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“Solo show” and “Artist” aren’t two things that go along with my name, but for an evening on Sunday March 30th, I heard it a few times. First, it’s a “solo show”, but “artist” feels like a stretch. I shot photos for pure fun in the late 80s and early to mid 90s. I wanted to keep improving the images and the craft mattered to me. When walking into a venue, I did two things, first, a quick scan of the best vantage points and then I’d figure out how to capture the essence of the band or show. The show mattered too, but I was hell-bent on trying to get an image that captured something great.
This was before cellphones, selfies, and iPads. It was before sd cards, thumb drives, and uploading photos to a blog. This was manual photography, processing film, and hand printing on an enlarger. It was shot in black and white and not Photoshopped into black and white. Contrast was added with a filter, dodging and burning was done by hand, and there were plenty of test strips, fiber photo paper, 4 blade easels, Dektol, stop bath, fixer, hypo-clear, washing, and finally drying.
Who knew that 20+ years after shooting the pics, I would have an exhibition of some of the shots at my favorite cafe – Balconi Coffee. It started off innocently. I’ve been keeping a left-eye out for the negatives, but never bothered to really look. I’m into moving forward, not backwards. Then one day less than two months ago, I opened a random box and there they were – about half of the negatives and more than enough for an exhibition. After showing a couple of shots to friend and curator, Kio Griffith, he suggested a low-pressure exhibition.
It took me a while to figure out what mattered most about my time shooting photos of bands. It wasn’t all about the music or the musicians at all. It was something larger – the scene that housed it all. The kids, the venues, the details in between, and the stories that went with it. Throughout my photos, there’s plenty of “us” in the crowd watching the bands at the venues, and that’s as close to capturing the entire scene in just one shot. It was a great era for punk and indie rock.