Musicians & The Mosaic: Doug Zambon of The Vansaders

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Doug Zambon, lead singer, The Vansaders

Ok, so my Musicians & The Mosaic project slowed considerably in July. While I was hopeful at the end of this post, it’s proved to be a tougher row to hoe.

Primarily, because of scheduling. While I’m getting interest in artists wanting to be part of this project, it’s often difficult to find the time to meet up that works for both of us. Their life and jobs, my life and jobs. Wouldn’t be that bad of a thing, but I was planning for this only to be a summer project – something that I do between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

And also, in small part, there’s been some non-responses by some of the musicians that I’ve reached out to. They don’t say no…they just never get back to me. I get that. They don’t know me, no biggie for them to not do this.

Frankly, no biggie for them TO do this, either. That’s why I really do appreciate the folks that have said yes so far. Like Doug Zambon, lead singer and leader of The Vansaders.

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The Vansaders are an Asbury Park-based punk band (I’ve heard them called folk-punk – what the heck is that). To me, they remind me of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones (without the horns), The Bouncing Souls with some Green Day thrown in.

I first heard them at the A Set For Vets event back in January and really dug their sound. When I started this project, I reached out to them on Twitter (or Instagram, not sure which), and they agreed. Well, someone did. When I’m dealing in social media, I’m never really sure who’s answering me…is it the lead singer? The drummer? Someone’s significant other who runs their social feed for them?

In this case, it became clear at one point that I was talking to Doug himself, and it was his schedule we’d have to work around.

His dream is rock ‘n roll. His reality is a number of jobs to pay the bills so his schedule is scary. I asked him about this during our shoot.

“You said you had to work till 5. What’s your day job?”

“A few,” Doug said. “Today it was babysitting.”

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I’m jumping forward a little. Ok, so, without a locked-in time set, I headed down to Asbury Park at 4 p.m. this past Friday. It’s was a nice summer day, the sun ducking in and out of the clouds though. I wanted to be down there and set up so that when Doug said “Ok, I can come over…now” I’d be ready.

I lucked out again and got a parking spot in front of the Empress Hotel so I didn’t have to lug my gear to far. It’s a pretty minimalist set up, again no lights, but I did want to have a black background ready to go for some other portraits.

At that time on a Friday in the summer, Asbury Park was starting to get busy. And The Revivalists were playing the Stone Pony that evening, just a block away. People were starting to head into the venue to listen to the opening bands. As I was setting up, more than one person asked me if I were shooting The Revivalists. But no.

After securing my parking spot, it was about 4:45 and I wanted to be ready. I pulled out my tripod and an apple box, and my trusty assistant to help me dial in my f stop and ISO.

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After just a few minutes, I was ready to go with the mosaic portrait. I had some time, then, to scout around the area a bit more to see if I had other portrait options with Doug. I approach this like a commissioned job: Get the image I’m required to get first…then get stuff for my portfolio.

I started to get texts from Doug telling me when he’s arrive….and that he forgot his guitar…and then when he’ll NOW arrive.

I was all ready to go for him whenever he’d arrive. I was just standing around, continuing to try out some test shots.



(I know. The wall always looks different. It depends on if I’ve bumping any up, like exposure, saturation, blacks, etc. in post. I’m OK with that.)

Just after 6, I saw Doug walking down Ocean Ave, guitar case in hand. Now, he and I had never except on email and text. I knew he was up for this, but also probably a little stressed: Just got off his job, and, more importantly, earlier in the day, he and The Vansaders dropped their new EP, No Matter What. Not only that, but he had a gig later that night at Bond Street as an EP release party. The dude had a lot going on!

But after some initial pleasantries, which included me showing him 5×7 prints I had of the other mosaic portraits I had done to give him an idea of what I was looking for, we got right to work. I told him I’m only keep him for 30 minutes…or less.

I got the shot I wanted pretty early on (it’s the one that leads off this post), then I moved on to some other looks and styles.

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In between we chatted. I asked him if anyone else told him he looked like Jason Bateman. To me, he does. He said “Ah, no, never got that one before.” Then we talked about Silver Spoons (a show he had no idea about – Doug’s about 28, so I’m really showing my age) and Ozark, a show he DID know know about.

As we were shooting, I told him how much I liked the vocals he did for Don’t Take Me For Granted, a cover of a Social Distortion song, and since I was going to see SocialD on Saturday, I asked him sing me a bit of it while we shot. Earlier in the week, I had purchased a Vansaders t-shirt from their Bandcamp site as proceeds were going to a worthy caused. The Vansaders opened for SocialD at the Stone Pony once, I promised Doug I’d wear the T to the show on Saturday night. I did.

I knew time was running short, so I quickly pulled out the black background I had clamped up and we did some quick headshots. After seeing this one, though, I think Doug looks more like a young Jon Bon Jovi than Bateman. Maybe.

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Shot this with the Fuji X100T. Love the f2 on that. I also shot some film of Doug with a Nikon L35 AF I have in my bag. Of course, since it’s film, it’ll be a while till I see it.

My first shot with Doug was at about 6:35 p.m. and by 6:55 p.m., we were done. I got my portraits in, and hopefully Doug had a good time. Had to wrap with my usual group portrait.

Much thanks to Doug for giving me the time. Please check out The Vansaders on Bandcamp, Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube and pick up some of their music!


So, that’s three Mosiac portraits in the books. I was hoping to do 10 this summer. Still a long ways to go…let’s keep our fingers crossed.

To see the full set of Doug’s portraits , click here.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017

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JSP Visual Week In Review ~ 08.12.17

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We’re getting close to the dog days of summer, if we ain’t there yet.

You know, that time when you kinda wish for it to get cooler, to see a red or yellow leaf out there.

When the heat and humidity is getting to you.

Ah, well, it’s been a pretty temperate summer here in New Jersey. Slightly wet, not super hot.

OK, I’m not ready for Back To School yet, but NFL football HAS started.

Me, I still have things to do this summer, projects to keep pushing forward on.

No school bells yet. No whistle tweets from the zebras.

Summer, don’t go anywhere yet. I ain’t done with you.


Not For Nothing Department: This week  I wirelessly transferred a photo from my camera to my phone, edited it on my phone and posted it to IG.

I felt like George Jetson.


This Week’s Links:

Birthdays This Week: Richard Prince, Ernest Withers, Nathaniel Fein, Jill Enfield, Errol Sawyer, William Thomas Perkins, Jeff Widener, Louis James Pesha, LeRoy Grannis, Lynn Kohlman, Joe Deal, Leon Van Loo

Another birthday: My dad! Happy birthday, Pops!

Ernest Withers’ story was the most interesting I read this week.

RIP Arlene Gottfried

What I’m reading this week: The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke

What I watched this week: Quarry

What I listened to this week: JD McPherson

Guitars made from decaying Detroit structures

From USA Today: Five Things To Love About the Jersey Shore

The Sixth: The light

Watch: Why you shouldn’t be an artist.

Been in often: The World of Danny Clinch is transparent.

“… I got a camera because it gave it a little more meaning…a life of wandering is really what it all is.” ~ Arlene Gottfried

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017

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The Garage Studio In Effect


I recently decided to supplement my gear base with a basic black (and white) background.

I’ve been threatening to get one for a while. Finally, in early July, I picked up a background from Impact Lighting on Amazon. There’s a whole bunch of them out there but a friend recommended this one, so that’s what I went with.

I’ve been dying to try it out. Even took it into NY the other week when I did the author shots at Noir @ The Bar.

But…it’s a good size. And it was breezy in Greenwich Village. And I hadn’t had the time to really open it out, and try to set it up. It kept shifting on me, wasn’t steady. So, I defaulted back to my environmental portraits.

This past weekend, I ran a Terrain Race (obstacle mud race). When I got home, I had some yard work to do. The family went out with some friends. When I got done with my yard work, though, I wanted to shoot something.

So, I set the background up, in my garage and figured out how to secure it on the side with a clamp, and a sandbag to steady it as well.

I know it seems pretty basic, but if you haven’t done it before….there’s things to work through!

Here’s the BTS.


Don’t judge my messy garage

And here’s what I wanted to shoot. An old suitcase I had rescued from a trip to the recycling yard.

Still has the airline tag on it…from 1969!

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The garage acts like a big soft box. I was really liking the light.

Before I broke the background down, the kids came home. I grabbed my daughter, son and their friend for a few quick portraits.


This little due gets in front of the camera and it’s on.


These two…friends for so many years now.

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And, before I totally put the gear away…grabbed one of myself in my latest OCR t-shirt.


So, a simple black background. One really nice light (natural light) but one that can be duplicated.

Portable. Quick setup and break down. Reversible, too, with white on the other side.

Can’t wait to try it out again soon!

More to come…

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017

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BTS Sunday: Danny Clinch

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“My favorite spot to to be hiding behind an amplifier or near the drum kit. It allows me to see the musicians, the fans, and the venue. To feel the whole atmosphere and translate the exchange of energy happening in front of me.” – Danny Clinch in his book, Still Moving.

I don’t know if this is so much BTS as Photographer At Work. When I shot this from the pit of the Upstage Jam in April, I hadn’t read Danny’s quote above in his book. I happened to be flipping through Still Moving the other week and read this, and it reminded me of this shot.

It’s like the quote in real life!

I look through Still Moving a lot. Here’s my review of it.

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Danny Clinch, outside The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, October 2014


© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017

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