Busker of the day – Adi

© John Gellman

Adi is a busker with a background. Before moving to Asheville nine years ago, he was a monk in Greece, Israel, India, and Nepal before spending five years in the Philippines. Now, he teaches martial arts. I can’t help but think of David Carradine’s Shaolin monk, Caine, who was a gentle martial arts expert who kicked ass in the wild west on TV in the seventies. Bottom line – don’t mess with his tip jar. Adi plays a soulful guitar when he busks downtown, and he brought it along for his portrait in my Flatiron Studio.

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SFX makeup man – Akira Fox

© John Gellman

Special effects makeup artist, Akira Fox, spent the afternoon with me doing a photo shoot in my Flatiron Studio. This guy can do amazing things with his face. The Parsons School of Design grad brought a makeup kit the likes of which I had never seen. Akira had time to create three entirely different looks for me to shoot. The time it took to shoot was minimal compared to the time it took him to prepare each design.

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Busker of the day – Izak Helmig

© John Gellman

Singer songwriter Izak Helmig is traveling around the country in his van, stopping in cool places and playing music along the way. He and his girlfriend, Angela, couchsurfed at my place last night, then headed downtown to busk for the lunchtime sidewalk crowd. When he was done, Izak visited my Flatiron Studio and posed for a portrait.

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Busker of the day – Alex Travers

© John Gellman

Whether he’s busking on the sidewalk, playing with the Asheville Symphony, recording an album with Zack and Jack from Midnight Snack, or teaching at the Asheville Music Academy, Alex Travers is always worth a listen. He stopped by my Flatiron Studio today for a portrait.

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Busker of the day – Phil Krell

© John Gellman

Asheville street poet, Phil Krell posed for me today. He wrote the following poem to accompany this post. It is visible in his typewriter.
You can read more of Phil’s poetry at www.instagram.com/travelinonpoetry

© Phil Krell

And, since you asked, the poem on his arm reads:

I turned silences and nights into words.
What was unutterable, I wrote down.
I made the whirling world stand still.
-Arthur Rimbaud

 

 

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Busker of the day – Krischan Winters

© John Gellman
I first encountered Krischan almost exactly one year ago, when he posed for a silly photo with a strawberry in his eye. Krischan, who had just arrived in Asheville from West Virginia was one of the many traveling kids who pass through town. He was a good sport about the strawberry and a very nice guy.  He has recently arrived back in Asheville. I ran into him on Patton Avenue a couple weeks ago and he was as nice and friendly as I remembered him to be. Yesterday, as I was leaving my Flatiron Studio for lunch, I saw Krischan busking with his banjo in front of the Flatiron sculpture, just outside my studio. He came upstairs and posed for some pics with his banjo. No strawberries this time, but shorter hair and movie star good looks.

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Girl with black eyes

© John Gellman

I dropped by The Crow & Quill (my favorite Asheville bar) with a friend Tuesday evening  to see if anything was going on. The place was almost empty. I noticed a girl in an unusual white dress in the back of the bar. She walked towards me and sat down not four feet away in the only spot in the room with a little light. I looked at her and couldn’t help but notice she had black eyes. Not black pupils, but totally black eyes. Now, you just don’t see that every day, so I asked her, “Do you mind if I take your picture?” She didn’t mind, and I got three quick shots.  Turns out she was a model named Jen who had been in a photo shoot with another photographer, who walked over as soon as he saw me photographing Jen. I was the lucky beneficiary of a lot of preparation by the other photographer and his model. We’re talking makeup, hair, wardrobe, black contacts… the works. This is why photographers should always carry their cameras with them wherever they go.

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In Memoriam – Chuck Berry – The Indispensable Man

© John Gellman

Chuck Berry, who was perhaps the most influential guitarist in the history of music, and one of rock music’s great songwriters, died yesterday near St. Louis. He was 90 years old. If anyone was the father of rock ‘n’ roll, it was Chuck Berry. Rock ‘n’ roll might exist without him, but it certainly wouldn’t sound the same. I took this picture on May 1, 1971 in Chapel Hill, NC. He played at Jubilee, a day long music festival at the University of North Carolina.

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