To photograph this year’s CMJ Music Marathon. Volunteer photographer applications are now open, head here for more info.

imageCMJ 2013 Aussie BBQ: Sheppard at the Delancey by Rachel Barrish


I’m going to be real for a minute here.

If the quality of this image is the kind of thing that CMJ gets back, and actually praises, then cmj is part of the problem.

What problem?

The problem of music photographers not being able to get a paying gig to save their lives. 

This photo, to me, says that any asshole with a DSLR can show up and be patted on the head for their “prowess” with a camera.

People, often, are actually signing up for these kinds of festivals not to photograph the bands, not to come away with great photos, but to gain access to the festival.  The bars, the people, the energy.  To attend without having to pay.

I know that I am a volunteer photographer for SXSW, and I agree, volunteer photographers may have their place.  But I’ve seen what the other SXSW Photo Crew puts out - and I have to say, we are all on a much higher level than this photograph which was apparently submitted to CMJ. 

I also count myself lucky to not get sucked into the idea of rubbing elbows with the almost-famous.  I’m there to capture the event, to photograph your band, to make you look good.  I’m not sure I could give fewer fucks about making myself look good or being seen or going to the bars or even having access to the festival.

A good eye and a good lens, indeed. 

Andy & Melissa Wedding

Weddings!  Even more fun when it’s family!  

My brother and his bride, Melissa, finally tied the knot this weekend, and, not gonna lie, they’re pretty adorbz.  While I wasn’t the ‘official’ photog, I still got off a few great shots, and so welcome to my family, folks, cause here they are:  

Right about here, halfway down the aisle, Melissa looked up and realized that instead of khakis and whatever had been previously planned, Andy was wearing a sharp tux.  

Butterfly releases are a little more successful in warmer weather, we think:

"Let’s just hide under here for a while, ok?"

Dancing with my father - she’s one of the family already!


Why I love shooting theater

It dawned on me today, as my friend and coworker, Julie-Anne was talking about her experiences in theater as an actor.  She said, “The humanity comes from the actor.  The director can’t do that, the stage manager can’t do that, the designer and the sound can’t do that.  The actor humanizes it.”

That’s what I love.  I love capturing those moments when the actor is humanized, channeling the words and directions in the script in a way that defies what most of us are able to do with our bodies, minds and voices.  Similarly in music, when most people are bobbing to the beat, the musician is experiencing something completely different.  

As I am formerly - and formally - acquainted with performing, I know what this means.  Not to give too much trumpeting to myself, but I believe I can recognize it in others.  And those with whom I’ve worked in photography can likely attest to that.  

Fever Chart has opened at Central Square Theater, and will run through December 19th.  Starring a cast of Ken Baltin, Dan Shaked, Ibrahim Miari, Harry Hobbs, Miaria Silverman and Najla Said, this performance certainly gives us much to think about, in terms of humanity.  

I hope that the images I’ve pulled for you show such things.  

Photography in Public Spaces - MBTA

Now, photographing in public spaces generally gives me the heebies.  Because my work is confined mostly to the stage, that’s where I feel safe and comfortable.  Street photography has never been my thing.  Which is part of the reason why I’m taking a class at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education (Night and Low Light Photography, by the way, taught by the wonderful Skip Shiel).  Because it gives me an excuse to take out my camera more often, it’s a chance to learn more, and a chance to get over this whole phobia I have of photographing away from the stage.  

During tonight’s class, we decided to go down into the Harvard MBTA Station for some real life experience.  We had discussed before leaving the logistics of shooting in public and the fact that it is, indeed, perfectly legal.  (There are, by the way, great resources on the rights of photographers in public spaces - like this.)

Now there’s a slightly sticky point here, and that’s because MBTA is this nebulous organization (mostly made up of complete and total fail).  It’s technically a private company that is assisted by government funds and exists for public consumption.  To say it is a public space is not necessarily true - but nor is it truly a private space.  Nor, I feel, do customers feel the need for any extreme version of “expectation of privacy.”

Another sticky point is the fact that there’s clearly a miscommunication somewhere down the line between actual policies and what employees are trained to do.  

While I was wandering around, nervously shooting from the hip, I noticed one of my fellow students being stopped by an MBTA employee.  I retreated to higher ground, so that I could get a signal on my phone and pull up the MBTA website.  Just as Skip was coming down the stairs.  I told him what I saw, my classmate being talked to by an employee, and he immediately went to her.  Once the page loaded, I joined him, where he was having a polite but clearly heated discussion with said employee.  

As we were talking, another MBTA employee caught another one of our group taking photos, and pulled him towards us.  Eventually, I got around to showing each employee (by now, there were three of them gathering us together) what their own website said.  

They seemed shocked by this.  The woman we initially encountered had already called dispatch, and was in the middle of telling us that three years ago, she underwent training that told her that all photographic activity on MBTA property was strictly prohibited.  

My counter-argument, of course, was to bring up the “See something, Say something" campaign.  (Besides the logical fallacy that we are “now, more than ever” continuously on an escalating terror alert.)  

If someone harasses me on the MBTA, am I not even allowed to take a photo with my cell phone?  What if the only camera I have to catch the creep is my DSLR?  Where is the line?  I wanted to bring up the partnership that was forged just over a year ago with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, where ads encouraged the taking of photos when one feels harassed and intimidated on the T.  I wanted to talk about all the tourists who are always, always, taking photos in the stations, on the trains, etc.  Not to mention the fact that the MBTA is continuously under-staffed and there are often no employees in stations after a certain point in the day (like in Davis Square, where there is generally never an employee after 8 pm, and any altercation means waiting - up to, and often more than, 30 minutes).  So taking photos might be the only way to “See Something Say Something”.

But I sadly never got the chance.  Employees largely dismissed us - the woman went back to work, one man simply wandered away - except for one, who offered to stick around until dispatch arrived (which took longer than 30 minutes, so we left) so that he could learn what the actual policy was.  

Truth be told, I doubt there will ever be a resolution to this.  It’s well-documented through other’s personal accounts that MBTA tells the public one thing and tells employees another, completely wrong, thing.  

Anyway, enough rambling - here’s the few shots I managed to get off before our operation got shut down:

What are your thoughts on photography in public spaces?  Namely, spaces like MBTA or other public transit authorities?

Living Syndication - Palladium

I’ve been trying to nail these guys down again for two years, and out of the blue, Pervez asked me to photograph their show at the Palladium in Worcester.  

Can I just mention they put on an amazing show?  These guys know how to rock.  I’m a little in love with the bassist as a photo subject, because he’s working his ass off and having FUN doing it.  And as a former musician, I can say that something like that is of utmost importance.  Anyway - here’s a first draft of some of my favorites:

Photos - 26things - February 2010

Ever since I stumbled upon this way back in the day, I have wanted to try doing 26things.

Today, I finally got up the nerve to do it.  I was bustling around the kitchen, baking cookies for a certain boy who lives far far away for Valentine’s Day, and thought, hmm.  This would be an interesting theme to 26things - my kitchen!


Sure, only half of the 26 Things are there, but it’s a start!  Now that I’ve started it, I’m sure it’ll be all that much easier to finish.

Who wants to play 26things with me?

New Gigs

I spent this morning nailing out a few details for my brand new client, Sol y Canto, a fabulous local ensemble that will be playing at Springstep in Medford on February 13.

This is a brand new show for them, featuring the theme of food, and how food and aromas of certain food bring to mind wonderful memories.  Check out their website for samples of music and a preview video.

There are two shows, 7:30 pm and 9:00 pm, so get tickets soon - it should be a delicious way to spend Valentine’s Eve!

Things I didn’t know: A Christmas Carol, Stoneham Theatre

Hey, awesome!  My photos are being featured on the homepage of Stoneham Theatre (they rotate show images - wait for it… wait for it… THERE it is!).

They’re also included in the actual show page.  Awesome!

Hey, if you’ve seen the show, don’t forget to leave a comment and let them know how it was!  (We marketing people love feedback!)