Experimenting with Music Photography

It’s safe to say, my interest in photography was born out of necessity. As a teenager in love with hardcore punk and going to Sunday matinees, I started a fanzine which needed pictures to go with my interviews and show reviews. Admittedly, my pictures were terrible. I really knew nothing about composition or camera settings. When I think about it, I didn’t even own a film SLR until I was twenty four. by then I was more interested in documenting my new surroundings in a neighborhood known as Hell’s Kitchen. While I was still going to shows regularly. and taking much better photos, I eventually got bored, which started my focus on experimentation with light and movement. Ultimately, is was within the shadows, movement and darkness, that I found my love. The more I learned about composition and waiting for the right moment, the more my images stood out. While it wasn’t alway pretty, I felt that I was finally capturing the energy, raw emotion, and elements that capture the essence, and intimacy that smaller venues offer.

Day Trip to Richmond

This weekend, for the first time in more than ten years. I took a trip to Richmond to attend a long-time friends inclusion in an intimate record show. Aside from seeing this beautiful friend, getting the stuffing hugged out of me, and meeting her husband. I enjoyed nourishing food, walked the streets of a diverse city and took lots of pictures. On the right is the restaurant, delicatessen where we started our day.

Satisfying that Urge to Travel.

Sunday afternoon, we took advantage of the days weather forecast to make a trip to National Harbor to do some sightseeing, shopping, and extended walking. Though it turned to be a lot colder than advertised. We wholeheartedly enjoyed our time there. As I took this picture of the ferris wheel. I was reminded of my fear of heights. My knees wobbling like a bowl of jello. Dizzied from the sight alone. Assuring myself, that someday, I will conquer my fears and face down that Moby Dick of amusement park rides. Until then.

Influences and Origins

The other night, I came across a documentary about New York City photographer Ricky Powell (R.I.P.). Perhaps best known for his raw images of NYC personalities and the up and coming graffiti and hip hop scenes. Powell, was, amongst many artists whose art and images inspired me to pick up a camera and document the world around me. The documentary features many of the highs and lows while remaining focused and very interesting. Overall, it had me thinking about organizing, printing, and even attempting to display my work at a local gallery. With so many other, perhaps more important, tasks on my to do list. The reality that I don’t know anyone outside my immediate neighbors in the area. Chances are slim for any exhibitions. Still, I plan on consistently sharing my images on the internet and with anyone who’s willing. The image below was taken more than ten years ago when I lived and worked in Hoboken, New Jersey.

United By… (One Nature)

One Nature @ CBGB's

Though I only saw the band once. Boundbrook, New Jersey’s One Nature left a lasting impression on me. With an incendiary live set, the first double ‘7-inch ep I’d ever seen and a sound that reminded me of the band Ignition as well as the many great Dischord Record acts of the’80’s. Though I never did hear from or see the band live again, I still own that double ‘7-inch and play it regularly. Thanks to an old friend for unintentionally reminding me of all the bands that, while I only had the chance to see once, left a lasting impression that still holds today.

One Nature Live 1995

United By… (Into Another)

Though it took time to fully embrace the fact that Underdog (One of my favorite bands of all time.) Bystander-118was done and their charismatic singer was on to new and much stranger things. While Richie and Into Another weren’t the first one’s to explore new sounds outside of hardcore punk, they were definitely the most eccentric. After two landmark releases with Revelation Records, they were swept up by Hollywood records at a time when major labels were circling the indie market in hopes of signing the next Nirvana. As a vocalist, Richie Birkenhead’s range was like no other before or since. As a band, Into Another raised the bar as far as creativity went. 1994’s “Ignaurus” still stands as one of my favorite albums of all time. With the song “Drown” making its way onto many of the playlists I share.

“United By” A new feature coming to this blog.

Due in large to the recent calls for social distancing and the fact many states have called for a primary lockdown, I’ve had more free time than I know what to do with. I’ve regularly found myself going through images I took of bands I went out to see in basements, bars, venues, and concert halls. In doing so, I’ve come to the conclusion that I might not ever be able to do much with more with them than I already have. So instead of just calling it a day and closing the door on that chapter in my life,

United By (1 of 1)
Photo taken by Bruno Bruyes of NY Newsday. Image appeared on cover of first issue of Lamplighter Magazine.

I can take some of my favorites and use them to start an addition to my blog. Being that I took my first music image at my sixteenth birthday party and have worked in film, chrome, and digital with numerous cameras and lenses over the years. Finding enough photos to post might keep me busy while refreshing my memories regarding the shows I attended and just why I decided to bring a camera. The hardest part thus far was deciding whether to post images chronologically or in some sort of spirited randomness. In the end, I decided to randomly post pictures and stories from the two or so decades I was actively shooting. Considering the number of shows I’ve attended and acts I’ve photographed, I’ve got plenty of ammunition to keep things going. Along with the images and anecdotes, I hope to include links where, if interested, you can find more information about the artists. Until then.

… And so it Begins

Thanks to the to the advice and guidance of a friend and gifted artist, I’ve decided to embark on selling prints of some of the many images I’ve shot over the years. Though still very much in the idea stage. I’ve begun to reach back to some old favorites, look into possible places to print and the right website to host my images. I hope to start small with just a few images, ones picked with the customer in mind. (Not necessarily my favorites, but ones that might appeal to a broader audience, while still reflecting my overall style. Below is an image taken back in the early nineties with a Nikon EM film camera and 50 mm lens. Special thanks to Jenn for the inspiration. You can buy her prints here. It Does Art

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How About That!!!

When I was recently sent an invite to an upcoming gig. I honestly didn’t take notice to the fact that the really beautiful illustration was an interpretation of a photo I had taken some years ago  of Archie Alone’s Cindy Ward. It wasn’t until later in the day when Cindy messaged me to state the obvious, that I realized what they had done.While it’s not something I see very regularly. It’s a distinct honor when someone thinks enough pf one of my images to consider its use for a worthy cause such as Planned Parenthood or a benefit to raise money and awareness of Cancer treatment. It makes me feel I’ve done good.

Planned Parenthood NY

St. Jude

 

Room to Breathe

Red Hook 1431

I was having this conversation with a potential client when my humble studio beginnings came up. I shared how I somehow managed to set up a makeshift home studio in my small Hoboken apartment. Not only was the space incredibly small, but those who dared venture in to the mile square for a session had to follow up their nightmarish search for parking with a three floor walk up to said apartment. Strangely enough, I made it work to moderate degrees of success.

Fast forward a couple of years and I’ve just about quadrupled my space in nearby Jersey City where  parking is a breeze and elevators seem to be all the rage.

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Still, with the sizable change. I often find myself trying to find space to set up a full function studio as well as finding closet space to store away equipment while I’m not using it. And while any mention of clutter or booby trapped studio equipment is strictly that of an over worked imagination. I’ve been ever vigilant to keep things, if not out of mind,. At least out of sight.

Needless to say, my new found focal length has given me the space between my subject while having my subject further enough from the background to avoid unwanted shadows and unexpected falloff.

Yes, I’m still clumsy, but I haven’t broken anything or caused any permanent damage since I got here. Hopefully, with a little coaxing and improved balance I’m beginning to feel more confident in myself snd my work. If that continues, doors are sure to open.