Last night I received a heads up that the print I had mailed to a friend had arrived. Just a week before, Cindi stopped in at the loft for a fun, laid back photo session that would hopefully allow me to test some new gear and experiment with high key lighting. I style I had just learned from a friend and fellow photographer. Looking at older studio sessions I often shot a darker, low key side that tended to produce, moody yet stark results. Hoping to bing light to both my work and mood. I enlisted one of my favorite musicians. The image below, her showing off my box set of The Replacements first four albums. Was a personal favorite. In the past we’ve shared our mutual love for the band. Sending her an enlargement was just my way of thanking her for helping me to try some new things while returning to the type of work that inspires me the most. Thanks Cindi.
Over the weekend I had a musician friend over for some promotional shots. During those two or so hours we tried several looks while playing around with different lighting setups. Later that night as I began going through our session. I began to compare color shots with B&W copies I had made. To no surprise, I found myself preferring the B&W versions over and over. Knowing how predominant my love of B&W can be. I thought it would a good idea to get some opinions on the matter. Comments welcome.
The other night I posed a simple, yet complex question to a friend and fellow music photographer. “Can you ever see yourself enjoying, or even going to a show or concert without your camera?” It was a question I had to ask, considering I’ve asked it of myself countless times. After what seemed to be a decades long pause, he exhaled “No. I don’t.” The answer was as much a surprise as it was a relief. Having asked myself that very same question numerous times over the years. I find it somewhat strange that I know for a fact that I couldn’t. I don’t see any time in the near of distant future where I’m hanging back with a beer in my hand taking the show in as nothing more than a spectator. Whereas I see myself now as the old man with the camera at the show. I’ll probably end up as the really old man with the moment capturing apparatus at shows twenty years from now. Otherwise, I just wouldn’t know what to do with myself.
Though I’ve been using my Canon 50 mm 1.8 as a primary lens since I first purchased it some weeks ago. The original reason for the purchase was to have a backup lens for my concert photography. One that essentially eliminating the need for flash by using a faster (1.8 as opposed to my current 2.8) So this Sunday I headed down to The Cake Shop on Ludlow to test it out. Lucky for me, one of my favorite live acts, Stuyvesant, was playing along with a couple of other acts. Though the Cake Shop is less than ideal for shooting a band. It provided the space and distance I needed to try out the lens. Though I found myself shooting at an ISO of 3200, I found that I liked the results. And while I’m not quite ready to ditch the Canon 15mm I usually enlist. I know I’ll be doing plenty of experimenting with Canon’s 50mm 1.4 Below are some results. The one at the bottom features Sean Adams of the band Stuyvesant.
Back in 2013 I started a project very close to my heart. Bringing some of my favorite local musicians and artists into the studio for a short bull session and some time under the lights. The concept is a simple one. Photos built around conversation about common interests while chilling out to some good music. Add or subtract a tasty beverage, a favorite musical instrument or article of clothing. Leave the posing guide and glass smiles for the posers and just snap when the moment calls.
On this particular day I had my buddy Frank from the New Brunswick’s Holy City Zoo stop in after work. I met Frank and the band around the same time I started my music blog United By Rocket Science in the Spring of 2011. Since then we’ve formed somewhat of a mutual admiration society. His band has been featured on the blog numerous times. He’s also served us well as a contributor from time to time. Needless to say, I count him as a friend.
Like many of the musicians I’ve met through doing the blog. Frank represents somewhat of a paradox. A complete animal on stage. Frank is intelligent, laid back and soft spoken in person. As we began our session, Frank sheepishly asked “What do I do?” “Nothing” I replied. It was just a chance for me to get to know him a little better than I already do. Most of the people and friends I ask to shoot are ones I rarely get to really talk to in an intimate setting. I see them at bars, shows and on the stage. These sessions allow me to speak the best was I know how. Getting to know the people who make the music I love is a pretty special opportunity. Thanks Frank.
If you’ve been following my recent posts you’ll know I’ve been dragging my favorite musicians out from behind their instruments of choice and putting them in front of my camera. Anthony Arena, the drummer for New Jersey’s dynamic rock n’ roll duo The Undergrounds. Anthony, much like his band, is somewhat of a throwback to a better time. After seeing The Undergrounds live a number of times and interviewing them for my old web zine Unite. I thought about offering my services to the band but never really approached the subject. So when the idea for this project came about, Anthony almost immediately came to mind.
When Anthony arrived we got right down to business. My approach was to keep it simple. Like I had mentioned before, I really liked Anthony’s throw back kinda persona and look. I wanted to capture that while keeping things relaxed and low key. We talked about the blues, our favorite drummers and bonded over our mutual love for Jimi Hendrix while listening to “Are You Experienced?” It was a short session but one that allowed me to capture some cool images for my project and get to know someone who’s music got me listening to The Sonics again.
When asking local musician and all around cool chick Cindi Merklee to participate in my mission to get some studio time with my favorite local musicians, it wasn’t without some trepidation. Though I had seen her former band The 65’s a number of times, shared many mutual friends and had a few casual encounters at shows. We never really went past more than a few back and fourths on Facebook.
After meeting around the corner at L&J’s we headed upstairs to begin our session. Whatever shyness or nervous knots I might have had prior to meeting Cindi quickly dissipated as we began to talk. We talked and listened to The Replacement’s “Let it Be” while talking about our musical idols. In between the laughing and all out silliness, I managed to take some pictures. Though I had a blueprint for the shots I wanted and the look I wanted to convey. None of it really mattered in the end. I made the most of my time getting to know Cindi. Listening to her stories while sharing my own.
Cindi was a real pleasure to work with and above all, get to know. She re-enforced my belief that beauty has many layers and levels. Thanks for your time Cindi.