Tuesday, October 22, 2013

California X & Potty Mouth at Bar 10.02.13

My first show at Bar; what a disaster. I'm not talking performance wise, although that had its ups and downs as well. You should know by now that most times I'm referring to the lighting and my struggles at the majority of Connecticut venues. Bar takes the cake by far. The lighting "effects" cycle through horrific combinations, a star pattern and polka dots of various colors. While it gave me a couple of striking images, for the most part, it was visual overload. That was frustrating enough for me to deal with, then throw in the crowd for added consternation.

There was an opening band for the night, and I went back and forth whether or not to mention them at all in this write up. There are no pictures of Blessed State and that's because of their lead singer. He paced around in front of the stage, shouting in my face and throwing his elbow at my camera. After two seconds of that, my camera was packed up and put away. If you're going to be an idiot and flail your body at my camera, you're not getting pictures taken. End of story. Also, take a shower kid, because your BO was some of the worst I've ever had the misfortune of being forced to smell. I would also like to point out, that the same lead singer for Blessed State decided to jump in front of me during the second band's set. I got maybe 10 shots off before he very purposefully stood in front of me and blocked my view. So again, the camera went away. There was no room for me to move around because the other side of the stage decided to mosh and I'm not going to put myself in the middle of that.

I covered Potty Mouth at the Andrew WK show at Arch Street Tavern earlier in the year and I really enjoyed their set. The all female punk band from Massachusetts are young and have a great energy once they get going. Lead singer Abbey is a lot of fun to photograph with her silly faces, hair whips and smiles. There was a bit of drama over on Surviving the Golden Age's review about the malfunctioning equipment. I will say this: stopping your set is jarring and it really does disrupt the flow of the performance. I've seen it happen with other bands; Eytan and the Embassy's bass player had a bad sound set up at CMJ last year, and she let it dampen the mood of their entire set. Listen, we've all had things go wrong. I've been at shoots where my flashes have crapped out on me. Just this past weekend at a wedding, the main photographer I work with tripped and fell and broke a camera. Did she stop what she was doing, fiddle with her equipment and make a big deal out of it by letting the bride and groom know her camera was broken? No, she grabbed her back up camera and had me double shoot it. No one besides me knew the camera broke. Potty Mouth is a young band and they don't have the experience of handling missteps yet. Stopping the set was unsettling and the break did feel a bit long from my point of view. The main thing is that Abbey did bounce back with plenty of energy once the problem was fixed.

Eventually, even the light decided to cooperate with me and I managed to get a few decent shots. I'm in no hurry to return to Bar, free show or not.

California X

Potty Mouth


  1. clearly you've never been to a punk show.

  2. Blaming a musician have having a tough gig because they're having equipment problems is not the same as you having equipment problems. No one is there to watch "YOU" take pictures. Also, just taking a look at your pictures composition gives me the feeling that you are just getting into shooting bands. No one gives a shit that you don't like the stage lighting or band's movement on stage. You're supposed to be an OBJECTIVE party as a photographer and take pictures of SUBJECTS. You'll see that if you continue to do this, that extreme movement on stage is pretty typical in bands where the singer doesn't have an instrument. Dig your heels in, stop complaining, and get the job done.

  3. one of the most pathetic, narcissistic write-ups i have ever read. NONE OF THESE BANDS CARE ABOUT YOUR MEDIOCRE PHOTOGRAPHS AND NOBODY IS THERE TO WATCH YOU TAKE SAID PHOTOGRAPHS. also, try picking up an instrument and getting up in front of a bunch of people and playing a set, kid, because your sorry excuse for journalism and photography is some of the worst I've ever had the misfortune of reading or looking at.

  4. Lady, you are crazy for not being in a rush to return to BAR; do the words "mashed," "potato," and "pizza" mean anything to you?!?!?

  5. Thanks for the comments. I appreciate the fact that I get comments at all, and I'm open to constructive criticism that anyone wishes to bestow. That being said, I felt the need to address a few points.

    I will admit that I am not a musician, so I don't know what it takes to fix a problem on stage as it is happening. My mention of that in my original blog post was a statement of what happened, in my opinion. I did not mean to come across in a way that sounded harsh towards the band. I would like to restate my main point that I felt it disrupted the set. That's it. End of story. I did go on to praise Abbey's handling of it, which I was impressed with.

    I have no misconception about what my job is. No, I do not want people's attention to be focussed on me when I am photographing in general, and bands in particular. That is not my style. I am more of a photojournalist and I prefer to capture moments as they unfold without interruption from me. That is why I do not bring a flash with me to concerts; even in the smaller venues that would not complain if I used one. I do recall another photographer at Bar for this show using a flash and I personally feel that that is a huge distraction to the band AND the audience.

    Yes, I am relatively new to concert photography. I've been doing this in addition to my full time job for two years. I'm constantly learning and growing as a photographer. While my first experience at Bar definitely was not up to my standards, I've learned how to shoot around that light and still get some usable images. Feel free to take a look at these shots of Kindred Queer & Plants and Animals a few weeks later: http://bit.ly/19f0yrz. In addition to that, I would like to point out that I am more than capable of photographing musicians that move around quite a bit on the stage. I feel like my photos of Ume http://bit.ly/16mnx1q and Sugar Ray/Smash Mouth http://bit.ly/14Vgjlm show that.

    I would also like to direct you to Wikipedia's entry on Photography: "Photography (derived from the Greek photos- for "light" and -graphos for "drawing") is the art, science, and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film, or electronically by means of an image sensor." You might notice the word light in there. Photography is completely dependent on light, hence my comments on the issues of Bar, where there is not a lot of light.

    My goal of this blog, which I would like to point out is my own personal blog, is to show my growth over the years as a photographer. I find that there is little out there, especially for concert photographers, that documents this development. Typically, there are posts by photographers where they are bringing point and shoot cameras to a venue then they jump to shooting in photo pits in stadiums. I think it is important to show that it isn't all fun, that certain venues are more difficult to shoot in and I want other photographers to be able to learn from me. If you looked around at some of my other posts, you'd see that I also share camera and equipment tests, so other people can see my results.

    It's fine that you don't like my work. I'm fine with the fact that I don't care for a lot of the bands I've photographed this year. You don't always get to photograph what you love, but being able to produce images from something that does not appeal to you in tough conditions makes you better as well. That's what keeps me going and striving for more.


    If you don't care, why bother reading - and commenting - IN CAPS?

    Good Advice: "Also, just taking a look at your pictures [sic] composition gives me the feeling that you are just getting into shooting bands" then you suggest she just dig her heels in [sic].

    Please expand upon your vast knowledge of photo composition.