WOW. I can't believe that 2014 is already nearly over. This year has been absolutely incredible, even if it was stressful as hell sometimes! I finally took the leap this year and started up my own music magazine, and I couldn't be happier with how things have gone so far! I also got to shoot Warped Tour for the first time this year, got to shoot bands that I've been listening to for YEARS (AFI, Linkin Park, Avenged Sevenfold & Ted Nugent, I'm looking at you) and I've made some incredible lifelong friends along the way.
Below are some of my favorite live shots I've taken this year (and the stories behind them) in no particular order. Here's to an even busier 2015!
AFI @ Fiddlers Green Amphitheater, 9/8/14
I've been listening to AFI for years, and to be able to shoot them for the first time this year was such an amazing experience! Davey Havok is just such an amazing frontman, I almost didn't even feel worthy to shoot this show, haha. I also didn't get approved for this show until a few hours before, so that was an emotional rollercoster in itself. I'm pretty sure that I nearly screamed when I got this shot. This is one I'll love for years to come.
Warped Tour Denver, 8/3/14
The guy in this photo is my friend, Trevor. I always get photos of Trevor crowd surfing, stage diving, singing along and being an overall badass, but this is hands down one of my favorite photos I've ever taken of him at a show. I know it's not of a band or anything, but I feel that shooting the crowd can sometimes be just as important as shooting the band. If I wouldn't have turned around to see this, I wouldn't have gotten the shot.
Ted Nugent @ The Gothic, 7/30/14
I'm pretty sure that my father has never been more proud of me than he was when I told him that I was photographing Ted Nugent. Opinions on what comes out of the man's mouth aside, he's an insane performer. Shooting this show was absolutely surreal. (It was also a little terrifying considering the amount of protesters outside the show.) But when I look back on these photos, it's still hard for me to believe that I actually shot this show.
All Time Low @ The Ogden Theatre, 4/17/14
All Time Low is definitely one of my favorite bands to shoot, and on top of that, Jack Barakat is an insane performer. The first few times I shot All Time Low, I tried to get some decent photos of Jack jumping like this (he does it pretty often, anyone who has shot them will tell you that) but every time I caught him jumping, there was something off about the photo - it was badly composed, the lighting was bad, there was a mic stand in the way... it was always something. This just happened to be the perfect moment, though. I knew it the moment I snapped the photo, and I couldn't be happier with the result.
Yellowcard @ Summit Music Hall, 11/11/14
I fucking love shooting Yellowcard. In the past year, I've gotten the chance to shoot them three times, and every single show has been incredible. These guys have so much heart on stage, and Sean Mackin has easily become one of my favorite people to photograph. He always shows so much emotion that, as a photographer, it's hard not to gravitate toward him. There were two other shows this same night that I really wanted to shoot (The 1975 and Slipknot) that I passed up in favor of shooting this, and if that doesn't say a lot about my love for Yellowcard, I don't know what does!
Skrillex @ Red Rocks, 6/21/14
The first BIG show I ever shot was Skrillex. The first electronic show I ever shot was also Skrillex. Needless to say, it was super overwhelming. It was also about two years before the second time I got to shoot him, when this photo was taken. Anyone who shoots electronic shows will tell you how hard it is to get good shots of the musicians, as they spend most of their time behind a booth on a stage that is almost nearly as tall as you are. Thankfully, that was not the case with this show, though. Red Rocks' stage is pretty low and Skrillex had this badass spaceship that he kept climbing out of. I still can't believe I got this shot.
'68 @ The Gothic Theatre, 5/14/14
It hurts my heart to know that I never got the chance to photograph The Chariot, but '68 is definitely the next best thing. As I've said before, I love it when band members interact with the photographers, and Josh Scogin did exactly that when I got the chance to shoot them for the first time. One second, I'm taking a photo of him looking right at me, the next, I'm snapping away while he leans over the stage to lay the head of his guitar on my camera's lens. These photos are the result, and I couldn't be happier with them. (Plus, Josh liked them, so that made me super happy!)
The Story So Far @ The Marquis Theatre, 9/28/14
Normally, this would have been a throw away photo. The night of this show, my flash kept shorting out and stopped working all together about two songs into The Story So Far's set, which mean that I got to test the real power behind my camera by cranking up the ISO to try and get some salvageable photos. I try not to rely on flash, but lighting at The Marquis is terrible, and I was scared that my photos would reflect that. Instead, I walked away with this super soft looking intimate moment between Parker Cannon and the crowd. Again, this isn't a shot I'd normally go for, but I love the way that it turned out.
The Word Alive @ Warped Tour, Denver, 8/3/14
THIS FREAKING PICTURE. I know for a fact that I screamed when I got this photo. The Word Alive was one of the bands that I had been super excited to shoot this day, because of how Telle Smith acts in front of a camera, but I had been in no way prepared for him to do this. There's a good five photos before this one of him seeing me and coming closer before he actually made eye contact with my lens.
I've said this before and I'll say it again, I LOVE when band members interact with the photographers. It doesn't have to be 100% serious all the time. In fact, I love photos like this way more than I love the ones of them pretending that they don't know I'm there.
I love love love shooting Telle Smith.
Memphis May Fire @ Summit Music Hall, 3/16/14
Another great example of band members interacting with photographers. This was the first show I shot with my new lens this year, and while Memphis May Fire's lights were gorgeous, I found myself struggling to get a good photo of Matty Mullins that wasn't up his nose or where the mic wasn't blocking his face. And then suddenly, this happened. I honestly don't know how or why, but suddenly, he was in front of me, staring into my camera and I was snapping away. This will forever be one of my favorite photos. The moment was just so perfect.
Chiodos @ Summit Music Hall, 7/27/14
I got the chance to shoot Chiodos twice this year, and both times were incredible. While the first show was amazing mostly because I got to interview Craig beforehand, I was even happier with my photos from this date. (I owe a lot to the lovely Ashley Osborn for making sure that the lighting was amazing!) This moment was just perfect, though. Right place at the right time.
Emarosa @ The Gothic Theatre, 5/14/14
Another band that I got the chance to shoot more than once this year, and I'm super grateful that I did! I definitely wasn't expecting Bradley Walden to spend more time in the crowd than he did on stage, but somehow it resulted in great photos like this one, so I'm not complaining! It's easy to tell when a band member really cares about their fans and believes in what they're doing, and I definitely get that vibe from Bradley whenever I shoot him. Definitely one of my favorite people to shoot and one of my favorite shots this year.
Twenty One Pilots @ The Ogden Theatre, 5/16/14
This was my first time shooting Twenty One Pilots, and despite having seen them before, I was absolutely not prepared. They and their lights were unpredictable, making it really hard to get a solid shot, but somehow I walked away with this perfect moment. I love this photo and can't wait to shoot them again!
Man Overboard @ The Ogden Theatre, 4/17/14
I have been listening to Man Overboard for years, so to finally get the chance to shoot them was amazing. This shot is definitely not something I would normally go for. In school, I was basically taught that empty space is terrible, that a photo as "unbalanced" as this wouldn't work. Maybe that's part of the reason why I dropped out. Haha. But yeah, I normally wouldn't go for a shot like this, but then those lights came on and Zac put his hands up and it was just too perfect to pass up. Sometimes, the weirdest composition makes for the coolest photos if you do it right. What do photography professors know anyway?! (Also MOB really liked this photo which made me super happy)
Avenged Sevenfold @ Red Rocks, 7/14/14
I still can't believe I shot Avenged Sevenfold. If you would have told 15 year old Shannon that she'd be photographing this band at Red Rocks of all places, she would have laughed at you. But for real, I'm eternally grateful to my amazing friend, Svetlana, who had an extra photo pass for this show and gave it to me. It was an amazing experience. This was actually the first show I shot at Red Rocks that wasn't an electronic show and man was it perfect. I got a ton of photos of A7X that I loved, but this one takes the cake. It's so perfect.
Every Time I Die @ Warped Tour, Denver, 8/3/14
I just love shooting Every Time I Die, and shooting them at Warped was even better than I could have expected. There's no long story behind this photo, I just really like Keith Buckley's hair. Haha.
The Neighbourhood @ The Ogden Theatre, 6/25/14
This show was such a roller coaster ride. I didn't think I was going to get approved, but I did. Then I got to the venue and I wasn't on the list, so I panicked. Then we got it figured out, and then this happened. The NBHD's publicist made it clear that the photos of them were to be in black & white ONLY, which I was a little nervous about at first, because I feel that I sometimes rely on vibrant colors to make my photos pop. But as they got on stage and their white lights came on, I was in heaven. (It also helps when the person you're taking photos of is undeniably attractive... haha.) But this show was incredible and I love all of my photos from it!
Bring Me The Horizon @ The Ogden Theatre, 2/13/14
Normally, I hate my wide crowd shots. I always feel like I could do better, that the moment wasn't right, the lights weren't perfect, ect... However this is hands down one of my favorite photos I have ever taken. This was the first time I shot Bring Me The Horizon and it was my first big show of 2014, so I was nervous and overwhelmed and felt a lot of pressure to get good photos. Somehow, I just managed to capture this perfect moment right when they shot confetti into the crowd, and the result is this photo. Sometimes I forget that I actually took it, haha.
The Word Alive @ The Marquis Theatre, 12/10/14
As I said above, Telle Smith is easily one of my favorite people to photograph, hence the reason that The Word Alive is the only band pictured twice in this gallery. I got the chance to shoot them three times this year (holy shit, three) and each time was not only a unique experience, but also super fun. At first, I was really upset that I wasn't able to shoot from side stage for their set this time around, but then I was thankful, because if it weren't for me getting pushed out of my comfort zone, this photo wouldn't have happened. I never take crowd shots at The Marquis. Their lighting is usually awful and the stage is really low, so it just never works. But TWA had their own lighting and risers, and Telle Smith loves to interact with the crowd, making for this perfect shot. I can't wait to shoot them again! This was one of the last shows I shot this year, and I'm glad to say that I feel that I went out with a bang.
letlive. @ The Marquis Theatre, 4/25/14
So, I lied. I know that I said these photo are in no particular order, but I definitely saved the best for last. This photo of letlive. is easily my favorite photo I have ever taken. EVER. Normally, I say that after a show - I'll be going through my photos and look at my boyfriend and go "these are the best photos I've ever taken" and then a few months later I shoot another show and that same thing happens. I suppose that's a good thing, as it means I'm always growing and getting better, but even now, eight months after this photo was taken, I can confidently say that this is still my favorite photo I've ever taken. Hell, it might even be my favorite photo that I will ever take.
Some people may argue and say, "But Shannon, what about this photo? I think this one is better!" and that's cool, but this is my favorite. Maybe it's because I love letlive. or maybe it's because Jason is one of my favorite people to shoot (and one of my favorite people in general), but I like to think that it's the emotion on Jason's face in this photo and the incredible show that led up to this exact moment.
If you've ever had the pleasure of meeting Jason Butler, then you probably know why everyone loves him so much. This man is so genuine - he cares about his fans so much, and it's not just an act. It's not about making money or looking cool. It's because he's a good dude, and I feel that this photo encompasses just that. This was taken during the last few seconds of the last song of their set (it was Renegade 86, if I remember correctly) and fans had stormed the stage to sing along with the band. It was the perfect ending for their set, during much of which fans kept jumping on stage to hug Jason while he performed. (and he never once turned one of them down.)
I think this is my favorite photo because it captures who Jason Butler is as a person and it captures what letlive. is about, and every time I look at it, I'm reminded why I keep shooting shows. It's for moments like this - moments that make me passionate about what I do and remind me why I keep doing it.
Thank you, letlive. for igniting that passion every single time I look at this photo and every time I get to photograph you. Here's to an incredible 2015. <3