All I can say about Janelle Monae is that she is The Truth. Seeing her in concert makes you ask “Why aren’t all shows like this.” Her natural ability, ambition and drive are all very evident when you see her perform. She is mesmerizing and most definitely a superstar in the making.
Originally I was not going to be allowed to shoot her set due to restrictions by the headliner. I begged the label to let me shoot her and thankfully, they said yes. And when I got to the venue to confirm with the tour manager, he told me to go ahead and shoot the whole set. The lighting wasn’t great and security made me shoot from one knee so I wouldn’t block anyone’s view, but I didn’t care. Documenting Monae’s incredible live presence was all that mattered.
Due to the bevy of stage monitors on the lip of the stage, I hung back a bit and shot this set mostly with my 70-200mm/2.8 VR I. I did go wide with my 24-70mm/2.8 for a few shots but there was so much black on stage I felt like I was giving away half the image when I went wide. So I mostly stayed high and tight and tried to focus on Monae’s face whenever possible.
She’s currently opening up for Erykah Badu on her tour and will be doing it again this summer along with The Roots, Common, Chuck Brown and a few others. CAN’T WAIT! Check out the full photo set below:
Janelle Monae @ DAR – Images by Kyle Gustafson