The Domestics at The Doug Fir Lounge

The Domestics are one of my favorite bands. They don’t get that admiration just because of their stellar musicianship and songwriting. They are professionals. They really bust their ass to make it happen. It is different for everybody of course. Leo, Michael, Kyle, Matt and Brad are also friends. So when they call, I come running. Especially when I have the chance to capture the good stuff. You know, the stuff the everyday fan doesn’t get to see.

For some bands, that is view not for fans’ consummation. I unfortunately have seen that attitude all too many times with a lot of bands. Fans like to see that view though. It’s a part of the experience.

The process leading up to the playing of a show is fairly mundane and quite frankly, boring. It doesn’t matter if the band is a popular touring band or a local indie band. There is still a lot of hurry up and wait. I have photographed a lot shows, and I don’t get near enough time alone with a band leading up to a show. This is where the real pictures come from. I like shooting the show itself, but the best stuff is the personal time I get with the bands. The time between load in and sound check is usually a great time for capturing great images. Every musician shows some excitement and anticipation of the upcoming set. This is my favorite time to shoot.

This is how the process works from start to finish:

  1. Load the gear in the vehicle
  2. Drive to the venue
  3. Go inside the venue to get the low down
  4. wait
  5. load in all the gear
  6. wait
  7. set up on the stage
  8. wait
  9. soundcheck
  10. wait
  11. wait some more maybe go get something to eat
  12. you’re still waiting
  13. play your show
  14. pack up your gear and load out
  15. drive home

There is a lot of great images to be captured between items 1 and 13. There are a lot of great opportunities to take pictures and tell a story. Most of the bands that I have met in the last several months don’t really see the importance in telling this story. So they don’t go through the effort. I have to say though, that some of these bands do a great job on their Instagram accounts, trying to convey to world they are indeed people. However, they aren’t photographers. The quality of work may not be very good. I can’t say with any certainty that the fans really care whether the images that are captured are very good. I can say though that I have run into a few bands recently that believe that professional photography dilutes their street cred, so they stick to the DIY approach. In that token, bands need to have a brand identity, and take control of that brand.

Telling a story of a band on any given day does have some value to their fans. It’s just my personal opinion that the images that are captured tell a real story. Sure, live streaming on social media for a few minutes here and there are great, but the story being told there tends to be more “hey, look at me” rather than “hey, this is who we are”. Most times, an outsider’s visual perspective can better tell a beautiful story about interesting people. It’s only boring to the musicians in most cases. To the fan however, it’s pure gold.

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