I'm Jackson's dad.
First off, today around 11:45 am [Central Time] Jackson and I will be on the radio with "Outlaw Dave" on KPRC. You can listen online via their website.
I can say that I was very careful to not "help" him with his image. Jackson has been learning photography most of his life, and all the lighting was his idea. He did the lighting diagram, story boards, and the concept.
What I did do, mostly, was act as the AD (assistant director) - helping with organization, i.e. getting people together, making sure he had food, small details for the shoot. The largest contribution I made was to suggest shooting it with different lenses, so that he had options. It's funny, this was actually not my favorite image.
A few details about Jackson's "career" - he shot a wedding at 9, and has his second wedding this month. He's also shooting a 4 day culinary conference in June and a few other projects that I cant talk about yet. Jackson has been my main assistant for over 100 shoots now.
Jackson has decided to do a replacement image, as was offered by the church. He had been debating this since he was told his original image was not going to be shown.
Today he was thinking about it and did not know what to do - his thoughts were all over the place and he was feeling pressure, as time was running out. We talked about his frustrations, and his fear that no matter what he creates it would not be allowed to be shown. We discussed sarcasm - he knows it well - but I explained that an image of a fluffy bunny being pushed playfully down with a candy cane in a field of flowers would be sarcasm. We both laughed as we bounced ridiculous ideas around, and then he went into the garage to think alone for a while.
He came out later, silent. I waited; I could tell that something was not right. So I asked him what... He was still silent, and I gave him a hug. As I held him he started to cry. He explained to me that he could not make an image (specifically for this piece) with Jesus smiling.
This was hard for me - I could see his heart on the issue. He believes this is important and is trying to make a compelling image, but he was getting frustrated - he had exhausted all his thoughts on the last image.
I then called Marc (curator of the gallery) to see if he would be okay with my helping Jackson to the point of collaboration on the image. Marc was fine with that, so I went back to Jackson and asked him if it would be okay if I worked with him on the concept, and he agreed
My suggestion was to go simple - a studio image that would not require much setup. We chatted back and forth until the idea was formed - I guess I should keep the cat in the bag as it will be on display soon.
Even though this is a collaborative image, I am glad that he will have something in the gallery after the opening night.
- Jack Potts
Father of the Artist
Photographer, Bohemian Photography.