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.
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.
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.
After attending a rather disappointing open house in the area. I had to navigate a number of side streets in order to get to the nearest interstate. The combination of hunger and resentment towards over priced real estate. My mindset seemed to be wandering through dark territory. That was until we came upon a cool little tattoo shop with a big ass tattoo mural on the backside of the building. The sight brought mindest back to a respectable level. With no hesitation, I stopped the car, grabbed my camera and jumped out of the for a quick capture. Before you know it, we wre back on the road in search of some much needed lunch.
When I decided to upgrade from the Canon 7D to the Canon’s 5D Mark III. It was strictly a business decision. One that would hopefully take my studio and event photography to the next level. Never once did I ever consider it becoming my everyday, every occasion camera. However, with my wife urging me to trade in the old model. I was left with little to no choice. So within a week of purchase and two studio sessions knocked out. I carefully took my fresh out the box Canon to a local music venue and shot some imaages of my favorite local and touring bands. With thec 5D not featuring a pop up flash like the 7D. I brought along my Canon 320 EX external flash and experimented with bouncing the light in different directions. The results were rewarding, to say the very least. Attempting and successfully working with a completely different set of tools felt amazing. As I’ve always felt somewhat of a sense of fear that I might fall short when trying to adapt to new things. Below is a sample of a shot I took of Shakusky’s Kira Mattheson. I’ve also included a like to one of my music sites where I’ve featured sets from each of the bands that played that night. Document Fanzine . Rock On.
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.
A few weeks back I had the chance to catch one of my favorite local bands Archie Alone play a free set at WPCS. The radio station was filled with energy, youth and one out of place old guy (me). As with any event of venue. The room presented it’s share of challenges when it came to shooting. A rather small room where I was inches from the band and cinderblock walls that returned a heavy shadow when I used my flash. Making it worse, I accidentally brought my 28-135 lens as opposed of my 15mm fisheye. After making a few adjustments and coming to the realization, I was just there to listen to some music. I managed to get some usable images of singer Nicole Mesce for an upcoming interview with the band. Though I’ve improved my overall clumsiness in recent years. I still manage to pull off boner moves such as not checking my camera bag on the way out. At least I made it home without losing my lens cap. Until the next time…