Local photographer Deone Jahnke has long been a part of the music scene in Milwaukee, taking some of the best photos of area musicians. Her skill and her connections to the scene have allowed access to her considerable skills, bolstering their press kits with great photos that might otherwise be out of range.
So, when word arrived yesterday that Jahnke is celebrating the opening of her new Nashville photos studio with an open house on May 14, I immediately feared we were losing this treasure.
But, no, Jahnke -- whose love for roots music is no secret, in part due to her great photographs of performers like Joy Lynn White, Jim Lauderdale, Dave Alvin, Rosie Flores and others (including Billy Bob Thornton) and in part due to the intimate gigs she's booked into her Walker's Point space -- is not leaving for good. At least not for now.
"I'm splitting my time," she tells me, "or more accurately, planning to spend a week-10 days per month in Nashville. So, I'll be here more than there, unless work really takes off in Tennessee. I have a lease on a space there until the end of September, to see if the boat floats!"
Jahnke's got Peter Cooper & Eric Brace, James Intveld and Joy Lynn White on tap at her opening bash at 164 Rosa Parks Blvd., within shouting distance (sorta) of the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Downtown Nashville.
"All my work brings me joy," says Jahnke. "But in recent years I've come full circle to my first love -- photographs for the music industry. I'm a passionate music fan. For me it's it's about applying my talents to making pictures that help market musicians and their music."
That passion was charted by Heidi Spencer in the film, "Picturing the Music," which traced Jahnke's work. Being in Nashville part of each month will allow Jahnke easier access to the many musicians who work there.
In the meantime, the musicians who work here can breathe easy. Deone's staying.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.