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Posts from the ‘style’ Category

Who Will Save Your Soul

Jewel in her Volkswagen Van.

Entertainment Weekly, February 2015, photo by Steve LaBadessa

In 1996 Jewel wrote a song, “Who Will Save Your Soul,” a thoughtful poem about the struggle of life and redemption.  The song later brought her national attention as well as a Grammy nomination.  On assignment for People magazine I was asked to make a portrait that illustrated her story.

Jewel’s home was located in an urban section of San Diego. On my arrival Nedra, Jewel’s mother, directed me inside. Jewel, raised in Alaska, shared a home with her mom.

I photographed Jewel in three different settings; surfing, painting on a canvas and sitting in her ’67 Volkswagen van. The van seemed the most comfortable location for her. She used the van to travel to gigs and it served as a place for her to sleep for out-of-town performances.

In the Volkswagen Jewel started to sing, “Who Will Save Your Soul”. Her voice was passionate yet soft. I was awestruck by the private concert that transpired. Passersby didn’t seem to notice the chart-topping singer songwriter was performing on this narrow street.

Jewel was unpretentious in every way. There was no hair and make-up stylist. She was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. She didn’t even wear shoes. Photographing Jewel was one of my favorite celebrity shoots of all time.

The van photo has achieved iconic status. Every few months I get a request to use the photo on-line or in a publication. Several months ago I got a call from a photo editor at Entertainment Weekly. She remembered the photo. She wanted to use it as the opening spread for a dedicated issue about Jewel. She said it was a beautiful picture that symbolized Jewel’s humble beginnings. That’s how I remember it too.


South Florida – Very Hot and Very Cool

South Florida is unique. It has a mix of US and Latin cultures. It has warm light and cosmopolitan people. Walking around you see 50’s Art Deco styling everywhere and yet it embraces all that is modern. I love it.

I was in South Florida last week on assignment. On my down time I captured these images in the Naples area.

Woman on the beach in South Florida

Warm evening light covers a woman on the beach in South Florida

Three boys show off salt water at the Naples Pier.

Showering off at Naples Pier

Storm clouds building in the afternoon heat.

Storm clouds building in the afternoon heat


Playing paddle games on Naples Beach

Playing paddle games on Naples Beach

Palm trees, cars and architecture

Palm trees, cars and architecture