Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Band photos: Missed it by *that* much.

Low Water, originally uploaded by LBSphoto.
Well, actually I missed it by a country mile. I, like just about everyone with a photography blog, use this space to show off (what I consider) my better work. But not this time, oh no. This time you’re getting a Crap-Fest. More after the jump…

I’ve mentioned before my friend Chief. He and I have been friends since the 2nd grade – which is longer than a lot of people have been skipping around this planet. He’s one of those people that’s ridiculously gifted, pretty much excelling at whatever he does. You know, the kind of person that you would absolutely despise if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s so great a guy. He’s the best photographer I personally know. He’s won an Emmy for video editing. He’s a kick-ass musician; funny as the day is long. Basically, the guy’s a real jerk.

Chief lives in NYC and is in an indie band called Low Water. The band is just about to release their next album and are on a little mini-tour to get things rolling. One of the stops was here in Pittsburgh; so Chief, the band, and I got to spend some time together shooting the shite and shooting some photos. What could be better? What could possibly go wrong?

For starters, after two plus weeks of gorgeous fall weather we get a weekend of, well, not. Cold, windy; that spattering rain where it’s not really raining but it is. All weekend long. Great. I had loaded all my gear into the car, but the wind meant that putting any kind of modifiers on any of my flashes would be the equivalent of just, you know, taking them in my hand and smashing them on the ground. Ok, bare flash it is.

But as much as I’d love to tell you some story about gear going bad in the field, that wasn’t the real problem. No, in this case the only malfunction was with the photographer. See, while I haven’t shot many bands, I absolutely agree with Arias’ Rule # 1: Thou shall not shoot bands against brick walls. Or, as it’s known in the general parlance: Dicks on bricks. Well, while I wasn’t going to do that – I sure found many new and interesting ways to shoot the exact same picture just with different backgrounds.

I’ve got four guys, and they all have to be in the picture. They all have to be facing, you know, the lens. It has to be and interesting image. You’ve got to be able to put it on a poster and get peoples attention. Above all, they can’t look like indie jerks.

I was like a man chasing his hat in the wind. Nothing I shot looked like I thought it would. Change a light, change a lens, change a location. Zip. Nadda. Fail fail fail.

I don’t write all that as a backhanded way of fishing for complements. I know these aren’t bad pictures – it’s just that they in no way what-so-ever give you even a remotely accurate impression about who these guys really are. These are pictures, sure. But they are not portraits.

The Low Water boys were incredibly patient and kind about the whole thing. But, really, what can you do when every time the photographer takes a picture and looks at the view screen he immediately makes a face like he’s got a mouth full of sour milk. I’ll tell you what you do; you make jokes about the whole situation.

In the end I’m chalking it up to just one of those days. Some days you get the bear – other days you take a bunch of unsatisfying photos and want to murder your image-sensor. I’ll get you next time, Mr. Bond.

Oh, final note: Shooting bands against walls – it sometimes works!

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