I feel the need to address this because it’s becoming quite the trend for many people to strap on a camera, get a press pass to shoot a show, submit lackluster and passionless photo’s and reviews yet STILL get recognition when they don’t even give a shit about what they’re doing. Who keeps letting these people in?
I love music. I love metal. I love rock and roll. Country. Reggae. Punk. Hip Hop. Orchestra. Opera. Any kind of music… Whatever the case may be, call me an addict of music if you will. But each genre provides a different high. A different energy. Music lights up all parts of the brain and creates its own energy, its own gravity. Its own sense of belonging and breeds its own community. People feel so passionately about the bands that they love, they follow their every move, see every show, read every review, like every picture (bad ones and good ones), but my conundrum lies within the fact that if you’re going to call yourself a concert photographer and provide free press or paid press at least reserve some passion and heart for what you’re doing.
Great you got a photo pass. You take your 3 songs and you leave the show. You haven’t even ordered their CD, met them at the merch table, listened to their music, you don’t even know at least one of the band members names. You don’t wait in the freezing cold for hours in the back of the venue to wait for them to come out to get a pic or to get something signed, or just to hang out and get to know them as people. Even if I’m not always perfect about knowing who they all are, or I didn’t buy the last album, I still know somewhat of what I’m walking into. I do my research and I study my subjects. I stay for the entire show 99% of the time. It’s a rare event that I leave early and usually there’s a good reason. But why take your pics, leave the show and write some watered down garbage about what you didn’t witness?
For the bands, I try to make personal relationships with them. Know them as people, understand their passion for music. Understand what it means for them to sleep in cramped conditions, eat road food, be away from family and loved ones, go through the highs and lows of producing and making music while maintaining a relationship with each other to keep each other going through the ups and downs, arguments, disagreements, successes and failures, to sing every night on stage whether sick or exhausted just to have some ragtag press person there to not have as much heart in music as the musicians on stage.
Music is my therapy. My photo’s don’t always come out perfect, but you better damn well believe I care about what I do. Documenting music is to be in it, live in it, let it become a part of you.
Point blank, if you’re just photographing for ego and a sense of empowerment with no heart for what you’re doing for music, step down and make room for the rest of us that give a fuck. Thank you.