Food Project

I can’t get specific about the project right now, but please enjoy these photographs I took of some lovely dishes created by a few talented, stay-at-home chefs. I’m not a food photographer per se, but I’m improving.

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Meethi Keema (above)
Beef mincemeat cooked in ethnic spices & tomato sauce masala with fenugreek leaves served with wheat chappati/bread.

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Sake miso sea bass on soybean puree topped with roasted pepitos:

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L: Matar paneer (Indian) R: Vegan lasagna

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VegYellow Curry Broccolini
Yellow curry cooked with gram-flour, yogurt and a blend of aromatic spices, fresh steamed broccolini and sprinkled with paprika served with a side of salad and naan.

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Seafood Boils (seasonal offerings):

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Anda-Kebab Bun (Pakistani’s street food novelty):
Egg white batter fry kebab served ontop of lettuce, banana pepper, cucumber, red onion with mint green chili chutney and sriracha ketchup – all placed on a butter toasted bun.

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Boozy watermelon, chia seeds and lime zest:

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L: Red Beans & Rice / R: Italian French-a-letta

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Pasta Jambalaya:

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Philly cheese steak with garlic parmesan fries:

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Chicken Tikka:

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Uncle Dave Macon Days 2014

Earlier this summer I was on assignment for WPLN at this year’s Uncle Dave Macon Days in Murfreesboro, TN. The event is an ‘old time music and dance festival’ that celebrates both the musical legacy of Uncle Dave Macon and all-around southern old-timey goodness. See WPLN’s post here, along with a few additional photos.

Below is a selection of favorites:

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Jimmy Doyle Country / LITTLE ROCK, AR

Between the college years and my regular visits to see Little Rock family-in-law, I’ve logged enough Natural State hours to know that Arkansas is full of undiscovered gems. There’s a blog keeping track of them, actually, but I can’t utter its name as the site hasn’t yet launched. But while in Little Rock a couple of weeks ago, I joined one of (top secret site)’s creators on a web-content-gathering field trip to Jimmy Doyle Country Club, an Urban Cowboy-esque honky tonk next to a truck stop off I-40, along the outskirts of Little Rock. It was time well spent.

Best I can tell, Jimmy Doyle was a songwriter and fiddle player who had a touch of country music success in the early 1970’s. He opened the club around 1978 and one gets the impression that the place has seen better days, yet it still has all its 1980’s charm intact. We happened to be there on Friday’s Karaoke Night, but had we been there on a Saturday, we would have caught The Arkansas River Bottom Band, the house act who – according to the hospitable club operators – packs the dance floor. Noted. Better believe I’ll be back to see it with my own eyes.

All in all, this was a great night and maybe someday I’ll post video footage of Isaac’s and my karaoke duet of “Islands In the Stream”.

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The Man himself, Mr. Jimmy Doyle:

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Baja Burrito

When things change I sometimes get sad. That’s why I sprang in to action after a bad dream about my favorite Nashville eatery, Baja Burrito, getting an extreme home makeover. I realized the place needed historical documentation for my future-self and the hospitable Troy Smith (owner of Baja) allowed me to come in one morning before opening and make some souvenir photographs.

Clearly the true essence of Baja is not captured here, but if you have been there at least once you can close your eyes and imagine that winding line, the patio of birds eating tortilla chips and people who look like they’re in bands, sneaking extra packs of complimentary Chiclets.

I think you’ll agree that we’re all better people because of those fish tacos. Long live Baja Burrito!

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United Record Pressing

I recently made a rather educational visit to the United Record Pressing. It’s quite literally a hit factory over there.

Serving planet Earth since 1949 and from their current location since 1962, United Record Pressing began as Southern Plastics and is the oldest continually operating and largest vinyl record pressing plant in the US. It’s a time capsule in all the best possible ways.

If you’re a sucker for “how things are made” documentaries, a short, wordless film about the birth of vinyl records can be seen here, but really you’re better off taking a tour of the plant yourself. I would suspect most casual music fans don’t know the place exists, much less the fact that you can walk through the factory.

(See my larger, more extensive photo gallery here)

Directly above the factory is United Record Pressing’s upstairs lounge known as the Motown Suite, where black Motown artists used to stay in the 60’s because hotels wouldn’t allow them a room. Records weren’t kept of the visitors who stayed, but considering the roster of Motown artists of that time, it’s surely an impressive list. The Motown Suite party room, which is a few steps away from the bedroom, still has all the original furniture from 1962. It’s the spot where a 16 year-old Hank Williams Jr. had his first record contract signing party. The space is still a break room for employees but also occasionally doubles as a recording studio, where artists like Brendan Benson and The North Mississippi All-Stars and have recorded live, exclusive URP releases.

My favorite part of the tour had to have been the peak inside a nondescript upstairs room – quite possibly a storage closet at one point in time – where a dude named Oscar sits and listens to literally every single test pressing of every record that is birthed at URP. It’s his job. Before the test pressings are sent to the customer, he must notice any bump, peak or blimp in the record in case of a faulty stamper, which could lead to a screw up in plating. Once approved by Oscar, the test pressings are sent to the customer for their blessing and then production commences.

Special thanks to Jay and Richard at URP for the incredible hospitality!

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See a larger gallery here.

The Carnton Plantation

Last month I spent an evening with the handsome couple of Andrea and Jason at the Historic Carnton Plantation in Franklin, TN, shooting some portraits on the historic property. As you can plainly see, they are in love with each other and they know their way around the ‘places where people buy clothes that fit well and look good when they wear them’.

The Carnton Plantation, former home of the McGavock family whose story is told in Robert Hicks’ Widow of the South, has some significance to my own family. On November 30, 1864, thousands of Confederate troops made camp on the property before the tragic Battle of Franklin. My great great great grandfather Reason Wilson Jerkins was likely among the troops that passed through, as his Florida unit was involved in the conflict. He didn’t see action at the Battle of Franklin, but a few days later was shot during the Battle of the Cedars near Truine, TN and later died from the wounds. Heartbreaking that any of that had to happen at all.

While the house’s past is a bit dreary, the Carnton is now a picturesque spot for weddings.  I hope to have the opportunity to photograph an event there in the very near future.