On the 24th of June, I was asked to document an important night for entertainer Molly Lewis. She had recently graduated college and had decided to throw a celebratory concert, inviting some of her friends and fellow performers to share the stage with her at Seattle’s awesome venue, The Triple Door. There is nothing I love more than documenting an event like this, and I was extremely excited to be asked.
Shooting a concert like this one, is akin to shooting a wedding. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event, hugely important to the client, and there is definitely a pressure to deliver some memorable results. There is no do-over if you fail, but if you deliver good work, the client will be forever thankful. I brought an extra camera, so I could go back and forth between my favorite lenses without having to waste time switching. Missing some fantastic moment is easy when there are so many talented people together in one spot. Granted, most of the gold happens on stage, but there are always a few hidden diamonds behind the scenes as well. Those are the shots I live for!
I arrived at the venue around 3.30pm, so I could cover all the last minute prep that goes into something like this. The band hastily rehearsing a few songs, harmonies being perfected, monitors being adjusted, jokes being made. Lots of ideas are still being thrown around at this point, and during downtime artists are candidly discussing their work and dreams – or passing time playing a game. The four and half hours between my arrival and official show start went by fast.
It was after 11pm when I left the venue, happy and exhausted, knowing I had at least another 10 hours of solid work, sorting and post-processing the images. I walked out on the streets of Seattle, caught a cab home and collapsed on the couch.
Below is a gallery of photos I took at the event. Of the 1,100 frames I shot before sorting away all the misfires, and frames badly out of focus (which happens a lot in such low light, and with people moving around), a grand total of 444 images survived the culling, were post-processed and sent off to a hopefully happy Molly Lewis.
I urge you to check out the performers present at the concert:
- Molly Lewis – rocking the uke till the break of dawn
- Vixy and Tony – with help from Sunnie Larsen and Betsy Tinney
- Jason Finn – possibly the coolest drummer in the world
- Marian Call – Alaskan songbird who is good with sharks
- Kris Straub – cartoonist and bad ass MC
- Stepto – Gaming legend and funnyman
- The Doubleclicks – sisters with a twisted sense of humor
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.