Erykah Badu is mesmerizing live. Original, unique in both appearance and style of performance, there is truly no one quite like her. She drew the crowd in at the 2010 annual Jamaica Jazz Festival from the moment she stepped onto stage. Even in complete silence her presence has a weight. An indescribable, ever-present spirit. I had a hard time putting my camera down, I was completely engrossed.
Concert photography is one of my first loves. It’s how I learned how to slowly master my SLR, and continuously learn about lighting and speed. Mostly, I think it’s because I love to capture people’s emotions and moments in time. Emotions from the artist – whether jumping on stage or leaning towards the crowd or laughing half-way through their song – and emotions from the fans, the crowd. The pulsating sensation from being up front and being able to capture the music and the experience first-hand through my lens – like my own private window into the artist’s soul, hidden from the rest of the crowd – is something I absolutely love. Maybe also because music is a big part of my daily life – I listen to all kinds, from African to reggae, punta, zouk, R&B, soul, calypso, soca, pop, salsa, and merengue… you name it.
I’ve attended many concerts as a fan, and I dare say, I appreciate them more as a photographer. The music hits me. It hits me hard because I am “living” the artist for those two hours or so, through my own bubble, and I see the real person. Passion and creativity at their highest. Then I see the energy around me, and it engulfs me from head to toe.
If, in the end, folks view my concert photos and walk away inspired and with a sense of the exact mood and sensation of that night, and a lasting memory of the artists’ true spirit… then I will have accomplished my goal.