God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
Go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
And make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

Rainer Maria Rilke, from Rilke’s Book of Hours

Jim James


“The essential thing is to etch movements in the sky, movements so still they leave no trace. The essential thing is simplicity.

That is why the long path to perfection is horizontal.”

Philippe Petit

(Jim James, from my archive, playing live at the Neptune in Seattle earlier this year.)

Jim James


Immortal Longings

Tonight I will be in Seattle to see Jake Bugg, at the Neptune, the young songwriting genius from England.

I think the coolest part of my work as a photographer is what it takes to get the shot, inside myself. Artists play to the audience. They also play to the camera, the good ones, because they know there’s a kind of partnership with their work and the media. So for me it’s about being in the middle space between audience and performer, in plain sight, alone, way out there searching. My mind races to make choices for pictures, to find the story of the night, while the universe of human bodies and sound is spinning all around me, pressing me down. I never know if I get what I went for until the next day. Some nights it feels like it’s just me and whoever is playing on stage.

Jim James

It Means Everything

I say love don’t need nothing
Left them something worth fighting for
It’s a beautiful war
It’s a beautiful war
It’s a beautiful war

[From the new song, “Beautiful War,” by the Kings of Leon, on their new record, “Mechanical Bull,” on RCA Records.]

Tomorrow night I’ll be at Neptune to photograph Jake Bugg at his sold-out performance. Then, Joan of Arc at the Barboza on Saturday.

Yim Yames

My Heart Is Wild

Some say love is a burning thing
That makes a fiery ring
All that I know love as a caging thing
Just a killer come to call from some awful dream
And all you folks, you come to see
You just stand there in the glass looking at me
But my heart is wild, and my bones are steel
And I could kill you with my bare hands if I was free

(From the song, “Song For Zula,” by Phosphorescent. This song can be found on their sixth studio release, “Muchacho,” on the Dead Oceans label. The entire record is amazing, a huge shift in sound and mood that totally works.

The photo is a picture I took of Jim James on his solo tour when he passed through Seattle in May.)