Tom Waits Portraits in Blue Diptych, Prairie Sun Recording Studio, CA, 1999
© Jay Blakesberg

Tom Waits Portraits in Blue Diptych, Prairie Sun Recording Studio, CA, 1999

Photograph
By Jay Blakesberg
About the image
As a youngster, musician Tom Waits developed an intense admiration for Beat writers Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski. In this shot, he appears every bit the eccentric bohemian himself, with rips in his jeans, sitting on a decaying wood step. 

“February 4, 1999 was the scheduled day for my portrait session with Tom Waits. The location was to be Prairie Sun Recording Studio in Cotati, California, a beautiful state-of-the-art studio set on a 20-acre chicken ranch. Visually, you couldn’t ask for a better location to shoot someone like Tom.

On this crisp and clear winter day, I set up my Tripod with a 4×5 view camera behind a small tin-walled building that also sported an old fashioned water heater made out of steel. I shot about six sheets of 4×5 film, and about eight frames of 35mm when he got up and insisted that we leave the farm and drive to this house just two or three minutes down the road where he’d seen an old abandoned car earlier that day, so I said “Yeah, lets go.””

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Tom Waits Portraits in Blue Diptych, Prairie Sun Recording Studio, CA, 1999
Tom Waits Portraits in Blue Diptych, Prairie Sun Recording Studio, CA, 1999