Today was the occasion of the 2016 Irvington Acoustic Blues Festival. This was a totally free event and people wandered in and out throughout the afternoon. I was lucky enough to be invited by the mastermind, who shall be referred to as “JJ” throughout this post to protect his anonymity…. though in retrospect I don’t know how much anonymity he actually wants.
The festival was held at the Irving Theatre on the near east side of Indianapolis. My attention was first drawn to the Irving because of the monthly screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Since that time I’ve realized that they are the epicenter of an incredibly diverse cultural community that includes music, poetry and movie screenings. It’s the closest thing you’ll get to Austin, Texas in the Indy area. It’s obvious that they really work at this stuff.
Alright, to the photos!!!! In no particular order….
Gordon Bonham made an appearance. This was one of the few acts that I realized I had heard of before. He gives you a whole new perspective on the concept of don’t judge someone by their appearance. He looks pretty minimal but he can totally rock the house all by himself.
Since the last time I wrote, I have come to know that this gentleman as the right Reverend Charlie F. Edmonds. I stand by my word that this guy is profoundly awesome. His deep, resonating voice commands immediate respect. I’d listen to him read the phone book.
This is…. well, sad to say that I didn’t apparently quite catch their names. They were voted one of the top Blues bands in the city. Have I mentioned how terrible I am with names? Images I remember forever but names escape me. Typical photographer.
OK, so this photo…. well, it’s the Martinez family and all that needs to be said is that it embodies everything that I care to capture in the world. For the record I am a photographer and I have been paid for photos in the past but frankly I give no shits about photos beyond wonderful stuff like this. This is the real reason to take pictures. The interaction that was not captured between audience and performer was amazing….
So the dude with the guitar in the background is our mysterious JJ. I always love his expressions of support. I hope that his partner knows just how much he obviously adores her work. It’s written all over his face.
So these two…. They’re in the middle of everything and they’re one of the very few people who have requested that I take their photo. I feel rather bad that their photo has a bus in the background. One of the primary directives of good photography is to “clear the background” and in my haste to take their picture I totally did NOT clear the anything. I’ve approached them about a real photo shoot which is something I could never have done a year ago. Kinda excited. Can’t deny.
So that’s more or less the evening. I do, however, want to take a moment to talk about an issue that is near and dear to my heart and it is addressed to my fellow photographers.
You are there to OBSERVE. You are NOT there to PARTICIPATE. If there is a photo that you can’t get unless you use your flash or stand in the way of other people… go away. Do not take the photo. Let the moment evaporate into the ether of the universe.
Today at this event there were half a dozen photographers. Some of them were really good. I saw them but I don’t think anyone else did. They were like wind over the hillsides. I kinda want to meet them and buy them a beer and get to know them. Others were loud and made themselves known and spoke loudly so that everyone couldn’t help but see them. I kinda don’t care about them.
Here’s the deal. If you’re a photographer then your job is to go in there and document and to make as little impact as possible. If you’re shooting with a flash in a dark room then you’ve failed. If you walk in front of another person then you’ve failed. My philosophy is to make as little impact as possible and to you who were flashing all over the place….. well, you did the wrong thing. Sit down, figure out how to work your camera in low light and decide how you can “lay low”. You’re here to capture the world, not contaminate it.