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,
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.
I’ve started to gather pictures for a book I hope to publish before the earth or yours truly goes “Kaboom!” It’s one of two projects I’ve had in mind for some time. The working title is “Bystander” which will focus on my years photographing and interacting with bands, musicians and artists within punk, hardcore and indie rock over the years. It will hopefully include anecdotes about the artists , as well as various quotes from the many interviews I’ve done over the years. I’ve already got someone to write the foreword and ideas as to which photos for the front, back cover and inlet will be. I’ve been posting about four pictures a day in one of my facebook folders. Allowing you to see new material on an almost daily basis. I’m posting a link below and welcome you to both visit and comment whenever you see fit.
I just wanted to take a moment to share some of my reviews and interviews featured on Jersey Beat. I’ve been photographing and writing about music for over thirty years now. Being offered my own column by one one of the longest running indie rock publications was an honor. Taking that offer and running with it has been an absolute pleasure. Below I’ve attached links to both my column and the many interviews I’ve been able to conduct over the last two plus years.
Whenever leaving home with my wife. she always conducts a thorough search of what travels through the front door. “Keys? Check. Wallet? Check. Cell Phone? Check.” Anything beyond that, though, gets serious scrutiny. With my computer, hard drive and oversized headphones already packed and prepared for our end of the day stop for coffee and several hours of power writing and internet obsessive searching, the mere mention or sight of my camera bag usually brings on a scowl and interrogation as to what the hell do you need that for? (Now, granted, over the years I’ve added extra lenses, flashes and other tricks of the trade to my arsenal. Thus adding noticeable weight and the need for a bigger camera bag.)
However, despite a growing bag of tricks and a hard drive that’s busting at the seems, I still live and see through a photographers eye. After decades of shooting, I still feel the draw of documenting the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen. Still, that look I get from my wife coupled with the desire to travel light, I’m learning to enjoy things with documenting them. And while I often regret leaving my camera behind, having my cell phone handy allows me a little creative relief. I snapped these shots just off 6th Ave. in Tacoma while returning to our car. It reminded me of my younger days going to hardcore shows throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
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.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of covering two of Brick City Sound Riots Music Festival three day in Newark. Everyone involved from the bands, promoters, photographers, fans, etc. were awesome. I plan on posting pictures, memories and anecdotes later. For now check out the article on Jersey Beat.
Words by Jim Testa, photos by yours truly.
When Jim Testa of Jersey Beat asked me to cover The Cropduster reunion show at Maxwells my reaction was “Sure”. I had no preconceived notions or overblown expectations due to the fact that I had never heard the band before. I did a little snooping and upon seeing the them described as “Insurgent Country”. Well, I was curious. Just not any more excited. I got there just as Jim Testa set up to open the show. I had never seen Jim perform but had somewhat of an idea what to expect. Jim’s stripped down folky punk was just enough to melt the freezing temperatures that circled Maxwells that night. Jim sings about what he knows, music. His lyrics are intelligent, quirky and ironic. A nice little side note to what was to come. As Cropduster took the stage the back room filled with smiling faces who seemed to be well aware of what they were in for. As the band began to play I freed myself of any labels or lame musical alliances and just soaked in the incredible sounds. There are times when I go to see a band and can’t help but be mad at myself and think “How the hell did I miss out on this the first time around?”. This was one of those times. Hope you enjoy the shots. Some of which made it to NJ Beat and NJ Underground. Now if you’ll excuse me. I need to run out and get a copy of “Drunk Uncle”. Cheers!!!