Got a major new work to launch this weekend, but its good title is whining for a better one...
Until then, here's something more light-hearted (and I want to shore up the "just" photography gallery anyway). Obviously, the website should reflect the range of subjects I enjoy shooting...
So heeeeeeeeeeeere's Amazing Larry!
(clockwise from top left) Thad, Adam, Hunter, and Daniel, shot July 2004 at High on Rose in Lexington, with the 10D and 50mm f1.4 lens, all at f/1.4 and 1/20th, ISO 800. 24" print, each crudely developed in August 2004 and assembled today.
Honestly, the pixel quality is terrible in these (though, with four of them in one composition, the resolution will be insane), so I won't be selling it (or pricing it) as an art print. All of these were shot wide open, so they're soft, and at high ISO, so they're noisy. But I'm proud of the photography of performance anyway.
There are two different stories behind these shots.
First, this was very first shoot with my (then) brand-new Canon 10D and 50mm f1.4 lens. Had received them the day before, and did a quick walkaround to warm up, but this Friday night gig was my first outing for getting down to business. Considering the poor light, not sure that I could have done much better. (Maybe 1/10th at f/2. My first 50mm was soft at f/1.4 but sharpened up quickly. My second one was really impressive wide open, though my third one is in the middle.)
Had already trained myself to shoot fully manually (other than focus) with my little Canon S45 digicam. When I'd walked out the door on Thursday to "warm up" the new gear, I already quite knew what to do with it. The biggest learning curve was just holding substantially more weight steadily while shooting. (Had received my vertical battery grip with the initial shipment, adding to the weight, but never having left that camera body since either.) And I'd already shot performances with that S45, even at this venue. (Amazingly, one can freeze a performing musician pretty well at 1/10th, if one catches the tops and bottoms of their rhythm.) So felt quite confident walking in the door...
For the debut performance of Amazing Larry! (Actually, they were still calling themselves "The Original Way-Outs" that night, and the new name wouldn't come along for a couple more weeks. But they'd been practicing for months and this was their first gig as a unit.)
These guys were just a load of fun. They were all very talented independently, and married their different strengths into a very unusual amalgam, garage racket with punk energy and underlying surf-inspired rhythms. All four guys wrote (very good!) songs, and that mixture was a success as well. Thad's had the sneer of late 70's punk, Hunter's promoted flippant humor, and Adam's were country-and-western styled (and so therefore unusual atop the muscular rhythm section). Daniel only contributed one number to their playlist, and I don't recall it clearly, only that it was nearly my favorite.
Adding to the fun and showmanship, almost all the guys were multi-instrumentalists, switching instruments around throughout their sets. Hunter and Thad took turns between guitar and drums, and with Adam took equal shares of the lead singing. Daniel was (and still is) a very accomplished guitarist, though I think he only stepped out from behind the bass rarely during Larry's time together. But as band members would rotate around, Hunter spoofed the whole thing in a mock-50's horror movie tone, "Who isssssss Amazing Larry?"
I seem to recall that they played together for nine or twelve months before being pulled in different directions, not so much by strife as life, I believe. And they were all young guys back then, still figuring out how to be motivated and make the most of their time.
But if I had money to burn, I'd gather them all back up and marshall them into a studio. I'm sure they're all up to worthwhile projects now (and I'll update this post with links if/when I find out), but there was a particular pissy zang to them that entirely transcended the garage band stereotype. They were fun and they rocked and their songs were good, inventive and fresh and catchy. Still got some old "basement tapes" and that I enjoy rather often, especially hearing the punk guitars and surfesque rhythms driving Adam's western tunes.
Kinda makes one wonder, though, how many little treasures like this assemble, do their thing, and then vanish from the earth. As an artist myself, it's both inspiring and unsettling. If you see what I mean.