Charlie Murphey Leaving Town, January 2016

January 22, 2016 at 5:30 pm

It’s a sad, sad day when a good friend moves away. Even in those sit­u­a­tions where you know the move is a good one, that a fresh start will help your friend grow and find new com­mu­nity, it’s still a dif­fi­cult scene. For­tu­nately, some­times that friend knows lots of other friends and they all come together and throw a big party with lots of music and even the friend him­self gets on stage and opens up for everyone.

From Char­lie Murphey’s last show (at least…for now) in Nashville.


High Watt, Jan­u­ary 2016.

Rayland Baxter & Ruby Rabbitfoot, August 2015

November 9, 2015 at 12:41 am

Thanks to the sup­port of East of 8th, I’m able to pho­to­graph plenty of shows — which leads to hear­ing great new music! I’d heard Ray­land Bax­ter before, but Ruby the Rab­bit­foot was totally new to me. Both played a great set at 3rd and Lind­s­ley in August as part of the Nashville Sun­day Night Lightning100 series. A nice space with lots of view­ing options (includ­ing boun­ti­ful bal­cony seat­ing!) Be sure to check out both Ray­land and Ruby if you ever get a chance!

Sideshow Fringe Festival 2015, July and August 2015

August 19, 2015 at 10:13 pm

How do you choose the “best” of the pho­tog­ra­phy from five days and dozens of pro­duc­tion? I don’t really have a good answer. There are ways of rank­ing, and rerank­ing, and rererank­ing, work until the “top” bub­bles up. Another way is to try and include one work from each per­for­mance, but that’s not always pos­si­ble either. Maybe a quota of the best from each day? Nah, that’s not really fair either. And would any of them give a good sense of the whole experience?

What I have done, some­what for pos­ter­ity and some­what to try and just make one post (instead of the dozens I could make), is to go through my saved pho­tos from the entire expe­ri­ence and put together a set of all those that rep­re­sent the expe­ri­ence.. Then I culled and culled until I had the 32 images below that give the best view into what it was like to see the entire 2015 Sideshow Fringe Fes­ti­val. Or, at least, that’s my selec­tion for today!

Many kudos to Jes­sika Mal­one and Mitch Mas­saro for their incred­i­bly vivid direc­tion, and the same to all of the tech­ni­cal staff that ran a seam­less expe­ri­ence for every­one. And, of course, plau­dits and praise for all of the per­form­ers. An incred­i­ble expe­ri­ence for all!

High Watt Recap 1 of 4: Field Report and Joe Pug

August 15, 2015 at 5:44 pm

After meet­ing the folks from East of 8th blog at the Apache Relay show ear­lier this year, I’ve col­lab­o­rated with them by pro­vid­ing pho­tos from four High Watt shows. I also real­ized I haven’t posted any of the work on my site, so here are recaps from each of the shows!

Christo­pher Porter­field with Field Report is the new king of singer/songwriter Amer­i­cana in my mind (although he’d prob­a­bly decline the throne and insist he’d be the court joker instead). Joe Pug brought a high energy show — with tight ban­ter, smart songs and a stun­ning set of back­ing musi­cians. Both acts are well worth see­ing — def­i­nitely check them out.

Those Darlin’s at Grimey’s, Record Store Day, April 2015

April 21, 2015 at 5:23 pm

A gor­geous day full of live music at Grimey’s for Record Store Day, and I was able to catch Those Dar­lins’ rock­ing a crowd gath­ered out­side. A very fun scene with a very fun band!

Apache Relay, Milktooth and Evan P. Donohue at Exit/In. April 2015

April 19, 2015 at 5:55 pm

When you leave some shows you know that it is going to be seared into the mind for­ever and I’d def­i­nitely count this one as one of them. Three great acts at one of my all-time favorite venues. Lots of superla­tives, I know — but it truly was an out­stand­ing evening of rock and roll.

Best of 2014 Film Photos [Part 1]

January 5, 2015 at 10:54 pm

Review­ing an entire year of work is quite daunt­ing. You can pre­pare ahead of time and cat­a­log, rate, cri­tique, etc work all year long and still come out the other side baf­fled and unsure why one piece was just SO GOOD. It’s pos­si­ble to try and mark opin­ions through­out the year, but even those can fall flat in review.

Or, you do what I do, and col­lect at the end of the year. With approx­i­mately 500 frames of film shot in 2014, I did a once-over of every­thing and flagged some 60 as poten­tial best of’s. Then I printed 4x6 of each and did a fur­ther culling down to the Top 10.…but this Top 10 list goes to 11!

In no par­tic­u­lar order, let’s walk down mem­ory lane. We’ll five in this post, and five in Part 2. My favorite photo of the year will have its own post thereafter!

Peo­ple on Broad­way I. Nashville, Feb­ru­ary 2014. FP4 120.

Peo­ple on Broad­way I. Nashville, Feb­ru­ary 2014. FP4 120.

Peo­ple on Broad­way II. Nashville, Feb­ru­ary 2014. FP4 120.

Peo­ple on Broad­way II. Nashville, Feb­ru­ary 2014. FP4 120.

Square Books, Upstairs. Oxford, April 2014. NPS160 35mm.

Square Books, Upstairs. Oxford, April 2014. NPS160 35mm.

Rachel Kate at The Underground I. Nashville, November 2014. T-Max 400 @ 1600, 35mm.

Rachel Kate at The Under­ground I. Nashville, Novem­ber 2014. T-Max 400 @ 1600, 35mm.

Rachel Kate at The Underground II. Nashville, November 2014. T-Max 400 @ 1600, 35mm.

Rachel Kate at The Under­ground II. Nashville, Novem­ber 2014. T-Max 400 @ 1600, 35mm

Photo Exploration: Self, Exit/In. January 2014

March 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm

They say never meet your heroes. I’ve found that be mostly true, espe­cially with musi­cians. I can recall numer­ous shows where the per­former dis­ap­pointed me. Either in energy, or pre­sen­ta­tion, or just being not that great onstage. But Self’s 20th anniver­sary release show for Sub­lim­i­nal Plas­tic Motives blew that mantra away. The show was sim­ply incred­i­ble. I enjoyed the open­ing bands (espe­cially Glos­sary), and when the open­ing notes of Bora­teen started up I was over the moon. Thanks to Exit/In for open­ing up such a great venue for the show, and thanks to Matt Mahaf­fey and the rest of the band for doing a show in Nashville.

I’ve touched on con­cert pho­tog­ra­phy before, and I’d say that the num­ber one issue with such work is the phys­i­cal loca­tion. Venue’s can have vary­ing rules on where/what to shoot, the light­ing can be dif­fi­cult (at best), and staff aren’t always the most under­stand­ing when it comes to pho­tog­ra­phers want­ing (or need­ing) to get “the shot.” For­tu­nately this night didn’t need any sneak­ing or cajol­ing, either to get my cam­era into the club or to take pho­tos. Although it was my only time to visit Exit/In, I have high hopes for return vis­its. I espe­cially like that to reach the facil­i­ties, one must walk up a set of stairs right by the stage. It was from this van­tage point I made the pho­to­graph below.


Self, Exit/In. Jan­u­ary 2014

There is always the feel­ing of “Did I shoot too much? Did I still some­how miss the shot?” with con­certs. They last for hours and most per­form­ers are so ener­getic they move far too quickly for the required (rel­a­tively slow) shut­ter speed to get enough light. Addi­tion­ally, in the dark­ened room pretty much every­thing looks good on the camera’s LCD dis­play. So it is a mish-mash of shoot­ing a whole lot of pho­tos and throw­ing out an amaz­ingly large num­ber of them — even those that looked great the night before in pre­view. But, with a lit­tle prac­tice, once can incor­po­rate the dif­fi­cul­ties above and find some treasures.

For instance, by the end of a long show the musi­cians may be sweaty, disheveled, even a lit­tle drunk (or oth­er­wise ine­bri­ated). Maybe they have slowed down — they aren’t quite as ani­mated, but more expres­sive. The crowd may have even thinned out a lit­tle so you can stay longer in the prime spots. I took plenty of shots from the front of the stage, but this side image I really love. Matt has been play­ing these notes for a long, long time and I some­times won­der how artists who have been per­form­ing the same work through mul­ti­ple decades keep the music fresh for them­selves. I think there must be some sort of a med­i­ta­tive state, some­thing mind­ful and yet with­out active con­trol. Where the right actions hap­pen nat­u­rally, and that frees up the musi­cian to really hear the rest of the expe­ri­ence — the other per­form­ers, the crowd, maybe their own heart­beat. To step into the void, so to speak.

And I think about my own pho­tog­ra­phy, my own moments of shooting-without-thinking, and per­haps that’s why I really love con­cert pho­tog­ra­phy. When the air between the stage and the lens opens up, and the musi­cian and the pho­tog­ra­pher let their media engage with­out human inter­fer­ence — just human motivation.