The first live band I ever saw was when local rock band Goddo played my high school. It was the first time I got that feeling you get when you see a band live. The power of the guitar blasting through the PA, the stage lights, that live excitement. My first major concert was The Kinks at maple Leaf Gardens. I knew two songs. “Lola” and “You Really Got me”. I was in the private box elevated high above the crowd and stage, so it wasn’t as raw as my Goddo experience, however I was still blown away by the whole experience. The huge stage, lights, PA, not to mention the amount of people that showed up. I was hooked.
Growing up we were too poor to afford music lessons so my dream of learning to play drums ended with a Christmas gift of an 8 Track tape of someone else playing drums. Fast forward a few years of seeing such bands as Van Halen, Frank Zappa, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and I knew I had to get involved with the music industry.
For hours I’d look at the record artwork and photos reading the names on the thanks lists and photo credits. I finally got my first camera. A Canon T70 that was cutting edge technology in the early 80’s. By that time my friend Vince had introduced me to the punk and hardcore scene. Since the chances of a 19-year-old getting access to major label bands were non-existent, I started photographing local metal and punk bands. My first band shot was a horrible band portrait of local metal band Slaughter in the kitchen of Larry’s Hideaway. From then on I was constantly shooting gigs, learning how to make better photographs. Punk and metal shows were exciting to go to not just for the shooting, but also because of the danger factor. Hardcore/punk shows were always unpredictable since the people who attended the shows were the outcasts. They didn’t fit in and the punk scene was their place to get away from whatever problems they had at home. One thing lead to another and I began getting load-in gigs, then production gigs and then became a steady member of a crew of guys doing the stage and rigging for touring bands coming through Toronto.
Time flies and now its been 30 + years that I have been shooting bands. The excitement, that feeling you get when a band is hitting their stride on stage is addictive. During this time I also published a professional grade music magazine, Full Contact. I was lucky enough to meet and interview a ton of great unknown bands as well as music legends such as Metallica, Motorhead, Zakk Wylde to name a few. It was after I interviewed legendary photographers Ross Haflin and Neal Preston that I started to look at taking my music photography into a different direction. Offstage.
Over the course of 2015 I began working on the mindset and technique of The Portrait. While influenced by the greats the goal is to make my own style of portrait that while has all of the elements of a great portrait, still had that feeling you get when you see that person on stage.
Those photos will be added to the “vintage” photos from over the last 30 years to complete the book. The list of featured artists, bands, techs, friends, freaks is already quite impressive and will no doubt grow over the next 12 months.
I will be scheduling approximately 250 portraits that will be shot as location portraits, at the venue, hotel, studio, tour bus…wherever. Sure, there will be times when a formal portrait with a light kit and backdrop will be used, but the majority will be done with a small portable lighting kit that will allow me to travel as lightly as possible. In order to keep costs down I will shoot as many portraits in Toronto. There is one trip planned to New York City to photograph the many NY based bands, artists on my “shoot list”
While the majority of my photo career has been spent producing images for my self-published magazine Full Contact, I have also worked with the following bands, companies and publications:
Marshall Amplification, Bits magazine, Torja magazine, LMT Connection, Buried Alive, Godbelow, Sick Of It All, Eat magazine (Japan), Stigmata, 100 Demons, Surface Records, Victory Records.
I am very excited to have joined the crew at Within Punk Zine as a photographer | writer.
Email | firstname.lastname@example.org