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.
*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.
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.
Blowing in the Deep End
Fuji xpro2, 75mm, f/2.8, 1/200s, ISO 6400
There’s something super powerful about the sound of the baritone saxophone, that vibration that you not only hear but feel within you. Roger Lewis, aka The Dirty Old Man is one of my favourite baritone players. He has the power, but also the refined register, when he chooses to exert it. At that gig in Paris, he played a beautiful high register solo on a super low key version of Drown in my Own Tears sung by Greg Davis and backed by Takeshi Shimmura on guitar.
Fuji xpro2, 90mm, f/2.8, 1/160s, ISO 6400
It’s quite rare that when I’m taking concert photos a musician will look straight at me. At least it used to be before I got that big 50-140 zoom lens. At that Dirty Dozen Brass Band gig, I harvested several shots where the musicians were clearly looking at me. This one of Greg Davis has a bit of an old Louis Armstrong feel.