I'll be shooting at the Bonita Blues Festival in Bonita Springs, Florida this weekend March 8th and 9th. It's an annual event that raises money for Bonita Springs Assistance Office, The Music for Minors Program, The Music Therapy Program at the Children's Hospital and The Wounded Warriors Project. And just as important as the Festival's mission, nothing is lost on the music or the acts in attendance. It's awesome.
For me, it's a chance to step out of my usual role as a motorsports photographer and shoot strictly for the pleasure of shooting. What makes that extra special are the subjects I'm shooting. These are artists… and they wear their passion on their sleeve. That's what draws me in.
It's interesting to draw on the similarities of music and photography. Obviously they are both an art form and creative endeavor. But photographers don't get to perform "live." Our work is always enjoyed later in a recorded/playback format. Sure, musicians make recordings too. But they also sit on stage living in the moment and putting it all on the line.
One of things I really enjoy when I shoot performers is the similarity of what they are doing and what I am doing. Shooting like this, for me, is how I imagine a pianist or guitar player feels when they're lost in their music… just channeling what they know and what they do. No restrictions of "thinking" it through. Just a sense of calm… a feeling where everything slows down and simply happens.
I'm sure that can happen in any endeavor. I'm sure sports people experience it… writers, painters… the ability to just get to a place where you're channeling your talent with an effortless and peaceful calm.
For me, those are some of the most pleasurable moments in my photography.
It's a fantastic place to get to. Suddenly, you aren't thinking about results. You're in a place that transcends all the lessons and all the frustrations typically associated with shooting. You're gently shifting your compositions, opening up or stopping down a 1/2 stop here and there, watching for that defining moment and simply coaxing the camera to shape what you're seeing and experiencing. It's addictive… and it's a place you never want to leave.
It doesn't happen all the time. Some days you're wrestling with the entire process. But some days, it all comes together. You're mind, you're talent, you're creativity and your experience all take over in unison. The mechanical device in your hands is just a transparent facilitator allowing you to channel your vision… it's nirvana.
This Friday and Saturday… I'll be riffing live... at the Bonita Blues Festival. I'm gonna get there.