July 16, 2014 at 10:12 am

Jeremy Deputat shoots the stars, sometimes at the speed of light

Jeremy Deputat went on tour with Kid Rock in 2011 and published a photo book, 'I'm Kid Rock What's Your Excuse?' (Jeremy Deputat)

Jeremy Deputat works fast.

Whether the Detroit photographer is shooting General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra or Eminem, Deputat knows time is of the essence with his subjects. Sometimes he’ll have only a few minutes — or even a few seconds — to get the shot and move on.

“Kid Rock taught me to be really quick,” says Deputat, seated in his new Corktown studio on a late June afternoon. “When I was out on the road with him, I’d say, ‘Stop! Stop right there,’ and it got to the point where I was annoying him. And he was like, ‘Dude, you’re too (expletive) slow, you’re gonna miss the shot! I’m not gonna stop for you. Shoot faster, shoot faster!’

“At first I thought he was being (rude), but the more I got to know him, I realized he was grooming me to become a better photographer and a quicker photographer when I’m dealing with people like him, because they’re not always going to sit and wait for you to get what you need,” says Deputat, known as “JD” to friends and associates. “So he put me through a little bit of a boot camp, and it made me better.”

Kid Rock is among those featured in Deputat’s show “Nothing Is Forever,” which opens at Detroit’s Inner State Gallery with a reception from 7-11 p.m. Friday. It’s the first public collection of work for the 37-year-old photographer who is the go-to guy for Eminem, Kid Rock, Mayer Hawthorne and a host of other Detroit musicians and artists.

The show mixes portrait work with street-style photography that Deputat, who was raised in South Lyon, has shot in his travels around the world. The work ranges from a 2007 shot of Detroit rapper Phat Kat peering out over the city to a portrait of Eminem and Rick Rubin captured on the set of Em’s “Berzerk” video last year.

Deputat’s work with Eminem has taken him around the globe; just last week he was in England shooting the rapper’s two shows at Wembley Stadium. He also shot the cover of Em’s 2013 album, “The Marshall Mathers LP 2,” which showed Em’s childhood home just before it was torn down by the city.

“Back in 1999 when the ‘Slim Shady LP’ came out, I never thought one day I’d be shooting (Eminem’s) album cover,” Deputat says. But he stays mum about personal details concerning Em and his other subjects, saying one of the reasons he’s been able to keep those relationships is because of the respect he has for their privacy.

Eminem was one of Deputat’s first subjects; his relationship with Em’s publicist granted him a photo pass to the “8 Mile” DVD release party at Saint Andrew’s Hall. Deputat — who was new to photography at the time — shot the show with a Sony Cybershot point-and-shoot camera he had recently purchased. A graphic design student in school, he grew up as a fan of album covers and cool photos in magazines such as Metal Edge and Hit Parader. He wasn’t quite sure about the particulars of shooting a concert, but his job at Real Detroit Weekly allowed him access to shows around town, and he experimented with photography until he figured it out.

He got better with time and eventually began working closely with the city’s top artists. JD went on tour with Kid Rock in 2011 and published the results in a 176-page photo book, “I’m Kid Rock What’s Your Excuse?” Deputat’s work has since appeared in magazines such as Billboard, Spin, Rolling Stone, ESPN the Magazine and more.

He now spends a lot of his time traveling, capturing those fleeting moments that exist once and never again. “That was the whole basis of the ‘Nothing Is Forever’ show,” he says, a Distinct Life cap on his head tilted slightly to the side. “It’s based on the idea that these images are taking a slice of time that I captured that will never ever happen again.”

One of the images in the show is of a bird, shot from below, navigating through a series of downtown Detroit buildings. He knew the shot he wanted, and in a rare instance of having as much time as he needed to get the shot, achieved it with the help of a friend who spent some 90 minutes tossing rocks at pigeons to rustle them into flight.

Deputat says there is no symbolism in the shot, or any greater meaning to the work. “I wanted to catch a bird flying around,” he says, in between drags on a cigarette. “To me, I could really care (less) about what something means. It could mean nothing, as long as I like it visually.”

'Nothing Is Forever: An Exhibition Featuring the Photography of Jeremy Deputat'

Friday through Aug. 15

Inner State Gallery

1410 Gratiot, Detroit

(313) 744-6505



Detroit photographer Jeremy Deputat sorts through prints ahead of his show ... (Max Ortiz / The Detroit News)