About 11 months ago, I received a call from Misha at Filterless Co., my representation in San Francisco, about photographing Sound Select, a new monthly concert series put on by Red Bull that features two to three local bands and one national headliner. The shows are designed to bring larger audiences to local bands by offering a low ticket price combined with a nationally-known headlining act.
In the freelance world, monthly, consistent work is key – and oftentimes hard to come by. Not to mention we were talking concert photography – the very thing that has inspired me the most, challenged me endlessly, and been a catalyst at so many points in my career as a photographer. Needless to say, I took the offer, kicking off the first show with my good friends The Grizzled Mighty playing alongside headliner Dirty Projectors.
It isn’t too often this kind of offer comes along – the kind that allows the unlimited access and flexibility to create the best possible images of the subject you love shooting the most. Deliverables from the show included portraits of the bands, behind-the-scenes shots during load in and sound check, and of course, photos of the performances. It was requested that I use up to four flashes on stage to add to the existing venue lighting. If you’ve ever photographed a concert, you know how exciting this is. A sort of dream job, really.
When I got the call just a couple of weeks ago to travel with the Red Bull team over to the Gorge Amphitheater for this years Sasquatch! Music Festival, I once again jumped at the offer. Twelve of the Sound Select bands would be playing the festival as well as participating in activities with fans throughout the weekend. Red Bull needed documentation of their marketing activations and the bands throughout the duration of the festival.
I’ve photographed Sasquatch! for the past five years for other media outlets, but knowing the staff I’d met from Red Bull up to that point, I assumed the crew would be an exceptionally fun one. My assumption was correct. The weekend was a perfect balance of work and pleasure. I slept a total of maybe 12 hours across 4 days. What the weekend lacked in sleep, it certainly made up for in fun. From pool parties at the Red Bull ‘Homestead’ (campsite) to the impromptu midnight Grizzled Mighty show in the festival campground, we never hit a dull moment. We worked hard and saw shows in the dust and beating sun every day, and we relaxed with the cool air, stars, and good company by night. As always, the weekend ended far too soon, but we couldn’t resist the exhaustion that had set in, even if we didn’t want it to end.
To date, I’ve photographed almost 50 bands at well over a dozen Sound Select shows for Red Bull here in Seattle, in four different venues. The opportunity has been eye-opening, challenging and most of all, rewarding on so many levels. This month, Red Bull launched redbullphotography.com, featuring their top 75 photographers. I’m extremely proud to be a part of that group, placed among photographers who have inspired me for years and so many others I look forward to meeting. Here’s to many more opportunities working with Red Bull and the amazing people who are part of the company.