Concert photography: looking for a look

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Wynonna was getting into her first number, If the House is Rockin’, and I was standing a couple dozen feet stage right with my 70-200mm lens trained on her. During an instrumental break, she turned in my direction, and gave a little Elvis-like snarl.

I popped off a few frames and thought that was it. That’s what I was looking for.

Concert photography is so much more than just aiming a camera at the stage with the proper settings and thinking it’s cool to take pictures of someone famous. I go looking for some kind of defining moment, like Wy channeling the King, because there is some Elvis in her – she does a solid Burning Love in her set. Maybe it’s interaction between artists. Maybe it’s just a moment onstage. I look at photos of Mick Jagger and think he must be a blast to shoot.

Wy was one of two performances I shot for the paper last weekend. The other was the University of Kentucky Symphony’s world premiere performance of Thomas Pasatieri’s Symphony. There was a challenge in illustrating this because Pasatieri was not on the stage, he just came up for a curtain call. So I had to nail that moment and hopefully find something there that conveyed the emotions of the world premiere.

I wanted performance too, and accidentally relegated to shooting from the wing, I had to rely on conductor John Nardolillo for that look. Fortunately, he was pretty enraptured by the music.

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