Erik Della Penna is the lead guitarist in the latest line-up of Hazmat Modine (@hazmatmodine), and while (obviously) his guitar and banjo stylings were awesome when I saw them live last year, the other thing that struck me about him were his clear blue eyes. The kind of stare that pierces the soul, as the poets would say. I hopefully captured that, at least as much as you can from a half-length portrait.
I normally try to take neat or well detached concert photographies. Not that there aren’t fantastic live photos that are more grungy or cluttered, but I don’t have a knack for them. Once in a while though, I’ll shoot a photo that isn’t neat, where you can’t quite distinguish the details. Often, when I’m lucky, these convey something different, a bit more of the atmosphere of the venue maybe. Such is this photo of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s Kevin Harris, a quasi black and red.
There’s a lot of fun to be had when taking photos of trombone players. First of all, the shape of the instrument varies based on how extended it is. It can allow for amazing diagonals or, from up close, the bell can be the center of attention. I tried different things with TJ Norris at a DDBB gig in Paris, and I quite like this one. The trombone is all slid in but the 35mm lens (30mm equivalent) makes it look super long already.
*Thomas’ Blue Outline*
The double bass is one of the most graphic instruments to shoot, a delight for concert photographers (or at least for this one.) I’m always looking for interesting lighting, with such a large surface to play with. This was shot at a Cory Seznec gig in Paris and I think it works.
Wade Schuman is the energetic frontman of the band Hazmat Modine. Quite the Renaissance man, Wade is a painter, a college professor, a singer, harmonica and various string instruments player. On stage, he’s an absolute powerhouse and Hazmat Modine is a blast!
*Roufi in the Spotlight*
Ceux Qui Marchent Debout is a live experience like few I’ve ever seen. Don’t get me wrong, their records are great, but the live energy is just something else. Roufi is the sousaphone player, in charge of the low low end.
Sylvain Luc is one of the most amazing jazz guitarists alive. The stuff that comes out of his brain and fingers puts most other musicians to shame and yet he seems like a very humble guy. He wasn’t actually alone at that gig but rather in a duet with pianist Jean-Michel Pilc. Still, I don’t normally do wide shots of musicians like this, but I felt this worked really well.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to see the Palata Singers in a small provincial Church. They’re a gospel quartet from Congo, singing in their native Kicongo. I’m not a religious man, but there is something in Gospel that is inexplicably moving to me. I liked this photo of Marcel Boungou backlit by the modern stained glass and protecting his eyes from the light, as if a metaphor for his own belief in the Lord.
Fuji xpro2, 160mm, f/2.8, 1/160s, ISO 6400
Shooting drummers in badly lit clubs is always tricky, because things move too fast for the camera to capture. Getting good shots is a combination of anticipation, repetition and luck. Here I managed to get Julian Addison with both sticks up and an interesting facial expression, I consider myself lucky!
One Hand Up
Fuji xpro2, 50mm, f/2, 1/100s, ISO 3200
TJ Norris is the newest in the Dirty Dozen Brass Band lineup, but he’s a fine addition, both on trombone and on vocals. I like this shot because you can see the audience in the background. I need to do more shots like this, wide enough that you can see the musicians are not playing in isolation.