Shooting bands at concerts is an exercise in perseverance. As a photographer, there are some things you can control—your equipment, punctuality, and professionalism. And nothing else. Here are a few things a band photographer has absolutely no control of, in no particular order:
- Whether You’re Close Enough to the Stage
- Whether You Can Gain Multiple Perspectives by Moving Through a Sea of Medically-Alarming Sweaty People
- Whether the Band Will Be On Time for Portraits
- Whether the Band Will Be Sober for Portraits
- Whether the Band Will Smile or Not, Looking Like They’re Enduring Prostate Exams With a Claw Crane for Portraits
- Whether the Band Will Laugh at Your Zoo Joke (“I went to a zoo and they didn’t have any animals—except one dog. It was a Shih Tzu.” So funny.)
- Whether You’ve Come to the Rational Conclusion That You Should’ve Pursued an Education in Law or Engineering or Dousing the Metaphysical Concept of Art in Flames So You Can Pay Off Your Student Loans in Less Than Three Decades
Big, big uncertainties.
Then, after dozens of photo sessions in backstage rooms so dim that the blackness feels like obsidian velvet, you have an amazing shoot. Just fantastic. And it’s with a band you adore. A band that makes you feel like a teenager floating in a sea of hormones and hope. And that band is Daughter, and the members and their touring manager, Matt, are flexible, cordial, and inviting. And their charismatic lead singer, Elena Tonra, spends 15 minutes doing makeup because she gives a damn. And the pictures you take reflect the band’s sensitivity and professionalism.
And they have a really fantastic opener named Wilsen that also plays haunting, delicate ethereal indie rock. Anyway, that’s what happened with Daughter when I photographed them for Paste Magazine.
And they laughed at my Shih Tzu joke. Because it’s really funny.