I got to shoot for Blockhead last week.
I picked up a new client this month: Sister Bar. Sister gets a surprising number of high-profile acts; Kool Keith, Dick Dale (that Dick Dale), and Masta Ace have all played there, in the last year alone. As a staff photographer, I now get to shoot the performers I want to see.
And Blockhead puts on a great show.
He’s full of quick smirks at howling audience members, booty-shaking iron-stomping tango beats, and a visual projections palette that fits square with his sound.
Six months ago, Def-I gave me full access for his album release party. I shot from the crowd, from the stage, from the bar, and from the green room. Not all performers are so open. Apparently Tokimonsta doesn’t want anyone to photograph her from behind—too clear a view of the kitchen, and you might figure out how the cook makes the soup. Blockhead’s the same way. Thankfully, Zeus, Sister’s owner, was game to let me shoot from the very-very-backstage, and get our DJ in silhouette.
Like Tokimonsta, Blockhead’s on my sub-Bucket List, the tier just below cursing-as-I-take-my-last-breaths. I did get to meet him briefly. He was very nice, if distracted. I didn’t get a chance to tell him how much I admire his sensibilities (or refrain from saying I thought the work he did with Aesop Rock 15 years ago was his best). I did get to shoot from places I didn’t have access to in January. All in all, a great night.
But in the end, not a night without problems.
Again, I met the limitations of my gear. Zeus wanted images of people dancing, enjoying the show (of course without flash, which I agree with). In that room, at that hour, with those lights, it’s about as bright as a half-moon, and my amazing camera‘s auto-focus is a bad punchline. Even shooting the DJs was harder than it should have been, and I lost a lot of good shots. Got me thinking.
Been thinking a lot.