Most of the for-hire work I do is shooting live music. Doing exactly that can get pretty mind-numbing, so after a while, I started trying to get more intimate shots before, during, and after the shows.
After a while, I realized that these are mostly my favorite parts of the night—anybody can take a picture of what the band is intentionally putting on stage, but getting them to be comfortable around you is a real challenge. The logistics alone can be tough: it’s mostly smooth-talking whoever is between myself and the band, and then also attaching the bulkiest equipment to my camera to make it look like I’m supposed to be there. Of course, you don’t want to get Uncle Phil’ed, but you also don’t want the mask of the group’s stage persona, you want something more personal to come through. My aim is to be a fly on the wall, and find the good moments that most people don’t get to see.
Anyway, these photos are often pretty mundane to the band. But that metamorphosis from sweaty green room to showtime is the most interesting part of any act to me—whether it’s an opener here in a Brooklyn basement, or a headliner at Hammerstein Ballroom. – Erik Erikson