Photographing the Band: Here Inside
Back in the 1990s when I lived in Los Angeles I had a second "career" as a music photographer/journalist for several labels, magazines and small zines across the country. I started by photographing bands when they played at clubs, but back in those days it wasn't as simple as taking your camera into clubs and snapping some pics. We're talking film cameras, with multiple lenses that I had to carry around in my big nerd camera bag, and I couldn't just walk into the Whiskey or Roxy with that stuff, particularly in media-conscious L.A. I had to first contact the band's record label and get on the press list for the show, and it was way easier to get that if I was affiliated with a publication. So I started doing interviews of the bands and writing record reviews to get published, and I supplied my own photos with the articles. Magazines LOVED it because I was able to deliver the whole package to them at once, and I got a good reputation as not only a live photographer but also a pretty decent writer. Through that work I made a lot of friends at the record labels and PR companies which landed me some more (slightly) lucrative commissioned photo gigs.
I stopped doing band photography in 2000 when my attention turned back to art, as well as making music under the name Jesters Longevity with one of my best friends Jason Mundok. Although we don't create music together these days, I still get the opportunity to collaborate artistically with Jason on his other musical projects. His new band Here Inside, a moody dreampop duo with vocalist Anne Kirby (founder of Lancaster's Candy Factory), are in the process of recording their first album CoalescE. But more than simply an album, CoalescE is a multimedia statement about reclaiming one's creative past and making the space to renew that creative spark and give life to your ideas. With this project, Jason and Anne are not only sharing with the world their own creative process but also the community of people they collaborate with to bring it to life.
Jason and Anne asked me to be the photographer and interviewer for the CoalescE project and I was super excited to be a part of it. I had to metaphorically dust off my mental equipment to get back into the groove, after all it had been 16 years since the last time I did a photoshoot with a band!
But doing the portrait shots with them in the different locations took me right back to those days, immersing myself with a band for a day and trying to bring out their personalities through the camera. It can be a difficult dynamic for myself and the subject though. Pointing a camera lens at people can be uncomfortable even to people used to it, so I work very intentionally through my conversation to ease that tension and get people relaxed during a shoot.
The photo shoot went really well, and the images really capture the spirit of these two. In the video below, Jason and Anne talk about the photo shoot and what I'm doing to help them with for CoalescE...
As you can see from the video, Here inside has a kickstarter to fund this project that gives supporters access to a special website with behind the scenes videos of them in the studio, first-listen demo tracks from the studio, and a lot of interactivity which gives contributors a chance to be part of the project. Please check it out and give a little love to support the project!