“The road to a good picture is through a lot of bad ones.” – Sam Jones
This week’s episode is a bit of a departure. But like Frost’s road less travelled, it’s a direction well worth pursuing.
My podcast was borne from a love of the art of the long form conversation. Authentic expression is a predominant theme of virtually every episode. And I sheepishly admit to a slight obsession with talented people at the nadir of their creativity, expressing their specific life purpose with unapologetic conviction.
Sam Jones is the embodiment and ethos of all these ideals and more. Lauded photographer, documentary filmmaker, award winning music video director, magazine publisher, television creator and podcast host. Oh yeah, he’s also married with kids.
As a photographer, Sam is the go to guy for top tier magazines such as Vanity Fair, Esquire, Rolling Stone, GQ and Time for creating timeless portraits of luminaries, A-list actors and musicians like Barak Obama, George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Bob Dylan, Jack Nicholson and Dave Grohl.
All of this is super cool of course. But quite frankly it’s not what motivated me to want to sit down with Sam. What really captivated me about this talented artist is Sam’s newest venture, a multi-media, multi-faceted project he created entitled offCamera.
It’s photography. It’s a magazine. It’s a television show. It’s a podcast. It’s journalism. It’s entertainment. It’s art – the art of exquisite portraiture achieved through images, words and conversation.
Simply put, Sam performs up close and personal, uninterrupted long-form conversations with today’s most prolific cultural icons – people like Matt Damon, Sarah Silverman, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Laura Dern and more. Each conversation is filmed for initial broadcast on DirectTV’s Audience Network and subsequently available on the offCamera website as well as on iTunes as an audio podcast. Accompanied by a formal portrait, the interviews are also reformatted in print to comprise a printed magazine.
After listening to Sam’s intimate dialog with Robert Downey Jr., I was left to ponder this question: where else could I possibly listen to (or watch) someone like this converse for a full hour on the particulars of life and art?
Nowhere. You can’t. Blame our soundbite obsessed world, but conversations like these are extremely rare if not altogether nonexistent in publicly available form. Complemented by his extraordinary attention to detail and quality, these are all reasons why Sam’s work is such a gift to us all.
I have been so moved by offCamera that I felt compelled to turn the mic around, point it at Sam and get to the bottom of his story. Thank you Sam for your willingness to engage me in a dynamic conversation that explores the intersection of art and commerce; the importance of authenticity in the expression of one’s creativity; and what can be learned from working with the most prolific musicians, actors, filmmakers and artists in the world.
In the words of Sam,
“it has taken me a lifetime to develop my attention span, and I want to use it.”
Me too Sam. Me too. I sincerely hope you enjoy the listen.
Peace + Plants,
Today’s show was brought to you by StrideHealth.com : Matching you with the best insurance for your life.
Production, music & sound design by Tyler Piatt. Additional production by Chris Swan. Graphic art by Shawn Patterson. Thanks boys!
- Audience Network (Wikipedia)
- HBO’s Documentary Sonic Highways (Wikipedia)
- I Am Trying To Break Your Heart – A Film About Wilco * (Documentary directed by Sam Jones)
- Boyhood * written and directed by Richard Linklater
- Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes * (Audio CD)
- Fire Down Below: Revisiting The Basement Tapes with Sam Jones (MusicFilmWeb)
- Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued (Documentary directed by Sam Jones)
*Disclosure: books, films & cd’s denoted with an asterisk in above show notes are hyperlinked to our Amazon Affiliate account. Any purchases made via these links will not cost you extra but will help support the podcast.
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