Peaking Lights at The Echoplex
One of the biggest challenges I’ve found in shooting live music, is shooting electronic artists. Usually it’s one or two people hunched over a laptop or keyboards AND it’s usually REAL DARK. The goal is to try and make each shot as visually interesting as the music that is being played, and I think with the Peaking Lights performance I managed to do so.
Dilated Peoples at The Greek Theatre
Jurassic 5 at The Greek Theatre
This last weekend, I got to shoot the mighty Jurassic 5 at The Greek Theatre in Griffith Park. To say I was excited to shoot them would be an understatement of epic proportions. Out of the many times that I’ve seen them play over the last 15+ years, I had never had the opportunity to photograph them. Sure I got to record them a few years back and then I got to record Chali 2na for his solo album, but I never stole their souls! This was also my first time shooting at The Greek, which I have been wanting to do for quite a while. It was a bit of a challenge as the photo pit is pretty tight AND there were a TON of other photographers, so moving around was pretty much impossible when it came time for J5 to hit the stage. This was ok as I was able to lock down my spot, right in the dead center of the stage. I really would’ve liked to have been able to move around, but everybody was so tightly squeezed in there, moving just was not an option. I’m fairly pleased with what I was able to capture, I just could’ve really used a wider angle lens to get them all in the shot. All for all, it was a great show and J5 was as tight as ever.
Jesus Sons at The Echo
Isaac Roth and The Phantoms at The Echo
The Lions at The Echoplex
Zvuloon Dub System at The Echoplex
White Sea at The Bootleg Hifi
Dear lord, I hate shooting at the Bootleg. While it can be a cool place to see a show, it’s the worst to shoot at. The lighting is HORRIFIC and the stage layout can be really funky at times. Oh well. This was a fun show though.
Adrian Sherwood at The Echoplex
Promo photos for a new artist, Sheila.
Talib Kweli at The Echoplex
Shot for Grimy Goods. See the full set HERE!
Thank Baby Jesus I was the first one in for this show. By the time I got in and put pee in the toilet, people had nearly crowded the whole front of the stage. I wish the Echoplex hadn’t got rid of the photo pit, I like to shoot from different angles sometimes (ALL THE TIMES).
The Vitals at The Silverlake Lounge
The Vitals have to be one of my most favorite local bands right now. Their energy and chemistry is off the charts and it’s been my quest to properly capture that energy in a single photograph. While I think that I have been close a few times, I still haven’t fulfilled my destiny. I WILL do it at some point, I HAVE TO.
Recently, I’ve been able to get back to one of my first loves, shooting bands in the studio. The first 3 photos are of The Vitals during their recent session at Palmquist Studios in East L.A. The Vitals spent 3 days recording their new EP and I was lucky enough to be able to come in on the last day to grab a few shots. The last 3 photos are of Toronto based band, Sons of Revelry. These guys won the Uproar Festival/Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands last year and a part of their prize was to come to LA and make a record with my boss at the studio I manage. I hadn’t really done much photography in the studio recently so I was definitely stoked to be able to spend some time with some really talented musicians. I’m a sucker for behind-the-scenes/documentary photography regardless of the industry, but as I’ve been working in the music industry as a recording engineer/producer/studio manager for the last 13 years, the studio environment is one that I can relate to intimately. I would even go out on a limb and say that I enjoy shooting bands in the studio more than live performances.
When I first started to get serious about photography, I was working in the studio with engineer, Eddie Kramer. Not only has Mr. Kramer engineered some of the most influential records ever made, he also documented the process. He had loaned the studio a bunch of his photos to be displayed throughout the place. These were an intimate look into the making of some of the greatest records made by artists like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Buddy Miles, Frank Zappa, etc. I would get lost in these frozen moments, imagining what it would be like to sit behind the glass during these legendary sessions. From here on, it was a natural progression for me to combine my two loves, audio and photography. Not only could I document a band sonically, I could document a band visually as well.
For all the bands that I have ever worked with, the recording process is a sacred process. This is where the artist lets their guard down, free from the pressures of entertaining, and really focusing on what they do best. For most bands, they have been on the road for most of the year, so getting into the studio is a very welcome relief. When shooting a band during the recording of an album, you need to be patient, VERY PATIENT. It’s not unusual to spend hours working on guitars for one song. If you’re ever in the position where you can photograph a band in the studio, there’s a few rules that I would suggest following:
• Be a fly on the wall. Sit back, let the artists work, don’t interject anything. There’s already the band, a producer, an engineer, management, etc that all have opinions so the last thing they need is another cook in the kitchen. Tensions can be high while bands work and the most distracting thing for them is to have somebody jamming a camera in their face.
• Be aware that when you are in the live room with a band while they’re recording, the microphones pick up EVERYTHING. Yes, this means the shutter of your camera, the foot steps and squeaks of your shoes as you try to cross the room. Every little throat clear or cough. While it may be ok for a band member to mess up a take, trust me, you do not want to be the one responsible for ruining a take or distracting the band.
• Just like concert photography, one must follow the no-flash rule. Talk about distracting! This is a good time to break out your super fast prime lenses, as a lot of the times bands want to vibe it out, keeping it dark and moody.
• Wide angle shots are awesome in the studio. Personally, I love getting a sense of the space, seeing the mess of gear and cables.
Jack White at The Mayan
Last night I was lucky enough to be one of 5 photographers to shoot the Jack White show at The Mayan Theater. I was originally scheduled to shoot the Tuesday night show at The Fonda but there was a bit of miscommunication and I was not able to get in. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise when I later found out that the photographers were shooting from FOH and not the photo pit. This would’ve been a problem as I don’t have a lens long enough for that distance. Luckily, when I received word yesterday morning that I was approved to shoot the Mayan show, they gave me the heads up that we would be shooting from FOH and I would need to make sure I had a long lens. I ended up renting a 70-200mm for the night and that lens ended up saving my ass. When we were escorted in to shoot, they ended up putting us on a ramp to the side of the stage which really limited the angles but wasn’t as far back as FOH.
Jack put on an amazing performance (at least for the first 3 songs!) and his band was incredible. This was the first time seeing Jack White and now I know why his tickets sell out in record times and end up costing over $300 on ticket scalping sites. While I may not like ALL of his music, I can definitely respect what he does and he’s destined to be remembered as one of the greats.
tUnE-yArDs at The Fonda
I wasn’t terribly familiar with tUnE-yArDs, just a couple of songs really, but they sure do know how to put on a great live show. I was a bit worried about the stage plot as there’s a lot of mic stands and gear that one needs to shoot around. I’m fairly pleased with what I got, but I still didn’t get that one shot. Oh well… maybe next time.