Photographer: Markus Shaffer
Based in: Brooklyn
I’ve been photographing live music for over 20 years now. Occasionally for publication but mostly for the bands whom suffer my lens in front of them while they perform. Music has been such a powerful force in my life for so long it’s hard to image what existence would be without it. In so many ways, music has given to me and made my life all that much better. Be it through the visceral feelings experienced through listening or through the world of friends and camaraderie that has come from all the musicians I’ve met over the years, music has been a staple of my existence since my early teens.
Living in New York affords one the amazing opportunity of getting to see an extraordinary amount of live music. We are lucky to have a very dedicated group of people who book shows, run clubs and generally make a huge effort to promote and perpetuate the scene of heavy music here. With such a scene comes an even larger group of talented people who are involved in some way or another. The abovementioned who make it happen, but also the artists, photographers, people who run music websites, and certainly not least, the musicians themselves. I constantly find myself humbled to be surrounded by such talent of all kinds. It’s not often I make an effort to share my photographs with the public at large. Thus, having been asked to contribute here is an honor.
One of my all time favorite photos of any band. These guys are always smiling on stage. Nothing else I’ve shot of any band has ever come close to personifying the performance in the way this does. They are fun as hell live and this image will always remind me of that.
Photographer: Jordan Fogal
Based in: NC
Boris is always a great show and even though I’m not a gigantic fan of their newer material, hearing it live was still amazing. They played a lot of tracks from Heavy Rocks I & II and New Album then some favorites from Pink and Smile. This shot was during one of their heavy droning interludes. The horns thrown by Atsuo and Wata’s drone stance really capture my favorite aspects of Boris.
Photographer: Astrid Tonella
Based in: Copenhagen
The following images have been taken this year in various venues across Europe. Like all of you, I’m a music enthusiast and going to gigs is one of my main hobbies and addictions. I like to keep a memory of these precious moments, hence, the link between concert and photography has become key to me. I don’t pretend to be an artist, but I shoot with my heart and I try to pay tribute to the band I photograph the best I can.
I am truly honored to be placed between all these many talented photographers. Many thanks to CVLT Nation for giving me the opportunity to show my work and of course, many thanks to the different organizers in Europe for their efforts and for allowing us to attend mind-blowing shows!
Last summer, I finally got the opportunity to catch Boris on stage here in Copenhagen. I’ve been longing to see them for years, and Japanese bands always come up with interesting performances, so I was quite excited. I usually prefer small venues, as the atmosphere is much more palpable and intimate than it is in larger venues. However, one advantage of larger venues is the amazing lights which enable you to obtain a wider variety of pictures. I captured that shot. It’s actually one of my favorites of the Boris series – the light, the smoke surrounding Takeshi like mist – its texture reminds me a bit of a Japanese painting by Hasegawa Tohaku called “Pine Trees” giving a mysterious aspect to the photo.
Photographer: Alexander (Alec) Ricketts
Based In: Southern Indiana
This piece is titled Ritual. I think that the reason this has appealed to me is mostly due to the composition, just something about the contortion of his arms, which also happens to be the subject. I was in a very old cemetery outside of my hometown of Evansville, Indiana with a friend of mine, whom frequently models in my photographs. It was one of those days that was so strangely grey and overcast that it could almost make you feel like a living character out of a David Lynch film. This turned out to be my favorite shot of the entire day because it holds some sense of oddity to me. Even the hand gesture is significant, and like an Escher picture, although it isn’t significantly easy to see, once you see it you will always see it.
Photographer: Amy Kay
Based in: Portland, OR
This photo came from a show I went to in Oakland, CA at Yer Hauz (or Hazmat), a punk warehouse/living space that has changed hands and names a few times. It was my 30th birthday, and I just wanted to go to California and have a big week long party. SUCCESS! The show was a few of my friends’ bands and the guy on the left was being pretty crazy and dancing violently during the sets, causing injuries to himself and others. This is a moment between him and one of the people who runs the space as they work out their issues. I have always been drawn to the colors of this photo, including the background graffiti, but also really love the expressions on both their faces. It’s kind of like a freeze frame of two people trying to understand very different points of view. Plus, blood is cool!
Photographer: Erik Truchinski
Site: Autumn Wind Photography
Based in: Portland, OR
This photo was taken at Lone Fir Cemetery in Portland, OR, on a mostly cloudy day…some sun shining through as you can notice, I loved the way it played off of the door of this mausoleum. I have a fascination with cemeteries and the lives of people in them…imagining the story behind their life and death, mausoleums really draw me in, the architecture of some of them is so interesting and dark.
Photographer: Jennifer Williams
Site: Wicked Ways Photography
Based in: Midway, GA
This is a picture of The Murder Junkies playing down at the Landshark Cafe down in Jax Beach Florida. This is probably one of my favorite shots. I really love it. I use it as my profile shot on my “Wicked Ways Photography” Facebook site. Most of the picture I take I do a lens drag for effect but if there is too much white light then I prefer to go black and white with a strong contrast. That is what happened with this shot of Merle and Dino from the band “The Murder Junkies”. If you know anything about punk then you know the guy on the right with the beard is Merle and his brother was the famous or “infamous’ G.G. Allin. One of my friends is Scott Cockren from the Spo-its and he is buds with them. He always told me how I need to see them so when I heard my friends from the band GHOSTWITCH was opening for them I had to go. Dino the drummer is well… a little different. Plays ALMOST totally nude… he keeps his shoes and socks on. Awesome! Of course there are some shots I can’t put on facebook or they will get deleted. I had already put my camera up when Dino did his signature “drumstick trick”… If you don’t know what that is or if your afraid of germs, don’t ever collect a drumstick from that band! It involves him bending over and the drumsticks going bye bye for a moment… Seriously. Great band, I wished I could have heard a longer set but some ass picked a fight with the lead singer and a fight broke out… damn it!
Photographer: A.E. Csaky
Based in: Vancouver, BC
This photo was taken when I lived in the Hull/Ottawa region of Ontario. Quite often I would stay up all night and go out exploring just as the sun was rising. I enjoyed the silence in the early morning, it seemed to cease the monotony that defined the city during during waking hours. This particular day I had made my way down to the cemetery to read a book while the the sun came up. I noticed the headstone in front of me was of a particular beauty, and as the sun rose, its rays framed the statue.
Photographer: Robert Hanna
Site: Twentythirdhour Photography
Based in: Seattle, WA
Choosing these photos was certainly an arduous task at best, and it was really hard reckoning whether or not to put non-band related stuff here. As this is primarily a music website I figured to opt for all live shots, although so much of what I do photography-wise exists outside of the noisy venue. I also tried to pick ones that had a curious story behind them. Many thanks to the folks at Cvlt Nation for letting me share these with the world, and for being so patient while I paced back and forth in my apartment debating which shots to bring to light.
Ludicra is absolutely one of my favorite bands, and this show was the first opportunity I had to catch them live. I had been taking photo classes at the time and this print was a solarization I did in the darkroom at school. I spent hours working on the print, went through nearly an entire pack of paper, and lost days of my life from chemical inhalation trying to get the right Mackie lines to appear. This is the result, and I love how the image almost transfers from an illustration to a photo. I think technology is great, and Photoshop can be an amazing asset, but to me nothing beats tried and true photo developing in a darkroom.
Photographer: Chase Stevens
Site: Gloomy Sunday Photography
Based in: Las Vegas
If you’ve ever had the chance to witness Pentagram live, then you’ve surely seen the awesome facial expressions that frontman Bobby Liebling has made. Needless to say, any concert photographer should be excited to photograph him, and once I found out that I was able to make it down to Los Angeles for Power of the Riff, I was ecstatic. After four or so hours of waiting front and center (there’s a very small barrier in front of the Echoplex stage, but not enough to move around, so I decided to stay where I was), it was finally time, and Pentagram entered the stage. The lighting was shit at first, I was pretty disappointed, and even a little worried, but just moments in, guitarist Victor Griffin headed over to the mic and yelled out (in deservedly rockstar fashion, I suppose) something along the lines of “Raise the fuckin’ lights!” And so they did, and so the fun began. After a few minutes in I started going for closeups with my 70-200mm, and fantastic shot after shot, with click after click, but kept watching, and waiting for the perfect moment. Then I got this.