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.
I’ve been taking pictures at shows and concerts since I was sixteen. Somewhere along that long road I managed to get pretty good at it. More than anything, I find that I’ve learned from others. The list of shooters who have inspired me in both the past and present is pretty long. I won’t name names here since the list would be long and arduous. One thing I never see enough of is pictures of drummers. “Why Not?” I ask. I mean their the back beat of the band. Nothing happens without them dictating the pace. Sure, it might be a bit of a trick making your way on stage or reaching in from the side. However, most of us shoot or smaller venues or at least have a photo pass for the bigger ones. All it takes is a little initiative and some brass balls to make your way to the stage and slip into the background for a few shots of the timekeeper. Knowing the bands songs always helps in knowing when to shoot. If not, just it tight and follow those rhythms. Within a minute or two you’ll see and hear the pattern. Be patient and be ready. When the time comes to take your shot you’ll know it. Don’t get in the way and don’t over stay your welcome. From my own experience, they’ve (drummers/percussionists) have always been grateful to see you included them in the bands set. So go ahead, slide in.