With only one more day left in 2015, it seems like an appropriate time to post a "year in review" blog (as I type that, this song is stuck in my head). It's been a wild year, and my hard work has lead to some incredible opportunities- some of which I never would've imagined happening. I'm going to delve in to some numbers and details and thoughts about the year, as well as share stories and some of my favorite photos from 2015. Check it all out below!
In 2015, I attended 135 shows, 129 of which I photographed… that means I've photographed shows on more than 1/3 of the days this year. I think that's more than any other single year.
I photographed shows at 60 venues in seven states and 38 cities and towns. The farthest I traveled for a show was to New Orleans- I was in town for my brother's college graduation, and it just so happened that New Kids On The Block would be performing at the Smoothie King Center that night. It was my first time photographing an arena show (check out the photos and my review here). The farthest I drove for a show was six hours to Buffalo, N.Y. to photograph Pentimento's hometown show at The Waiting Room (check out the photos here).
I shot 35 shows in New York City (33 in Manhattan and 2 in Brooklyn); I'm lucky to live so close to a city full of so many opportunities. I shot 18 shows in Philadelphia; it's become such a welcoming home to all kinds of alternative music and thus my favorite city to visit.
Out of the 52 shows I shot in New Jersey, 19 were at GameChanger World in Howell, N.J. So many great tours have been stopping there lately, which makes sense- there aren't really any similar venues in the Garden State. Shooting 3 separate shows at Madison Square Garden was incredibly exciting.
Finally, I photographed 313 artists this year. The artists I shot the greatest number of times were Major League (16 times), Pentimento (10 times), Handguns (9 times), and Have Mercy (8 times). I can't say enough good things about all four of these bands (and can't thank them enough for always supporting my work); please check out their music and go see them live!
And now, for my favorite photos of 2015 (in chronological order) and the stories behind them...
This was captured at the first EDM show I ever photographed: one of Gramatik's two sold-out shows at Best Buy Theater (now known as Playstation Theater) in New York City. I was grabbing snapshots of the crowd, and this gentleman kissed the woman next to him on the cheek. I don't know their names, and I don't know if they were a couple or even knew each other at all. I wonder if they've seen the photo.
A Vanna show is a sense of chaotic energy so intense it makes you calm. Nothing else matters because there is so much going on between the five of them on stage and in the room that you can't think about anything else. This photo shows one of those moments of zen found amidst such a heavy show.
Despite being a huge fan, I never got to see Hostage Calm play a full set until their final show in New Haven, Conn. this March. There was no photo pit so I was pressed up against the front of the stage the whole night, crowdsurfers flying over me. This was taken just before Hostage Calm began their set; they'd had several dozen red roses delivered to the venue, many of which were thrown into the crowd throughout the night.
I couldn't possibly do this blog without mentioning Taylor Swift, who I shot for AXS this summer (check the photos and review out here). Photographing her was a wild idea that I came up with in January, just to see if I could, and I'm proud to say that it happened. This was by far the biggest show I shot this year, and I love Swift's smile. (Side note: I tripped as soon as I crossed the threshold into the stadium, and kept dropping my ear plugs… guess my klutziness follows me wherever I go).
The weather this day was incredibly hot and incredibly humid (it rained a few hours after this was taken), and it was a typically hectic day at Warped Tour. It's so easy to focus on the action (the jumps, the yells) when taking photographs of musicians on stage, but I love that this photo captures the emotion of an "in-between" moment.
When photographing a solo artist, I focus most of my energy on the artist, but the dancer pictured here- Valentine Norton- was so magnetic, I was drawn to him. He nailed every moment of the choreography. The whole weekend was chaotic, but I felt so at home in it all.
I first discovered Patent Pending in 2011, around the exact same time I started shooting shows and interviewing bands. The "Second Family" is the name given to the community of fans they've created, who love one another like family. When they play "One Less Heart To Break", people tend to get emotional; this time, instead of doing the hugging, it was Joe's turn to be hugged.
Made In America was another hectic weekend, but I loved it. There were well over 100 photographers in attendance, making the photo pits always packed, but I was able to shoot everyone I wanted to*, including Death Cab For Cutie. I love how this captures the spirit of the moment. Less than a week later, I photographed the band at Madison Square Garden (check that out here).
*Except for Beyoncé. But hey, there's always next year.
They've said if you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere. Have Mercy is from Baltimore but New York City has always shown them a lot of love. When they headlined the Marlin Room at Webster Hall this October, hundreds of people were there singing along. I was standing on the corner of the stage when I caught Nick smiling. I can't wait to see where 2016 takes them.
This was the fourth show I'd shot in a row, and I remember feeling physically tired, despite how fired up I was mentally. But any exhaustion or frustration was erased as soon as I started shooting. This was the first time The Wonder Years had brought their own lighting rig on tour (their lighting designer, David Summers, is also a photographer- no surprise considering how gorgeous the colors were, and how perfectly placed the smoke was).
This show was incredibly special to me because I'd brought my dad with me. I was so nervous and could only hope he'd have a good time, and he did. Every time Pentimento plays "The Bridge" I get chills and also grin widely; on this tour, Jeramiah began the song by himself, with the rest of the band joining him later on. It's another "in-between" moment.
Ever since we met at a house show a few summers ago, Clayton has been one of my best friends. I took this outside at LoudFest in November, probably right before The Acacia Strain went on. He's one of the goofiest and kindest people I have the pleasure to know, and I think this photo does him justice.
My dad has been a drummer for almost his entire life, and this fall he helped form a new jazz/fusion band called Equinox. I was so honored when he asked me to photograph their rehearsal and their first live show; it was nice to share that moment with him.
Earlier this month, Major League played a headlining show at GameChanger World, and after all was said and done, I took this group photo of them outside. This was a test shot; I love how natural it feels.
When Matty walked on stage for A Loss For Words' final performance, he was wearing a plaid flannel shirt. A song or two in, he took it off; he was wearing a Hostage Calm shirt underneath. The image isn't the sharpest or most perfect, but the moment it captures is important. That Hostage Calm shirt felt like a reminder that all good things come to an end and it was, finally, time to say goodbye.