interviews

this page was updated on 2014.08.14 @ 23:51:26 CDT

The Justice Howard "Navarro" Images And How They Came About.......
by Justice Howard
[for DNIG in 1998]

justice howard

About a year ago I had an exhibit displayed at a tattoo parlour owned by my friend Charlie McDonald. The shop was called MAYHEM. Charlie did the big MAYHEM piece on rocker Tommy Lee as well as a lot of other tattoos on rock stars.

I had, maybe, 25 photographs on the walls, all large pieces 20 x 24 inches in size and a lot of the imagery was tattooed, very wild-and-artsy fetishy stuff. My early photography is much different than the images I'm doing now. Now it's more slick, more stylized with more celebrity portraits than before.

Dave comes into Charlie's shop for a tattoo and sees my art on the walls and falls in love with the images. Charlie calls me and says he is sending some guy over to my studio (this is after the tattoo's completion) to buy some of my art. What he doesn't tell me is WHO.

So this guy arrives, baseball cap slung way low over his face, his demeanor was ultra-casual and what I noticed about him right away was that he was no-nonsense...no-bullshit. He knew just what he wanted. He knew the images he wanted to buy. He knew what he liked. I asked him as to what color mattes he wanted around the photos and he said he wanted them to look just like the ones in MAYHEM, which were all dark blue. He wanted the frames also just like my frames, which were sexy shiny black acrylics. And so, I gave him a price, which wasn't terribly high I might add, since I thought he was some schlepper off of the street, and he took the images and went on his way.

Then I talk to Charlie at a later date and he asks me if DAVE NAVARRO had made it over to the Studio. I go wait...that was DAVE NAVARRO from the Chili Peppers? I couldn't believe that was him and the thing that entranced me about our meeting was that he was so low key, so unaffected. I'm used to most people having their head-way-up-their-ass and so this was truly a pleasant departure. A rare find!

So then I get to thinking and I come up with a really great image for DAVE where I wanted to frame his face with a woman's body parts. I have a particular model whom I use just for her butt and her legs because she has the sexiest parts in that vicinity. I call her and ask her if she would want to do the shoot. Can you imagine her saying no? I THINK NOT.

Now I call DAVE and ask him if he would like to model for my coffee table book, as this is where the shots were to be published. His exact words were "I'd be honored." And so, with that... I planned the shoot.

After we designated time and place, his first words were "I don't know if I can be there for very long" and I think Dave does this for the reason that if he's not having a good time, it gives him an "out" so he can bolt. I know this is true cause I do the very same thing! Well we ended up shooting until 2 or 3 in the morning so I guess he must have enjoyed the time in front of my camera. We shot rolls & rolls of film and experimented with different forms of imagery.

Dave brought his own makeup girl, who ended up doing a fabulous job on his face. She mostly does his eyes (as his face is already perfect!!!) and what I really dug about her was... she didn't do "TOO MUCH" as a lot of makeup artists are prone to do. She didn't do OVERKILL. What she did was perfect.

Justice Howard

We shot photos long into the night and a few of them are the ones you see here. The BEST ones I am saving for my book which I am working on with a book agent as we speak. It should hit the stands sometime in '99.

I consider Dave a friend now, not just an acquaintance, and I call him at random intervals just to say "what's up." Most recently it got back to me that he had made a list as to his favorite photographers and that my name was on the list. I was beyond flattered by this as I never really knew that he held my art in such high esteem. I knew that he LIKED it but to be listed with Diane Arbus and Joel-Peter Witkin is another category altogether.

One thing I will say about Dave is that he is a pleasure to spend time with. He is unassuming, unaffected by rock-star-status, and very low key. When I look back at the photos they remind me of a fun time had with a dear friend... someone who "GETS IT." He was a delight to have in my Studio and a pleasure to have in front of my lens. And I will also state (and this will be reinstated in my book) one of the best male models I have EVER photographed. He has the capacity to "PROJECT" in front of the camera...the ability to "BURN" through the lens with his eyes. You can't learn that, I think it's something that you "possess"...something you know. It's something that's inherent. Oddly enough, I have only photographed 3 men who retained this ability, and I've had hundreds and hundreds of male models in front of my lens. So that should tell you something.

all photos featured on this page ©Justice Howard