Photographer | Musician | Blogger. Lead guitarist of Blind Hill. Often referred to as that naked guy. You can contact me here.

Nude Friday!! (I had to wear shoes because there was broken glass everywhere)  Shot in Trinity, Newfoundland June 2014.

If you waited for the right time, the right tools… you wouldn’t make a damn thing. #create

Day 100 of 100 Days of Awesome

The end of the 100 days!  Check the calender, mark the progress, evaluate goals.  I failed some, I struggled with others, I fell apart for weeks at a time. I’ll tell you something though, I did great things in those days.  I met great people, I found passions within me that were flickering sparks that are now burning hotter each day.  I thought going into 100 days of awesomeness was about fast tracking to some huge life goal…but what I found out was that there is no finish line.  You can’t even SEE what the hell is going to be there for you in a week, a month, a year.  I have opportunities I didn’t think was possible, I have people I’ve never met tell me how I’ve opened up communication on mental illness in their family, I’ve made friends I could never have planned on meeting, doors open that I didn’t even know were there.  The one door I was counting on was actually slammed shut and brought my photography to a temporary halt (my studio space didn’t work out).  But hey,  I was asked to go to Los Angeles in June to be part of something way more exciting.

I’m not saying this to brag either, at the end of the day I have a long road in front of me.  Like all of us.  I believed in myself for a couple short months (probably only 6 weeks if you minus the days I lost my focus) and out of nothing came many things.  I trusted in my abilities and believed it would happen and when I was at 100% those things came in like a FedEx truck delivering the goods you’ve been waiting for.  As soon as I stopped believing, the opportunities also stopped.   This is where the magic happens, when you take the risk, believe it’s possible, and do the work…the answers will come.

I can’t even talk to you from the standpoint of a success story yet.  I am not there, not even close!  I can only tell you that I pushed my comfort zone out a little bit…took notes…and ran back into safety.  Like looking over the edge of the high dive and turning back, I wasn’t able to jump.  However tomorrow is only a few hours away and I plan to continue with another 100 days.  This time it’s not about reaching an end result on day 100, but waking up and living every day on my own terms. The vision I have for my own life is way more awesome then what anyone else told me it should be anyway.  

JQ

*Note:  Why should you care about what I’m doing? Good point. I get that from strangers or people that don’t understand what this is about.  This blog is personal and often self centered, I get it. I’m just a guy locked into the same wage-slave, production line, mouths to feed, bills to pay situation that thousands of us are.  I share my struggle to live my dreams in real time.  The value of that to you is simply inspiration, and knowing you are not alone.

Also, check out what the team over at I DID are doing, great source of inspiration!

Day 98 of 100 Days of Awesome.

Okay I didn’t blog in 60 days…so my 100 days of sharing awesome living publicly turned into a private journey.  I don’t know if I’m further ahead or right back to where I started, I suppose many adventures end back at the beginning but with some sort of valuable experience/lesson. I may have failed to blog but I did not fail to keep moving.  2 months have passed and I look at the calender in disbelief that it’s almost June.  What’s really crazy is that I’m currently listening to the Tool - Lateralus album, an album that I would play on constant repeat while doing marathon study sessions in college…to me this album takes me back to my little study space at home in St. John’s Newfoundland, going crazy over electronic theory and math. 12 years ago…where has THAT time gone? 

There is a lesson here, and one that has been hard to accept for years.  In spite of my crazy creative pursuits, underneath all of that I have always played the game of life very cautious.  I put music down in order to complete college.  I left a city I loved to increase my chances of employment in my field of study. I stuck out every “good” decision, listened to all the “good” advice.  Worked hard, doing all the “right” things. All of this to have stability, the promise of a good career, a happy family, to live life on a path that has the best odds of success.  I didn’t come from a background of success, and by doing this I was not only making family proud but felt my own sense of hope that as hard as it was at least when I hit 35 years old I can look back and say I did it.  This is the perfect formula… if it was 1960. 

Welcome to 2014, I’ll be 35 in 2 months.  I did do it. I did everything right…the only difference is I do not have the success I expected.  Sure…life throws some curve balls at everyone, I’m thankful for what I have. Yet a part of me wonders about that dreaded “What if”.  What if instead of playing it safe I took the risks I avoided 12 years ago.   Instead of college what if I played music. Instead of moving I stayed where I wanted to be. Instead of putting 100% of my effort into my Plan B I just went Plan A from day one. 

I got THIS FAR doing something I only ‘kinda’ enjoy.  I have made it THIS FAR with very little motivation or interest in my career.  What if…I applied that work ethic into something I’m actually passionate about? I would be unstoppable.  Anyone would. 

The hard truth is I now have family and financial responsibilities I have to consider…12 years ago I didn’t and I was too scared to risk it back then.  To rock the boat now screams insanity to the average person.  But there is one thing on my side, I am far superior a musician and photographer than I was 12 years ago.  I am not a kid anymore.  The risk is huge but my tools to succeed have grown equally…and I am anything but an average person. A scream of insanity is a mere yawn in my life.  More to come…

12 years ago.  Study life.

JQ.

Check out my band Blind Hill at the Redcliff Hylton May 30/31 if you’re into live rock and fun! #MedHat

I’ll be performing solo and acoustic at Inspire Cafe downtown Medicine Hat, May 15 (this Thursday) 6 - 8pm. Come out for a time!

Check it out Medicine Hat!  “Celebrity” judging just added to my resume.  :)

Day 29 of 100 days of AWESOME.

I really want to write something angry tonight about how someone felt the need to dig around the internet and gather enough supposed evidence to accuse me of shooting ‘porn’ in their neighborhood. But I really want to address something that goes a little deeper than that…I honestly have been blamed for everything from Satanic cults, to global warming so I really don’t give a shit what’s talked about behind my back.  In fact, it’s helped tremendously in expanding my audience.  The lies spread far and fast, people look at my work, discover who and what I’m about… and some of them convert into great friends and fans of what I do after discovering what they heard was bullshit.  One must have thick skin to take this approach but this is something I’ve literally worked with for 20 years. 

Where I really draw the line is when they take that target off my back and move it on to my family.  Every time I hear that my parents or wife had to deal with people’s nosy questions about “why is Justin taking naked photos of himself” or “doesn’t it bother you that Justin works with hot women” I take it hard.  I really do.   And knowing that it’s only a matter of time before people start to tell their kids to stay away from my kids, or seeing them defend me on the school yard among other kids I will simply lose my shit.  

Thankfully today didn’t escalate to that severity, and I’m hoping…on good faith, that whatever concerns were raised were put to rest.  I fully embrace pissing people off and being the target, I love the attention. Truly.  It’s built right into my ‘brand’. If someone wants to question the legality of what I do I will be happy to provide all the required permits, the business license required to do so, and proof of age and consent of every model I’ve worked with.

It’s really as simple as that. 

If someone wants to take the low road and try and drag my name through the mud instead of dealing with it in a civilized manner that’s their choice too, but I won’t be meeting with anyone on those terms. That’s what lawyers are for!   :)

jq.

Day 24 of 100 days of AWESOME.

Today I’m going to share my recent reading list.  They say that every writer is a reader first, and while I hated reading the assigned books throughout my school life that didn’t stop me from reading 100s of books outside the classroom.  It really has been my ‘true’ education in life.  Never stop reading!!

1. The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World - Chris Guillebeau

This book has inspired me beyond what I can put into words.  It’s helped me bust out of the rut of thinking the ‘status quo’ will forever be my prison.

2. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future - Chris Guillebeau

More from Chris, less inspiration but more practical advice.

3 & 4. Steal Like and Artist / Show Your Work - Austin Kleon.

High on inspiration AND practical advice for artists, creatives, and getting yourself noticed.  LOVED both of these.

5. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World - Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary’s books are always fast paced and full of great and up to date advice.  This one is geared specifically towards using social media and getting noticed (for yourself, business, or product).

6. The Awesome Guide to Life: Get Fit, Get Laid, Get Your Shit Together - Jason Ellis

The ultimate man-guide.  It’s crude but practical. I’m a fan of Jason’s radio show so I knew what I was getting into. 

7. The Secret to Success: When You Want to Succeed as Bad as You Want to Breathe - Eric Thomas

Eric Thomas changed (and continues to inspire) my life. Period.  If you are not watching his YouTube channel on a regular basis then you are missing out.  THANK GOD IT’s MONDAAAYYY!  

8. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others - Daniel H. Pink

This is probably my least favorite out of my recent list although it is still packed with valuable information and ideas.  He demonstrates how we are all sellers, in every aspect of what we do professionally (and even at home) we are faced with moving others into some kind of action.  I got a lot from it but my attention span was a little too short for his often longer explanations of topics.

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That’s my list of books I’ve read in the last couple of months, I typically multitask while I’m reading (because who has time to read?!).  My eBook is always with me if I’m running some cardio in the gym, if I’m waiting for someone/something, I take it in the bathtub (they don’t like showers), and I read instead of watching TV.  That’s how it’s done!

jq.