I have always admired photographers able to capture the spirit and the soul of other artists — colleagues, regardless of whether they’re working in the same medium or not.
Henri Cartier Bresson is one example and Robert Doisneau is another. And then there is the seminal book THE NEW YORK ART SCENE made by my first ‘master’: Ugo Mulas.
When I discovered that Jason Middlebrook had accepted a challenge of making six large paintings in three weeks, I decided to challenge myself, travel in unknown territory, and attempt to capture the different facets of this bigger-than-life man and bigger-than-life artist.
I wanted to capture the boy, the man carrying scars from the past, the innocence, the dedication, the ruthlessness, the relentlessness, the generosity, the vulnerability, the certainty, the father, the son, the craftsman, the visionary, and the selfishness that is necessary in order to be a good artist.
And I wished to do this whilst he was going through the process, searching, doubting, and finally coming up with impressive, daunting and beautiful work.
Most of all I wanted to try to ‘get out of the way’ and have my photographs not be about my vision but be at the service of his vision.
I hope what I captured not only helps you travel through his journey in his world, but also give you a closer understanding of the man and the artist.
John R. Pepper, Todi, October 2022