, Arizona. 1999, "43rd Annual International Awarded Exhibition," San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, California. 1999, "La Petite VII", Alder Gallery, Coburg, Oregon. 1999, "Visions V", Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington, Kentucky; Jury's Award. 1999, "Arizona Biennial '99," Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona. 1999, "Photowork '99," Barrett Art Center, Poughkeepsie, New York. 1999, "Miniatures," The Galleria, Bisbee, Arizona. 1979, “Bachelor of Fine Arts Show”, Ackland Museum, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
2012, “Open Circle for Pamela,” Glow Festival of Lights, Oracle, Arizona. 2009, "Open Circle Plus Seven," Metanexus Conference, Tempe, Arizona. 2004, "Ancient Spirit, Modern Voice: The Mythic Journeys Art Exhibition," The Defoor Centre Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia. 2002, "The Open Circle Cairn Project," Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson, Arizona.
Grants & Fellowships:
2000, Tucson/Pima Arts Council, Visual Arts I Fellowship Awards (Honorable Mention).
Selected Lectures, Juries & Workshops:
2011, Juror, Third Annual Curious Camera Competition, ArtsEye, Tucson, Arizona. 2010, Co-Executive Director, "All Souls' Procession 4th Annual Photography Exhibition Competition," All Souls' Procession, Tucson, Arizona. 2009, Juror, "Blue Nocturne," The Nocturnes, San Francisco, California. 2006, Presenter, "The Rhythm of Mythic Journeys '06," Mythic Imagination Institute, Atlanta, Georgia. 2001, Juror, "A Little Night Music," TheNocturnes.com, Pacific Media Arts, San Francisco, California. 1998, Guest Lecturer on Sepia and Selenium Toning, Photography Program, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
I've been asked to write for B & H Photo, regarding safety and etiquette when shooting nocturnal photography.
I've made my mistakes in the past. Yes I have. (See the chapter in my book "Flame Spirals" regarding the shooting of “Owl's Head Flame Spiral.” I had a white gas incident where I used too much of the fuel but I had a fire extinguisher at hand. And luckily within seconds, the flames dissipated. Dumb.)
I learned and grew from those mistakes. (See "Altar of Repose" where I created the illusion of the flame spiral, made with a Zippo lighter, being much closer to the lace than it actually was.)
I also changed lighting instruments over the years to be less dangerous. (See "My Ghost Likes To Travel" or "Abajo Mountain Hoop Dance" that were created with large hula hoops with Christmas lights attached.)
And of late, I've gone lighter, making it easier to hike into the wilds or around the cities. (See "Paris Hoop Dance," "Catawba Falls Hoop Dance," and “Avebury Hoop Dance” where I now use swinging strings of battery-powered LED Christmas lights.)
That's the progression of how my lightning instruments have changed in my 20-year career, but it just talks to how I make stuff. It doesn't speak to how to be a good person as I make stuff.
Here are some simple rules that I try to live by when shooting at night.
Rule One:Do no harm. Don't hurt the plants and trees, disturb the rocks, or make a mess on the streets. Go in, get the shot you want, and then leave the land or the cityscape as you found it.
Rule Two:Don't be a jerk. This is a big one and those of you who are jerks don't think you are. But you are nonetheless. You getting that cool shot at any cost. Good folk with morals and values feel guilty when they hurt the land or are loud and obnoxious around other people or burn an old abandoned store to the ground just to get that cool steel wool shot. Many photographers and people in general, feel no shame these days. We live in a very self-centered, shameless culture now. I don't know what to say to change that. Jerks are jerks. Some people just have to get The Shot. Whatever. I'm telling you, your photos are not as important as you think. Nor are you. For the good folk out there, (and I would include most everyone reading this article), just be the good man or woman you are. Be respectful. Be quiet. Be kind. Be generous. Be nice. Not only will you feel better, but your photographs will look better.
Rule Three:I quiet my mind as I unload the truck to go shoot at night. I say a little prayer. I take a deep breath. I close my eyes and meditate for a couple of seconds. I open my eyes in the full moon light and see what I see. I think. I feel. I plan. I throw away that plan and do something else. I breath. I breath again. I take a better photograph than the one I first had in mind. By quieting my mind, I open my eyes.
Rule Four:Bring at least two extra camera batteries. Bring at least two flashlights.
Rule Five:Hiking boots with hopefully good ankle support. Really. Even in the city. I mean it.
Rule Six:Don't fall off a cliff while shooting a shot. (See "Ghost Horses.” Dancing with that hula hoop of light was a little dicey there for a moment. It was a long way down. I almost went. Glad I didn't. My motto now? Don't die dumb.)
Rule Seven:As you load up your vehicle at the end of a shoot or sling your bag and tripod over your shoulder as you prepare to leave, turn back to where you've taken your photos and thank the land. Say it out loud. Say "Thank you." You, as an American, are living in a relatively safe country, where you can walk the city and trek into the woods and out into the desert, and shoot these images without the fear (mostly) of being shot and killed yourself. So show a bit of gratitude and thank the land that gave you this image and this experience. For me, it puts food on my table, but also puts joy in my heart.
Hope this helps, buckaroos. Be good out there shooting at night. Remember, the condition of your body and soul are more important than the pixels stored in your camera.