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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.