BizSavvyBlogger’s Peek-A-Blog: From Me To You

Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul peeks behind the lens of photography blogger (and fellow Texan) Jamie of FromMe-ToYou.tumblr.com

Howdy, and welcome to launch of this occasional series I’m calling “Peek-A- Blog.”

First, a little background.  My Texas roots run deep, and I’ve learned you never know where they might surface under the Big Apple tree.  Case in point: a little over a week ago, Chef sent me a link to a photography blog called From Me To You, excited that it featured pictures of some chili based made from a recipe he distributed at Whole Foods on the Upper West Side.  Frankly, I wasn’t too enthusiastic—how great can some beans and beef look?  But Chef seemed excited, so I thought I should try and be supportive.

When I clicked the link, I was blown away.

Not your typical food blog picture--From Me To You immediately intrigued me

The beautifully saturated and styled photo shoot was not the work of a Julie Powell home cook wannabe.  It was the highly artistic endeavor of a talented photographer.

Jamie makes pouring a can of Whole Foods 365 tomatoes look beautiful!

As I tooled around the captivating site, I discovered it was the work of a fellow Texan, and that meant one thing—we simply had to meet.

A fellow Rose from Texas...who I am dying to meet!

A few days earlier at lunch, my friend Adrianna who writes the hilarious dating blog Techromance had encouraged me to reach out to fellow bloggers that I admire, interview them about their path and development.  As a journalist, I liked the sound of that—a way to keep my interview skills fresh.  But I didn’t know where to begin, until I tumblr-d upon FromMeToYou—a fellow ex-pat Texan is just what the blogger ordered.  A few emails later and we were bonded like sorority sisters with a date to dish over margaritas at our favorite Lone Star spot in NYC—Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

Enjoy the peek!

JPB: The weather was so gross today that I couldn’t risk ruining my cowboy boots. Jamie: That’s fine.  Look at these!  My mom got them for me.  She called one day from Texas and said, “I’m in Dillard’s and these boots are 50% off with an extra 25% off.  They are NEW.  YORK.  BOOTS!”

Macy’s just can’t compete with a good Dillard’s sale, right?  Makes me kind of home sick.  All right, I’m having the Chicken Fried Steak Fingers basket because that was my Grandma Tommie’s favorite thing to order at Dairy Queen.  How about you? The Cornmeal Fried Catfish Fingers.  And a frozen margarita, naturally.

Yummy fried catfish pic courtesy of Jamie/FromMeToYou

Livin' it up in Blogaritaville. Pic courtesy of Jamie/FromMeToYou

How’d you wind up in New York?   Were you like me and wanted to move here since you were a kid? I dreamed of working at Vogue.  Honestly, I would lie in my bed just dreaming of working at Vogue—picture myself walking down the hallways.  I don’t know why because my mother wouldn’t buy any Vogues.  But I just saw myself working there.  I was in love with fashion photography.  The first time I was in New York was when I was 14, and I remember thinking, “I want my pictures up on those billboards!”

Were your parents supportive of your decision to live in Manhattan after studying photography at FIT? They wanted me to move home.  They’d call and say things like, “Why don’t you come back and shoot weddings?”  They didn’t get what I was doing.  With the blog, though, they really are starting to understand.

Do you find that your blog has developed and changed over time? When I started it last May, I used to post just a single image.  But then I decided I want to do longer postings.  I wanted to wake up and do whatever I was into or obsessing about.  And it just seemed like people really started connecting with my work.  My best traffic is usually Tuesday through Thursday—I guess people are bored at work.

You get a lot of reader responses.  Do you enjoy those? The comments are the best part!  They are so motivating.  Sometimes I get “your picture reminds me of childhood,” or “your photographs made me so nostalgic.”  One of my favorite comments is “you’ve inspired me to try photography again.”  I also answer tons of camera questions.  What kind of film.  What kind of exposure.  I really try to respond to each one.

That’s a lot of work! It is.  You know that blogging can take a lot of work.  I spend about 30% of my day working on that day’s blog post.  50% emailing back and forth either comments or questions.  And the rest of the time marketing my blog in different ways.  I twitter a lot to specific markets.  That’s how we connected.  I twittered about my photos from a Whole Foods recipe, and then the company sent along the link to others.  Before I go to bed, I obsess over Google analytics.  New York and California are my biggest states, then Texas, I think because of my family.  Right now, I want more readers in Paris!  I’m obsessed with Paris.

Reading your blog, I realize that unlike me, you don’t expose much of your personal life. For a very good reason.  I would like people to focus on my personal work, not my personal life.  My work is up for discussion, not my life.  But my work is very personal, it reveals a lot about my passion and obsessions and my life.

Like a novelty t-shirt, I put my life out there for all to see; Jamie prefers discretion

How do you come up with the categories on your blog? They all come out of my own life.  “Dinner and a Movie” developed from what was really date night.  I was trying to save money, and cook at home, and watch movies, and at the same time I was interested in photographing food.  So I just decided to marry the two together.  Based upon that, I started reaching out to food stylists and chefs and really working on food photography.

Any new additions coming up? Well, a new feature called “Flavor of the Month” comes out of my obsessions.  Sometimes I get obsessed with something for a while—like grapefruits—and I crave them and eat them everyday.  Then I wake up one day and it’s passed, and I’m on to the next thing.  I thought documenting that would be a great ongoing feature.  Because I only do original content, I was having a hard time finding a way to tell people about all the amazing blogs I am obsessed with.  But if I have a regular feature about my obsessions—I can take those things, photograph them, and make them mine.  That’s what I’m going to do with your book.

Will you promise to make me look as good as those grapefruits you shot? I’m going to surprise you with a real Texas twist.

Jamie took one of the best photos of me in a long time; can't wait to see what she does with the book!

Anything you miss about Texas? The Mexican food, of course.  I will eat it breakfast, lunch and dinner when I’m home.  And I really miss the thrift stores and antique stores.  I’ve gotten some bargains that are so amazing that I won’t tell people where the stores are.  I’m talking a full-length fur coat for $10!

You would fit right in at Vogue.  Will you wear it to our next lunch? No, but maybe to your book launch party!

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14 Comments

Filed under Biz Savvy Blogger, Peek-A-Blog

14 responses to “BizSavvyBlogger’s Peek-A-Blog: From Me To You

  1. JP!!! Thank you so much for this wonderful interview and above all meeting each other! I wish the city were full of more folks like us… so that would make us special right?
    Thank you thank you thank you again for everything and mostly for sharing your book with me, I’m enjoying the journey!!

  2. I love this interview and the photos. JP, the photo of you up close is gorgeous! And by the way, Cowgirl Hall of Fame is one of Jemma and Becketts FAVORITE restaurants — we celebrated Beck’s b-day there last year — so good choice.

  3. So happy the two of you found each other! A match made in heaven…so enjoyed reading about your meeting. Lovely!

  4. I just adore Miss Jamie:) And loved your luncheon interview. I am big fan of bio’s and yours sounds fabulous. I love your Mary tyler Moore reference!
    I live in Minnesota and next time I am downtown Minneapolis. I will take a pic of the Mary tyler Moore statue and forward it your way:) Now off to get your book!

    • Minneapolis is on my book club tour list – so I can see that statue! And I think Jamie might be cooking something up to take a pic of me ala MTM with a hat toss and everything! Send me the pic when you take it – and I’ll see you in MN. ps…j’adore Jamie

  5. So fun, I want to “dish” with you guys next time. Thanks for the shout out JP. Love thsoe photos p.s.

  6. So cute JP, I want to “dish” with you guys next time. Love the photos of you p.s.

  7. Chef

    Love the pics, when do I get mines?

  8. Shannon

    I am so hungry and homesick after reading this. I can’t wait to two step with Jamie at Jon Paul’s ALPHABET CITY book signing!

  9. Oh god now I am really homesick for Texas! I found your blog through “From me to you” and HAD to check out yet another fellow Texan’s work. I am a Texas ex-pat in Seattle and the homesickness is getting to me right now. Luckily I am headed home (Houston) for Easter and hopefully I can take a little trip through the hill country and see some bluebonnets. Glad to add another blog to the reader!

    Do you read “The Homesick Texan”? If not you should! I learned how to make refritos from her. AMAZING.

    • I’m glad you found me, too! Take a picture in the middle of the bluebonnets for me? I always love when people do that with their kids and trample on them – when my parents were always telling me that was a felony offense. And thanks for the tip on the Homesick Texan! Safe travels.

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