So I'll try and do this post in english. I know there's quite a few out there who has the hots for DJ, and they'll prolly drool-google this.
I came to meet with DJ right after i moved to LA early 08, by recommendation of our common friend Marion Raven, who suggested me as a photographer for DJ Ashba. DJ writes and records with Marion. As does his bandmate, Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx.
We've had a few shoots since then, and I even did a shoot for James Michael, SIXX:A.M.'s lead singer. We've also enjoyed a few nights out, indulging in foodwars at the Rainbow (quote owner: "I had Led Zeppelin do that in here, I didn't accept it then"....point taken, sir!) whilst clinging on to our favorite beverage, Buttery Nipples. Don't ask...go to LA. DJ even celebrated Norways national cheesy holiday with us in Hollywood; may 17.
I can't recall much other than DJ's jet black Mercedes scouring Hollywood for afterhours, us both very much outta focus. But we've also been extremely focused together. I might come back to the "story behind the picture" in a later post, as per request maybe...?
There is stuff to be said straight off though; DJ always comes out with a clear view on what he wants for a shoot: "a big total, with stormy thunder-clouds and me at some banged up location in kinda cold eerie colors. And I need that from several different angles and with different framings. And it damn better look better than Nikki's latest ones, and I need a fine looking chick on set too, and oh, remember to shoot a few tight ones for my Facebook-defaults and get me the hell outta the desert by 4pm". Now that's a brief!
Seriously, DJ knows the ropes of Hollywood and navigates its potholes like nobody's business. He's on the phone night and day prior to shoot and he's constantly tossing out ideas for me to assemble. He has evisioned his character real well, and plans everything down to minute detail. Which suits me perfect. Failing to plan, is planning to fail, or even PPPPPP (Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance).
Us at Blender 8 is thrilled to have DJ answer a few very quick questions about working with us camera-toters.
Now, take it from a man with a thousand lenses in his face:
B8: Being shot as a guitar-player in two very significant rock-bands, how do you recognize a good photograph?
DJ: If it's believable and sincere!
B8: So what constitutes a good rock-shoot?
DJ: The chemistry between you and the person shooting you. You both have to have the same vision. You have to feel comfortable with your photographer. If the photographer can photograph your soul, he's priceless in my eyes, and Bjorn does just that. He's one of the very few out there that just gets me. (On that note: it really helps we got the same taste in music, style and hair-dye. I'd probably mess up that Barbara Streisand-shoot real bad - Bjorn).
B8: Do you enjoy being directed?
DJ: I have always been a visionary, I initially will describe exactly why my vision for that shoot is, and then I put all my trust into the photographer to take it too a whole new level.
B8: What do you look for when hiring a photographer?
DJ: I look at their previous work. I am an artist, you can spot an amazing artist a mile away, same with a great photographer.
B8: How important is a vision and a sole goal in Los Angeles? I take it this would count as much for a photographer, as a musican?
DJ: It's everything. I love creating visions, setting high goals and achieving them. It's kinda fun doing the impossible.
B8: Your bandmate (Nikki Sixx) has become a skilled photographer. Are you getting used to having the camera around, even in the most private backstage settings?
DJ: I've had cameras around me my whole life it seems. Ha! It's something you get used to quickly in this industry, just part of the gig I suppose.
B8: Is there a profound connection between music and photography?
DJ: They're both a form of art and expression.
B8: Is there a great rock-photograph you wish had been you instead?
DJ: Haha, no!
B8: What's the lamest thing a photographer asked you to?
DJ: "Make love to the camera", or "say cheese"... Haha
B8: Ah, was he fat, and bald?
Bjorn: Wtf, I never said that. Right....?
B8: What is your favourite rock-shot?
DJ: I like all the old backstage shots of classic bands, that aren't posed. Very cool.
DJ Ashba came out to Hollywood from outta nowhere with a guitarcase, fresh tiny tattoos and drew most of his early inspiration from his very first rock show: the infamous walking deathwish, Mötley Crüe.
A few years later he's best friends and bandmate with Nikki Sixx of the Crüe....only in Amiracle. Check out Nikki's wetplating and other great photography of his at www.sixxsense.com Scroll down to "Nikki Sixx Photography" and get inspired.
So don't ever budge, if you really want it!
DJ Ashba is the lead guitarist for Guns n' Roses and SIXX:A.M.
DJ owns Ashba Media, a creative agency with clients such as Sony Playstation and Virgin.
He knows 3 norwegian words: "Du. Er. Homo"
SIXX:A.M. recently released the album "This is gonna hurt".
All images © Bjorn Opsahl / DJ Ashba, shot at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood and Salton Sea, CA