When choosing to do a music photography assignment for Your Shot, I knew it would be fun to see how people from all over the world see music. I had no idea how much this assignment would pull at my own feelings, make me retrace my past with photography, and move me to revisit old songs from my childhood and search out new artists. I asked for you to show me how you were seeing music, to capture scenes from concerts, bedrooms, and street corners. Some of the moments you showed me were loud and made me want to turn up the volume on my computer as I surveyed scenes from point of view of concertgoers next to amps turned up to 11. Some moments made me laugh or pause to take in breathtaking scenes. Then there were moments that were quiet and made me think about why the photographer decided to capture a particular image, what the music they were hearing sounded like, and whether it evoked some sort of memory inside of them.
Early on in this assignment, I told you that I don’t know how to play an instrument. I’ve always wanted to be in a band, though, so taking photographs of musicians was the closest I could get to feel as if I was apart of the music scene. There was something so alluring about being a part of the music community that the thought of it would keep me up at night. Of course, my life took some turns in other directions and now I find myself as part of the Your Shot community. I don’t regret where I am these days; this photo community surprises and inspires me everyday.
At first, I worried that I wouldn’t get many submissions for this assignment. It turns out I got almost 10,000 images submitted for review. You’re looking at the final 31; it was not easy to get to these final images. This assignment kept me up late at night as I revised my order, took in new images, and went through the heartbreaking process of eliminating some images that I loved. (I promise there will be a Behind the Edit blog post on the ones that didn’t make it.)
During our time on the discussion board I talked to all of you concerning the idea of looking for new angles and perspectives. You all found ways to move through large crowds to photograph memorable moments on stage, or you took your time trying to capture the emotions of a street performer who was putting their heart and soul into their music. Those will always be the times you'll be glad you took an image, so it can remind you of those moments and how you felt during that exact time that the shutter was pressed. Keep looking for memorable moments in your photography. They can come from the stage, from behind the scenes, from the streets or from your living room.
I’ll end on a personal note here. Back in 2003, I found myself going through a dark time personally and was very confused on the direction I wanted to go with my life. It was the year that I lost a close family member and the year that I discovered photography. It was the year that I started photographing music and started to feel like I found my path. As I write this, my soundtrack is the song “The Last Song I Will Ever Want To Sing” by the Canadian band Moneen. I haven’t listened to this record in a good eight years. It was a record that came out during the same year I went through my struggle and discovery.
As I look through these final images with my headphones on and lead singer Kenny Birdges sings to me, “I want to remember. Wait ... smile, do something,” I’m reminded of why I love music and photography. Combining the two might have been the best decision I have ever made. I hope you continue to listen and document the music around you. Thanks for the images, Your Shot!