What a year it’s been. This was my first full year shooting for CincyMusic, and it’s been a blast. I’ve had amazing opportunities that I’ve always dreamed about, but I honestly never thought I’d get. When I took photography in high school with an old Nikkormat – a film camera, no less – it was because I had been slightly obsessed with all those “rockstar shots” I’d see on album covers and guitar magazines, and I wanted to be the one taking those shots. Of course, the concerts I shot back then were epic disasters, and after that old SLR bit the dust, I didn’t have to money to fix or replace it, so I moved on. After several years of trying to make good photographs with bad cameras – namely cheap point-and-shoots, or my cell phone – I decided I was going to invest in an actual DSLR and try my hand at music photography again.
This time, it worked.
I spent a couple of years shooting friends’ bands, as well as covering MPMF in 2014 for CityBeat, but it really took off in the summer of 2016 when I started shooting for CincyMusic. The opportunities and experiences this has afforded me have been amazing.
And with that, on to the year that was:
So many heroes this year. I used to study photos of ZZ Top and Tom Petty when I was a kid. I’ve listened to the entirety of Petty’s catalog, as well as Counting Crows, Gogol Bordello, Reverend Horton Heat, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and Bela Fleck many times over. I’ve had nothing but respect for artists like Marc Cohn, The Mavericks, Chick Corea, The Pixies, and Primus for years. Getting to document local legends like Wussy, Maurice Mattei, and Pike 27 – at freakin’ York Street, too! – was extremely fulfilling. Others, like New Sincerity Works, Harbour, and Young Heirlooms, have become a joy to shoot, and I look forward to working with them often in the future. Getting to close out the year with local favorites The Tillers opening for The Legendary Shack Shakers at Southgate House Revival was an absolute treat, both professionally and, frankly, because it was the best party in town.
So many great shoots with so many great bands, it’s hard to write about it. I met many of the amazing photographers around here, many who have been doing this for a long time; I tried my best to remember to shut my mouth and listen when they were around, and watch while they were working, hoping I could glean any nuggets of information from their years of experience. I recognize that I am very new, very green, and in general, I am probably punching well above my weight. I mean, I got to shoot Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, on what sadly became Petty’s final tour, from the pit. The Enquirer wasn’t even approved to shoot this show. ZZ Top, who are apparently somewhat stingy with their photo approvals, approved CincyMusic, and I jumped in as a last-minute replacement. Hell, I got to cover all three days of Bunbury, too. In short, I cannot believe how lucky I am.
I did more than just cover concerts in 2017, as well. The year saw an expansion of my photojournalism work, as well. I covered multiple events for The River City News, including the Mitch McConnell protests outside Hotel Covington on 2/23, Governor Matt Bevin’s Government Forum address on 10/25, and Braxton’s Winter Block Party on 12/02. In other bits of random synchronicity, two separate groups hired me to cover two charity golf tournaments; it’s a strange niche, but I suppose I’ll take it.
So, that was the year in brief. It was a blast, and I’m looking forward to another great one. Thank you to Courtney, my editor at CincyMusic, for trusting these shoots to me (and putting up with my sometimes manic emails), to the other photographers in town who have been extremely welcoming to me, and mostly, to Alina, my love, for supporting me, and being very understanding about schedules and obsessions over lenses. Thank you all.
Highlights / Favorite Shoots
1/31 The Lumineers & Andrew Bird at US Bank Arena
4/08 Marc Cohn at Memorial Hall
4/22 Wussy at The Woodward Theater
5/05 Kaleo at Great American Ballpark (from the field, no less)
5/06 The Pixies at Madison Theater
6/02 - Bunbury, featuring
6/04 The Cordial Sins
Reverend Horton Heat
6/30 Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
7/02 Dave Mustaine/Unibroue signing event at Jungle Jim’s Eastgate
7/09 Squirrel Nut Zippers
8/05 Sun Fest at Madison Theater / Madison Live, featuring
Break Up Lines
label me lecter
8/13 Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and
Chick Corea Elektric Band at PNC Pavilion at Riverbend
9/09 The Mavericks at the Taft Theater
9/21 Counting Crows and Matchbox Twenty at Riverbend
9/24 ZZ Top, Black Stone Cherry, and The Summit at Rose Music Center (Dayton)
9/29 Gogol Bordello at Bogart’s
11/03 Primus at the Taft Theater
11/04 Maurice Mattei at Southgate House Revival
11/11 Pike 27 and New Sincerity Works at York Street International Café
11/19 A Perfect Circle
12/31 The Tillers and The Legendary Shack Shakers at Southgate House Revival