Photographing the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is one of the important markers in life and during the year for me. Some people use New Year’s Eve, their birthdays, even Katrina. (not your ex…) as important markers. I like to use Jazz Fest. Each year photographing Jazz Fest I like to reflect on how I approach the “story” of an event or moment I am documenting. I like to ask myself , “am I seeing the truth of the moment or am I projecting a reality” when photographing such a rich culture. I have to be honest with myself, I approach Jazz Fest now as a visual content marketer for the festival and a humble observer simultaneously. Sure, I’ll ask people to pose for me but I will also make sure they are continually in their element to let their spirit shine.
This year I was seeing things from a setback perspective. My compositions were starting to include more of the environment and less full frame close up shots as I have done before. I feel this approach was giving me the sense of place of a festival goer, but I was also able to use my Paul C. Buff studio strobes (with the amazing assist of Tamara Grayson) to “blow up the shadows” as I like to say. This year I photographed more artists in their booths and second lines versus live music and musicians. As always if I didn’t credit someone properly PLEASE let me know!
Some of my highlights were the powerful and graceful Spencer Bohren’s solo set at the AARP tent, Denzel Abrams, and portraits of friends and artists. I hope you enjoy my visual version of the 50th Anniversary of Jazz Fest where you won’t see alot of live music but you will see some live moments lit in a new and refreshing way. As always - Be in the Moment, Not the Moment…and SHOOT FOR THE WALL!