Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Big Seven

I've got a little secret to share with everyone who was wondering if I had gone to the Big Four concert at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 14. I did not go. But here's the catch, I could have. In fact, I was cleared with credentials to shoot the show and have access to the press box to write up a piece on it for Paragon. The problem is that I found out about it too late. The Big Four show was a very high profile event. You couldn't just email a publicist for access, you had to fill out a form and submit it to a specific email address and hope they chose you as one of the very few people allowed press access to what was literally history in the making for the Heavy Metal world.

I filled out the form but didn't hear back by the time that I had suspected I would, so I booked myself for another concert on the same night. Sevendust was coming through town with a headlining show during a day off from the Uproar Festival, and I had the chance to get a video interview with one of the members and shoot their set. Sevendust put on such a great live show that I figured it was a no brainer, considering I thought I wasn't going to be picked for Big Four.

I found out, after making a commitment to Sevendust, that I could have photo access to Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth, and Metallica, all on the same night, on the same stage. My jaw dropped and I didn't know what to do. On one hand, I made a promise to a publicist that I've had a long time relationship with, for a band that I know I enjoy shooting. On the other hand, the Big Four was a concert event like no other, it was the only time this would ever happen around here.

In the end I chose Sevendust because I'm a man of my word, and especially in this business, your word is all you've got. I made a commitment, and I stuck to it.

Looking at some of the photos that have been released from the Big Four show, I feel that I made the right choice. I've been doing this for a long time, so I know certain things when I see them, and I could tell that the stage was certainly not set up in favor of having people document the show in photos. For one, the stage was obviously too high. Most shots I've seen that involved any members of any band that were not front and center at the edge of the stage, included lots of wires and monitor boxes, meaning you couldn't get a clear shot because everything was in your direct line of sight. If the stage had been lower it may have been possible to get shots that didn't include stage hardware. Secondly, being a daytime show, outdoors in a baseball stadium, stage lighting was a moot point. The sun washed out everything, and without any control over things like fill or bounce, you were stuck with pictures that look like they were taken on a point and shoot camera in the noon sun. I know some of the photographers that were there, at least by name and portfolio, and I know that if they had a hard time, I most likely would have as well.

Sevendust, on the other hand, was set up perfectly with no obstructions, and they made it easy to have access to them. After the interview we were even invited to hang after the show, which we did. Getting some face-time with a great band and going home with awesome shots is always better than no face time with 4 equally great bands, and going home with absolute crap on your memory cards.

I love all 5 of the bands I've mentioned here, and I have for some time. I still hope to some day be able to shoot Metallica, since they're the only band I haven't shot out of these 5, but I'd rather do it in a place that is actually properly set up for it. I'd hate to have wasted my only, or my first chance, in a situation like this.

I'll be posting about the interview with Sevendust once it's edited and online. Check out my Facebook page to keep up to date, or follow me on Twitter.

More soon,

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