On Nov. 4th, right before our Appleton, WI. show at Gibson Music Hall, we met with Graham Washatka and his assistant Julie for a 30 minute photo session. We are not into posing but based on Graham's body of work we trusted him and his ideas came together as fast and painless as we make our music. Graham can take over from here....
These are my kind of sessions. Show up, get to it and create some images. Or as Hero Jr would say... #sometimesyoujustgottagiveitthebusiness
The set up for this shoot was even quick... Ken (their guitarist) and I struck up a conversation on Friday evening when they had a gig in Neenah, WI. We planned to shoot after their 5pm load in and sound check at Gibson Music Hall in Appleton on Saturday. The shoot started right after soundcheck.
It helps that these guys have totally had my ear since I first saw them at Mile of Music in 2014. Straight to the point rock'n'roll music. Great grooves, great guitar and great vocals. They know how they want to sound and they don't mess around about it. Based off of their sound and look I knew the images I wanted to create and the types of looks I was going for. I had one photo in mind and was counting on improvising for any photos after that.
When I arrived Ken said that the alley behind Gibson Music Hall looked cool and fits their sound. I didn't disagree... but I had my priority #1 image in mind. This is the image that I knew I was going to shoot. It was taken in the front area of Gibson Music Hall. They have a garage door with windows as part of their College Ave facing storefront. The photo was taken one band member at a time. I had the camera set to BULB shutter mode, which means it's open until I tell it to close. I had Dave (bassist, left) stand in spot and I moved pivoted the camera so he was on the left of the frame. I opened the shutter, popped the flash then covered the lens up with my Brewers hat... Next Ryan stood in place, I spun the camera to shift his position on the frame, removed my hat, popped the flash... repeat for Evan and Ken. It took 6 attempts of this choreography/photography (as Evan dubbed it during the shoot). The first three shots used a different background, before I decided to just turn to the street and let the street lights fill in the shadows. One image resulted in Ken and Evan merging into one person... named Kevan.
I almost got away without needing to use "PHOTOSHOP"... since Dave is a guy who wears a black shirt and a black jacket, with long dark hair and a big dark beard he was quickly hidden by Ryan's plaid in this shot. He looked like a floating head made only of cheek bones, a nose, eyes and a forehead... so I grabbed a throwaway shot of Dave and gave the guy an essence of a neckline.
Another method I used on this shot is a slow shutter combined with a flash. It allows for motion and travel in an image, but also sharp focus and and desired exposure on your subjects.
The band was great to work with. I really like the photos we got in the quick, condensed, impromptu style shoot.