Minnesota Original

I had to read the email a couple of times to make sure I understood; it was from a producer at Minnesota Original, the award-winning, public television series that profiles Minnesota artists, asking me if I would be interested in talking to them about being on their show. “Me?” I thought. “How do they even know who I am?” It turns out that they have an amazing team that has its finger on the pulse of Minnesota’s bustling arts scene, and it’s their job to know.

Shooting with the crew was such a blast. The producer, Amy Melin, had so many great ideas about how to shape the segment and was also open to input from me. We shot for a few days in August of 2016, doing the interview at my apartment, and then they shot me working on my daily photo project, 366 Things I Love. Several of my friends graciously agreed to come to an Instameet at Gold Medal Park and the Guthrie so the crew could shoot us. After a couple of days of shooting, their editing team did some magic to make sure I didn’t sound like a total idiot. I gave them access to my photo library so that they could pick out whatever images they wanted to help tell the story.

Perhaps the best part of the experience was that it forced me to start a project that I didn’t think I was quite ready for: Family Resemblance. At our initial meeting, I had described the idea for the project to Amy, and she thought it would be a great way to end the segment: Instagram photographer transitions into fine art. So I had to scramble to make it happen, and I got two of my oldest friends (who are brothers) to come into the studio to shoot some tests.

If you know me personally, you know that I’m a planner and like to have things figured out before I start anything. But as an artist a human, you can’t always do that; sometimes you have to just take a leap and hope you’ll land on your feet. If you try to figure out every detail in advance, you close yourself off to the possibilities that might emerge as you’re shooting.  So even though I was terrified to start my Family Resemblance project, being forced to begin before I thought I was ready was exactly what I needed; in retrospect, I realize that the only thing that had been keeping me from starting was my own fear of failure. (Since then I’ve shot about 60 families and the project is still going strong.)

Thanks to everyone who worked on the show, and to my friends who volunteered to appear in the segment with me. There’s an amazing community of artists in Minnesota and I’m happy to be one of them.

With @waqonthewildside and @jeffcs at the Guthrie
TPT Camera Op Michael Phillips x2
Tim and Andrew for my Family Resemblance Project
With MN Original EP Ashleigh Rowe on WCCO Radio

You can also see the entire episode of Minnesota Original, which also features poet and transgender activist Andrea Jenkins, and the rapper Prof.