Photographing Jeph Howard of The Used
I recently had the pleasure of photographing Jeph Howard (a.k.a Jeph HowRAD) with his new Custom Zon Sonus. Joe Zon (friend, founder and president of Zon Guitars) worked with Jeph and VP of Production Mark Gullo, to build one of the most killer Sonus basses, to date. I had the pleasure of listening to this monster of an instrument pump thunderous lows and thick crunchy midrange growls through the most beautiful pair of Aguilar pickups and electronics I have ever heard. For stage purposes, the amplifier was hidden behind a beautifully constructed sculpture of various television and computer monitors. I felt right at home photographing and hanging with Jeph, Bert, Dan and Justin Shekoski - Saosin’s guitar virtuoso, who recently joined the band to kick off what I am sure will be an amazing tour.
I had initially thought that my time with Jeph would be limited, due to the band’s rehearsal schedule. We shook hands and Jeph was kind enough to place his time and instrument in my hands, to do pretty much whatever was needed, while offering valuable input to the creative process. This is the best thing about working with creative subjects— they understand and respect the process. As soon as I knew this, the pressure was on. As a fellow bass player, I told Jeph that I would photograph him the way I would want to be photographed and make sure everything was perfect. The whole process immediately shifted from Photographer and Subject to two bass players, a single handheld LED light, a Leica M, and The Used.
We spent the first half of our session testing different locations and lighting configurations, and of course, getting sidetracked with [awesome] conversation about bass gear, Turkish music, and our personal interests. By the time we had gotten back on track, it was time for the band to rehearse! During the rehearsal, I enjoyed a front row seat to one of the most amazing rock bands I have heard in a long while. Not only did The Used have a killer sound, the energy between each member was electrifying. Supported by what seemed to be the coolest crew I had witnessed in years, I knew this was an experience I wouldn’t forget.
After stepping down from cloud nine, it was time to get back to work. Once Jeph picked up his bass and sat back on the case, he was in “The Zone.” The result was the image you see before you. It was that simple. I credit the entire image to two factors - the mutual respect we had established as professionals and friends, combined with the creative minds and input of all of the members of The Used. I wouldn’t say this image was made, taken, or captured… It was channeled by the creative energy of The Used and everyone involved in creating such a supportive and laid back environment.
After the shoot, I was able to spend some time chatting with the rest of the guys. These guys are heavy. They are aware of themselves, the world around them, and they believe that they can contribute extremely positive things to their listeners and you know what? I do too. Check em’ out. Don’t call them screamo, emo, or any other *mo—they’re Rock.. They’re an amazing Rock band and that’s what you’ll hear.