The International Blues Challenge with documentingBlues / by Jordan Hefler

If you follow me on Instagram, sorry for all of my posts last week. My boyfriend Christian even said he almost sent me this meme because I was blowing up everyone's newsfeeds.... oops.

HOWEVER, I was having a great time in Memphis at the International Blues Challenge, so I wanted everyone to enjoy it with me via my mobile phone adventures! (I never really took out my real camera. The one day I was going to we were locked out of where we were staying soooo...)

For those of you who do not know, in addition to doing freelance photography, I work for Jenn Ocken Photography as the Creative Marketing Director. Jenn is not only a huge Blues music fan, but also a well respected photographer in the Blues community. For the past 12 years, Jenn has been attending The International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, Tennessee as a volunteer and a photographer. For the past 2 years, Jenn has been working with Greg "Slim Lively" Johnson to self-publish the first ever book about IBC entitled "Blues on Beale Street: Memoirs of The International Blues Challenge." (You can learn more about the book's mission and purchase a copy here.)

I play guitar and my favorite bands include Led Zeppelin & The Beatles, so it was no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the world's greatest blues music live... and for free.  I met some really talented photographers, musicians, and just people in general. (You can find their links & connect with them below.) The blues community is unbelievably genuine, and Memphis is a beautifully historic city. Thanks to everyone who let my Instagram rampage run as wild and free as I am.

Beale Street after the rain. This seems to be Steve Mack's favorite, who I didn't seem to get a photo with so I'll link him here. Steve is one of the nicest people I think I've ever met, and also a talented photographer!

Beale Street after the rain. This seems to be Steve Mack's favorite, who I didn't seem to get a photo with so I'll link him here. Steve is one of the nicest people I think I've ever met, and also a talented photographer!

The Arcade Restaurant, Memphis' oldest restaurant and an old stomping ground of Elvis!

The Arcade Restaurant, Memphis' oldest restaurant and an old stomping ground of Elvis!

Michael "Hawkeye" Herman's spiffy blues shoes

Michael "Hawkeye" Herman's spiffy blues shoes

I had an obsession with the bar bathrooms on Beale Street. They were all beautifully dingy and colorful. I don't know, maybe I'll start a new series...?

I had an obsession with the bar bathrooms on Beale Street. They were all beautifully dingy and colorful. I don't know, maybe I'll start a new series...?

The "Mood Elevator" at Club 152 on Beale, where we spent most of our time sitting and selling books

The "Mood Elevator" at Club 152 on Beale, where we spent most of our time sitting and selling books

We got to stay in this amazing loft on Main street right across the street from the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. Crazy looking out the window and seeing that.

We got to stay in this amazing loft on Main street right across the street from the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. Crazy looking out the window and seeing that.

Jenn's Office Manager Jess and I upstairs at Club 152 on Beale selling books

Jenn's Office Manager Jess and I upstairs at Club 152 on Beale selling books

Robert Plant's star in front of the Orpheum Theatre *swoons*

Robert Plant's star in front of the Orpheum Theatre *swoons*

Bathroom obsessions continue

Bathroom obsessions continue

Fangirling over Micah Kesselring, my new friend & the nicest 21 year old blues artist you will meet. You can download his new album "Log Cabin Blues" at micahkesselring.bandcamp.com 

Fangirling over Micah Kesselring, my new friend & the nicest 21 year old blues artist you will meet. You can download his new album "Log Cabin Blues" at micahkesselring.bandcamp.com 

At the VIP Release Party with Jessica & Jenn

At the VIP Release Party with Jessica & Jenn

Trying to break into our beautiful loft with a coat hanger. For the record, it didn't work. I can finally say I was homeless in Memphis and lived the blues. Stay tuned for a new song in the future.

Trying to break into our beautiful loft with a coat hanger. For the record, it didn't work. I can finally say I was homeless in Memphis and lived the blues. Stay tuned for a new song in the future.

The Old Daisy on Beale

The Old Daisy on Beale

Micah and his ladies at Rum Boogie on Beale celebrating the release of the book

Micah and his ladies at Rum Boogie on Beale celebrating the release of the book

Bathroom obsessions pt. 3

Bathroom obsessions pt. 3

The Lorraine Motel, where MLK was assasinated in 1968. It was pretty crazy getting to visit this monumental site the day after Martin Luther King Junior Day.

The Lorraine Motel, where MLK was assasinated in 1968. It was pretty crazy getting to visit this monumental site the day after Martin Luther King Junior Day.