Good morning to all you Rock and Roll People out there…..Today I want to do something a Little different.We promote everything that Rocks here @ The Rock and Roll Report and today you will be Introduced to someone who does exactly this…His name is Brian and he is “Brian Cade Photography”.
We see all the shots that just ooze Rock and Roll and now you can find out just what it is like to be on the other side….behind the camera….Catching all the Moments that make us scream out YES I so want to be there……..
Before I start Brian I would just like to thank you and Welcome you To The Rock and Roll Report……
I Enjoy all your Shots, and when I see how you capture the Moment it makes me want to sell up and move your way….where all the good Bands and Times are.……
Shaz: How long have you been into photography and what inspired you to pursue it?
Brian Cade: First off Shaz allow me to say it’s a pleasure and an honor to be speaking with you and the Rock and Roll Report. I guess I should start where it all came to be that led me to become a photographer. I come from a long line of artist, musicians and craftspeople in my family. All come from the southern part of West Virginia, I on the other hand was the only odd ball born outside of that state, I was born 1963 in Chicago where Mom and Dad were to start their life together. I am the middle of 3 boys. Art and music has always played a large part in my life, I would always draw and paint when I was a kid and imitated the music I heard, whether it was picking up a stick and strumming it like a guitar or pounding on something like drums, heck I remember watching the Beatles on Television in the late sixties, Then I wanted to be a drummer and Mom and Dad made sure to feed my curiosity and got me a little drum kit.
The first 2 cassettes my parents gave me were Johnny Cash and Charlie Pride. Now the early seventies, that is where I got turned onto Black Sabbath and Grand Funk Railroad, Mom and Dad were out one night and my uncle watched over us, I heard this loud music coming from the next room and there my uncle was, on top of the coffee table swinging a bottle in a paper bag in the air to the tunes of Sabbath’s first album. That is when I started to listen to all music, jazz, blues classical. This helped build the foundation for me wanting to be a musician. I did however still loved to draw and sketch. .Over my teen years I had played in several “basement” bands and in my late teens I got a job with a record company in Chicago. I think I spent most my paycheck back then picking up the latest release’s and treating myself to some Jazz, Blues and Classical music. I had built quite a collection.In the late eighties is when I decided to pursue my desire to draw, I attended Columbia College as a graphic art Major, I selected my minor in English, I wanted to be an illustrator-writer. I did some underground cartooning with a character I created called “Sid Somebody”, it more or less was my alter ego, based on the rebellious Sid Vicious and the the “somebody” based on my journey to find where I belonged. I still have some of the art work from back in the day. It was towards my second year at Columbia I had a bad injury to my right shoulder, this took me out of school for what the doctor projected as the next 6 months. There was no way for me to continue my BA, since my right arm was mobilized.
So to keep from going crazy, a friend of mine had an old Pentax Z10 with 3 lenses’ for sale, this was in 1991. So I bought the film camera and started to teach myself, shooting everything and anything, I looked at every magazine and book available that had to do with photography, I felt confident enough after a few months to upgrade my new found love, and got a Nikon N8008s. I started to do a lot of cityscapes and landscapes in the beginning, sold some prints in the process too. I was taught more on lighting when I took up on an offer by Ronald Anthony and Art Ketchum to attend some portrait seminars, they said they seen more into what I was doing and encouraged me take hold of this “gift” as they called my work. Next thing I knew I was booking Models for studio time and doing location shoots, and having the time of my life. I soon found employment at a photo processing lab; this gave me the chance to talk to the Pro’s that came into the lab. I met Eugene Kimmons, a well known concert photographer in Chicago, he was best known as a photographer for the Blues Label Alligator Records, I also had seen Eugene’s shots of the Rolling Stones, which is another story. Since I had been a musician, I always wanted to photography a show, I would always ask Eugene about what it would take, he always replied, “you have to pay your dues. So I would shoot the street fairs that were all around Chicago in the summer of 1994.
Shaz: What did you do to gain so much knowledge in this area?
BC: I took in as much information as I could possibly, from reading up on photography, looking at every image in magazines and books, studying the light, the quality and direction of the light when I viewed it or when I was out and about I would look at the coolness and the warmth of the light.
I do however have to give credit to Ronald Anthony, Art Ketchum and Eugene Kimmons for taking me under their wing to show me all sides of the industry, from the creative to the professional side. It was their guidance that made me want to go further than I ever would dream. I am about artist helping artist, I will work with bands on their needs. That is not to say I just give my work away, a lot of people have to understand that this is a Profession, and with that there are fees involved for the work done. Such as the recording studios, venues and the promoters all get paid for what they do, also the bands appearing at a venue, or selling their merch, we love what we do but there is the idea we are compensated.
I have been a advocate for photographers rights for a long time, Friends of mine that are members of the ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) have educated me on my creative rights. I have asked a lot of questions over the years and have read up on the business side as well, I feel as though we are all in this field sharing our art, we as a whole should never just give away the fruits of our craft. Case in point is Woodstock back in 1969, some are under the impression it was all for free, what people fail to understand is the talent was paid to perform, upwards to 12k or more depending on the performer. Also the festival has long since made a profit in the release of the footage of the show and merch from this event long after this historical event. I don’t know how many times I have said to an aspiring photographer to not sell themselves short on the business end, because this field just is not about just being creative and getting killer images, it’s also about business. Thus the definition of a professional “engaged in a specified occupation for pay” though one should not get into this field merely for that reason, as I said you have to love and have a deep passion for both music and photography to succeed. .
Shaz: When did your career start?
BC: As a concert photographer, it all came to be in the summer of 1995, Eugene Kimmons would always want to see my latest images and since I kept a portfolio with me at the photo lab I worked, I would show him my work when he’d drop off his film. One day he just came right out and asked if I would like to photograph Legendary Blues great Luther Allison, I was more than eager to take him up on this offer, this in part is what he meant when he told me about paying my dues, I had to shoot a lot of the smaller shows and built a body of work, he also told me to always pass on my knowledge to other aspiring photographers, it is a way of giving back for all Blessings I had received. I later was able to shoot other bands such as Better Than Ezra, ex-Clash guitarist Mick Jones of Big Audio Dynamite.
I got my big break in 1997, when I prepared a proposal and approached CBS Broadcasting, radio US99 in Chicago with the idea of becoming their event photographer. It’s largely a country music station, and since no other photographers were shooting any of these artists, I made my move. Country music was on a roll back then, it started to hit the mainstream and I got my foot in the door, I shoot artist such as Wynonna Judd and Marty Stuart, even got Keith Urban from back in the day to name a few. Though I relocated to Tennessee in the winter of 1997, in 1998 I was flown back to Chicago to cover John Anderson and the then pregnant Faith Hill, unfortunately I only brought 1 camera with me and it was damaged by John Anderson’s tour manager Woody Woods running into me as I secured my gear, I didn’t shoot the show, but I did get surrounded by 6 very huge security people that woody had gotten to throw me out of the venue because I tried to exchange information with him so to get my gear fixed, that was pretty darn funny now I think about it.
Shaz: Who or what influenced you to become a photographer?
BC: If it was not for the shoulder injury, I am not sure if I would have ever picked up the camera. If you look a little deeper however at the time prior to the injury, I had looked at a lot of the great photographers out there, Jim Marshall, Linda McCartney Annie Liebowitz, Robert Capa, and Eddie Adams. I guess the love affair started long before the injury, I would pick up a magazine and bend the pages back to see the credit line, look at the index, the contributor sections of books and magazines to see who had taken the image. Then too is the back in the day when I too was a musician in varies bands, so the influence was all around me.
Shaz: What have been some of your best experiences photographing bands?
BC: The friends I have earned in the industry through respect of what they do and in regards to what I do, that in itself is priceless. Many of the bands I have shot over the years are fans of my work as I am a fan of their music. I think overall that is the best of all experience’s I have lived thus far. Knowing a lot of these folks on a personal level is very special. I remember Evan Saffer of FIXER and I sitting at a Lexington Kentucky bar after they finished their set, just he and I, one on one. Though I prefer to keep this conversation private, I will say it was more on a personal and intimate level away from what we both do in our line of work. I have also been asked by a member of a well known touring band to shoot a wedding, though I am just 1 of several photographers he has asked, it was nice to know they trusted my work enough to allow me to shoot such a moment in their lives. So its not what I have gained in the pit that I cherish, it’s the memories such as these that makes it all worth while.
Shaz: Do you believe in the expression “A picture is worth 1,000 words”? If yes, why do you believe this is true?
BC: I can’t possibly pass this up. Though that statement is true about when creating the image, I do maintain that it takes one great image to say it in one word. I am yet to capture that one image. Each image is a moment in time frozen, and then remembered always for that small window in time. In music photography I feel an image should grab you, make you feel as if you were there. To feel the music and experience that moment every time you look at it. It’s like watching you favorite movie a 100 times, you know it by heart, but you are brought back emotionally each time you watch it, when an image can say that, then you have succeeded in capturing the moment. Such as Eddie Adams image of a Vietnamese police officer being shot point blank in the head, the image showed the bullet as it entered his head, that image still has an impact as it did when it was first published in Time Magazine.
Shaz: Do you have a special style in your photographs that can single you out like strokes in a painting?
BC: I don’t really think I have a style per say, I have been told when someone see’s an image of mine it carries a signature of its own, but I don’t see it.
To say however how I approach the each subject differs, knowing my subject prior to each show I shoot. I know what to expect and feel it deep inside, which is where instinct comes from, to feel the emotion and the passion of these artists and know that something is about to happen and to be ready for it. I take somewhat of a photojournalist approach. I capture each image to tell a story. So I see myself as a story teller than having a style.
Shaz: What makes a good photographer in your opinion?
BC: It certainly is not the camera we use, too many times I have heard aspiring photographers say “if only I had a pro camera, my images would be better” that is so far from the truth. As any photographer knows, the camera is just a little black box that records light, all cameras’ carry a PHD feature built in (push here dummy), so the whole point of the gear we use gives way to the final image is false.
Now that I have that out of the way, I do believe however it takes a strong love for music and photography to do this. Also the willingness to be better than your last image, to strive for knowledge, to share your experiences with others wanting to get into this field. Often I get aspiring photographers ask me how to get the bigger shows, let me tell you, none of what I have done over the past 20 years was given to me, I worked hard at it. I think a good photographer should get to know what this is all about from the business end to the creative.
The key to great concert photography is not the subject in which passes by your lenses, but to work with and use available light, to capture the essence of the show, to capture the emotion of the performers as they rip into a solo or have a little interaction with their fans. Time and time again I tell these upstarts to never use flash while they capture each frame, not only does it take away from the experience of the show and is pretty annoying to those that are on stage, a lot of times its not allowed, I have seen a lot of these people get thrown out of a venue cause they used flash when told not to, besides, those that use flash in my opinion don’t care about being creative at all, and I don’t consider them photographers. This separates the professional from the amateur. I feel there is too many that treat it as a way to just have a status of whom they shot, or say they rubbed elbows with a particular artist. So a good photographer to me is one that paints with light, without the aid of flash. One that captures and creates the final image, instead of one that just takes pictures. It’s also one that can just look at the subject and know how to set up the shot and rely on instinct and experience to compose and capture the final image.
Shaz: In your opinion, what makes photography an art?
BC: That is the never ending debate, photography as an art form. Many would beg to differ; I can say that as an artist just prior to picking up the camera, there are those that create an image and those that take an image. There are those that paint with light and those that just snap pictures. Literally anyone can shot with a flash when it comes to live bands. That too me is not true concert photography. They just flood the experience of the live show and make it look like everyone else’s picture, which to me is boring. And besides, all venues I have ever shot at never allow flash to be used. So photography as an art form? I would have to say yes. Though painting with the available light, you must remember it’s about capturing the true emotion that these Men and Women that hit the stage night after night. It’s about capturing that moment in time. A favorite quote by Henri Cartier-Bresson says “And no photographs taken with the aid of flash, either, if only out of respect for the actual light, even when there isn’t any of it.” Thus painting with light, seeing the contrast and value of light. So how can one say that they are a true concert photographer if they are bleeding out the available light by flooding it with flash? Sure using flash in a portrait setting is quite different and too is an art form in my opinion. Mixing both available light and natural light and blending the two is a talent. A lot of the technique used in portrait photography today is based on how the master painter seen the light, such as Rembrandt lighting. So yes! As a photographer and an artist I feel it is an art form.
Shaz: Who are your influences?
BC: First there are the one’s that believed in me and pushed me to go further than I thought I could go, Ronald Anthony, Art Ketchum and Eugene Kimmons. What got me to just jump in without realizing the depth of the water as I pursued my dreams were Rock and Roll photographer Jim Marshall, Linda McCartney and Annie Liebowitz for there documentation of the music scene early on. Robert Capa and Eddie Adams for their journalistic approach and the stories their images told. The list actually goes on, I think these few are the foundation in which empowers me to want to do more, tell more and capture more. My girlfriend Phyllis is a big part in what I do, she has been through the ups and downs with me for the past 2 years, she has become an inspiration every step of the way, and a supporter and a inside critic of my work. So I have favorites that have given me the knowledge to seek out beyond my own boundaries and I have someone in my life that believes in me.
Shaz: What equipment do you use?
BC: I have been using Nikon since 1991, after I traded the Pentax I bought from a friend. I have since owned many Nikon’s, such as the N8008s, F4s and the F3, all film cameras. I had also owned and shot with a medium format camera, a Hassalblad 501c.
I started out in digital a few years ago with a Nikon D70, I have since upgraded to a Nikon D200 with a MB-D200 vertical grip, and I also shoot with a Nikon 80-200 F2.8 and a Tokina 20-35 F2.8 lens. I keep a couple Nikon SB26 speed lights to use for when I do portraits on location; I also use a Minolta Spotmeter F for location shoots as well.
Shaz: How do you describe your photographic style?
BC: Awaiting in the tall grass for my prey, ha ha . That sounds a little too much like a paparazzi. I am a photojournalist a story teller. I never really thought of my approach as a particular style that I could put my finger on. I engage my subjects cause I can feel the energy they put out as I capture each frame. I know how to compose each frame, set the required adjustments for the ever changing lighting and get the image. When the main lights go down and the stage lights go up, you have no time to second guess, Knowing your camera forward and back is the key.And something I always love to ask the Bands and I’m sure you have your moments also…..what if any have been the most way out thing to happen to you while on a Shoot with a Band…..
Believe it or not, a lot of us that are in this field have experienced such things as a lot of these bands go through while they tour all over, I have always said photographers are the bottom feeders for groupies First you have the band, then the crew and finally the photographer. I will tell of 2 incidents that I find pretty funny, When I was in Chicago to shoot Marty Stuart, the promotion director of the radio station was showing me around the venue, so I would know the key areas away from the stage to include for the shoot, well as we walked about we noticed there were 2 young ladies in daisy dukes and short cut t-shirt were following us, We just went on about our business and started to head back to the backstage area. Well of course these 2 young ladies followed us all the way, once we showed our passes to gain access backstage, we heard “Hey you” we turned around to see the very same 2 that had followed us around motioning us to walk back to where they were, we were curious so here we are listening to them begging to be allowed backstage. We told them there was nothing we could do, so they offered to perform a little falacio, we declined, come now I was married at the time and the promotional director was engaged. We excused ourselves and walked away, we didn’t get far mind you when we heard them yell out to use again, this time when we turned around, they exposed their breast, then we busted out laughing and just walked away. I was still a naive upstart in the music industry; I thought this stuff only happened in Rock and Roll. I soon learned over the years this type of behavior existed in ALL music.
I was shooting about mid stage at show for Stitch Rivet in Kentucky; the show was general admission, so there was no press pit at the front of the stage. I worked the whole floor that night, I was holding my camera to my face waiting for that moment to arise when you know that one shot to that hits the frame, this young lady that I met prior to the show and wanted her picture taken was about 4 or 5 feet in front of me just dancing away, like alot of the woman in the crowd was doing. So here I am with the camera locked onto my face waiting, when all of a sudden she backs up into me, bends over and basically gives me a stand up lap dance right there in the middle of the room, I mean she was really shaking it, all the while pressed firm into my crouch….LOL. Wiggle, wiggle, so here I am with this woman dancing away, me with my camera still pressed to my face, so what do I do? I took my left hand and placed it on the back of her head and holding the camera to my face with my right hand, what do you expect, I couldn’t chance having my final images during this show have camera shake, due to her wiggling into me. After SR had finished their song, I happened to look over to where SR’s manager was standing, and he was laughing his ass off, thanks bro…And there you have it, tales from the pit.
Well thank you Brian for taking the time out of your Busy lifestyle to do this Interview….Know we love your work and I hope this gets you out there with Bands who haven’t heard of you but now will…….Take care and Keep all your Rock and Roll magic happening….You’re In “The Zone”
hugs Shaz xox (On behalf of The Rock and Roll Report Team)