Webley, Palmer and Gaiman (aka Favorite Photo of 2011)


Throughout any given year I shoot thousands of photos, so when I was recently asked which one was my personal favorite of 2011, I had a difficult time answering. However, when thinking about it over a couple of days, the one above kept jumping out at me.

On 11-11-11 I documented Jason Webley‘s concert at The Moore in Seattle. That was where I caught this moment in time. Webley is talking about the virtues of love, while Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer sit together behind him, listening.

There is a love story there, and it starts with a look of genuine happiness on Jason Webley’s face, as he looks up into the light, sharing his joy with (and for) the audience. Amanda Palmer represents that audience to me, relaxed, attentive and having a good time, and Neil Gaiman ties the story together, looking down at his wife with complete adoration and a smile that says simply: “I Love You.”

There is enough intimacy in this photo, that I felt a little like a peeping tom as I put it through post processing, like I was crashing a private party. I actually had to remind myself that it was taken at a public event. That is why this is my favorite photo of 2011. It makes me feel like giving my wife a kiss, putting on some good music and take pleasure in the little things in life.

Click on the photo above to view a larger version.

Two Weekends of Live Performance Photography

Since Thanksgiving is upon us, I would like to share something I am thankful for. Recently I had the pleasure of photographing two very awesome and different shows, two weekends in a row. It was the first real work since Kelly had surgery. She is recovering nicely, but has since started follow-up treatment which comes with its own unpleasantires. Her prognosis is good and she is a trooper, and so the time was right for me to get back to work. I was nervous. I felt rusty, still shaken after a run-in with some paranoid private investigators who happened to be at a client’s place of business that I was photographing. Long story short, it had been a rough few months and I was in need of a break.

Jason Webley’s Night of Elevens

The first concert I shot was Jason Webley‘s 11-11-11 concert at The Moore theater. It came about through a question in a short e-mail: would I like to cover the concert, which was the culmination of a year of massive touring and over 200 gigs? Webley had invited a host of friends, performers and fellow musicians to drop in and add some flavor to the show. And what a fantastic show it was. So riveting at times that I had to put my camera down and just watch. Other times I caught myself doing just that, when I really ought to have been taking more photos.

I shot a few hundred frames that night, and for a moment forgot everything else in the world. There was just the work and the music. These are the kind of experiences I live for as a photographer, when you’re in the zone and the camera almost becomes an extension of your body. Also, it was great meeting one of my favorite authors – Neil Gaiman – with whom I also share a connection to…

A W00tstock Surprise!

Comedians Paul and Storm are half of the master minds behind the traveling geek fest that is w00tstock, and also the subject of my second photo shoot. Having photographed them twice before, returning to the Triple Door to shoot the Wil Wheaton vs. Paul and Storm show was something I had been looking forward to for a while. It was – as all w00tstock productions – a show with many friends involved as well, in this case they were co-hosting with Wil Wheaton (Star Trek the Next Generation), and were backed up by drummer Jason Finn (Presidents of the United States of America), Molly Lewis and John Roderick (The Long Winters). Oh, and apparently – me!

This is something I have definitely never done before as a photographer: early in the show, I was called out and introduced to the audience as the guy who’d be walking around on stage, taking pictures of the performers in action. Not in front of the stage, but on it! This was of course just as awesome and amazing as it sounds, but also a bit of a challenge. Not so much the stage part – I’m fine with making a fool of myself in front of hundreds of people – but I quickly realized how ingrained it is in me not to be in people’s way while covering an event. Stepping out between performer and audience just felt wrong! So I stuck mostly to the sidelines. Mostly.

These experiences were wonderful and just what I needed to revitalize. I am super thankful for being invited in and being able tell kind of stories my camera loves, to follow the process and even become part of the show. That is pretty cool, inspiring and motivating – and definitely something to be thankful for.

Here is a slide show from each of the events.