If you love alternative indie and good wholesome Amercian Folk then Jody Orsborn is the person to talk to. She runs a weekly music blog called When You Awake which keeps us up to date on all things folk/country and indie related. With her finger firmly in the musical pie, we decided to arm her with a Diana Mini and asked her some questions about life as a rockin’ blogger.
Name: Jody Orsborn
Location: London, UK
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m the founder of When You Awake.com, a daily music blog covering all things indie folk, classic country and classic rock. I was born in Marin County, California, grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, spent most of my adult years in Los Angeles, California and am currently living in London, UK.
You created the blog when you awake – can you tell us a bit about the blog, and the process of your personal blog becoming known the world over?
I started the blog three years ago because I was working for an electronic hip-hop DJ/producer and was feeling a bit unfulfilled musically. Since I grew up in Tennessee, my heart has always been in folk and country music, so I decided to start the blog to try and reconnect with that world and find people who were more interested in, say, The Band and Waylon Jennings than MIA and Spank Rock.
It’s been an amazing three years and I’m so grateful for everything I’ve gotten to do, from traveling across America on the Railroad Revival Tour with Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show and organising 1,000 person music festivals featuring musicians like Akron/Family and Langhorne Slim to opportunities like being a LomoAmigo and being a judge for Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition.
As for how it went global, I decided early on to take an international stance to the site, featuring mixtapes and musicians from around the world and it just kind of spread from there. We also have contributors from three continents, including writers from NYC, San Francisco, Norway, Australia and more, though Los Angeles and London remain the focus (as I am here in London and my assistant editor, the wonderful Bryan Thomas, is in Los Angeles).
What do you love most about your life right now?
Living in London. I moved here on a total whim over a year ago. I literally applied for grad school, was accepted and moved countries, all within the space of two months. A bit impulsive I suppose but it was the best decision I could have ever made. I find this city and the people in it so fascinating. It feels like there is an electric current in the air, and everyone I know is creating something interesting, whether it’s friends who are doing a popup fondue restaurant or getting set to release their first book about reconnecting with nature. They have, in turn, inspired me to be even more productive, and the past couple of months have found me running When You Awake, finishing my MA, setting up a new company, joining a choir and working on side projects with the likes of Secret Cinema and the Phoenix Cinema.
Student loans. Seriously, anyone want to make a blogger their personal charity project and cover my student loans? I’ll make you a mixtape!
Where were your photos shot?
London, UK and Stockholm, Sweden. I live near Brick Lane in East London—-so a lot of them are just from walking around the neighborhood.
Any funny stories about shooting them?
People’s reactions are pretty priceless when the camera comes out. Everyone is fascinated by it and wants to talk about, play with, or more importantly, be in the photos. I really love this sequence above, for instance, because I was taking a photo of my friend Sofi on a night out, and the guys in the group next to us were obviously intrigued, sneaking into the first photo and then begging for their own one after. I finally gave in and those 4 Irishmen were so happy.
Are you an experienced Lomographer or are you new to this whole thing?
I’m totally new. I had an old Canon Rebel film camera in my teenage years and then have been playing with a Canon Rebel T2i for the past year, which is an amazing camera, but it’s actually been really nice to get back to film again. I forgot what it was like to take photos that you can’t automatically delete and the excitement of having to go into the store, drop off photos, and wait to see the results. In an age of everything being instant, it’s nice to have something worth waiting for. And the Diana Mini is so compact, so I can take it with me everywhere, which I would never do with my SLR. I definitely captured some moments that I never would have captured otherwise.
How did you find using the camera?
I love it though it took me a little while to get used it and find the best settings for each situation. Also, I’m American AND I have a terrible sense of spacial things relating to numbers. Having the distances in feet or inches would be hard enough for me, but then having it be in meters…tricky. Thus, my first couple of rolls were all a bit focus and light challenged. But thankfully I’ve had some patient English friends who keep explaining distances to me. As you can see, my first roll of film came out something like the one above (sorry Treetop Flyers!). But I do believe I’m getting the hang of it now.
Since you are all about the music, if your life had a theme tune what would it be? (song title and artist please)
The Zombies – This will be Our Year
What’s coming up next in your world?
The launch of my new company, The Backscratchers, in January. It’s a free-to-use skills swap website for the creative and entrepreneurial community. It’s currently in development, but come January, Lomographers will be able to, say, exchange a photo session for a graphic designer or web developer’s time, or exchange a photo print for a painting. It’s all I’ve been talking about, thinking about, plotting about for almost a year, so I can’t wait for it to finally be up and running and connecting people.
And for my future plans for the Lomo world, it turns out Melissa from the Wilderness of Manitoba is also a LomoAmigo, so we have decided to team up on some Lomo-themed projects. She came up with the brilliant idea of a film swap, where she starts a role of film and leaves a little bit hanging out when she rewinds it, and then I reload it in my own camera and basically do an entire role of double exposures. Canada meets London. La Sardina meets the Diana Mini. Look out for it in the coming months.
Visit Jody’s blog: whenyouawake