Photo Pop 2012 Preview: Gary Miller @ Red7 (11.9)

So, our photo art/rock show is going down this Friday at Red 7 at 7 PM, so we wanted to introduce you all to some of the great artists who will be displaying, and selling, their work at the venue.  Our first photographer is Mr. Gary Miller.  Here’s a quick interview for you to check in and see what he’s all about.

ATH: What started your career as a music photographer?

GM:  In High School I had a friend who would sneak his camera into shows and he let me borrow it and take some shots at a UFO/Outlaws concert. I got some good ones and then worked the summer in oil drilling site prep to be able to buy my own camera. That was 1981 and I haven’t looked back.

ATH: What camera/lens do you use or prefer to use?

GM: I use a Canon 1D MKIV with a 16-35mm, 28-70mm & 70-200mm lenses. I have used all brands of cameras in film then digital. At the time I chose Canon they were a bit ahead of Nikon in quality of digital product. Once you choose your lenses you pretty much have to stick with that as the glass is your biggest investment.

ATH: If you had to pick one band to shoot over and over, based on past experience, who would it be?

GM: I love to shoot and listen to Metallica. There’s other bands that visually are better such at Flaming Lips or KISS but I also love Metallica’s music so that would be it.

ATH:  How do you go about shooting a show? Do you just aim for shots of the lead singer, drummer or what? Anything else you do? Do you try to tell a story?

GM: I make sure to get shots of every band member when possible. I sometimes will look at the wire services (of which I shoot for Filmmagic/Getty/Wire Image) and see what previous shows look like. You can also see where you will be shooting from. I’ve had to shoot from a lot of different parts of the arena over the years. The story I try to tell is the vibe of the band, whatever that may be. I always try to get many different angles and use my different lenses to shoot with, close up, far, middle length etc.

ATH:  In your opinion, what’s the difference between using an iPhone and shooting photos as a career?

GM: I have seen some fan photos that are very good, that’s where I started after all. Iphones do not belong in the pit though, and unfortunately that’s what we are seeing these days. The other thing is that sometimes bands won’t credential you to shoot or they will relegate photogs to the soundboard in the back but then they will let the fans take thousands f crappy cell phone pics and post them ad nauseum on the internet while we are confined to a single angle wider shot from the back.

ATH:  How do you feel about apps like Instagram, etc?

GM:  I think they can be pretty cool.

ATH: What has been the hardest show you’ve ever shot, or weirdest?

GM: I have photographed thousands of band over the last 31 years so there is no one hardest. GWAR is very challenging as they spew liquid all over you for pretty much the whole time you are shooting. The lighting also makes it hard when you shoot a band that is dark or uses reds/blues for the most part, that makes it difficult. Weirdest would be A Perfect Circle; Maynard Keenon hates being photographed so he stood behind a scrim in the back in complete darkness for the first couple of songs. If you don’t like your picture taken just tell me no and I’ll stay home and watch the Walking Dead with my wife and dog.

ATH:  How do you feel about the much accepted rule of only shooting the first three songs? Smart move?

GM: First three rule was started in the 70’s by Rush. I don’t like it as you get much more visually compelling stuff later on when the band gets going. the encore is when they really pour it out to the crowd too. Having said that, with very few exceptions if you can’t get what you need in the first three songs you shouldn’t be doing this.

ATH: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a young photographer just getting their feet wet?

GM: With digital you can get a decent camera for not too much money. Try it out and see if it’s for you and if you are good at it. I have a job that everyone thinks they can and want to do. There’s more than pointing and clicking. You have to compose your shot, be aware of what’s going on in the show to anticipate your next shot. When you get to the pro level you also need to be aware of the product you put out, making sure the photos compliment the artist for the most part. Most of all if it’s not fun to you then you should just move on ’cause it’s full of hard work and frustrations along with the fun and rewards.

NOTE: Also, Gender Infiniti is unable to play the show, and they have been replaced by the most excellent Royal Forest, who let us debut the awesome song below:


Download: Royal Forest – Ambulance [MP3]


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