For most of the 1990’s, I knew nothing about photography. My teenage passion was for the rambunctious grunge guitar rock that, for a seemingly forgotten time, succeeded in knocking overproduced songs about consumerism off of the pop music charts. The raw, distorted and fuzzy guitar assault of Veruca Salt goddess Louise Post could be strikingly …
Yes I do! But maybe not in the way you might think! A couple of years ago, I had the chance to post an essay on one of my visits to an extermination camp in these very pages. I reviewed the article today and am blessed to find new comments that are heartwarming. I thank all of the people who actually took the time the post a comment. Thank you guys!
Though I’ve largely ploughed my creative furrow in street photography, I got my all-important start in being paid to photograph by shooting gigs on the Glasgow and Edinburgh music scenes. Having come to photography from running an underachieving little indie label, it was a natural shift to slide across to shooting the gigs I was no longer performing or promoting. It didn’t hurt that I had a wee black book lousy with contacts to smooth the obstacle-strewn way to photo-passes.
Blues legend B. B. King came to my town, Hamilton, Canada in 1983 to play at what was then called Hamilton Place. What that venue lacked in architectural character it more than made up for in its excellent acoustics. Being a medium sized city, we didn’t attract many big acts. B. B. playing in our town was a pretty big deal. He was at the height of his talent and popularity. He’d recorded his famous “The Thrill Is Gone” about 14 years prior. It became his signature tune and a Blues classic. (B. B. was still in fine form when I saw him 20 years later in the same venue.)
I might say, pushing the boundaries of film in this case is more like returning to its roots.
When rock ‘n roll and hard bop burst through the famed and now widely regarded as the golden age of music, that is, 50s-70s, the highest ISO film available was around 400-1000 (B&W of course). It’s difficult to think this level of light sensitivity would be enough to capture musicians in their element, when one could assume live music = low-light. And yet some of the greatest concert photography I’ve ever seen were shot on these (now broadly perceived as general purpose) B&W film stocks, particularly Tri-X.