Chelsea Wolfe + band in Atlanta, GA
I had conveniently run into Chelsea and Ben in the French Quarter in New Orleans in 2015 and ended up shooting my very first attempt at a “band portrait” after the show that night. It gave me infinite amounts of confidence as I started getting more and more into music photography. When I saw her in 2016 (right after my final college exam, actually), I asked Ben if I could photograph them again and took this Polaroid and some more portraits. It meant and still means a ton that they waited around and let me take pictures for no reason other than to practice and say that I did it.
Thou in New Orleans
I hadn’t moved to New Orleans yet, but this was one of the nights that made me decide I absolutely had to relocate. This show was in the tiny room that was once the New Orleans School for Esoteric Arts and it had to have been over 120 degrees inside. It was a Thouvana show (strictly Nirvana covers) and Miserable had just played. (I think that was the first night Kristina and Thou met, actually.) I remember Zach Quinn of PEARS wearing a helmet and there was sweat dripping off the walls. I was wedged in the front corner in a half-closet area and was worried for my camera’s life. Somehow when I moved to New Orleans months later, I ended up a few blocks from Bryan’s record shop, Sisters In Christ, and started volunteering. Fast-forward to September 2017 and I’m about to go on the road with Thou and King Woman. Life is pretty cool, huh?
Wolvhammer, Siberia, New Orleans, LA
Wolvhammer + Taake was the first show I photographed for CVLT Nation and the first show I went to in New Orleans. I had just graduated college and decided to try to pursue music photography more fully. I knew no one at the show (or in New Orleans) and was pretty terrified to be there alone. Sean and Meghan probably don’t realize that their simple “yes” changed my life.
Slipknot, Pensacola Bay Center, Pensacola, FL
In college, I reached out to the Mobile, AL iHeartMedia offices and began shooting events and concerts for their stations. A few months after I started regularly freelancing for them, I got to shoot the Slipknot meet + greet and their show, as well as eat dinner with the tour manager and the local rock station radio host. At the time, it was the coolest thing I’d ever done. Slipknot is one of those bands that started me down the path to everything I do now. I remember that in the photo I took with the band I’m standing almost a foot away from them for reasons I still don’t understand… The show was one of the first strictly first-3-songs-only concerts I shot and it was horrifying to think that I had only a few minutes to document them. It was a blur of middle school flashbacks, cargo shorts and fog.
Dolly Parton, Pensacola Bay Center, Pensacola, FL
Dolly definitely stands out from the other six photos, but being able to take photos of her was one of the most incredible moments of my life. I think I had one and a half songs and was at the other end of the arena at the soundboard shooting a huge lens without a tripod or monopod. Add in shaking from sheer ecstasy as she went into “Jolene” and you can understand why I only walked away with 5 good shots of her. She was yet another bucket list check.
Soundgarden, The Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA
The photos I took at these shows (Soundgarden played The Tabernacle two nights in a row and I, of course, had to go to both) are especially precious to me now… I was a freshman in college and had no intentions of being any sort of photographer since I was then majoring in biology. I had a Nikon One and decided to bring it along to document seeing Soundgarden at long last. They played “Beyond The Wheel,” “Gun,” “Nothing To Say” and “4th of July” and it was positively surreal. Chris drank orange Gatorade. Kim wore a Sunn O))) shirt both nights. Supposedly Danny Carey from Tool was watching from the balcony… Chris actually sounded better and had better banter with the audience when I saw them on May 6 of this year–just 12 days before he left the planet.
Joshua Tree National Park
My introduction to serious photography was nature. Before music, I focused on herons, hawks and anything my southern home had to offer. When I went to Northwest Terror Fest this year, it was the convenient halfway stop on a huge road trip with my mom (no, she didn’t go see Young and in the Way or Fórn) that took us from New Orleans to Palm Springs and from Seattle to South Dakota. I don’t focus on the outdoors as much, but the NWTF trip gave me over two weeks of gorgeous landscapes and creatures. Since I first visited Joshua Tree, it has been one of my favorite locations on the planet; a strange oasis in the middle of nowhere that has somehow become a mecca for hippies and fashion bloggers. After a day at the Salton Sea and Slab City, I ended up in the park before sunset and hiked out to find the perfect spot. It is a magically unforgettable sight to watch the sun set behind the Tim Burton-esque trees.