Contests are something I am always a little skeptical of. But when I heard that Photo District News (PDN) was holding a contest called Ultimate Music Moment I was immediately interested. The categories available to enter included artist portraits, performance and crowd. PDN packed an all-star lineup to judge the contest: Stephen Goggi—Design Director for Guitar World, Guitar Aficionado and Revolver Magazine, Jolie Ruben—Editor for SPIN and Natalie Gialluca—Sr. Associate Photo Editor for Entertainment Weekly.
When I received the email notifying me that I’d been selected as one of the winners I was beyond thrilled. This contest receives thousands of entries each year. What excited me even more was learning my image was awarded First Place for Artist Portraits. My portrait of indie-rock band Bear In Heaven was printed in the January 2014 issue of PDN, along with the other winners.
Like most bands I photograph during an interview, the was setup and shot in a matter of minutes. It’s an intimate look at a very real moment in time. One wirelessly triggered Nikon SB-900 speed light was placed camera left and aimed at a 45° angle to bounce off the ceiling. The focus was placed on the front man who is also one of the founding members. I love how honest and thoughtful his emotions are. After having a great conversation about their influences and style, I really wanted the thoughtfulness they portrayed to come through. Even with the speed light, the overall tone is still dark and curious. Most of the old Chicago music venue green rooms are very charming. However, they are far from glamorous.
It was a pleasure to meet and photograph the band. Knowing more people get to experience this image is all the more pleasing.