“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.

Two Record Stores, Three Classic Titles.

Though most of my friends and family know. I’ve rarely shared my passion for music or vinyl records on this log very often. Having sold all of my original collection of LP’s, EP’s and cassettes on Ebay in the months prior to my initial three week trip to Japan in 2001. I soon learned that my choice to do so, might have been a bad one. Though having just about everything I sold on CD’s or CDR’s. I did not think that the crates of records and boxes of cassettes would be missed. I later found that my decision might have been a hasty one.

Starting only a few years ago. I slowly started to purchase and collect vinyl again. Since that time, I’ve managed to recollect most of the records I originally owned and sold. I’ve also eclipsed the original size of what I once thought of as too many records. I’m at a point now where I’ve become a bit more selective with what I buy, often reminding myself that I’m getting older and will someday have to pack them up and move. Still, my obsession and my wife’s support of my weekly trips to various vinyl record outlets doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.

Shameless Self Promotion

For some time now, i’ve been meaning to share my music column with this blog’s readers. I started writing as a kid and wrote my first published article from my hospital Printablebed at the age of twelve. I started and published my first music print fanzine when I was sixteen and well, the rest is history. Back in 2016, as a music blog I co-created was coming to and end. I was offered my own column writing for a website that I was a major fan of since it’s print days. I’ve headed up the column for a year now, writing reviews and doing interviews. Having my own column has given me the opportunity to expand my taste in music, reach out to and engage people who have inspired me with their art and even given me the courage to start writing my own stories. Below is a link to my column, as well as some of my recent interviews for the site.

 

United By James

An interview with John Lisa (Seeper/Serpico)

An interview with Peter Horvath (GreyHouse / The Anderson Council

An interview with Joe Gorelick (The Hasbros, Red Hare, Garden Variety)

An interview with Fair Panic’s Torry Anne Daines

Brooklyn’s Cinema Cinema Help Me Embark on a New Project

This week I took it upon myself to start a new photo project. Take the bands and musicians that inspire me and invite them over for a session and do my best to take the band photo out of the box. Take the band out of it’s normal comfort zone (the stage, the studio) and do something more creative than lining them up against a wall as if they were about to face a firing squad. To start my project on the best note possible, I got in touch with Brooklyn’s experimental noise rockers Cinema Cinema.

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Paul Claro and Ev Gold – Cinema Cinema

I first met Ev (Guitar/Vocals) and Paul (Drums) during a local music festival in 2011. To be cuttingly honest, their performance that night scared the freaking Bajeezus out of me. It was intense. I mean, like a roller coaster ride through the seventh layer of hell intense. Since then Ev and Paul have been featured on my music blog numerous times in record and show reviews, an interview and even as contributors. Needless to say, we’ve become good friends. The guys arrived on time and though it was a short set. I never felt as if we were rushing through the shots.      I had specific ideas not only were they were they on board. They helped me steer the ship. We drank dirty water, listened to Fugazi and got some memorable images that will serve as the groundwork for what I hope will be an ongoing  series. I really can’t say enough about Ev or Paul. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Ev
“The World is Yours” Ev Gold – Cinema Cinema
Cinema Cinema-3
Cinema Cinema “See No Evil”
Paul Claro - Cinema Cinema
Paul Claro – Cinema Cinema

Launching New Music Site with Wix

After months of toiling and tweaking I’ve launched a new WIX  site that focuses on my music photography. It features live and studio work with numerous bands and musicians. Be sure to stop by and visit. Thanks

http://unitedbyjames.wix.com/damionphotomusic#!home/mainPage

LampLighter Magazine Makes Yours Truly Their Cover Story

When I was originally contacted to be interviewed for the premier issue of Lamplighter Magazine I was more than pleased to be involved. I had known Patrick and Nadia (the magazines Editor in Chief and Director of Social Media) for a few months and respected their hard work in what they were attempting and had already achieved. Despite all my blogging and internet shenanigans I have a great deal of fondness for print media. The interview was very professionally done and I was really impressed with the questions their writer Laety Maireville asked. I was however freaked out a bit when Patrick told me that the interview, along with my seldom photographed self was going to be the cover story.

Throughout my history as a writer and photographer I’ve interviewed countless bands and artists. Yet it’s very seldom when the tables are turned and the focus on my life or work is the topic of interest. Being behind the scenes is something I find comfort in. As the cover of the magazine shows, I’ve always been uncomfortable in front of the camera. Always feeling that work and art should be my calling card. Getting my work out there, being able to share and expand my audience is important to me. I’ve felt comfortable and confident in my work for a while now and getting a little credit for it is a really special feeling. I’m humbled and grateful to be a part of Lamplighter and hope to be a consistent contributor to the magazine in the future. For now, I’m going to bask in the glory of my own five minutes of fame.

Extra special thanks to bruno bruyes of New York Newsday for taking time from his very busy schedule to photograph me.

“Cool Shirt Bro” Part II

Following up on my February 22nd post “Cool Shirt Bro”, I’ve been hard at work (not really) documenting my collection of Rock T’s by having some of my beautiful model friends adorn them for me. Since that time I’ve managed to pick up a shirt or two which will allow me to keep up with this beautiful idea. In the process I’ve had some notable weight loss due to my vegetarian diet and healthy lifestyle. Who knows, “Cool Shirt Bro” part III just might feature a a dashingly handsome yours truly in front of the camera. One can only hope. Until then, keep those shirts coming and keep on Rockin’.