Noted jazz trumpeter and photographer Jon Deshler has brought his star-studded work to MHCC’s Visual Arts Gallery, capturing prominent jazz musicians at work.
On the afternoon of Nov. 2, Deshler set the atmosphere at his artist’s opening reception, playing jazz with Jay Jorgensen (bass), Rich Turnoy (piano), Marilyn Keller (singer) and Laura Cunard (singer). Together, they helped create an appropriate vibe for visitors while they admired local and musical performance photographs taken by Deshler.
Deshler’s passion for photography began when his father had him shoot pictures from the co-pilot seat of his private airplane. Then, at age 12 he began trumpet lessons, carrying on his family’s musical tradition.
His music and photography talents blended together when he took his camera on a high school field trip to a jazz festival at Disneyland, he said.
“That all led to this. It’s like revelations stacked on revelations, and it was kind of a serendipitous anomaly. It gave me something to move into,” he said.
This hinted some inspiration for the title of Deshler’s gallery, “Naked Revelations,” a name which spontaneously came to him as he noticed his pictures pointing out some of the major life-shaping experiences he faced.
This anomaly continued when Deshler started to work for a photo lab in 1976 that happened to sit right next to a trumpet shop in Hollywood. The photo lab worked with corporate clients and was owned by distant relatives of his family. Years after working at the lab, he moved to Portland and continued building his skills as an independent photographer.
Within two years, he began creating event (program) covers for the Oregon Symphony Orchestra. He used many different methods to create some of these covers. He described one he calls “painting with light:” He first creates a set using frames, layers of Plexiglas, canvas, and props while an aimed camera sits on a tripod. Then he runs around in a dark studio while illuminating the set in different areas in order to add emphasis and color during a long exposure time.
“I’m a master light painter,” Deshler said proudly.
Not only does he photograph event covers for clients, he also creates advertisements. A while back, he was invited to an annual Oregon event by two separate friends. It supported the Cheetah Conservation Fund, working to save decreasing cheetah populations. He partnered with a woman from India who travels to raise money to promote the safety of the animals. He was intrigued by her adventures and wanted to be involved, he said. He started a crowd-sourcing campaign to raise advertising dollars to persuade people to take action.
Before Deshler knew it, he was doing video pitches, developing teleprompter scripts, and snapping shots of a 105-pound cheetah right in his studio. This all became yet another “revelation” as he evolved from trumpeter-photographer, to wildlife protector.
Visitors can see Deshler’s experiences and adventures at the Visual Arts Gallery, open for free weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 21.
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