Friday, January 18, 2013

Part of the Fun

One of the band members, doing a little Burlesque routine. Very well done and one of the few times I had too much reach with my lens (needed the 50mm on my camera) but didn't want to lose any shots by trying to switch lenses in the dark.


The girl on the left, with the green wrist band, was part of the audience, pulled on stage to help play out a scene. Not sure if this was rehearsed or not, but she played the part rather well. It's always nice to see bands interact with their fans, far too many bands that I shoot, don't do that, and it really lends something to the concert when they do.


I missed what this scene was about, but it was clear that Death was behind her, picking her up and lifting her away from all her earthly troubles. Little too much red for my tastes, but not much I could do about that, the scene required it.


According to Wikipedia, Emilie has had a very rough life, and uses her music to excise the demons. She's a very brave girl for putting her personal problems out there in front of strangers, for all to see and hear. You can see the emotions play across her face in this shot, she was singing about her time in a mental ward, and the difficulties of getting out of there intact.


I have to give a special thanks to the venue, for letting me in areas normally off limits. Unlike the metal shows I've been to, where the crowd will shift position and allow me in for some shots, Emilie's fans were firmly rooted in one spot, and I couldn't get anywhere near the stage for love nor money.
Fortunately I had my 80-200mm with me and it could do a pretty good job of getting in close. Still had some tall audience members to deal with, but all part of the charm(?) of shooting live.


Her show consisted of 3 performers, Ms. Autumn, and two helpers, done in several parts with lots of costume changes in between. Spoons are very popular in the latter half of the show, and there are reasons for their use, but being exposed to Ms. Autumn's stage show for the first time, I'm not certain what their significance is. 
The music is pre-recorded, and Emilie sings along with it, the only instrument on stage was a keyboard, used for the encores. Emilie is hell on wheels with an electric violin, but for whatever reason, didn't use it this time around. 

Emilie Autumn

This, ladies and gentlemen, is Emilie Autumn. She came to my town and was kind enough to let me photograph her in concert. I was nervous about it for a few reasons:
(one) It was at the local metal venue, which meant all red lighting.
(two) I didn't know her music.

Let me explain these two issues:
With (one) All red is great (ish) for death metal and long haired wild eyed thrashers, if push comes to shove I could convert to B/W and call it "artistic." But with the lovely Ms. Autumn, B/W will wipe out some of her elaborate outfits,and the red will kill her beauty.
And with (two) I didn't know what kind of stage show I'd be in for. Youtube wasn't giving me much to go on.

So I researched using flash at a concert (a great big no-no) and some other options (all equally out for various reasons) and having no luck, resigned myself to doing the best I can. When I got to the event, I found out the show was going to use their own personal lighting guy, and some of the horrible red filters had been removed. 
I grew hopeful, and when the show started and white lights appeared, I knew I was in for some special pictures. As it turned out, the show was fantastic, and I urge you, my dear readers, if you have any love for concert going at all, to catch her live. Her show is best described as a cross between a Cabaret and Rocky Horror Picture Show. Full of laughter and tears, stage antics and audience participation.
I got so many wonderful shots, that I'm having a hard time chucking any. Regardless, I'm posting some of my favourite ones here for you.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Things I Should Have Learned By Now

“The personal, as everyone’s so fond of saying, is political. So if some idiot politician, some power player, tries to execute policies that harm you or those you care about, take it personally. 
Get angry. 
The Machinery of Justice will not serve you here – it is slow and cold, and it is theirs, hardware and soft-. Only the little people suffer at the hands of Justice; the creatures of power slide from under it with a wink and a grin. If you want justice, you will have to claw it from them. Make it personal. Do as much damage as you can. Get your message across. That way, you stand a better chance of being taken seriously next time. 
Of being considered dangerous. 
And make no mistake about this: being taken seriously, being considered dangerous marks the difference - the only difference in their eyes - between players and little people. Players they will make deals with. Little people they liquidate. And time and again they cream your liquidation, your displacement, your torture and brutal execution with the ultimate insult that it’s just business, it’s politics, it’s the way of the world, it’s a tough life and that it’s nothing personal. Well, to hell with them. 
Make it personal."

A quote, by a fictitious revolutionary. But it's a good quote, and although I keep politics, and religion, and my own non-photography related opinions off the journal, this one bears repeating. It's relevant and worth committing to memory.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Promise

This is Steve, from the awesome band, Play Dead. I promised his some time ago I'd get good shots of him (sooner or later!) and with the good lighting at the dive, I did.
So, Steve, promise kept!

Beauty and the Beast

This is Meredith Bell, from Pennsylvania. Her bass player was a little over eager for the show, and broke his strap, forcing him to play sitting down, or in other odd positions. Here is Mrs. Bell comforting him.
If you get a chance, look her up, she's got a heck of a set of lungs on her.

So Nice

One thing I did encounter there, which I wasn't expecting, was cigarette smoke. I thought all bars here in this area had gone smoke free, but I guess I was wrong. With all the heavy smoke in the air, lightbeams started to show, which added to the pics. Downside was it took a week to air out my jacket, but it was worth.

A Different Venue

So my trusty gf spots some of the bands we like to shoot, are going to be at a new place. Some small dive way off the beaten path. Well, sure, can't be any worse than where we've been already, so let's go.
To our utter amazement, it's a small dive sure, with a huge lighting rig. I don't know who set it up, but sent some serious cash on the set up. The lights can change colours, I think some of them can move, they got them front mounted and rear mounted, and shock of shocks, white lights too!
It was heaven to shoot there, I could dip down to ISO800, and even get away with f/2.8 for some of the shots. So thanks to the venue for investing the cash, thanks to the bands for inviting us, and thanks to my girly for finding the place!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Set Look

Flannel and Justin Bieber haircuts were the order of the day. The doors had opened at 7pm, and already a band was playing (this one.) It's got to be tough being the opening act, but by the time we'd got in the door, it was already full, and the crowd seemed to enjoy the band. 
We are going back to this venue, just as soon as we can.

A Nice Diversion

In the metal world, female musicians are a rarity. Apparently not so in the pop punk world. The guitarist here is from a local band called "We Call This Courage" and was very good at her job, if a tad shy, but it was her first time on stage, so, understandable. I like the venue, they have much better lighting, shame not much metal comes through that place.

Now I'm Down In It

This band wasn't the headliner, but put on one heck of an interactive show, singing to the fans, getting them involved, and so forth. I really wanted a front shot of the band and singer, but you can see the crowd here I was working with, so that was pretty much right out. Side shots only for them.

Yup, Still Doing It

I have been dragging my poor girlfriend out to metal shows for photography, and of course the poor thing doesn't like metal, so in an effort to balance things out, I let her pick the next show.
Enter: Pop Punk.
There were a few things different here, one, it was *massively* crowded, standing room only crowded. This city has a much larger affinity for pop punk than it does for metal.
Two, the lighting was better (well, that's a relative term) but it did allow me to shoot at ISO 800, rather than 1600 or 3200.
Three, most of the people at the show were underage girls. I had a difficult time getting anywhere near the stage, so I had to get creative about shooting. Here for example, I was squished in behind (or in front of, depending on your POV) a set of speakers. This is the guitarist from the band Car Party. The music was pleasant, if not my style.