Snake Jagger artist with a Whimsical Surrealism style

I met artist Snake Jagger in 2003 at the Blue Coyote Grill in Palm Springs where he had just completed a mural. Notice the lighting of the scene especially the mural which is in the shadows behind him. Compare that with the next picture where I lit the scene ever so so subtly.

I can’t draw or paint.

Maybe it’s because I never took it up seriously.

But I’ve always admired practitioners of the arts.

I met artist Snake Jagger  in 2003 while I was still at the newspaper and didn’t contact  him again until recently when I saw his Facebook page.

I remember not knowing anything about him other than what was in my photo assignment.

The typical photo assignment is one short paragraph about my subject, where to meet, the time and a phone number in case I run late.

Location considerations

I waited for the waiter to appear to the corner of my eye on the right and made my exposure as he entered the frame. I used a slow enough shutter speed that he was blurry yet, recognizable. In retrospect I should have tweaked the light placement . That shadow across his face is distracting.

So I met Snake at the Blue Coyote Grill because he had just completed a commissioned mural for that restaurant in downtown Palm Springs.

It’s always nice to photograph an artist with their work especially if it’s huge.

After the restaurant, Snake offered to show me his studio and other work. Here’s one that I liked.

You can do so much more in those situations.


But photographing him by his mural in the restaurant was kind of tricky since this was around lunch time.

I had to consider carefully how much of a disruption I would be setting up light stands.

I also needed to show this mural was at a restaurant, so it meant I needed to be patient.

Even though the mural was in a partially open area, it was in shadow.

So I knew no matter what I needed to light it and do so in a subtle way.

I hid a bare Lumedyne flash head on a light stand behind the pillar just behind Snake to give me about 1/2 stop more light than the ambient.

I also held my Speedlight off camera on the right (tell tale catchlight in Snake’s eyes) to give me 1/2 stop less light than the ambient just enough to fill his face and give that catchlight in his eyes.

See more of Snake Jagger’s work at his website and his Facebook Page.

Peter Phun Photography

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