- Jeremy first picked up a camera on a family vacation to Yellow Stone National Park when he was 15 years old.
- He took photography classes in high school where he learned how to develop film and then went on to study photography in college at the School of Visual Arts. He interned 40 hours a week at Saturday Night Live while he was a full-time student.
A Love for Pizza
- Jeremy loves pizza and as a side project he started a series called ‘Pizza Portraits’ which got him some of his first jobs as a photographer.
- Favorite pizza spots include Joe’s Pizza in Union Square, Emmy Squared in Williamsburg, and Archie’s in Bushwick.
- His favorite meal to eat at the end of the shitty day is of course Pizza.
- He doesn’t like dijon honey mustard, cilantro, and kimchi.
His Career and Creativity
- Jeremy started taking instagram seriously after he went to an instagram bike meet up that was organized by someone he admired on the app. Through the meet up Jeremy made some great friends that also introduced him to working with bigger brands.
- Jeremy is a people person at heart and loves using photography as a way to connect with people he wouldn’t normally get to. His work was inspired by a few mentors that he looked up to which include his friend Justin Aversano, Casey Neistat, and Humans of New York creator Brandon Stanton.
- He created a 365 photo project during a creative rut called ‘Today I Photographed’ that he published for 614 days. It is still his passion project today and is interested in elevating it in whichever way possible.
- Jeremy has learned that over time one of the most important skills to learn as a freelancer is time management. He also believes that as an artist you have to create stuff that you want to make because if you’re creating stuff that you don’t really care about, then why should anyone else care about it.
When He isn't Working
- He just finished watching ‘The Sopranos’ for the first time and really likes ‘Big Mouth’ on Netflix.
- Some of his favorite spots in the Bushwick neighborhood are Three Diamond Door, House of Yes, and Guacuco.
Jeremy: What really fulfills me is working with people taking portraits. I find it to be a little bit more challenging also more rewarding. It's a way I love using the camera as a tool for connecting with people.
[00:19] Jon: On this episode of the Wellfed Podcast my guest is Jeremy Cohen a freelance photographer. It was around 2014-2015 when I first came into contact with Jeremy's work through Instagram as I'm sure many people do and I was really interested in the portraits that he was taking at the time.
They were always accompanied bwey these really awesome detailed back-stories. They weren't just a pretty photo with a moody caption. They always gave context to how he came in contact with these people that he was photographing and I really appreciated that. So, Jeremy, thank you for taking the time to talk with me.
Jeremy: Of course thanks for coming through and doing this at the comfort of my own apartment.
[00:52] Jon: No it's great your apartment is sick. It's got a great view.
Jeremy: Thank you.
[00:57] Jon: So, you're originally from Pennsylvania. You went to school in New York here. You went to SVA to study photography. You graduated about 2014. You now have over 140,000 followers on Instagram. You've worked with nonprofits, agencies, brands such as like Beats by Dre, HP, and Jameson. You've even photographed some sort of famous people to name a few; Larry David, Post Malone, Miley Cyrus, Jonathan Van Ness.
Jeremy: How did you know I photographed Larry David?
[01:29] Jon: I went back man. I did my homework.
[01:32] Jon: 21 Savage, Timothy Goodman and the list goes on. But I want to kind of fill in some of the gaps here. It's been said that you got your creativity from your mom who was an amazing storyteller when you were younger.
Jeremy: Yes so I think my love for photography stems from my mom. She's an artist and her main job that she kind of created for herself was telling interactive stories at schools, at events mostly like Jewish folk tale stories. She would do it in a unique way where she had this arsenal of like costumes that were always in our basement and depending on what story she was telling. That time of year she would bring certain costumes bring them to her performances and then have kids come up on stage while she was telling the stories and have the kids act them out with these props and costumes which mate which was really unique. I didn't realize it at the time, but it was a way that that kids would be more interested in the stories as opposed to just telling a story on stage.
[02:30] Jon: They weren’t falling asleep.
Jeremy: Yes they weren't falling asleep; my mom made it fun and funny and everyone was always laughing while also learning.
[02:40] Jon: Did you ever have to go up there as well?
Jeremy: Yes I went up a couple of times.
[02:45] Jon: From there did you grow up around art? Did you grow up learning about other ways of storytelling and things like that?
Jeremy: Yes. I mean I took this mandatory art class in elementary school and then in high school there are some electives that we had to take and photography seemed like one of the more interesting ones to me.
So it was a film photography class where I learned how to shoot film and develop film on like 35 millimeter film for the most part. We had a darkroom in our school in high school which was a public school. I'm surprised we had that program there knowing our school, but shout-out to Freedom High School and Mr. King for having that program because that's definitely my favorite class in high school.
[03:28] Jon: That’s cool. Was that the first time you picked up a camera or was there a time before that?
Jeremy: Yes so I picked up a camera shortly before that class which is it peaked my interest to take that class as well. The first time I picked up a camera was my family my sister my mom my dad would go on a vacation every year. I think it was when I was 15 years old our family vacation was to Yellowstone National Park which was really awesome.
[03:57] Jon: I haven’t been. I need to go.
Jeremy: Yes that was the only time I've ever been. I want to go back. It would be really cool to go back which was like 12 years ago now I guess. My dad was always really into gadgets kind of like you were how you were telling me how your dad is sound gear.
[04:10] Jon: Yes.
Jeremy: Yes he loves his sound gear. So, my dad loves his gadgets ranging from whether it's like a camera or a bidet toilet like he loves and he’s really into airplane too.
[04:25] Jon: Model airplanes are just like big 746s?
Jeremy: He used to be a pilot back in the day. I think he reads one magazine and its airplane magazines.
[04:30] Jon: That’s pretty sick.
Jeremy: Oh yes, so he went to this random convention while he was away for work and this was the right when I think digital cameras were coming out like pocket cams.
[04:45] Jon: Point and shoots.
Jeremy: Point-shoot digital cameras that were a little bit more advanced so he bought this one camera and brought it on our trip. My sister ended up borrowing it from him. My sister's a year younger than me. So naturally we were like pretty competitive.
[5:00] Jon: I have two sisters, two younger sisters and growing up was always like I can do that better than you.
Jeremy: Exactly so that's how it was between us for a lot of things. She started taking photos on this camera and was showing my parents and showing me and I got a little jealous. I thought they're really cool photos and I wanted to take better photos.
[05:18] Jon: What was she taking pictures of?
Jeremy: I mean we were just out in nature hiking and you know seeing mountain ranges.
[05:23] Jon: Everything around you basically.
Jeremy: Everything around us was just beautiful it's hard to take a bad photo.
[05:28] Jon: I mean that's cool when you’re growing up you're just so curious and everything is like you have these big wide eyes.
Jeremy: Yes. It was an enjoyable trip for me but taking photos I felt it was such a, once I started taking pictures on this camera and seeing how they came out it was just such a good feeling. I don't know what the social media was at that time whether it was like Xanga or Myspace, but I remember posting the photos on there and then some of my friends said wow these are cool. That gave me the confidence to keep shooting and then eventually I asked my parents for a camera like a year later for my 16th birthday. Since then it was like a big gift for me so I promised myself and that I think I might have promised them that I would use it and start shooting. It wasn't just a gift that was just going to sit in my closet.
[06:23] Jon: Or on the shelf.
Jeremy: It was like a really important gift to me so made it a point almost every weekend to like go out and shoot somewhere with my friends whether it was hiking trails. We were pretty close so we grew up pretty close to the Appalachian Trail, so different places along the Appalachian Trail or just hiking trails around Pennsylvania. There are so many good ones that were pretty close by. Between that and going to like looking up abandoned buildings online—
[06:47] Jon: There are plenty of those in Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Jeremy: Totally. My friends and I would have so much fun just like going out there and then I was the dude who brought the camera and documented the moments.
[07:00] Jon: So that's pretty awesome that you kind of made that promise when you were younger. I don't think I can remember any promises I made to myself when I was 16/17. I think the only one was not crash my car again because I crashed my mom's like corvette not a corvette sorry convertible when I was young.
Jeremy: Oh man.
[07:15] Jon: It was terrible. I mean I can do it now like I'm pretty disciplined now where I'd say like I want to do this, but to do that as a kid is pretty big. Obviously to see where you are now you know that's something that's been kind of taken up since then.
Jeremy: I appreciate that at the time I don't think I realized how maybe how mature of a thing that was for me to have, but it wasn't like that with everything. I slacked off in a lot of other departments, but I just really liked photography a lot and cared about it and also didn't want to disappoint my parents. So, a combination of those things led to shooting more and becoming a photographer.
[07:51] Jon: Fast forward just a little bit right so you were taking art classes, taking photography classes in high school and that was obviously something you know as you said your you were very interested in when you were younger. Did it just feel natural to go to study photography in college.
Jeremy: I was definitely interested in it, but at the same time I was a little embarrassed by it because most of my friends in high school we were mostly into sports and other like guy things. I don't know at the time I just felt like—
[08:22] Jon: Because we're guys.
Jeremy: Exactly. So, that was my mindset just like doing art going to art school might come off as not manly enough which is just such a silly idea. That's honestly how I felt. So, I was like embarrassed to even apply to art school even though I really wanted to. I was scared of what my friends and what my parents even would think of me especially like my sister going to like an Ivy League school kind of thing and our competitive nature I felt like—
[08:53] Jon: That's a big kind of a ladder or bar to kind of hit. I mean I understand like growing up with two younger sisters it was always at the dinner table it's like oh I did this or it's like oh I did this better. I'm sure that conversation comes up still to this day.
Jeremy: Totally. We just had different routes. We're interested in totally different things. She still is an amazing artist as well, but decided to go the route—
[09:19]Jon: I don't think it makes going to an Ivy League school versus going to like an art school not just for us, but for anyone out there just doesn't matter. There's no difference right it's like you're good at one thing and the other person is better at another thing.
Jeremy: Also just to mention it's not like I had the choice to go to Ivy League schools I didn’t get good grades. So, I was applying to some state schools and then just for fun I applied to SVA and then like one other art school in Colorado. When I got accepted to SVA I went to visit it even though New York City was always so close to me only a hour half away from where I grew up, I never went to the city growing up. I just didn't really understand like how imperative New York City could be to live in to go to school as an artist.
[09:59] Jon: That’s the market.
Jeremy: Yes. It's the photo capital of the world in my opinion which I didn't even think of at the time. But anyway I remember I went with my parents to visit SVA to do a tour and then after the tour I'm like yeah I think I'll go here.
[10:17]Jon: Feels like home.
Jeremy: Yea, so I moved to New York City when I was 18 and did four years at SVA.
[10:27] Jon: What was the program like?
Jeremy: The program was pretty good like there's a really good community of students and teachers there like all the teachers are working professionals. It’s a blessing and a curse in the sense that it's a lot. From my experience at least a lot of hit or misses. Some teachers I really like it just worked for me like I really liked them. Certain teacher’s body of work I think that automatically makes me more willing to learn from them and just seem like better teachers to me. Then other teachers I just didn't maybe didn't really understand their work and like it.
[11:07] Jon: It’s hard to connect.
Jeremy: It was harder to connect it was harder to connect and learn from them slash some teachers that just doesn't translate. Some professionals like doesn't translate to then being a good teacher which I found. I had some great teachers there and some very so-so teachers there, but overall just SVA having like really good facilities and access to gear and equipment and also just surrounding yourself with other students that aren't slacking off that I like want to be there and want to learn and want to create projects is really important to helping yourself grow.
[11:33] Jon: Is it competitive?
Jeremy: Yes it can be. I mean competitive in the sense that it was a good amount of competition between other people.
[11:52] Jon: That kind of pushed you to—
Jeremy: Yes you need the competition and yes it was it was good because I mean that's how we all grow kind of push each other.
[12:00] Jon: So, is there anything you look back on from any of the classes or the program as a whole that you still hold close to you today in working?
Jeremy: Yes so I mean no regrets, but still I kind of had a little regret. When Instagram came out I started shooting a 365 project where it was just all cell phone photos. I was really interested in just cell phone photography honestly when other kids in my class were shooting like medium format or like large format film photos and just like—
[12:35] Jon: More traditional.
Jeremy: Yes totally like more traditional types of photography whereas this was at a point was like I got to school 2010 so this was like 2011/2012 and I wanted to do this. My critique teacher at the time kind of slash-- people didn't take it as seriously in the class and the teacher kind of didn't really encourage me to shoot more that way. At the same time I listened to it and I really wish I wouldn't have. I mean Photography is changing so much every day, but this was at a time where photography was really changing. Instagram came out. Digital cameras were getting a lot better. We're also capable of shooting video. Everything was changing so rapidly and you know some of my teachers at the time were kind of out of the loop with that and didn't really understand that. I feel like my gut feeling I got that and I wanted to roll with that wave.
[13:27] Jon: They were like resisting this idea.
Jeremy: Yes I really wish my teachers would have saw that potential at the time and then kind of saw how into it I was and kind of pushed me encouraged me a little bit more in that direction. I mean this was like one or two teachers like just encouraged me to you know “You're here for school and have all this access to all this equipment.” It was true. “You should be shooting with this gear.” It's slow slowing down a little bit.
[13:58] Jon: Did that push you more to you know kind of resist that urge too…?
Jeremy: Yes so I listened to them after that and I shot more film but then I realized like nah this isn't what I want this doesn't feel like this is what I want to do. So, it wasn't until senior year that I went more with my with my gut feeling.
[14:20]Jon: I feel like I've heard that a lot not just from you but just like in general like gut feeling is like the strongest kind of pull you know it just rarely ever wrong. Sometimes you just need to kind of go with it.
Jeremy: You really got to listen to yourself listen to your body whether I mean whether it's a health thing whether there's something like you feel like there's wrong with your actual body like you know better than any other.
[14:42] Jon: Pay more attention.
Jeremy: Yes, but also with like any decision your choice in life like if you know you and you know yourself better that anyone else.
[14:54]Jon: Its one of those natural forces that you can't really just ignore or you shouldn't ignore.
[14:55] Jon: I looked up some of your past experience while you're in school and I saw that you interned for SNL.
Jeremy: I did.
[15:06] Jon: Was that by luck? How did you come across that?
Jeremy: So, that was actually through my school I believe they sent out an email. They would send out emails of internship opportunities which I did. That was the one internship I did through SNL. I know I think I did a total of four internships while I was in school. So, I reached out I applied I showed them I work my website at the time, I wrote up a little thing of why I was interested and yes they got back to me. I remember I was so nervous to go in there and went in for an interview and they hired me as an intern.
[15:35] Jon: What were some of the things that you had to do as an intern for SNL?
Jeremy: So, first of all I did this internship knowingly that it was a 30 to 40 hour a week commitment.
[15:46] Jon: Oh wow!
Jeremy: So, while I was in school I set up my schedule that I had like six or nine hours of classes Monday Tuesday Wednesday so I think it was like nine hours six hours nine hours, then Thursday and Friday I had off and as well as Saturday and Sunday of course. So, my schedule was I was at SNL all day Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. So are you SNL fan at all?
[16:15] Jon: I am an SNL fan. It’s funny while I was doing some research the other night I just I've just had this thing lately where I just pull up YouTube and go through like the most recent SNL clips. I eventually go down this rabbit hole that always brings me to Sean Connery Jeopardy skits which I well you can't go wrong with that.
Jeremy: Damn yes. You know Weekend Update? So all those little images that would go in the TV screen; I would help like shoot those. There's two photographers that worked there Dana Edelson at the time and Mary Ellen Matthews. So, I shot those with Dana Edelson. I mean I didn't shoot them I just like helped shoot them. I wish I could I shoot them. Then for Mary Ellen Mathews we shot the bumper images of whatever celebrity was featured that week. So we would do test shots to make sure it’s what we wanted. We got the shot we wanted to do on Thursday and then Friday we would shoot the bumper images. It was different every week.
[17:15] Jon: My immediate thought after just kind of following you on Instagram and things like that seeing your personality through your photographs. Did it ever cross your mind of potentially being an extra or something in a skit? Was it like a dream or a hope?
Jeremy: Totally. I'm actually pretty interested in acting. I'm interested in music. I'm interested in acting and if opportunities ever come up we'll see. I entertain the idea a little bit, but had never happened.
[17:42] Jon: Did they ever just like hurtle all the interns and were like come up with a skit?
Jeremy: No definitely not. Well I was also a photo intern there were writing interns. So, I think some other interns might have been in skits like in the backgrounds and stuff I'm not sure.
[17:57]Jon: More theater actor programs.
[18:02] Jon: That makes that make sense. You mentioned that you kind of develop this 365 project and you've also kind of developed a bunch of other personal projects that you posted through Instagram and things like that. One of the ones that I was really kind of hoping to talk to you about was your Pizza portraits.
Jeremy: Oh wow!
[18:21] Jon: Where did you come up with the idea for portraits of pizza?
Jeremy: That's actually one of the projects that got me work initially believe it or not such a silly project looking back at it. Well first of all I love pizza. Ever since moving to New York like dollar slice, certain pizza spots like it's just its part of the culture of New York you know eating pizza with friends and having a good time. So for Halloween I usually kind of plan these things last second and I was like okay what should I be for Halloween and I saw a pizza costume and I bought it. I was a pizza for Halloween. Then after that I had a pizza costume, so I was like what should I do with this and I guess I just got the idea to start a project of photographing people wearing the pizza costume. I just photographed a bunch of different people. I initially photographed one person wearing the pizza costume and then other people reached out saying they wanted they wanted to be photographed with the pizza. I made a series out of it.
[19:20] Jon: So, you're a big pizza eater. Do you have any favorite places that you like to go?
Jeremy: So, I think Joe's is my favorite.
[19:29]Jon: Joe’s where?
Jeremy: Just Joe's Pizza there's a couple locations. There's one in Union Square one on West 4th. It's just really thin slices of pizza. I think my other one is Emmy Squared it's more of a restaurant though and Williamsburg it's like deep-dish-ish pizza.
[19:47] Jon: I haven't had deep dish. I'm kind of afraid.
Jeremy: I mean it's worth the try it's totally worth.
[19:49] Jon: Different pizza experience.
Jeremy: Yes. Also in my neighborhood where I live in Bushwick the best like late-night spot at right before if you're going out I went there last night honestly and you're ready to wrap up the night but you're still a little hungry like I'll stop at Archie’s.
[20:10] Jon: Oh Archie’s I’ve been there.
Jeremy: It's amazing pizza like drunk pizza, but also like a really good pizza.
[20:17] Jon: Really good food and the whole menu they do the sandwiches really good.
Jeremy: Yes nightcap with a beer and it's a pretty unhealthy, but just feels so good and life is short so you got to enjoy it. These are one of the one of the Bushwick traditions for me.
[20:30] Jon: I tend to just put that thought of unhealthy in the back of my mind and just enjoy it.
Jeremy: Oh absolutely.
[20:37] Jon: Archie’s is really good. You mentioned earlier that and you're just when we were talking before that you're really into bikes, you have a bike in your apartment, you also have a moped that's really pretty.
Jeremy: Thank you.
[20:50] Jon: But that also is what kind of attracted your or led you to taking Instagram more serious.
Jeremy: Yes. So, this was senior year of college right at the beginning somebody that I was following named Tim Kau he was organizing an Instagram bike Meetup. I considered going, but I just kind of entertained the idea I didn't think I would actually go. It was on a Sunday morning that like which was my one day off.
[20:17] Jon: Were you still interning for SNL at the time?
Jeremy: I believe I was. It might have been right afterwards. I think it was right afterwards. It's on a Sunday morning at like 8:00 or 9:00 AM to meet up in like the financial district and then right across to Jersey. I don't know I didn't think I would do it and then the night before I was kind of in early and I was like okay you know I'll give this a shot. It was scary because I was just going to meet up with people I've never met.
[20:52] Jon: Strangers.
Jeremy: Yes strangers from the internet. It's my first ever Instagram Meetup. I went to a bunch after that. I brought my bike. I love biking. I love photography, so just like made sense that I should go. I went and that day I met a lot of really cool people that I connected with like we shared love of bikes and photography.
[22:08] Jon: Do you still stay in touch with a bunch of them?
Jeremy: Yes I definitely stay in touch with some, but mainly one guy specifically one of my best friends now Sam Morrison aka Sam the Cobra on Instagram. We met that day and we're still really good friends even though he lives across the country now in LA. I'm actually flying to LA tomorrow and I'm going to see him so I'm excited for that.
[22:34] Jon: That's cool.
Jeremy: Yes and we've worked from there we've worked on a bunch of projects together just for fun. He's also one of the reasons why I started getting work. He recommended me for my first real gig.
[22:48]Jon: What was that?
Jeremy: It was actually with Beats by Dre.
Jeremy: So, the headphones that you're wearing right now are the headphones that I photographed for my first gig.
[22:57] Jon: These are seasoned.
Jeremy: As you could tell.
[23:02] Jon: That makes sense.
Jeremy: That's cool. They got the character.
[23:06] Jon: They sound great.
Jeremy: They're great headphones and they represent a lot for me so I don't think I could ever—
[23:12] Jon: When these retire you'll put them in a glass case.
Jeremy: Exactly seriously like that's pretty cool.
[23:19] Jon: You may auction them off something.
[23:29] Jon: I went ahead and scrolled all the way to the bottom of your Instagram and you know I went to some of the very first photos one of them was I think a dog in the back of a truck.
Jeremy: That was my first ever Instagram photo.
[23:34] Jon: It couldn’t any better really considering the amount of dogs that are posted on Instagram today. Although you know you could see a little bit of a difference in technology obviously you know I know the first photo I took almost clear as day was I was packing up for spring break trip and I had my shoes in a row next to my duffel bag and I took a photo and it was the blurry thing ever. But for you just have a consistent thread in all those photos since then. You know you have these little kinds of moments of where you're interested in a certain aspect. But there's just connecting thread of being interested in people doing portraiture. What interested you in that?
Jeremy: It stems from the fact that I'm a people person like I love people. I'm very outgoing and I get that from my mom as well. I love working with people. I mean as a photographer compared to like shooting products or shooting landscapes, I still do a little bit of that stuff, but what really fulfills me is working with people taking portraits. I find it to be a little bit more challenging also more rewarding. I love using the camera as a tool of a way of connecting with people for giving me giving me a reason to have a conversation with someone or like being able to open up with someone through the camera.
[24:46] Jon: I think that was and as I kind of mentioned at the beginning that was something that I was really drawn to your work where you always had these really detailed stories. They weren't just you know just like moody captions like rainy day whatever you know or mood something like that. They were always really in depth about which the person was where they were coming from what they were doing. I thought that was really unique because you know people as much it is sharing photos and making them pretty and making look good and sharp and all that, I think it's very much about storytelling which this I think is one of the main reasons why I connected with you. What do you think of when you're taking a photo? What goes through your head?
Jeremy: I mean I just want to bring out the most honest version of people of themselves. Their vulnerable moment and their moment that is most of them I hope to bring that out in photos and for them to even see.
[25:46] Jon: I think your Instagram feed your portfolio is just photos on photos of people and you even gotten to start a separate account that accounts called “Today I Photographed”. Is that something that you're still doing consistently? How is that project going?
Jeremy: So, that's my passion project it's still the project that I care about the most I originally thought of it because I was in a creative rut at the time. I wasn't really shooting anything. I didn't pick up my camera in a week or two and I was like okay I need to do something. At that time one of my friends Justin Aversano was doing a 365 birthday project where he would for a whole year he would find someone whose birthday it was and take a portrait of them.
[26:28] Jon: I was doing that for a little bit for the month of August all the days in August and I just wanted to figure out if I knew somebody for every day of August. That project or not even a project that thought has fallen to the side. That's got to be pretty tough.
Jeremy: Oh yeah it's super challenging. So I really admired his hustle to get hooked some get a portrait of someone's birthday everyday like he went all over. Yes it was a really cool project. He completed it. He did it every day for a year as well as I was I'm a Casey Neistat fan and he was doing his daily vlog at the time. Making a whole video every day I thought was really cool and I really enjoyed his way of storytelling. Then there's also HONY who does “Humans of New York”, “Brandon Stanton”, who does you know everyone's pretty much familiar with him in New York. He takes portraits of people and tells their story. The way he gets people to open up he's just like such a great storyteller. I just looked at that project and I thought like I want to do that, but like also take better photos. So, combined with those three people I looked up to. That's how I came up with my idea for Today I Photographed. I would every day for a year or maybe longer I would find a stranger on the street and photograph them and tell their story and in a caption.
[27:54] Jon: Do you have any plans for what it may become?
Jeremy: Yes I did that every day for six hundred and fourteen days I think I got two in a row I took someone’s portrait and then told the story and posted it that day. I did the math that was about on average like I spent three to four hours every day for 614 days on this project specifically.
[28:19] Jon: I'm good at math and I can't do that.
Jeremy: Yes. Between trying to find a person, taking the portrait, spending time with them going back editing, then writing up the caption and posting and interacting a little bit. It was about anywhere between three to four hours a day on average after 614 days I got a little bit burned out I said all right it's time to move on a little bit. So, I'm still doing the project except just a little bit more higher production value in the sense that I'm not just choosing one photo to post anymore I'm utilizing the carousel feature that Instagram has. I'm posting a series of photos whether it's like a couple portraits a couple detail shots as well as some like raw iPhone interviews. So, now I try to interview people I photograph so you kind of you can see how they talk and their body mannerisms and just they could tell their story from their perspective as well as how I perceive them in the caption and write about them. Sometimes it's a little interactive too you can hear my voice in the interview. So it's a little bit different now and I don't do it every day because it takes a little bit longer.
[29:25] Jon: In between traveling and working and functioning.
Jeremy: Yes. I mean I want to focus on other projects too. I was also during this whole project that I was doing today I photographed every day, for most of that time I was actually in a relationship and looking back on it definitely hindered our relationship. You know doing that for three to four hours a day plus everything else going on with work and then also—
[29:48] Jon: It’s tough.
Jeremy: And also how much how much she valued our quality time together definitely looking back on it I don't know I feel really bad I didn't—
[28:56] Jon: I've been in that situation it's really tough and it's hard to find that balance. Something's got to give at some point.
Jeremy: I had the incentive to shoot a portrait every day. So, if we were hanging out later in the day and I didn't shoot my portrait that day like I had to make it happen or I was stressed.
[30:10] Jon: It doesn't lead to you know the best relationship or the best kind of interaction ever because you know you could be hanging out with someone, but you actually you're not mentally there thinking of them.
[30:21] Jon: I'm sure you've learned from it.
Jeremy: Yes I’ve totally learned from it. So, one of my one of my goals now is just to you had to be able to separate work from personal life and the relationships with people I care about.
[30:34] Jon: The management side of it because I was doing I was doing something really similar you know, I'd go to work, I'd try to work out in the morning, I would try to work on personal projects and then still have spending time with you know your significant other your partner and it was tough. It takes a toll on you because we're 27:26 we're young and when you're even younger this was a couple years ago you just don't have the mind to separating that time and actually valuing that stuff. So, you know it's an experience you have to go through I think for being creative someone in general you know just for everybody. I think you come out at the end you know at least understanding where you want to spend your time what's most valuable to you and how you manage that.
Jeremy: Absolutely. If you are a freelance artist listening to this right now one of the most valuable skills you could learn and have is time management. So, I'm a freelance photographer and you know no one's telling me really what to do, if I let myself I could easily slack off and just not do anything. You got to be able to like separate schedule out your days and like have time for this and for that and be able to finish all your deadlines. It's a really important skill to learn.
[31:47]Jon: As weird as it sound I've gotten really cozy with Google Calendar now where I block out my days when I need to actually get stuff done and hold myself accountable. You know you can say oh yeah I'm going to work on this for an hour or two hours and then three hours later you're on YouTube scrolling up and down the rabbit hole.
Jeremy: Yes like give yourself some time to do be able to scroll down a rabbit hole in YouTube and just give yourself some me time as well. Whenever you're with your friends it's really important to be present and be there. I've learned the harder way. I mean not the harder way, but I mean I've just learned that over time it's like I appreciate when people are really present with me and I like to think this I mean it's reciprocated the same way back.
[32:27] Jon: So, you've worked with a bunch of different brands as you mentioned Beats by Dre. You just got back from Austin City Limits with Honda. How was that experience? Was that your first time at Austin City Limits?
Jeremy: It was my first time at Austin City Limits yes second time in Austin, but also I consider it my first time in Austin really because the first time I was there I was only for a day.
[32:49] Jon: Doesn't count.
Jeremy: It doesn't count. I was there for eight days this time. I got to see you one of my best friends Kevin Lopez we spent a lot of time together and we were like really good friends from high school. He got a job out in Austin Texas and I was a physical therapist. He's Dr. Lopez now technically which is awesome. I don't get to see him that much anymore so there's a good excuse. It was a work trip, but also a really good time catching up with one of my good buds. So, I was in Austin working with Honda they were a great client. The project that I shot for them was for their new Honda Accord Hybrid.
[33:23] Jon: Hybrid’s coming out next year.
Jeremy: Yes I just think of birds when I say the word “hybrid”.
[33:30] Jon: You can read it really quickly and it’s the same.
Jeremy: Yes. Anyway it's a really cool car, so the project was me getting to travel around Austin just explore the city of Austin which I would naturally want to do and I did it with their car. So, through different neighborhoods and different parts of Austin just drove around with like a couple friends helping me out and we would just photograph the car in certain areas. That was the first couple of days as well as just like eating a lot of tacos.
[33:58] Jon: Nice.
Jeremy: The food in Austin I feel like saying the food in a city is really good. The food in this city is really good.
[34:07]Jon: Where did you get the tacos?
Jeremy: Specifically like Austin has such not only such great food selections, but also just restaurants and bars just have you know just going walking inside these places the interiors and just the vibe and these places are really cool. So, I don't say that about any city but Austin was really cool in the sense like very cool bars and restaurants.
[34:30] Jon: Were there any places that comes to mind that you remember going to?
Jeremy: The first place I got to when I got there was actually a chain called “Torchy's Tacos”, it was really good and extremely reasonably priced and the people there were just over-the-top nice which goes a long way in my book. I always remember the service and just people they're really good. Also this small food truck called “Rosita's” that's just parked outside in parking lot an authentic like Mexican food like breakfast tacos. I went there like three times while I was there to get breakfast tacos which were incredible; Rosita’s.
[35:04] Jon: That sounds really good.
Jeremy: Yes. Then I think the third place was this place called I want to say it was called “Crumb”, but that wasn't the name it was this brunch spot. I can’t remember the name of it.
[35:14] Jon: You can get back to me.
Jeremy: I'll get back.
[35:19] Jon: So, Austin sounds it sounds like a really good city and working with Honda obviously was a fun project.
Jeremy: Yes so actually that was the first part of the project and then the second part was they were a sponsor at Austin City Limits Music Festival. So, they had a big activation there with some of their cars that people could go sit in and check out and did some other cool things there. So, I covered a little bit of the festival there for them and photographed the activation. Through my Instagram I told the story of my experience.
[35:40] Jon: So, you work with a bunch of different brands are you doing anything in your work specifically? Are you doing anything in your personal projects to attract working with clients like this? Are you just creating work that you want to want to be noticed for? Is there a different process that you're going for?
Jeremy: I'd say a little bit more of the latter you got to find a balance. I think the most important thing is you got to be able to as an artist create stuff that you want to make because if you're creating stuff that you don't really care about, then why should anyone else care about it. You got to enjoy what you're making, so I just shoot stuff that I really like so naturally I enjoy taking portraits of people. So, I made a project today I photographed taking portraits of people and to be able to have it all in one place as opposed to just you know just random portraits taking of people. I think it's really important to like make a project have somewhere for images to come together to tell a story together as well as you know each photo also speaks for itself. So, through that naturally I think brands or companies want to work with me to create stuff similar to that for them.
[36:50] Jon: They find value in your work you know you're not just trying to shoehorn a project or a picture project because it's something that you love to do. When you're not working on projects or you're not working for clients you know what are you how do you just relax what are you doing to kind of take your mind off it? Are you working on other projects? Are you taking time? Are you on Netflix? Do you soul cycle?
Jeremy: I don't soul cycle. So, I have a lot of good friends here. So, I spend a lot of time with friends and also I have a couple TV shows I watch here and there.
[37:19]Jon: What are you watching?
Jeremy: So, I just finished watching The Sopranos actually for the first time so that was really good and then I also just finished the second season of “Big Mouth” which is pretty decent.
[37:29]Jon: Nick Kroll show right?
Jeremy: It’s pretty cool.
[37:32] Jon: Have you watched “Maniac” at all?
Jeremy: I haven't, but I will. I will eventually.
[37:39] Jon: I’m really stolked on that so I just finished it the other day and it's at first I was really confused and then afterwards I'm like I kind of feel like I'm missing I want more I want another season come out really soon, but it's a great show. I'm only somewhat familiar with Bushwick and as you mentioned Archie's is a really dope spot? What are some of the other places in the neighborhood that you go to grab a drink or grab food? Do you have a favorite type of food that you like?
Jeremy: It's hard to say it all depends on my mood.
[38:07] Jon: I’m a ramen guy. I love ramen.
Jeremy: Oh yes ramen is great. I mean I pretty much like all food besides Dijon honey mustard, cilantro and there's something, I don't really like kimchi.
[38:07] Jon: I haven't had kimchi so I couldn't give a great response to that, but that basically honey mustard and cilantro.
Jeremy: I like honey mustard just not Dijon.
[38:26] Jon: Dijon honey mustard.
Jeremy: Although I'm slowly starting to like it more I still don't like it.
[38:30] Jon: Taste buds change every 10 years I think.
[38:33] Jon: Someone fact check me on that. I used to hate pickles and now I've just come around to eating them on my chicken sandwiches.
Jeremy: Pickles are incredible. I'm definitely a big pickle fan here. So, my favorite spot sit in the neighborhood eat or drink I'm trying to turn up a little bit with a couple friends like “Three Diamond Door” is really cool and local.
[38:53] Jon: I've been there.
Jeremy: They play some music in the back. I like it there. Then if I'm trying to play pool and chill or even like kind of an okay date spot is “Carmelo's” which is a newer bars and they've been open for a year now, but it's like a really nice dive bar. They have an upstairs with two pool tables. So I like pool a lot so I played pool there sometimes. Then other bar in the neighborhood hmm I mean “House of Yes” is really cool I've only been there a couple of times but it's always a crazy time and definitely a unique spot to all of New York. They have people like dancing from the ceilings. I'm not sure what it's exactly called, but in like hula hoops or like things that are dangling from the ceiling like people—
[39:26] Jon: Circus.
Jeremy: Yes it's like Circus vibes in there. Then for food there are so many good spots.
[39:47] Jon: Give me two.
Jeremy: Okay so two recommendations there's this Venezuelan like a arepa spot called [“Guacuco”?] Me and my boys like that's our spot.
[39:54] Jon: Turn it up.
Jeremy: Yes we tear that place up like so good. Pub Melanie and Criolla. What's another one if I had to pick one more? I mean I already said Archie’s so I'm not going to say that. I really like “Sushi Noodle” this sushi spot it's pretty low-key. You can only sit fit like eight people in there.
[40:14] Jon: Get your sushi and get out.
Jeremy: Yes I like the sushi there a lot. A couple of my friends don't like it that much, but I really like it.
[40:22] Jon: To each their own.
Jeremy: Yes, to each their own.
[40:26] Jon: I put out a prompt on Instagram and you know I'm going to be talking with you today if anyone has any questions point them out. You can ask questions at @wellfed.us on Instagram. The one question I got was what's your favorite meal to eat at the end of a shitty day?
Jeremy: Oh wow! “Favorite meal to eat at the end of a shitty day?” It depends. What I'd say the first thing that comes to mind is you know Pizza it makes me happy like maybe even
Archie’s. Archie’s is maybe like the late-night spot. So, if it's after a shitty day if it's at night I'd say like yeah pizza or sushi will make me feel better.
[41:04] Jon: Very opposite spectrums. Comfort versus I don't even know what genre sushi fits into.
Jeremy: Maybe not sushi I think I think pizza is the move.
[41:11] Jon: There you go.
Jeremy: That's a good question.
[41:13] Jon: Oh that's cool. We're going to be going into 2019 what are you looking to do before the end of the year and then what's on your kind of radar?
Jeremy: I mean I just had a huge curveball in my life as I mentioned to you right before we started this podcast. I'm in an intramural soccer team and our second game into the season which was about two to three weeks ago three weeks ago probably I got injured. I tore my ACL which was pretty scary. I couldn't walk for a week and I'm a pretty like mobile person pretty active like to get around you know photography requires a lot of—
[41:47] Jon: Moving.
Jeremy: Yes. So, I was kind of bedridden for a week. I had crutches and then after that the swelling stopped so now I could walk almost normally now, but it requires that I need to get surgery. So, I'm finishing up you know all my obligations of like work and family stuff over the next three weeks and then I'm planning on getting surgery sometime in November maybe early December. I'm curious I've never had this type of injury before—
[42:16] Jon: Neither have I.
Jeremy: I've heard it's not the best injury to get.
[42:23] Jon: I’ve had friends they recover. You can't go jumping off a building or doing crazy things.
Jeremy: I'm definitely going to recover I'm just scared how long it's going to take like if I'm not going to be able to do things I want to do. I mean that's a fact, but I just hope it's like—
[42:41] Jon: Your brain you're just going to be anxious to get out.
Jeremy: But at the same time I'm keeping a positive spirit about it and going to make the best of it maybe get in to some other creative endeavors that I haven't been able to do before. I’m just kind of excited in a way maybe slow down maybe learn some new skills and like video editing or read some more books or just do some more things that doesn't require if you know like do my normal thing which is like ride bikes and skate.
[43:05] Jon: Slow down a little bit. I saw you had started a YouTube account.
Jeremy: Did start at YouTube.
[43:14] Jon: There are two videos on there.
Jeremy: Only two.
[43:18] Jon: One of them was from the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Superbowl and you went there and you recorded and is really funny. I thought it was great. You had some really awesome shots in there and I think you do great. You're very mindful as there are one or two cuts where I think you're standing on a truck and you're seeing these two kids dance and you go off too close to them and you’re recording them there. I thought that was really great. Do you think that would be something you’d get into more? You know you mentioned video editing.
Jeremy: So, I want to shoot more videos. It’s been a goal of mine. Lately I've just been doing so much photo work it's hard to. When I'm shooting video it it's not like I could shoot both photos and videos I really have to commit to one or the other. I usually favor photography. One of my goals is to just separate some time to just strictly concentrate. I've tried both, photos and video trying to document something and it's just I'm not giving a 100% to one or the other. I'm kind of doing 50% to both.
[44:20] Jon: Not doing yourself justice.
Jeremy: Yes so I did two and I want to do more it's just been a little bit of time. I want to talk about my next personal project this time. I'm not sure if I want to do video or photo or possibly hire an assistant to just follow me and do video for it. But my next project which I'm really excited about especially excited about now that I could walk again, so I could actually do it until I get surgery. I'm getting surgery specifically after this. I “hit a bird with two stones” in the sense that I'm going to visit my family as well as shoot this project while I'm down there. So, my parents now live in Jacksonville Florida as well as my sister. From what I hear from hanging out with some locals they're the biggest college football tailgate party happens in Jacksonville every year. It's technically called “the world's biggest cocktail party” is what people call it. It's a college football game between Georgia and Florida every year. Georgia Bulldogs, Florida Gators always like you know pretty big college football teams. Apparently it's the world's biggest tailgate ever, every year which entails I don't know if that entails like the most people or the most alcohol consumed or just like the craziest stuff that happens I have no idea, but I'm going there with my camera and I'm going to document it.
[45:35] Jon: We're going to come up with something.
Jeremy: Yes. I'm a fan of neither team. I'm just going to get someone to drop me off there in the mornings. I think it starts at something ridiculous like 7:00 AM or however early you want to start it.
[45:48] Jon: I went to a football school and they would always start just really early.
Jeremy: Oh yeah just raging early. So, I went to an art school. A bunch of my friends went to Penn State so they got that experience there tailgating students, but I've never really got to see it. So, I'm really excited to do this. I'm probably not going to drink at all I'm just going to shoot, but maybe I'll you know drink a little bit if some people offer.
[46:09] Jon: You have a beer.
[46:12] Jon: Relax.
Jeremy: Put or insert myself into the project into the situation. So, we'll see how it goes. I don't have much plans besides that I'm just going they're going to document I bring my camera. But I think it's going to be photos and I'm considering having someone come with me to just document the behind the scenes because that might be really interesting to see.
[46:30] Jon: Where can where can people find you and maybe potentially send applications to be your assistant for this project?
Jeremy: You can reach out to me via email or send me a DM on Instagram. My Instagram is @jermcohen. Also to plug my Today I Photographed project it's just @todayiphotographed. My website is www.jeremycohen.com I think that’s about it. If you want to find my email you can find it on any of those places.
[46:56] Jon: Jeremy, thank you so much for being on the Wellfed podcast.
Jeremy: Yes thanks for having me. Also Jon I'm really impressed by these questions like you doing your research and like those are great questions I really enjoyed talking to you.