Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Concert for Newtown Details

These are the front pages that ran last week, featuring my photographs from the Concert for Newtown. To read the entire story and look at the full set of pictures, click here.  Remember that unique page views to that site help me out. The editors will see that people like to look at concert photography and that will get me more assignments. So thanks in advance!

I haven't spoken about my thoughts on Newtown, mostly because it was something that for me, happened very close to home. The newspapers I work for don't cover Newtown, but so much of it effected the towns that we do cover. Grandparents and parents of the children that lost their lives reside in our towns. One of the teachers, Victoria Soto, that died protecting her students was from Stratford, the town next to the one I live in. There are so many people in my life that are teachers, friends and relatives. My mother worked in an elementary school. My nephew is the age of the children that were killed. It was just too much for me to think about.

At times of great tragedy and sorrow, a lot of people turn to their art to find a way through it. That wasn't the case for me. I couldn't go and cover any of the vigils. It didn't seem right to me. I'm not even going to get started on the media frenzy that followed. To me, there are just some things that don't need to be photographed.

When I found out that there was going to be a concert, organized by young musicians, I offered to take the assignment. I was deeply touched by the strength and amazing talent of these young people. To hear an 11 year old play piano and sing an original song, to see a 13 year old not only play the blues but feel it, witnessing a cello trio pounding on their instruments as if they were percussion and being able to photograph it was amazing. A parent came up to me before the show and asked me the question every single human being asks a person with a large camera: "So, you're taking pictures, huh?" I nodded with a smile and held back the snarky comment, "Naw, I just like lugging this thing around for an upper body workout." He followed up with, "Not all that much fun on a Saturday night though, is it?" I smiled wider at that and replied, "Well, it's no Radio City Music Hall, but it's a concert and I'm happy to be here." I didn't wait to see his reaction. I was and always am happy to share my talent, especially in a case like this. I wanted these kids to get the same amount of recognition as any of the artists I am fortunate enough to cover.

Besides the typical shots, I had the opportunity to play around with some details. As my confidence builds, my creativity comes out. My favorite shot of the night is the detail above, where I captured the multiple broken bow strings whipping around.

I adore reflection shots. I've been wanting to take this shot pretty much every time I see a piano player. I haven't until now because it's very hard to move around enough in a photo pit when my focus is on making sure I get shots of the piano player's face. Pianists are really tricky to photograph. There was no pressure on me at this shoot, so I was able to take a lot of fun details that normally escape me.

The guitar detail of 13 year old Bobby Paltauf caught me by surprise. I actually didn't notice it at the time I was shooting. He moved around on the stage a lot and the microphones kept blocking his face. Make sure you look at the photo gallery online to be able to see just how young he is; he isn't even as tall as the microphone stands!

If you're still looking for a way to help the people of Newtown, the performers set up a donation website. The proceeds are going to the CT PTSA Sandy Hook Fund. I've made the link really big so you can't miss it:

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