After photographing Patrick Stump, I truly doubted that life could get any better. That is, until I found myself in a car on the way to Cincinnati to help my new friends Foxy Shazam create their music video for “I Like It.”
We pulled up to a giant abandoned church in downtown Cincinnati on a frigid day in December. I had worked on set before – a handful of student-run films during my first semester at New York Film Academy, and one independent film a couple of years prior. For the video, I arrived basically as a P.A., there to do whatever tasks needed doing, and at the last second, I became the designated set photographer. It was a dream.
It was also a very long, very cold day inside a building that somehow felt chillier than outside. There were extras to coordinate – all of whom showed up in amazing homemade costumes, which was one of my favorite parts of the shoot. There were multiple set-ups and break-downs. There was a motorcycle that needed to be dragged up an old staircase. There was running back and forth from set to trailer in the down time, relaying messages back and forth from talent to crew. And on top of all of that, there was trying to capture it all.
Revisiting these photos, my amateur status was obvious. Some of it seems inconsistent or a little lacking. At the time, I recall feeling overwhelmed but eager to prove myself. While I may not have necessarily succeeded, I wouldn’t call it a failure either. The finer points of editing were not known to me then. Perhaps if they were, I would have realized the potential and delivered better in the end. But it doesn’t do to dwell on “what ifs,” and I still consider this one of the greatest experiences of my life.
I am so happy to finally be able to share these. Maybe one day I can do it again.
Full gallery here.
Okay, so, we need to talk about Patrick.
One of the most incredible and humbling aspects of being a music photographer is when you have the opportunity to cover your favorite artists. I am fortunate enough to have had a number of these kinds of opportunities over the years, a few of which happened very early on. In the fall of 2011, Panic! at the Disco embarked on a tour with our good friends Foxy Shazam supporting once again, as they had that spring. I knew I would be attending a handful of these shows and luckily able to cover a few as well, so needless to say, I was thrilled. Then, they announced the opener on the run of shows would be none other than Patrick Stump.
Anyone who knows me at all knows this: I am a diehard fan of Fall Out Boy, and more specifically, Patrick Stump. At the risk of sounding like too much of a fangirl, I think he is, quite frankly, a genius and has possibly the most beautiful voice I’ve ever heard. I could listen to him sing anything. He could set an algebra textbook to music, and I would give him my money for it and put it into my constant rotation. (Am I gushing? I don’t care.) Suffice to say, the prospect of standing mere feet away from him and capturing him on camera was both electrifying and daunting.
Over the course of a week, I attended four shows, covering three of them. Patrick Stump opened at two of these, which bookended the run. At the first show, in Albany, I was so nervous and awed at the situation I found myself in that nothing really came out well. While somewhat disappointed, I knew I would have another chance. A week later, in New Jersey, I was able to redeem myself, at the very least in my own eyes, proud that I had been able to stand in the presence of someone I admire so much and keep my shit together. I walked away with a few good photos and a supreme gratification.
Since then, I’ve always hoped for another shot at it, to cover my idols but this time without the shaky confidence and with a solidly founded ability. This year, I was meant to apply to cover the Hella Mega Tour with Fall Out Boy and Weezer, which unfortunately was postponed due to the pandemic. With an optimistic hope that shows will continue in 2021 as planned, a part of me finds it fitting that perhaps the moment I’ve been waiting for will happen a full ten years later. Sometimes you have to wait for things to come full circle.
While preparing for a few upcoming longer updates, I wanted to do a quick post about Warped Tour. One of the most significant festivals for me since my teen years, Warped was always that one event I looked forward to every summer. Without Warped Tour, it wasn’t summer. In 2011, I traveled out to Scranton, PA, up into a mountain venue that felt worlds away from the fields behind Darien Lake in Buffalo or the ruthlessly hot parking lot at Nassau Coliseum.
I had come, of course, for Foxy Shazam, so happy to see my new favorite band at my favorite festival. Playing before them was Bad Rabbits, which brought back happy memories from the tour they had done together the previous year, the first shows I posted about in this series. Looking back, I saw so many great bands that day. Some were old favorites (Paramore, Hellogoodbye), some were new (DRUGS), but that’s what always made Warped Tour great. This won’t be the last time I post about Warped. RIP, old buddy.