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.
Over the weekend, my wife and I drove south for our first ever trip to Olympia. Aside from all the rain I became increasingly excited when I began seeing signs bearing the name “Sleater Kinney Road.” Being that a fairly recent vinyl reissue of the bands work has not only reintroduced, but enamored me to the band’s recorded history. I couldn’t help but imagine seeing Corin, Carrie and Janet seeking shelter under the nearest bus stop canopy. “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” I thought. After securing a parking spot. We headed over to the Capitol Theatre to get a glimpse at the historic building before crossing over to Burial Grounds for a hot cup of coffee. From there we dodged the rain drops and found an awesome book store to explore Browser Books before heading a few blocks over for some excellent pizza and 80’s eye candy at a place appropriately called Old School Pizzeria. As we drove home in the rain. We agreed on what a good idea our little road trip was. Adding that we both looked forward to returning on a warmer, perhaps dryer day. I noted how it seemed we were only there for a quick hour or so. That’s when she reminded me of the two hours we spent digging in Rainy Day Records. With all the time I spend going to record stores. I can honestly say, Rainy Days stock, prices and staff are all pretty awesome. I can’t wait to return with a thorough list and a few more hours to dig at Rainy Day Records
Below are the two records I picked up. “Why two?” you ask. Well, shopping for records when your wife is standing just a few feet away. Isn’t the same as shopping for records when your wife is a few zip codes away.
If you took time to read my July 21st post “A New Beginning” Here . You’d know I’m taking steps towards what I hope to be a new chapter in my studio and promotional work. In reaching out to the many friends I’ve made over the years as a photographer and music blogger. I hope to bring bands and musicians out of the comfort zones or the clubs, stages and recording studios and into my world to capture edgy studio and location images. Having had both my live and studio images appear in magazines, music media sites, record covers and inlets. I hope to build on my reputation and continue to earn the trust I’ve worked so hard to earn. With the studio and post production skills I’ve both learned and applied. I feel I can offer artists the professional and creative edge that will best represent their art and distinct personalities without feeling posed, forced or inauthentic. So, whether you’re a musican, artist, band, record label or creative spirit looking for images that best represent you. Reach out, we’ll put our ideas together and create something special.
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.
On January 2nd my buddy Chris and I decided to brave the below freezing temperature and ring in 2010 with some live music. Cold, hungry and thirsty we gassed up the Civic and headed to Dingbatz in Clifton for (in particular)Joe Coffee and a host others. As usual we arrived early so we grabbed a couple of seats at the bar and just watched as the people began to come in from the cold.
Let it be said that I have never been a big fan of Oi but 45 Adapters (great name btw)were an eye opener. Good on the ears and a great stage presence. Their singer had the crowd dancing and singing along. They were a definite crowd pleaser. They brought a following with them and definitely left with some new fans.
Next up were another NY band Step to Far. I remember meeting their singer Frank in the 90’s down at CBGB’s. He was always a familiar face and a friend on the scene. On this particular night he was doubling on sound while also fronting his band. Step 2 Far brought some gold old NYHC to Jersey on this particular night. Just in case those Jersey kids forgot who was runnin’ shit. Nice seeing Frank. It’s been a while now. Maybe since the closing of CBGB’s.
By the time Joe Coffee took the stage I was a bit snoggered but steady on my feet. As Paul and the band took the stage I felt a slight crack in the concrete as the world seemed to shift on it’s axis. I had not witnessed Paul Bearer’s greatness since his days fronting Sheer Terror but have had Joe Coffee’s “As bright as the stars we’re under” on heavy rotation for some time now. Needless to say the man is an ominous, dark anti-hero. Yet he still has this “favorite yet oft hidden uncle meets W.C. Fields” quality. With all that said Joe Coffee is a band to be reckoned with. Mixing so many different styles. Call them Punk. Call them Hardcore. But I’d best describe them as brutally honest Rock n’ Roll. In between songs Paul went on lengthy rants while drinking a bottle of gin. Brutally honest, spiked with humor, fueled by booze. I’m glad the years haven’t softened him.
Last and not least were the Hub City Stompers. I’ve been hearing about this band for quite some time now but finally got to see for myself what everyone was talking about.After the dark cloud (and I say this with great respect) that Joe Coffee brought. This band was definitely what the crowd needed to send the crowd home on a very high and positive high. The Hub City Stompers hailing from that great band factory New Brunswick keep that great Reggae/Ska/Oi beat going strong. Great musicianship and a contagious energy. They had the whole place showing love. I love a show when you have bands who bring different styles and moods. This was a really good example of it. I think all of the taste buds were refreshed with this one. It was good seeing a familiar face in Brian Macko and meeting the guys from the band Feet First. The ride back to Hoboken was an adventure and story in itself. Flirting with the Dunkin Donuts girl at 3:00 am and Chris’s Jack Daniel’s fused jibba jabba. One of those nights that reminds why live music will always be a special part of our lives.