Before I turned to the “dark side”.
and became a videographer, I was a budding amateur photographer. Even though I failed my first official photography class (still upsets me) I knew that visual storytelling was my passion. At the same time, I transitioned from being a DJ to a radio Disc Jockey.
It was a rough transition at first. I’m just old enough that when I used to say I was a DJ, people assumed I worked with turntables and vinyl. I worked with a few companies, mainly doing weddings and parties. Nothing B-Boy style, but it was fun working in front of a crowd as opposed to a being in a sound proof booth. But music was music, so I made it work.
It may sound weird, but all of my injuries lead me working into media. When I was finally sidelined I began broadcasting games. If I wasn’t calling a game I was shooting it. Eventually, I switched from sports coverage to focusing on music and that was it. I still dabbled (and still do) in working live sports, but music and music photography had taken hold. A few years later an internship had me standing behind a studio camera at a local PBS station. The dark side had won.
While I lamented being in TV and was still convinced I’d end up as an audio engineer, I did secretly enjoy shooting moving images. It was more forgiving than photography (which was still film) and allowed you to correct yourself. To this day I can still remember the exact moment I knew shooting video was my destiny. Our studio show included live musical performances. There was a little old woman playing the piano. She was at least 65 and it was a slow piece of music. The director was calling for shots and wanted something creative. I noticed I was at an angle in which I could frame the woman playing the piano with the reflection of her hands on the underside of the grand piano’s lid. I framed it up and heard over the headset “Camera 3 (me) that shot is amazing…unfortunately, it’s a bit much for this piece.” I zoomed in so you could just see the reflection and began a slow zoom out that ended with her, the piano and her reflected hands. “Stand by to take Camera 3, take Camera 3! 3, are you sure video isn’t your things. That was pretty damn good”
That was it. I officially became a videographer that day. I’ve since gone on to shoot photo and video in various forms, but music has always been where it started.
One of my big goals for 2016 was to get back to my roots. Music, storytelling and just plain shooting. A good friend of mine is the bassist for National Anxiety, a local Wilkes-Barre band, and wanted some photos at a punk show he was playing. I figured, why not…got to start somewhere. It was an amazing time. While a little rust at first, I found my groove and had a great time. Having only moments to get a shot and tell the story of the band and their music is an amazing rush. It was truly the push I needed to kick off 2016. I ended up shooting two bands that evening and decided to revamp my band photography to try to get more gigs booked. It’s working pretty well so far!
Moral of the story, if you’ve been at this for a while and find yourself in a rut…get back to your original passion. Think back to when this was fun and go do that again. Even if you don’t make a dime on it, do it anyway. Sometimes we need to remember why the hell we got into this crazy business. If you’re new at it, find a passion. Find something that you love to shoot and shoot the hell out of it. And never forget what it is and how it makes you feel. As you grow and get better…every now and then, come back to that passion. It’s a great way to keep you motivated and get you out of a rut.