“Throughout my journey, I put in the time and put in the work, learning every aspect of the job, and it paid off as I got gigs — some were great, some weren’t, but they were all part of it, and there’s still more to come.”
JAR, freelance content creator and social media manager / strategist for artists and musicians, recently chatted with For The Punks about his work, goals, inspiration, and more! Working with beloved artists like Beartooth, Half Alive, Issues, and more, JAR has created a platform that no only showcases his work but educates and inspires other photographers and videographers from around the world.
He tours the world with them [Beartooth, Half Alive, etc.], documenting their story. Along with this, JAR helps and provides guidance on how to properly distribute their important moments on their various social media channels in an effort to effectively grow their overall brand and audience loyalty.
He added that, “everything I create is intentionally curated for the common web user.”
Continue reading to learn more about JAR, For The Punks’ February 2020 Creator of the Month! This interview about his goals, inspiration for new creators, and more is not one to miss!
Hi Jar! What do you hope people take away from you and your art?
First of all, thank you very much for having me on the site— it’s an honor!
‘Art’, still not sure why I feel so hesitant to call it that. Can we just call it ‘work’? Hahah, I hope people feel inspired to pursue a career as a full-time freelancer. The biggest hurdle is getting over the financial instability that comes with being an independent contractor, I hope my story can encourage people to plot out a timeline for themselves that will result in financial freedom so that they get to do what they love without having to worry about surviving. To me, the answer is providing enough value to a client, so much value that the question of whether or not you are a good investment to the project is never even considered. Short answer, I hope I can inspire people to invest in themselves.
You wrote a piece about your photography journey up to this point on your website that viewers can read. If you had to describe this journey in only three words, what would those three words be?
Exciting — Ambitious — Exhausting
Exciting because I knew a pot of gold was waiting for me at the end of the rainbow, and I’m not necessarily speaking about money. I’m paid in relationships: the amount of hours I get to spend working alongside some of the most hard-working people I’ve ever encountered drives me to excel on my own terms. I’m also paid in experience: I get to travel all over the world. I’d need an entirely separate blog-post dedicated to the wonderful benefits that travel brings, but I’ll keep it short for the time being. My absolute favorite part about travel is that it improves your tolerance for uncertainty. It’s common to find yourself yourself stuck in situations where things don’t always go as planned. Such situations will help you learn to cope with future uncertainties of life. That’s been my biggest takeaway so far!
I can’t even begin to describe where I want this journey to go. I feel like I just got started. Ambitious dreams and goals have allowed me to reach for the stars and land on the moon. From the start of my journey, I’ve set my mind to say yes to every opportunity that comes about. This hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, I’ve made mistakes along the way, but picking myself up and learning from my failures has helped me fine-tune my workflow to provide an enhanced experience for my clients.
It hasn’t been easy. It is a lot of work. The most surprising part about being a freelancer is that you really are a one man show. You do your own taxes, marketing, negotiating, etc. You are essentially the CEO of your trade. Learning all of those different components while also putting in time to improve your craft is mentally and physically taxing. Balancing that has been my biggest challenge, but it’s definitely very rewarding.
Through all of your photography experience, what is the most important thing you have learned about yourself?
I’ve really come to terms with the fact that talent isn’t enough. Along with all the other points I’ve mentioned above, touring is a complex animal. Working in the music industry, you’re bound to work in close quarters with a wide spectrum of personalities. Learning how to communicate your intentions, goals, and concerns with various people is an important skill to tackle. I find books on leadership, emotional intelligence, and podcasts within those same categories to have been extremely helpful in my journey to becoming a better team-player.
Along with this, how has photography changed how you view the world and people around you?
I feel extremely grateful. It’s quite difficult to find me in a bad mood now a days. It’s given me a real sense of purpose. It’s changed my life forever.
At the end of 2019, a handful of creators recapped their favorite work of the decade- what is your favorite photo from the past few years and can you share the story & creative process behind it?
I like this photo in particular. One of the perks (and cons) of touring closely with a band is that you really start to learn the show like the back of your hand. You know what moments to look for while shooting, giving you the ability to get creative with the angles, etc.
While out on a festival summer tour with Issues in 2018, I found that I was getting a lot of the same shots. The stages looked the same, the lighting was provided by the sun (which is great if you want to get some well exposed shots, not very great when it comes to getting diverse galleries after a few shows). So Josh and I planned a moment of the set to execute this shot. We tried it a few times and ended up getting it right after about four times.
What do you hope to accomplish in 2020? Are there any “to-do” and/or “bucket list” items that you hope to accomplish? Any new & exciting things that friends, fans, and viewers of your work can look forward to?
I would like to work an arena tour at some point. I’ve never experienced a tour that scale but I’ve always dreamt of it. A few things have come up already that just didn’t line up with my current schedule, so I know it’s within my realm of possibility.
As far as new and exciting things that the readers could look forward to..
I’m going to be putting myself out there some more this year. Through blog-posts, interviews like these, podcasts, heck— even some YouTube content. So that’s exciting!
In the piece you wrote for your website about touring the world, you described yourself as being at the “ripe age of 22.” If you had to share just one piece of advice with other creators your age or younger, what would it be?
Start today. Dream up the biggest, most ambitious goal for yourself, and tackle it incrementally. Breaking huge is a long process that requires patience, time, and consistency. You don’t have to start the ground running, take it slow and let the process guide you.
If you’re interested in reading JAR’s blog post entitled “How I Tour the World for a Living: My Story” click here. The piece is worth reading for creators of all ages and skill levels!
JAR was recently invited as a guest on Tim Cayem’s podcast “Cayem Interviews.” Tim and JAR discuss his [JAR’s] natural intrigue for art, his inspirations for branding and aesthetic, and how he stands out in what can be a saturated market. If you’re interested in listening, head over to Spotify here!
Check out JAR’s Instagram if you’re interested in seeing these words in action!