To close out 2016 we are due to bring you one last #audioloveshowcase and for the month of December we are delighted to shed light on the fabulous work of @themusicistalking. Alex is a great photographer whose style is deifnitely indicative of film. With the majority of his shots delivered in black and white, he manges to freeze emotion in his shots whilst bringing a documentary visual due to the great post processing work that he puts his images through. We caught up with Alex to talk more about his work and inspirations
Tell us about how you got started in concert photography?
I got started in concert photography by accident. I was living in Seattle in the late 80's early 90's, and wanted to become a cinematographer/film director. A man that would later become a kind of mentor who worked in film suggested to me that I learn how to make photographs to better understand how films were lit. From his his advice I acquired my first camera; a pentax k1000. It was around this time that some friends and I decided to start a zine.
The very first time I was in the photo pit, I was totally out of my element as I still didn't really understand how to use my camera. It was intoxicating and I knew I wanted to do it again and again .. I still do ..
Who has been your favourite artist/band to shoot and why?
I have been making photographs of musicians quite a while now so It's really hard to say who my favourite artist or band is .. so I will mention a few. Before i start however I would like to say that it has been and still is an incredible journey and I am truly grateful to all of the bands/artists/managers/labels/promoters/festivals .. that have allowed me to make photographs.
Right onto some of those artists that have stood out in this journey .. Ministry who opened my eyes, Pearl Jam for being true to their fans in Seattle and still putting on a free show show in the park .. Iggy Pop needs no explanation, Rush, where I made one of my favourite drummer photographs, Public Enemy because they are about truth, Pigface .. because chaos can be fun (eh, Martin), James Brown - how can you not feel good?, BB King, David Bowie - The Goblin King (no question) The Misfits 95' era .. wish I could've made photos with Glenn Danzig (hope list), Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Black Sabbath, The Cure, Iron Maiden, the list goes on (in much gratitude) ..
What camera gear/lenses do you have in your kit bag to shoot concerts? -
Currently - For my camera gear I rotate them them between my Shapeshifter and my Airport International V3.0 from ThinkTank. I use Sony and the main reason I went initially with them is that I love their colour space as it was the closest thing i saw to slide film. I started out with an A900 (which i still have) but moved onto the A99 which is full frame and the A77 Mark II which has a cropped sensor. My main lenses are my Sony 70-200 2.8. I also carry a 50mm 1.4 and have an A6300 with a 35mm 1.8 which can also shoot 4k video. I edit my photographs on a 15' MaacBook Pro in Lightroom
Which photographers do you admire?
There are a few photographers whose work I love and they include the likes of Anton Corbijn, Masayoshi Sukita, Robert Frank, Danny Clinch, Diane Arbus, and Joel Peter Witken. I am also visually inspired by several of the old masters (painters) and various cinematographers.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get started in music photography?
This kinda reminds me of the William S. Burroughs talk: Words of Advice for Young People ..
My advice is talk to other photographers, be polite at shows, ask please, say thank you, respect the rules, Your photo pass is not a back stage pass, don't try to use it as one. If you have questions, ask! If you are allowed to make photographs on stage, to kind of paraphrase something Henry Rollins has said remember this: (note: this have been changed slightly to be used by photographers, not artists)
"Listen to the stage manager and go on stage ONLY if and when they tell you to its okay. The stage is their house, not yours. No one has time for the Rockstar bullshit. None of the techs backstage care if you are world's best music photographer or if you are just starting out, respect their house. Be polite, ask please, say thank you. Don't give up. This is a journey and not an easy one. It requires hard work, discipline and focus, it is worth it. Keep making photographs.
Where can we find more of your work?
Easy - My website is www.themusicistalking.com,
I can be found on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/themusicistalking/
on Facebook I can be found here https://www.facebook.com/themusicistalking/
I occasionally tweet on: https://twitter.com/musicistalking
Thank you all for your awesome support.This journey is far from over so if you aren't following me, i'd love it if you did. Got goodies from the archives and exciting treats as we go forward and make images at new shows. Have fun. This is an amazing journey. Make great art!