A Look At The Artists Behind the “Still Screaming” Photography Event

Punk and Metal – that is, the collective scenes – operate and are fueled by a number of intricate parts. Each one serves their own function. When pulled back and examined as a whole, it almost resembles a vast array of cogs in a machine. From the bands, to the labels that release and promote them, to the fans themselves, each one plays a vital part in keeping this sub-culture going. And if one was to really break this global network down, even more sub-classes would arise. Those that make flyers for the shows, independent silk-screening and merchandise companies, website developers, the artists who craft album artwork – to name but a few.

But really, perhaps one of the most vital and key components in keeping Punk and Metal alive is also perhaps its most unsung hero: the photographer. Those that bravely wade up into the front of the crowd, carrying sometimes thousands of dollars worth of equipment. Those that search out the one perfect image which encapsulates the emotional energy brought forth by the band and the crowd. A visual document that serves as a reminder of what makes this community so special, and for most of us, life-defining.

Photographer Mark Beemer and Nathaniel Shannon have assembled a number of artists under the show heading of Still Screaming in order to celebrate this facet of our culture. The show features a number of different photographers who have offered up rarely seen photographs from over the last two decades. With the inaugural reception in Philadelphia already under its belt, Still Screaming will also be featured shortly as a pop-up event in cities such as Oakland and Seattle, among others. Each artist was kind enough to answer a few questions for CVLT Nation to provide a glimpse not only their work, but also what drives and inspires them.

 

 

Carrie Whitney
Blood Brothers - Carrie Whitney
Blood Brothers – Carrie Whitney
The essence of photography is to capture a moment. To have one image that reverberates the emotional weight contained within the subject matter. When applied to the the act of musicians, it’s an attempt to portray the spirit that they conjure on stage. From a photographer’s stand point, what do you look for in regards to capturing a live performance?
Carrie: When I first started taking pictures I just wanted to document; to show the variety of bands on bill and take pictures of every band – even the one song kid band openers. As time went on and I went to art school, I really got into showing movement in still art. I started trying to show how a particular guitar player bangs their head, or how the addition of a light show really adds to the performance as a whole. So I really started to look for awesome lighting, a lively band and crowd. I think my love of hardcore really pushed me in that direction with my art. There is no other genre of music that has so much energy and community participation. The more action/energy, the easier it is for me to document it. It also makes it a little more artsy fartsy than just a video, too!
Botch - Carrie Whitney
Botch – Carrie Whitney
There’s always an inherent risk involved with taking photos at a show. Outside of the very real possibility of equipment being damaged, there’s also the chance of bodily injury involved in dealing with a sea of people – some of which are unable to grasp personal boundaries or the safety of others. That being said, what are some of your war stories from having to deal with a rowdy or just down right violent crowd?

Carrie: My all metal Pentax camera, held together by duct tape, was a weapon. People usually stayed away from it if I was near the pit, or I would use the monitors as protection if I was sitting on a stage. It is really when I don’t have my camera that I get hurt. My first injury being at an Undertow show where I had brought my little brother to show him how cool being straight edge is. So I moshed it up with him instead of taking pics and a dear friend elbowed me square in the nose, knocked me out and squirted blood everywhere. I think my brother was scared more than anything, he never embraced the edge.

 

Deadguy - Carrie Whitney
Deadguy – Carrie Whitney
Brian Maryansky
Fugazi - Brian Maryansky
Fugazi – Brian Maryansky

Photography, especially when it focuses on music and concerts, is a competitive field to say the least. For those who have dabbled within this field and are looking to really take it to the next level, what advice would you give to them? What does it take to make a name for yourself within this artistic arena?

Brian: Find your own way. Find a different angle. Be nice to the bands. Be friendly. Be persistent. Get involved to the next level. Tour with a band, get out there and submerge yourself.

 

Sunny Day Real Estate - Brian Maryansky
Sunny Day Real Estate – Brian Maryansky

 

Every artist – be they a painter, writer or photographer – essentially loves what they do. It drives us and it’s the reason why we feel that we’ve been put on this Earth. But there’s always a dark side to every art form. What’s the once facet of your chosen medium that drives you crazy at times?

Brian: That changes all the time. I worry I’m not shooting enough. Printing stresses me out to no end. I have yet to fully 100% shoot digitally. I still have an inherent comfort in shooting film that I can’t seem to shake.

 

Kevin Seconds - Brian Maryansky
Kevin Seconds – Brian Maryansky
Justin Moulder
Into Another - Justin Moulder
Into Another – Justin Moulder
When did the passion of photography really come into your life? Was there a moment or person that really struck a personal chord within you which has led you down this path?

Justin: Photography became a true passion for me as a 6-7 year old kid. My first camera was my mom’s Brownie 110. I shot so much as a kid. First with the Brownie, then a Disc Camera, a Polaroid Camera, then my first point and shoot 35mm that I bought for $13.99 and used for my first three years of shooting shows. In fact, two of the pictures in the Still Screaming show were shot with that old Pentax (RIP)! The moment it struck me that I wanted to shoot live shows was June 1989 in a Summer School Algebra Class, prior to going to see Bold, GB, Crucial Youth and Sand in the Face at City Gardens. I’d seen a few shows up to that point, but none as big as this one at City Gardens! This is also the same time I started to form Suburban Fanzine. I didn’t take photos at this show, but that show was an eye opening experience and I never looked back.

 

Shelter - Justin Moulder
Shelter – Justin Moulder

 

It seems that a majority of people have a misconception of the hard work and effort that goes into your art form. It’s not just as simple as pointing your camera and taking a ton of photos. There’s an actual craft to it that goes beyond the concert hall, dark room or work area. If you had to pinpoint one giant, glaring assumption that people have of your profession, what would it be?
Justin: One assumption I’d like to dispute is that I do this for free. I’ve shot a ton of bands over the years. I never did this for money. It sucks, however, when maybe you fly or take a train across the country and shoot photos where you may or may not get credit. Or worse yet, bands promise payment but it never comes. If you never intend on paying, that’s cool, just say so. I feel like an ass asking for a copy of a record or a shirt that I have a picture on. I mean, I’ve done fanzines and would never not send a copy to everyone that contributed. I’ve gone out of my way to track people down pre-internet to get a hold of people whose photos I’d used.
Unbroken - Justin Moulder
Unbroken – Justin Moulder

 

Nathaniel Shannon
Watain - Nathaniel Shannon
Watain – Nathaniel Shannon
There’s always an inherent risk involved with taking photos at a show. Outside of the very real possibility of equipment being damaged, there’s also the chance of real bodily injury involved from dealing with a sea of people – some of which are unable to grasp personal boundaries or the safety of others. That being said, what are some of your war stories from having to deal with a rowdy or just down right violent crowd?
Nathaniel: Two months ago I was shooting Trap Them at Saint Vitus, and this asshole LAPD dude spun-kicked off the stage into my face, breaking my TTL sync and my face. I bit through my lip and spent 8 hours in the ER getting 10 stitches in my face to sew up the inch-long gash on my bottom lip I could stick my tongue through. Over the years, I’ve been punched, kicked and ended up under piles of people. I’ve evolved my own way of protecting my camera and tucking and rolling. Most people at shows are nice and will help out if you get hurt, but there is still a world of people who take their problems out on the crowd by being assholes. Like that piece of shit cop, who I might mention also shot a homeless dude because he had a box-cutter. It’s a risk you take. Also – fuck that dude.
King Diamond - Nathaniel Shannon
King Diamond – Nathaniel Shannon

 

Underground music has so many different styles to it. Punk, Metal and Hardcore each have their own subdivisions and different styles, almost to the point where the sub-genre descriptions have become absurd. However, each one carries it’s own feeling and energy in the live setting. Is there or style – or even band – that you really look forward to while going to shoot a show? What is it about that style or musical project that resonates within you and your craft?

Nathaniel: I love shooting metal, or anything that is technically challenging. It’s more enjoyable and easier for me to make quality photographs of people going off. I’ve toured and photographed the Dillinger Escape Plan for decades, and those dudes still go off every night. I have a formula for them because I have so much experience working with them, but it’s always a challenge. There’s a slew of other bands that are the same way. I’ve photographed them a ton of times and only have a handful of photographs that really represent what their live show really is like.

 

The Dillinger Escape Plan - Nathaniel Shannon
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Nathaniel Shannon

Michael Dubin
Refused - Michael Dubin
Refused – Michael Dubin

 

When did the passion of photography really come into your life? Was there a moment or person that really struck a personal chord within you which has led you down this path?

Michael: I was always documenting everything… Growing up, we always made BMX videos, and when I started going to shows I would record everything. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college when I took my first photo class and began shooting shows. As soon as I started, I couldn’t stop.
Glassjaw - Michael Dubin
Glassjaw – Michael Dubin

 

 It seems that a majority of people have a misconception of the hard work and effort that goes into your art form. It’s not just as simple as pointing your camera and taking a ton of photos. There’s an actual craft to it that goes beyond the concert hall, dark room or work area. If you had to pinpoint one giant, glaring assumption that people have of your profession, what would it be?
Michael: I think people assume because anyone can operate a camera, anyone can be a photographer. I feel like you are either born with an eye for composition or you aren’t – it’s not  something you can learn.
At The Drive In - Michael Dubin
At The Drive In – Michael Dubin
Justin Borucki
Coalesce - Justin Borucki
Coalesce – Justin Borucki
There has to have been one concert where the moment struck you that was your calling. That you heard the call of this art form and decided to answer it. What band or concert was it that served as the springboard into capturing bands in the live setting?
Justin: I have been bringing my camera to shows since I started shooting. But only to Ska shows. But it wasn’t untill 1994 that my friend Angela Boatwright convinced me to bring my camera to Avail/Rancid. Up till that point, I was more interested in the pit than shooting. Shooting that show changed my life.
At The Drive In - Justin Borucki
At The Drive In – Justin Borucki

 

Every artist – be it painter, writer or photographer – essentially loves what they do. It drives us and it’s the reason why we feel that we’ve been put on this Earth. But there’s always a dark side to every art form. What’s the once facet of your chosen medium that drives you crazy at times?

Justin: I have to be a  business man if I want to support my family. I would love to just make art, but the rat race is the worst part.

 

Closure - Justin Borucki
Closure – Justin Borucki

Mark Beemer

Battery - Mark Beemer
Battery – Mark Beemer
Photography, especially when it focuses on music and concerts, is a competitive field to say the least. For those who have dabbled within this field and are looking to really take it to the next level, what advice would you give to them? What does it take to make a name for yourself within this artistic arena?
Mark: My advice: don’t do it.  Music will break your heart in the end once it becomes a business.  But, if you insist, I would suggest looking for a way to do it that no one else has or is currently doing. Light the stage from beneath (figure it out), shoot from the rafters or inside the bass drum – do something no one is even thinking about.  Start small, learn the craft of film and move slow.  If it’s right for you it will all fall into place.
Texas Is the Reason - Mark Beemer
Texas Is the Reason – Mark Beemer

 

It seems that a majority of people have a misconception of the hard work and effort that goes into your art form. It’s not just as simple as pointing your camera and taking a ton of photos. There’s an actual craft to it that goes beyond the concert hall, dark room or work area. If you had to pinpoint one giant, glaring assumption that people have of your profession, what would it be?
Mark: I feel most people believe a professional camera is all you need to pull off what we do.  I was reading someone’s blog a few months ago and she had mentioned that of the 500 images she took last weekend, she hoped she had 10 good ones!! A 2% return?? Are you kidding me? The best equipment in the world will only get you so far – you need to have an eye for capturing the moment, that perfect moment when everything comes together and is worth being frozen in time forever.
Mouthpiece - Mark Beemer
Mouthpiece – Mark Beemer

 

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Joseph Collins

Joseph Collins

Brooklyn, NY. A firm believer that the owls are not what they seem.

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