While I haven’t quite quit the habit of bringing my camera to shows. I’ve made it a priority to capture less images. Instead of capturing a series of ones I feel best capture the bands live performance. I’ve focused on getting one or two that I feel capture the essence the music, it’s sound and how it resonates with me. In the case of New Jersey’s TRU. I felt their mix of dream pop and shoegaze warranted more of an artsy, conceptualized approach than that of the Punk and Metal bands I’ve used to seeing.
When I decided to upgrade from the Canon 7D to the Canon’s 5D Mark III. It was strictly a business decision. One that would hopefully take my studio and event photography to the next level. Never once did I ever consider it becoming my everyday, every occasion camera. However, with my wife urging me to trade in the old model. I was left with little to no choice. So within a week of purchase and two studio sessions knocked out. I carefully took my fresh out the box Canon to a local music venue and shot some imaages of my favorite local and touring bands. With thec 5D not featuring a pop up flash like the 7D. I brought along my Canon 320 EX external flash and experimented with bouncing the light in different directions. The results were rewarding, to say the very least. Attempting and successfully working with a completely different set of tools felt amazing. As I’ve always felt somewhat of a sense of fear that I might fall short when trying to adapt to new things. Below is a sample of a shot I took of Shakusky’s Kira Mattheson. I’ve also included a like to one of my music sites where I’ve featured sets from each of the bands that played that night. Document Fanzine . Rock On.
On Tuesday, March 22nd at 11:00pm. I’ll be joining Al Crisafulli and Katie Kazimir on WFDU HD2’s “Signal to Noise”. Over a thirty minute time slot I’ll be answering questions about my photography while playing some of my favorite songs from some of the bands I’ve photographed along the way. As someone who prefers to use imagery to express my thoughts and emotions. This is somewhat of a rare opportunity. A bit scary too. Be sure to tune in. JD
In a recent conversation with friend, fellow photographer and mentor Kevin. I was questioned about my use of watermarks. I explained that I had so many of my music related photos used without permission, notice or credit over the years and how using a watermark gave me a sense of assurance that such branding would cut down on, if not eliminate the practice of taking without asking. As ridiculous as it might seem, it pisses me off when I have to ask for a photo credit after it’s already been used without notification. In the days of film, this never seemed to be an issue, due to the fact that you, the photographer, owned the negative. In a time of social media’s immediacy and a digital age where a file / image replaces the negative. Problems certainly have more of a chance to arise.
Still, his question and critique really made me think. Is it really worth it? Does it reduce the emotion or intended message within the image. If so, does that tiny assurance relieve any of the anxiety or paranoia of having one of your shots appear uncredited on someone’s band page? Probably not. But still, it’s an idea I’m still not ready to completely embrace. So, what do you think? Bands, Photographers? I’d love to hear from you.
Along with playing in a fist full of local bands. My friend Frank runs an indie label by the name of Sniffling Indie Kids. Since it’s formation I’ve had the chance to capture a number of the labels acts live. This morning, shortly after reposting some images from a summer 2015 show. He asked me if he could use a shot I had taken of the band LKFFCT (Lake Effect). Happy to oblige, I sent him a large file. Low and behold, the image was added to the site within minutes and my road to famed music photographer was paved.I’ve posted the image below. Along with a link to the page it’s posted on. If you’re a fan of indie rock. I highly recommend a thorough investigation of their catalog. Each and every release is a stand out and a perfect document of what’s happening musically in our neck of the woods.
My wife has put it in my head that I should get to work on publishing a book. After numerous conversations and shared ideas. We decided it to play it safe by starting with what I know and do best, that being music photography. Noting my special gift in lacking focus and working on numerous projects at the same time. She gave me the simplified task of choosing twenty images from the last four years of shooting live music and occasionally having them in the studio. Simple enough right? Well, in the two weeks that have followed I’ve set two images aside. Slow? Yes, very. However, I’m going on a number of factors when deciding. One factor being the subjects reaction and appreciation of the image.
The image below was taken of The Brixton Riot’s Jerry Lardieri at Maxwell’s during a particularly rewarding benefit show. Since that show I’ve become a big fan of the band as well as a friend of Jerry’s. I hope to finish this “Twenty Bands” project before long. As I continue picking the next nineteen. I hope to share my choices as well as the stories behind them. Feel free to share your feelings on my choices as well as the bands and artists featured. Here we go.
It happens sometimes. You go to a club or music venue to see your favorite band and there are four to five bands you’ve never heard of playing before them. Some of those bands will knock you on your ass, opening the doors to becoming the next band you give your heart to. Then there are the ones that make you second guess why you ever left the house in the first place. Over the years I’ve seen my share of bands that left scratching my head, covering my ears or imagining myself as a machete wielding harbinger of death to shitty bands across the planet.
You can often remedy that disdain by heading out for some much needed fresh air, hitting the bar or merch table. Or, if you’re like me. Document that shit. I’m often surprised at how I can manage to get a quality shot of a band I dislike or absolutely hate. Sometimes a good shot can go a long way to erase the memory of a bad experience and in the end, make it all worth while. And remember, while you might not like a bands sound, music or personality. There’s always going to be those that do.