A Look Back At 2016
2016 has been the year that tops them all for me! To start, I have launched my hobby into a full blown lifestyle path. Photography has been something I have done locally for a few years, but this year, one of my favorite people, Lisa Johnson, helped me make it into something more.
In the last 6 months, I have photographed 47 bands, and met SO many people in the music and photography business that inspire me daily. Knowing these people has helped me break out of the mindset that making dreams a reality is impossible.
2016 has been so good to me, and I absolutely can not wait to see what 2017 holds!
Some of my favorite photos that were taken throughout this year can be seen below.
Issues was the first band I had the privilege to formally photograph from a photo pit. Sky was obviously my camera's favorite subject during this set. Haha
The Word Alive
It's crazy to think that I almost didn't photograph The Word Alive because I didn't want to be late to another band. These guys ended up being my favorite set of the day, and the photos I got out of it were amazing as well. Telle, the vocalist, was actually the first person to comment on my photos from their performance! That was so cool for me.
My Enemies & I
The guys in My Enemies & I have been incredibly supportive of my work by continuously re-posting it to their social medias. When you spend so much time working on something, it truly means a lot for the subjects of your work to take notice, and appreciate it.
The White Noise
I have never met another person quite like Shawn Walker. He is the absolute most quirky, energetic, and wild front-man I have ever witnessed perform, and it is amazing! These photos are included in my favorites because they exemplify Shawn's powerful stage presence. If you ever get the chance to see this band live, DO IT!
Twenty One Pilots
Oh, lord! This show was so stressful in so many ways, and I think that is why it will forever be one of my favorites. To begin with, I had bought tickets when they went on sale the year before because I absolutely love the band. The show ended up being sold out, so I was lucky to have bought a ticket! Fast forward months later to TWO DAYS before the show, and I find out that I am going to be photographing them! Do you know how nerve wracking it is to be a relatively new music photographer and photograph a band as HUGE as Twenty One Pilots?!
Fast forward to the day of the show. I got down to the pit and was surrounded by security. It was outdoors in August and apparently fans had spent the night outside the venue, so they were all majorly overheated and fainting and throwing up. Being in between all of that hectic mess plus the fact that I am 4 ft. 11 in. and the stage was like a foot taller was another thing that ultimately freaked me out. It was a completely new environment, but I loved it!
I was so nervous that I didn't get ANY usable shots, but I did and that makes me so happy still, to this day.
These guys opened up for Twenty One Pilots, so the story above applies to this photo as well. MUTEMATH is such an entertaining band to watch perform!
This photo made it onto my list of favorites because the guys on this tour were some of the most accommodating and welcoming people ever. The amount of people I met at this show was SO INSANE! I could go on forever about the friendly faces that I had the opportunity to hang out with and work beside. To the bands that were on this tour - Curses, Run 2 Cover, Trophy Wives, and Austin Jones - I hope to photograph you guys again soon!
Where do I start?
I photographed this band 3 times this year, interviewed Sebastian, and so on. I first discovered these guys at Warped Tour. They caught my eye with their theatrical outfits and attitude. Everything about them screamed Rock N' Roll, which happens to be the absolute best thing in the world. To later find out that they are inspired by almost everything that inspires me really made them relatable to me. Plus, the live show that they put on is absolutely incredible!
Since Warped, I have kept up with Palaye Royale because I truly do believe they are going to take over the music world one day. They have come through Little Rock twice this year, and I have gone out to photograph their set both times. These crazy Rock N' Rollers that I would like to consider my friends are making their way to the top, and I am proud to help make them look good through photos on the way. Haha
This photo has been a favorite of mine since I took it. I adore the atmosphere it exemplifies. Rather than just showing Jonny's face, you see a show being performed, and that makes this photo special. There is a mood to this photo that makes me feel like I am at the show all over again when I look at it.
(Shoutout to Mike for the AWESOME lights! Haha)
I'm not even sure how to go about explaining why this photo is one of my favorites... I have grown up listening to Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society, and just about every other musical project Zakk Wylde has been a part of. He is a guitar legend, and it was exciting for me to even be in his presence. OF COURSE I was beyond stoked to get to see Blasko and Joey Castillo as well because, like I said, I am a major music fan who has been raised right.
A super cool moment in my short existence as a music photographer was when Zakk shared this photo and one other of mine on his social media accounts. Call me a dork, but that was a memorable moment for me.
Before this show, I had never heard of these guys. It turns out they are a wonderful band full of kind-hearted individuals. Their vocalist and I have teamed up to offer prints of this photo and 2 others for fans to purchase. 50% of the profits will go to Wolf Mountain Sanctuary.
As a way to give back going into 2017, purchase a print and help out the wolves. :)
Motionless In White
I got to photograph Motionless In White twice this year. Once at Warped Tour, and once when they opened up for Korn.
In 2014, I went to my first Warped Tour, and my second goal of the day (behind meeting Ben Bruce) was to see Motionless In White. I didn't get to, but I made it a goal to see them at some point. When they were announced for the 2016 Warped Tour, I was beyond excited! I had never dreamed of being able to actually be in the pit for their set!
The photo shown here is from their show with Korn. I am not going to go on about that much here because I have Korn photos coming up.
If you haven't heard of Korn, are you really even a music fan? As the child of my mother, who has been listening to them since they released their very first album, I have been listening to this band for literally my whole life. These photos are included in my list of favorites because they're special to me. I got to take mom, who had never been able to see them live before, and that alone was so cool.
Korn puts on such a legendary performance that it's hard to leave and not call yourself a super-fan. I am eternally grateful for this opportunity.
Sick Puppies are such a fun band to photograph! I enjoyed the photos that I got from their set so much that I just couldn't make a favorite photos list and not include them.
I miss everyone from this tour so much!
From interviewing Mason Musso and Sebastian Danzig (Palaye Royale was here too), to watching a jam session between some of the dudes, to sticking to McCanne (Tour Manager) like glue for hours because it was so much fun to hear all of the stories he had to tell, to just being there, this was definitely one of my favorite shows of the year.
MY LAST SHOW OF 2016!!!
December 15th was the end of the year in my eyes. I am so glad that I got to end it with Phantogram! The show that they put on is so incredible, and this was also the first female fronted band that I have gotten to photograph, which is cool.
Here's to 2017!
After reminiscing on what a fantastic year 2016 has been, I am excited to transition into 2017! There are so many things I want to do, people I want to photograph, and ideas I want to make a reality.
Some people to thank for making this year all possible:
Mom, Lisa Johnson: Rock Photographer, Austin (Tune Fix), Crissy (White Noise Zine), Brian (Respect Your Youngers)... Laia, Jenn, Alyson, & Britney (for answering my many questions about the music/photo industry & not getting annoyed with me. hahaha)... There are more, but I can't think of anyone else to list at the moment.