A Positive Outlook on A Post-COVID World

Local photogs are hopeful of returning to the pit

Looking ahead to the new normal for concert photogs.
Photo: Taelar Pollmann · The Sentry

The words “in these uncertain times” are becoming more of a modern version of nails on a chalkboard than a soothing sentiment, but the fact that the future is uncertain for many people is not one to be overlooked. The live performance industry has been particularly hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. For several musicians, the ability to stream videos from their homes has allowed them to continue to perform and make a small bit of income, but for stagehands and concert photographers, there is no digital counterpart to their role in the live show ecosystem. The Sentry spoke with some of Denver’s local concert photographers to better understand the situation from their point of view.

“I really do think [concert photography] will survive, but I don’t think it will be the same that it has been in the past. The way we do things as a society has changed so drastically this year, and I honestly think a lot of it won’t go away for a very long time, which is both good and bad,” local Denver concert photographer, Shannon Shumaker commented on the viability of concert photographers in a post-COVID world.

With social distancing measures in place there is going to be a limited number of media outlets allowed between the stage and the audience, but as Shumaker went on to say, everyone in this ecosystem needs each other. “When live music does come back, I think it’s going to be more important than ever for publicists to work closely with media and publications to cover their artists and promote the heck out of tours. I’m sure that many media outlets will not have a problem gaining access to covering shows because the fact of the matter is, they need artists, and the artists are definitely going to need them.”

Luckily there have been artists who have recognized the importance of photography. Aaron Thackeray, a regular to photography pits around Colorado, was able to see a possible sneak peek into the future of concerts. “I was fortunate to have shot the extremely exclusive run of Nathaniel Rateliff shows at Red Rocks during the pandemic. I was the only photographer present, and the process to get approved was much more rigorous than it already is. 175 people at a 9,000-person venue seemed like nothing, but it made for an extremely intimate and special experience. I think it was definitely a foreshadowing of things to come.”

The core theme between all the conversations was despite the current bleak landscape, everyone holds optimism for the future. Austin Voldseth, a film-based concert photographer in Denver said, “If I could say anything to folks out there shooting, keep your head up. Please don’t stop being creative. Use this time to learn as much as you can because once it comes back, I think we’re going to see a whole new world of content integrated into shows. And when they come back, don’t be afraid to try something new. Don’t be trendy, make a trend.”

Shannon Shumaker:
IG @shanphotomaker
Aaron Thackeray:
IG @aaron_thack
Austin Voldseth:
IG @emvlsion

This is a selection from the Nov. 18 issue. To view the full issue, visit: https://online.flippingbook.com/view/317848/

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