By my count I shot somewhere between 80 and 85 shows in 2011 (that’s counting SXSW as one gig each day). That’s down from the 120+ I shot last year, but overall I found this year’s pace much better for my sanity. This year will always have a special place in my heart because I got my first photos in Rolling Stone and SPIN Magazines. That’s been a goal of mine for a few years now, it was a great feeling to cross that off the to do list. I ended up with over 200 GB of photos for the year, which I have distilled down to my 30 favorite. All are in the slideshow at the bottom of this post, along with the Top 10 shown below:
1) Jay-Z @ Verizon Center – Not the most used of my Watch The Throne images (more on that in a sec), but this was the shot that I immediately gravitated to when I was editing the set. The lighting and background are spot on. Jay was having so much fun during this show and I can totally feel that in this shot, he’s completely lost in the performance. Swag.
2) Jim James of My Morning Jacket @ Merriweather – One of my favorite shots of the year was taken at the best show I saw all year. MMJ were so on at this show. They just started out on a tear and didn’t let up for 24 songs over 3 hours. Jim James is a head-banging fool and while I was clicking away I was thinking to myself, “please let me get one shot to portray the epic-ness happening at this show.” Done and done.
3) Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters @ Verizon Center – The stage at this show was 6 feet high, which made shooting incredibly difficult. Dave kept coming out onto this extended part of the stage and I could only get shots of his ass, but then he turned and I got a bit of his face just as the spotlight got a hold of him. I love that you can see all the sports banners in the ceiling.
4) Deadmau5 @ Virgin Mobile Freefest – Another borderline ridiculous shoot. We had to wait for a certain part of Deadmau5’s set to shoot him at the end of a very long day. We were perched on the soundboard and I decided rather than try and zoom in with my long lens, I would go wide and try and get the whole scene in the shot.
6) Beady Eye @ TLA – I was walking on air after shooting this show in Philly. I was less than 2 feet from Liam Gallagher and he looked at me once or twice. Plus they brought their own lighting equipment. Bonus.
7) Tyler the Creator @ SXSW – This show was fucking scary. They were kicking the photogs in the pit and talking all sorts of shit to us. I was worried about my gear and my safety. Once I had this shot, I got the fuck out of there. But hey, what’s a 2011 Best Of without a shot of Odd Future, right?
8 ) My Morning Jacket @ Merriweather – 2011’s best show gets two photos in the Top 10. I generally don’t mess with the color of my photos, other than adjustments to the white balance to make everyone look like human beings, but the color on this shot was washed out because of the stage lighting, so a muted greyscale really did wonders for the exposure. I love that you can see 4 of the 5 band members in this shot. Plus, more epic hair action from Jim James.
9) Soundgarden @ Patriot Center – I was totally prepared to hate this show, but Chris Cornell & Co. really kicked ass at this show. It was a good reminder at how many great songs this band wrote in the 90’s.
10) Scott Avett @ DAR – Can’t say I am a fan of the Avett Bros., but this is still one of the best photos I took all year. Chris Cornell is jealous of this Jesus Christ Pose (and that background!).
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s a slideshow with the Top 30 images I took in 2011, featuring U2, Sugarland, Janelle Monae, Adele, BOB, Jack White, The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons and many more. Enjoy!