Adam Barnard Photography: Blog https://adambarnardphotos.com/blog en-us (C) Adam Barnard Photography adam@adambarnardphotos.com (Adam Barnard Photography) Sun, 06 May 2018 15:17:00 GMT Sun, 06 May 2018 15:17:00 GMT https://adambarnardphotos.com/img/s4/v12/u1007425633-o600699589-50.jpg Adam Barnard Photography: Blog https://adambarnardphotos.com/blog 120 80 Kelli + Derek - 04.14.2018 https://adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2018/4/kelli-derek-04-14-2018 I've known Kelli since our radio station days at West Chester University. Many beers shared, many nights spent laughing loudly and telling stories with our massive group of friends and cohorts. When she reached out to me about doing the photos, I agreed without question. I was so excited that she thought of me to capture this amazing moment in her life. There was one problem, though... I've never done a wedding before.

I was extremely nervous. Terrified, actually. I'm generally a nervous wreck. What if I messed up? What if they hated the photos I took and then my reputation as a photographer would be out the window? I'd sell every piece of equipment I owned and stick to writing. I was truly terrified for the first ten minutes after accepting the offer to do it. 

Then something magic happened. Everything lined up. It's like the universe handed me this amazing opportunity to be at a scenic, beautiful location to capture this amazing, non-traditional ceremony. The universe is constantly speaking to me, presenting me opportunities and positions to advance my craft and passion while helping to document the most important day of their lives. Kelli and Derek held their intimate wedding ceremony at a family home in Jim Thorpe, surrounded by scenery only seen in movies. Spending time in the woods prior to the ceremony and reception allowed me to fully submerse myself with the surroundings. I found myself complete at peace and relaxed, which is exactly the reason why they chose this place to get married. There's a serenity in being off the beaten path, a way of life that's unique, calm, tranquil. It brought the focus that I was desperately searching for to go out and crush these photos. I knew I had it in me, I just needed the universe to remind me. 

The ceremony was beautiful, filled with several wonderful speeches on the warmest day of the year thus far, as well as an emotional letter from Kelli's mother, who was with the couple in spirit. The couple couldn't have asked for better weather or sunnier skies. The reception was a raucous affair, complete with a Jenga set hand crafted by the groom and a cornhole tournament, garnished by a dive into the lake, and concluding with fire spinners and jugglers, breaking up the evening darkness with spinning bursts of light. I can't imagine any other way to have begun this journey into wedding photography than this.

Cheers to you, Kelli and Derek! Nothing but happiness and love, forever and ever. Thank you for your trust and allowance to capture this stunning day.

-AB

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adam@adambarnardphotos.com (Adam Barnard Photography) intimate wedding non-traditional wedding pennsylvania weddings pocono wedding poconos wedding wedding photography https://adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2018/4/kelli-derek-04-14-2018 Mon, 30 Apr 2018 15:03:00 GMT
Nothing Has Changed: Reflections From Columbine https://adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2018/3/nothing-has-changed-reflections-from-columbine “I do recall that they didn’t register as gunshots, but like popcorn started to pop in your microwave.”

Gary Morris is sitting on his sofa in his home in Exton, Chester County, flipping through the pages of his high school yearbook from 1999. He was an acquaintance of Rachel Scott, the first victim of the Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Co. on April 20, 1999. Morris didn’t make it to her funeral – he caught a flat tire on the way there. He made it to the other seven funerals that week, though.

“My first or second hour class was social studies – and, as best as I can recall, in that class was Cassie Bernall, Corey DePooter, Isaiah Shoels, and Lauren Townsend, and then there was a bunch of kids who had been injured during the shooting. That was the toughest class to go back to because there were a lot of empty chairs,” says Morris.

Morris, 35, is married with two children. He works as a senior technical project manager, and his life turned out just fine, all things considered. He grapples with anxiety as a result of his experience at Columbine. It’s manifested itself as an intense fear of flying and used to be so severe “I literally had to cope with my own death. I literally was accepting my end by getting on a plane.” He’s worked through hours of counseling in order to become less fearful of flying, but the lingering effects of that day 19 Aprils ago still haunt him. Some may call it a manifestation of “survivor’s guilt”.

But don’t call him a survivor. Morris feels that’s disingenuous to his story.

“A survivor was someone in the cafeteria or the library, or someone who had bullets whiz by. I walked out nonchalantly to a fire alarm. That’s a completely different experience than the other end of the school. I never crossed paths with the shooters before the event or during. I’m strolling out with my hands in my pockets. It’s hard for me to call myself that because of my experience. I just happened to be there. If my partner had showed up that day to school, I could have been closer to the library and cafeteria, but that’s not what happened.”

Nineteen years have passed since the Columbine shooting, 25 more U.S. school shootings have shattered the idea that classrooms are a safe haven for our kids, and countless other mass shootings have played out across the country. Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Sandy Hook, Pulse nightclub, and Las Vegas occurred in that window, each upping the morbid ante in violent fashion. As if we’re stuck in a repeat episode of a television sitcom, the country predictably splits into two camps, arguing and spewing their viewpoints in a ceaseless motion. Argument turns to inaction, and any small measures passed are Band-Aids on stab wounds.

According to Popular Science, over 800 bills were introduced to address violence in the immediate aftermath of Columbine. Only 10 percent of these passed. Following the Sandy Hook massacre – in which 20 first graders and seven adults were shot to death in an elementary school in Newtown, CT, lawmakers introduced 24 separate legislative initiatives. All but one failed to pass go. Just months ago, the narrative around gun laws involved banning bump stocks – an attachment that allows semi-automatic rifles to fire faster – in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting, which was (so far) the deadliest mass shooting in American history, with 58 dead. Legislation ultimately – and inevitably, stalled out despite receiving widespread support from across the political spectrum. A stalemate ensues, no change occurs, no enactment of meaningful policy, no indemnity for the dead. All or nothing politics has perpetuated the narrative and allowed for more shootings, more victims, and more funerals. And it begs the question: What is there to do? Gary's senior photo in Littleton, CO

Morris says he sits somewhere in the “gray fog” between ardent supporter of unrestricted and unfettered 2nd Amendment rights and the complete banning of weapons. The answer is never as simple as the news cycles will have us believe.  Morris says he would like to see more meaningful discussion. It’s a topic that requires and demands nuance, and compromise.

“I’ve heard both sides of this argument, and any time any shooting happens, everyone takes their corner and nothing changes. The best solution will probably piss off both sides. Everyone’s got to give something. The liberal side wants to ban assault weapons and I understand the logic behind it. The conservatives don’t want to ban anything or put any more restrictions on law abiding citizens, and I get that, too,” Morris says. “But we’ve had that conversation for the past twenty years, and kids keep fucking getting shot in school. Those two arguments aren’t working.”

There’s been a major shift in the narrative since the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL. Large companies are pulling their sponsorships with the NRA. Politicians like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) are being taken to task on a national level at town halls for reluctance to refuse NRA contributions. Millions of dollars in contributions have been raised for the March for Our Lives from across the country. They’ve even forced President Trump to take a stance on bump stocks. News cycles come and go, mostly fading into the back of the collective consciousness of the general public whenever Trump hits Twitter or another larger, more violent event occurs. That doesn’t seem to be the case in the wake of Parkland, and Morris has enormous respect for the survivors and students championing their own cause.

These kids are changing the narrative by demanding change.

“I think they’re amazing,” Morris says. “I wish we would’ve had something like this after Columbine, but we were really the first not just on the cable news cycle, but in the social consciousness. I don’t even think those mechanisms were even possible to have, even without the prevalence of social media. I had a pager, it’s not like Twitter was even a thought in anyone’s mind at that point. I've seen a lot of people on the conservative side of the argument attacking the Parkland survivors as not being ‘2nd Amendment experts’ – ‘firearms experts’ – and ‘constitutional lawyers.” While they're technically correct, the survivors probably aren't any of those things, what they are experts in is surviving a mass shooting and its aftermath. They know all about hiding in closets and in corners of the room, anxiously waiting, huddled in the back corner of a room and praying that door doesn't open; sending ‘goodbye texts’ to their friends and family in case that door does open. Processing sounds that they know aren't anything less than horrific. How they're dealing with their friends, their families, and themselves being in shock, anger, sadness, helplessness, a non-stop firehose of emotions they cannot control. They are experts in surviving a mass shooting, which not many people can say, and which absolutely gives them a legitimate and important voice at the negotiating table.”

Morris warns that the answers the Parkland survivors are looking for won’t be as easy as they may anticipate. They’re up against one of the largest political donors in the country, with a membership roll of 5 million people.

Rachel Scott's yearbook inscription in Gary's yearbook from 1997. “What I would try to advise the Never Again Movement of is that if you’re going to take on the NRA, you need to make sure you understand what you’re up against. Even if we have the ‘Blue Wave’ we keep hearing about, where Congress flips to a Democratic majority, you still need 60 votes in the Senate and a two-thirds majority in the House to pass anything. These people in the rural states like Nebraska and Wyoming, those are the NRA people. You’re not going to ban guns, it’s just not going to happen.”

Morris insists it’s not just the left that needs to make concessions in this dialogue. The right needs to make a serious attempt at new proposals as well.

“We had an armed guard at Columbine. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris still killed people. Parkland had at least four officers that didn't enter the building, and they still killed seventeen people. What I would tell people on the conservative side, you need to come to the table to negotiate. The NRA is getting creamed right now and these kids are pissed. If you’re unwilling to come to the table, and throw up a brick wall, you’re going to piss off all the survivors of any shootings and their family and friends. Throw that on top of everyone who’s a moderate who despises Trump, who’s practically hanging on by a thread. Put this all together with the likely Blue Wave coming, and the new Congress and their supporters are going to remember that wall. You will be ignored and then you're going to see things banned outright. They’ll shove it down your throat. Now is the time to negotiate, and figure out what you are able to concede on.”

“We need to look at the 2nd Amendment as a right. I do believe that our Founding Fathers gave us the right in the Constitution to own weapons as a means to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government. You have to remember, we had just overthrown the largest superpower in the world when this was written. I'm also cognizant of the fact that our modern government employs tanks, stealth fighters, and nuclear weapons. However, we also have the right to free travel in this country, right? I can’t jump into a tractor-trailer if I wanted to and drive cross country. You need special licenses to do that because that thing is huge and can cause a ton of damage. I can’t just do whatever I want. The ‘right to bear arms’ is there, sure, but maybe you need more licenses and training for owning certain types of arms. What I would suggest is to make any semi-automatic rifle that’s capable of firing a projectile at greater than 2000fps and also can accept a detachable magazine larger than 10 rounds a Class 3 NFA item. In order to get one, you need to submit fingerprints and all serial numbers to the ATF, submit paperwork to the Sheriff, pay a $200 additional fee, and go through an extensive background check. The whole process takes between 6 to 18 months. You don’t hear people committing these murders or other crimes with silencers or a fully-automatic weapon. I think these weapons being on this classification list is enough of a deterrent because of how big of a pain in the ass it is to obtain them. Now, am I naïve enough to think there’s not some psycho that will go through that process just to get this gun and do something with it? Of course not, you’re not going to stop 100 percent of these things every time, I don’t care what you do. You could ban all guns and that won’t stop it. Remember, the guns in Columbine were straw man purchases. But at least it’s a start.”

Morris is adamant that the problem does not lay completely at the butt of the gun, and that a portion of this may be due to mental health, a talking point that’s become a familiar response with conservatives. As in all things, he believes that the discussion on mental health is not cut and dry, and requires a multitude of responses.

“We need better mental health care in this country and to stop demonizing people who suffer. It’s a taboo to have a condition. However, most people who have mental health issues are mostly the victims, not the perpetrators. Correlation is not causation, having a mental illness does not automatically make you a mass shooter. Treating these issues isn’t just about stopping another mass shooting, but we’re helping people get the help they need. On the other hand, you could make the argument that each one of these shooters had some sort of mental health issue, because what normal person would walk into a Gary holding his senior yearbook. school and shoot people like that? Along with my reclassification proposal, I think there’s no one better than the community to throw up red flags on an individual if something looks off. Throw up an anonymous red flag that shows up immediately into the NICS system, and then when the background checks happen, they’re unable to get the gun at that moment. While it doesn’t make them unable to buy a gun, it allows for an extra check in place.”

Morris and I talked about the ban on the Centers for Disease Control on studying gun violence. While he’s not familiar with the specific amendment in the legislation that caused this, he sees no value in halting the data research.

“I do know that there was a conscious effort to stop the CDC from collecting data to study gun violence. In my opinion, and in general, more information is always better than less. Otherwise, all you have is uncorroborated opinions being thrown around, which doesn't do anything to actually help anyone. I absolutely don't see the downside of the CDC collecting, analyzing, and publishing gun violence stats.”

Morris looks into the future now with his family, moving forward from a time of fear and confusion, with a clearer understanding than most of us will ever have on the event that changed the nation. He spoke about the impending conversation with his son, and the safety precautions he’ll need to take as part of the post-Columbine generation.

“I read an article about a Columbine Survivor and her anxiety about dropping her child off at kindergarten. The article talked about the conversation she’d had with her child about if there ever was a shooter that came in the school and what her child should do. The Columbine kids now have their own kids in the public school system. I told my wife that at some point we need to sit with our son and have that scary but, unfortunately, necessary talk because it could make the difference between living and dying. Seconds matter. I'm not exactly sure how to approach such a scary topic, but I'm sure he's been through drills already, so it won't be completely new to him. Sad, isn’t it? We’re teaching our kids how to stay alive in school.”

 

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adam@adambarnardphotos.com (Adam Barnard Photography) https://adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2018/3/nothing-has-changed-reflections-from-columbine Sun, 18 Mar 2018 00:23:46 GMT
Blues Traveler @ The Queen, Wilmington, DE https://adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2018/3/blues-traveler-the-queen-wilmington-de Blues Traveler rolled into Wilmington, Delaware last night, the latest stop on their 30th Anniversary Tour. It’s hard to conceptualize their longevity in decades. The music was as fresh as ever, blasting through a sold out show at The Queen, a stylish music venue in the heart of Wilmington. Backed by guitarist Chan Kinchla, bassist Ted Kinchla, drummer Brendan Hill, and keyboardist Ben Wilson, vocalist John Popper was as sharp as ever, crushing their biggest hit, 1994’s “Run-Around”, live and in color.

Their set was preceded by an impressive performance from a group by way of Nashville called Los Colognes, who brought the same energy and dynamic tunes and setting the tone as the opener. With a sound reminiscent of the Grateful Dead, Los Colognes won the crowd early with a jam heavy set, containing just the right amount of sonic grooviness.

Once Blues Traveler took the stage, the quintet played a medley of cuts, from the popular “But Anyway” to deep cuts like “The Mountains Win Again”. The band impressively hit the halfway mark of the show with a modern and harmonica-infused cover of Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”.

The show was electrifying, remarkable in its seamlessness overall, and accentuated by the timelessness of the songs. I can imagine the band’s 60th Anniversary tour, rocking just as hard and still as ageless as the satisfying notes of “Hook”.

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adam@adambarnardphotos.com (Adam Barnard Photography) https://adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2018/3/blues-traveler-the-queen-wilmington-de Sun, 18 Mar 2018 00:21:52 GMT
John Mayer - "The Search For Everything Tour" Review https://adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2017/10/john-mayer-the-search-for-everything-tour-review John Mayer certainly doesn’t have to search far for everything. He’s been selling out shows across the country, on a world tour for his most recent album release, “The Search for Everything” a 12 song bluesy/folky/poppy selection of indulgent greatness you’d expect from this generation’s premier guitar player. Fresh off his most recent stint as the lead singer for Dead and Company, Mayer returns true to form with another installment of classic love songs, introspective, soul searching lyrics, and solid jams.

Mayer brought his show to Camden, NJ, at the BB&T Pavilion on August 18th. He set the tone of the show by opening with “Helpless”, a blues-infused cut full of allegory to a not-so-distant part of his life filled with embarrassing and difficult public moments. He followed with an eclectic medley of past bangers, from a mash-up version of two songs from his first album, “Room for Squares”, the classic “No Such Thing” and “Why Georgia”, to the first single off “Everything”, the smooth “Love on the Weekend”.

Few artists that I have encountered are able to speak to me in a way that John Mayer does. It’s as if every release is done during a period of internal struggle in my own life. His quintessential 2006 release, “Continuum”, was rediscovered during a time of great emotional pandemonium and reconciliation in my life. The album reminds me of a time of complete destruction, and in its place, a rebirth of someone new; a reflection of the man I knew I always was. It’s a gathering of 12 songs, or 12 steps, in the reconstruction of life, and Mayer excels at capturing the human condition in every word.

His most breathtaking performance in this show was “In Your Atmosphere”, a cut released on his live double album, “Where the Light Is”. The song, a moving firsthand account of the stages of heartbreak, is as fresh and devastating as the first time you hear it. Hearing the song performed live is an exercise in self-reflection; feelings and emotions of love crises and existential search for the proverbial “everything”. Mayer effortlessly hits every note, both in voice and guitar; as if he’s still actively in recovery of this dearest one he’s lost (“Wherever I go/whatever I do/I wonder where I am in my relationship to you.”). It’s a transcendent moment that blurs the line between artist and consumer; a moment where you can close your eyes and visualize the sweeping hair across her face on a sun drenched L.A. afternoon on the 101 and the infinite sadness of watching her walk away for good. It’s true grief in six minutes. His voice haunts the lovelorn subject (perhaps himself), and reaches into the depths of the soul to invoke the helplessness of post-loss. It’s a perfect record, beginning to end, and the record should be required listening in any context. He rounds out the performance with selected cuts spanning a wide spectrum across his catalog, from his folk heavy album “Paradise Valley”, to his incredible John Mayer Trio, strumming out some of the best blues riffs I’ve heard in recent memory.

He closed his performance with an encore that included “Moving On and Getting Over”, a pop-folk cut from “Everything”, and the definitive and most flawless record of his career, the subdued and melancholy “Gravity”. The performance is a constant reminder of Mayer’s musical genius, and a solid reminder that excess can certainly bring him to his knees again if he’s not careful.

Some things are better heard and not said. The emotions projected through Mayer’s guitar strings are as eloquent as any lyric or poem ever written, perhaps even better than any written word could make it. His performances are not to be missed. As long as Mayer continues on this renewed search, we’ll be there with him, ready for the next piece of everything.

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adam@adambarnardphotos.com (Adam Barnard Photography) bb&t pavilion camden nj continuum gravity john mayer katy perry the search for everything https://adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2017/10/john-mayer-the-search-for-everything-tour-review Wed, 25 Oct 2017 16:45:04 GMT
The Re-Education of Asher Roth https://adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2017/10/the-re-education-of-asher-roth Asher Roth is unabashedly and proudly a reflection of the man and artist he wishes to be. He has traded in his gelled, frat-boy haircut for a long, untamed mane. Wearing comfortable clothes and tube socks emblazoned with pineapples, you’d never guess this was the same person who produced what is arguably the ultimate party anthem for college kids across the country.

“The ‘I Love College’ stuff, setting aside its success, came with a certain facade and image that I had to uphold. ‘I Love College’ was just a journal entry,” Roth says. “I had moved to Atlanta with my college buddies. I had just left school after two years, and I was like, ‘Damn, I miss school.’ I wanted to go back to West Chester. I’m 21 years old — why am I here in Atlanta? Next thing I knew, the song blew up because people related to it.”

Outside of the coincidence that we were born six days apart in the summer of 1985, Roth and I grew up about 25 minutes away from each other in Bucks County. We share a similar life education. We share fanaticism and connectivity with hip-hop music.

Hip-hop is a saving grace in my turbulent life, an escape from the grind of the mundane. Sometimes fun, oftentimes dark, but always a connection I’ve experienced on a primal level. I can recall moments growing up through my adolescence when I immersed myself in hip-hop, understanding implicitly the themes of sadness, grief, strife and triumph. That early footing led me to a weekly column in the Bucks County Courier Times, producing pieces about hip-hop and profiling local artists.

Roth’s roots in hip-hop eventually led to a modest brush with fame, fortune and limelight. As we enjoyed several Yards Brawlers on a warm August afternoon at Silk City, a fabulous diner on 5th and Spring Garden in the beautiful tapestry of life known as Philadelphia, I found that our worlds were more connected than I anticipated, even if our journeys were different.

When we talk about West Chester University — a school we both attended in the early aughts — Roth recalls his time there fondly. A smile creeps across his face as he remembers some of the best haunts in town.

“Well, I know Jake’s Bar doesn’t have 50-cent drafts and Riggtown Pizza doesn’t have dollar slices anymore.”

The life-shaping moments of that time are still tangible, even though it feels like an eternity ago. It appears to take him back to a comfortable time, before things became complicated by fame.

“I was there on and off for about two years," says Roth, who grew up in Morrisville and graduated from Pennsbury High School in 2003. "I left because I knew I could always go back to school but the opportunity to do music was a narrow window. I was halfway done with college and in a place where I needed to start taking either music or school seriously. That’s when I got the call from Scooter Braun.”

When Braun, then a rising young music executive, called early one morning, Roth and his friend Tom Boyd, who managed Roth’s Myspace account, thought it was the cops. They hung up on him.

“Scooter called back and said to Boyd, ‘Yo, this is the most important call of your boy’s life, put him on the phone.’ At that point I was utilizing the Yes Theory,” Roth explains, “Just say yes and go with it.”

Roth flew to Atlanta to meet with Braun, who introduced him to some people he knew. One song Roth had written — a sharp-edged a cappella piece called ‘Just Listen’ — caught the ear of Jermaine Dupri, Chaka Zulu and other heavy hitters in the Atlanta rap scene. Suddenly, Roth had an opportunity he didn’t even know he was looking for.

“Scooter was not a manager yet, but he was an obvious move maker,” Roth says. “I’d seen him in photos with Ashton Kutcher and Big Boi. That’s enticing to a 20-year-old. I was like, ‘I want to be there.’ ”

Roth’s early music wouldn’t categorize him as a socially conscious rapper.

“People don’t understand that when ‘I Love College’ blew up, we had to make sense of that stuff. We had to build an album around a popular single. I thought we (expletive) nailed that mission with (2009 debut album) 'Asleep in the Bread Aisle,' regardless of what anyone thinks about the album content-wise, or as far as imposing on hip-hop’s mission statement.”

Roth’s follow up to "Bread Aisle," however, was his criminally underrated 2011 single “G.R.I.N.D.” The song marked the beginning of Roth’s turn toward creating more socially engaged music. "G.R.I.N.D.," which stands for “Get Ready, It’s a New Day” and was produced by the ensemble 1500 Or Nothin,' is an organ-infused head-nodder, with a hook that will have you whistling it for days. Underneath its catchy sonic appeal, its message is one of struggle, purpose and a call to action for the real richness in life: loving what you have now, in this moment.

“We were able to shoot a video for ‘G.R.I.N.D.’ because Rich Isaacson (of LOUD Records fame) championed the hell out of that song and stood behind me.”

In the video, Roth abandons the frat-boy look of "Bread Aisle." His hair is grown out and disheveled, and a red-blond goatee adds to his new rakish appearance.

The song was a departure from Roth’s “I Love College” vibe and marked the beginning of his re-education. He was about to learn how difficult it is in the music business to make the music you want to make, rather than the music your label and your fans want you to make.

“G.R.I.N.D.” was not a financial success for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which being a lack of support from his label. But Roth still believes in it.

“It’s a beautiful song, and I have to laugh because people say to me, ‘ "G.R.I.N.D." is such a great song!’ And I think, ‘Where were you guys six years ago?’ ”

The song allowed him to spread his artistic wings and begin to find his unique voice in a sea of hip-hop artists mostly talking about the same thing — themselves.

“When you listen to Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan or The Roots, they’re telling other people’s stories. I don’t want my music to be all about me," he says. "Everyone was like, ‘Dude, you’re in the business of being famous, you need to own up and be Asher Roth and tell that story.’ But there is so much cooler (stuff) going on. My story is like, whatever.”

Roth talks about how he wants to be a vessel, to put himself in a position where he can talk to other people and see what they’re going through. To truly master your message, he says, it has to come from an authentic place. He feels he’s mastered that from the beginning.

“I think authenticity is what got me in the door in the first place. I was this kid wearing flip-flops and I think that was endearing to many people, because it wasn’t a persona, it was just me. The hardest thing to do in the music industry, and also in the entire entertainment industry, is to just be yourself, and find out who you are.”

Roth followed “G.R.I.N.D.” with his most creatively fluid project to date: 2012’s "Pabst and Jazz." A masterpiece in eight songs, it features the most sonically soothing backdrops to Roth's melodic, melancholy approach to rhyming produced yet. It allowed him to flex his muscles on the mike and provided the listener the experience of hearing his artistic growth in real time.

Roth’s frequent collaborator and best friend, Chuck Inglish (The Cool Kids), provided the best scoring to his voice, specifically with the bouncy cut “In The Kitchen.” DJBooth.net, the internet’s premiere place for all things hip-hop, said the record legitimized Roth’s status as a rapper to be taken seriously. Five years after the release, it remains the genesis of Roth’s independence.

“ 'Pabst and Jazz' was so uninhibited,” he says. “It’s just a reflection of who I am. It’s where I found my voice. I was the ripe old age of 27. You start becoming an adult at that time.”

It also marked the beginning of the end of his blink-and-you-missed-it affiliation with Def Jam. Roth jokes, “I want a T-shirt that says, ‘Remember when I was on Def Jam?’ ”

Not long after leaving the label, Roth parted ways with Braun after several years of stagnant career moves. Roth insists there is no bad blood. The experience gave him a larger and much more in-depth understanding of business and the industry. It set him on his path of internal searching, perhaps more than he expected or intended.

“I lived in Atlanta, then in NYC, then did the LA thing for four years. I’ve seen and done a lot — a lot of awesome, exciting stuff and a lot of nonsense. Now I want to make sure I concentrate my efforts on the right things — becoming a well-rounded individual and surrounding myself with supporting and loving relationships. The fact that I can ride my bike here and walk in, and I don’t have to have a bodyguard, I don’t have to roll in with an entourage — that makes me a happy, wealthy person.

"It just came down to priorities. Def Jam and Scooter had their own priorities and I had mine, and we just weren’t mission-aligned.”

Roth’s not concerned with the past. He’s hyper-focused on the now and beyond, creating his own lane in a system that has seemingly closed every access point available to him.

His new media outlet, RetroHash, is the nexus for his innovative and original ideas — uninhibited and unfiltered. Created for the masses without any label oversight, Roth has his sights set firmly on this project and its untapped potential.

“It’s going to be a place that has original programming, so one day we’ll do our 'Radical Magical' Podcast. Tuesday, we’ll do live streaming with Twitch, then we might throw in an episode of the 'Lemonade Stand' series I started in L.A. or the Bongress stuff we’re doing to educate people about marijuana. It’s all about fan engagement. I decided that I wanted to create my own sandbox, which is what RetroHash is.”

Roth is also fully invested in advancing the Philadelphia hip-hop sound. He co-headlined the All Love Summer Block Party with Chuck Inglish in July. The festival, a brainchild of Roth and 91Republic, featured a hand-selected conglomerate of musicians from the Philadelphia area, including rapper Voss, another throwback to our West Chester days. Roth has ideas on a grand scale for this city.

“I didn’t come back to hang out. I came back to Philly to build off that 'Pabst and Jazz' sound. We want to do more direct-to-consumer stuff. We’re focused on engaging with 500,000 empowered people who want to interact with us instead of 5 million kids who are casually listening to your stuff and don’t even know who we are.”

I press Roth on his aspirations for his second act, and the conversation quickly turns to bigger issues.

“We need to stop opening prisons and start opening schools. We need to invest in public education. Things like Charlottesville, or the kids who have been picked off by the police — yes, these things have been happening forever, but now with social media and our smartphones all of these things are right in front of our faces all the time. How we react to it is important. I just want people to be compassionate, inform themselves, stay educated, and be present.”

He goes on to talk about the significance of his return to Philadelphia as a home base for this new endeavor.

“I came back to take everything I learned on my journey and instill it with that spirit of Philadelphia. This city is amazing. I know that at the end of the day, this is a long-term, sustainable thing we’re building — being homegrown and being about education. I know that it’s going to work. It’s going to take a while, but we’re in it for the long haul.”

I ask what point or message his journey has presented to him, what his takeaway is, and what he thinks is the most pertinent message he’d like to convey.

“The most important story to be told,” Roth says, “is one that is about progression and growing up — finding and bettering you.”

I finish my beer and place the empty bottle on the table, feeling more inspired and creative than before this meeting. Roth’s enthusiasm is contagious. As we’re wrapping up, he stops mid-sentence at the sight of good fortune.

“Dude, is that penny on the ground heads up?”

I look to my right. Sure enough, the shiny copper coin is grandly displaying Abe Lincoln’s face.

“Scoop it up, man!” Roth insists.

If this is any indication of what his future endeavors hold for him, then Roth’s got the universe on his side.

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adam@adambarnardphotos.com (Adam Barnard Photography) asher bucks chester college county def i jam love roth west https://adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2017/10/the-re-education-of-asher-roth Sun, 15 Oct 2017 20:56:24 GMT
Aaron & Kristin - 05.02.2017 https://adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2017/6/aaron-kristin---05-02-2017 I've known Aaron and Kristin for many years. I've spent a ton of my formative 20s in their presence. I was honored when Aaron asked me to be a part of this surprise event.

He worked the details out a few months in advance with me, setting up the entire day to the minute.

Bowman's Hill Tower was the perfect location for this. Beautiful sunny day.

Digital photography is a great medium, but there's something about film that captures this moment so incredibly.

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adam@adambarnardphotos.com (Adam Barnard Photography) 35mm film bowman's hill tower bucks county engaged engagement engagement photos film photography she said yes https://adambarnardphotos.com/blog/2017/6/aaron-kristin---05-02-2017 Sun, 04 Jun 2017 19:22:18 GMT