NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – When Leon Bridges of Fort Worth saw his career take off in 2015 with his first hit song “Coming Home”, much of the video was filmed at his friends’ house in Fort Worth and had that same friend in co -featured.
Fort Worth photographer Rambo Elliot said, “I really loved my friend and loved dancing and singing with him. I just thought he was beautiful and we would have these mini excursions and adventures. Even, we didn’t know we were building a brand.
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Elliot saw Bridges rise to fame through a unique lens. After all, she was part of it… becoming his official touring photographer.
Elliot recalls, “This label comes to my house and says we haven’t hired a photographer in your capacity since the 1960s. Do you understand this job? Can you continue this work? Do you know where you are? I was like…you’re going to ask me if I’m smart and know the limits. You’re going to ask me if I know how to work every minute I’m up. The answer is yes, I can do it.
And working tirelessly, she did. Rambo’s work has been featured on all but one of Bridges’ album covers and in countless magazines. She describes her relationship with Bridges as follows:
“…if we are in the same room. Something about our two minds can make the dance, the breath work. Even album two, we shot it there in that room…. on red paper. He wore my wedding night gloves on the back cover. He’s just an iconic person and I want to make sure the people I love are portrayed as great art.
With 11 Grammy nominations, many know Jon Batiste as the band manager for the Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS. Rambo knows him as another dear friend she met in Fort Worth. One of his album covers is also one of his masterpieces. This is just a glimpse of her relationship with two of the biggest stars at this year’s Grammy Awards.
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Elliot says, “I am immensely proud. They have such gifts, and their gifts really help the world. Their two gifts…it helps the culture feel celebrated and safe. They make other men feel safe to be vulnerable. I’m really proud of them.
To be proud of them, Rambo must also be very proud of her. As Bridges and Batiste’s profiles grew, so did his. “It’s nice to remember that my work was widely publicized,” she said. “It goes everywhere. He just doesn’t slow down enough to see it.
Another portrait of Rambo’s world is her collection of vintage telephones which she says pay homage to family members who worked for Southwestern Bell. His vocation to amass countless Stetson hats. Her wall of dead roses. Never wanting to get rid of them, as they were all given to her by her husband.
The self-proclaimed eccentric photographer says even how she got her name has a special meaning. “I am the last of the girls. There are no more Rambos after that. I make my last name my first name. When I got married, I changed it to Rambo Elliot. It’s all the humans that helped me get here…it’s pictured with Rambo. No one came here alone. None of us.”
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With Leon Bridges failing to win an award this time around, it was Jon Batiste who took home five gold trophies… including album of the year. When it comes to getting to know the two great talents, Rambo remarked, “I’m just grateful. I am grateful to them. I am grateful for me. They won.”