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A photo equals 1000 words

Photo: Taelar Pollmann • The Sentry
Johnny Hawkins of Nothing More opening for Ghost

The importance of concert photography

Humans are a visual species and the need for visual stimulation has bloomed with the advancement of technology.  One aspect of the visual playground that is often taken for granted is the art of concert photography.

A person in attendance of a concert doesn’t close their eyes and only listen to the band.  A concert review without a photograph attached would provide a limited window into the overall experience.  A band’s stage appearance is equally important to the description of their sound.

Outside of a concert review, there are many other areas that are positively benefited by an excellent live performance photograph.  Alexa Chandler, a current College of the Arts and Media student who also has worked at various venues around Denver, said on the topic, “It is a crucial marketing tool that artists/bands can use to promote themselves.”

The adaptability of a photograph doesn’t stop at billboards or posters to market an upcoming tour, but it can be printed on a shirt or even sold as single prints.  With the resurgence in popularity of vinyl records, the larger booklets allow for more photographs to be printed of the band.

Even the atmosphere of the concert has been altered due to photography.  It is rare in 2019 to attend a concert where the crowd isn’t holding up a sea of screens.  There are a few artists, like Jack White, who take advantage of the Yondr pouch service.  This is a locked bag that a person’s cell phone is placed inside so they can keep it on their person during a performance but are limited to using it in the approved areas only.   

The absence of mobile phones and screens allows for the audience to be present at his shows and focus more on the music being created onstage.  White makes up for the lack of personal camera use tenfold by hiring a photographer to tour with him and cover every show from angles and vantage points that are unavailable to the average concertgoer. Along with that, this person brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the craft that leads to overall better photographs than the average concertgoer.  In the situation with White, his photographer uploads the photographs to White’s website, and they can be downloaded by anyone, knowing that the visuals of a concert are as equally important as the music.

Photographers aren’t only there for the audience.  “I shoot a lot of shows for beginning artists and classmates, so I believe having a photographer at their show is a confidence boost for them. There is also something so special about live shows and being able to capture special moments,” Chandler stated.

These atmospheres created by bands and the energy supplied by the crowd sound like a tantalizing evening to many photographers.  When a creative activity feeds the soul there is a higher likelihood of the result being close to perfection.  Concert photography is a win-win all around.

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