Thursday, August 27, 2009


I have done a TON of music photography. The thing is, I rarely ever actually make edits of the pictures that I take. I think that the dilemma is that I take soooo many pictures, but most of the time they are all relatively similar. It is so easy to have this problem when photographing bands live. They are, for the most part, confined to a stage in which they sit upon, or pace back and forth on, maybe if you are lucky dance/jump around on. The shows I usually go to are not high budget groups, they have no pyrotechnics and giant teddy bears that rampage the stage and eat band members or what have you. The shows I attend are usually local or don't have a crazy huge fan base, there fore they have less money and as a result they don't really have many options as far as stage presentation / presence go. I do not blame the musicians for this dilemma, I believe they do what they can with what they have, and for the most part, put on a very satisying show. I do the best I can to vary the angles, the focus and surrounding details, but sometimes its just difficult to provie a range. It's really the elements of what is going around the band that make the picture. The way the stage looks, the people in the crowd, the groupies, the lights, etc.
With live band photography, it's all about capturing a very specific moment. A moment where you can tell that it was a very intense part in the song, or a very emotional part in the song. Capture that one expression on their face that says everything about what they are saying, even though you can't hear the words. Also capturing the movement of the hands is very telling. You can tell what chord the guitarist is playing, the symbol crashing, the keyboardist pausing, the singer breathing deep, etc. The goal is just to portray the performance as honestly as possible. You wouldn't go to a nine inch nails concert and take pictures that made them look very serene, that just doesn't make any sense! :)
Showing the expressions of audiences members can also be very telling.
The band in the pictures above is the band I have worked with the most. I shot a ton of their live shows as well as some of their promotional shots. Their promotional shots are all on my external so I shall get those up as soon as possible.

I also did the cover art for their first album. As well as a photography I do a lot of art and design. We are all from Manhattan KS and right outside of Manhattan is a military base. It is a pretty old military base and they used to test nuclear canons out there. So on the top of this huge hill right outside of fort riley is this huge expired nuclear canon. I think they really wanted to use that on their album cover because it was a solid marker of where we come from. I orginally went out and took some shots of the canon with some expired poloroid film [ I will try to put those up later as well] and also some with my digital camera. The ones with the expired poloaroid looked awesome, they looked as if they were taken when the camera was still active and have since then deterioated. If you can get a hold of expired polaroid film USE IT, it is amazing, but make sure you save it for something really worth while. We ended up not using the poloaroids. After I took the digital pictures I printed a few out and drew over them with ball point pen and permanent marker to make it look more stylized.
That is what they used for the cover. For the back I used a similar technique, but instead I used a picture from one of their live shows.
I was very satisfied with how the album turned out, and I think at the end of the day, the boys really liked it.

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