Jazz Fest Best Photo Gallery : My favorite photographs from the 50th Anniversary / by Zack Smith Photography

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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.

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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!

Askia Bennett - Ole and Nu Style Fellas SAPC

Askia Bennett - Ole and Nu Style Fellas SAPC

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!

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Artist Mitchell Gaudet.

Artist Mitchell Gaudet.

New Wave Brass Band

New Wave Brass Band

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Roots of Music

Roots of Music

Spencer Bohren solo set at the AARP tent. My highlight.

Spencer Bohren solo set at the AARP tent. My highlight.

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Ninth Ward Mike

Ninth Ward Mike

Dancin Man 504

Dancin Man 504

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The ICE team!!!

The ICE team!!!

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@quency_quency

@quency_quency

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AJ the BOUDIN MAN

AJ the BOUDIN MAN

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Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club

Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club

Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club

Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club

Quite possibly the first female gay wedding at Jazz Fest…was so cool.

Quite possibly the first female gay wedding at Jazz Fest…was so cool.

Andre Michot, Lost Bayou Ramblers

Andre Michot, Lost Bayou Ramblers

Matt Rhody

Matt Rhody

2019 Jazz Fest Poster artist, Scott Guion

2019 Jazz Fest Poster artist, Scott Guion

Artist, Pilar McCracken

Artist, Pilar McCracken

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Artist MItchell Long

Artist MItchell Long

Lucius Thomson, hawking peanuts for 37 years at Jazz Fest!

Lucius Thomson, hawking peanuts for 37 years at Jazz Fest!

Original CTC Steppers

Original CTC Steppers

Askia Bennett- Ole and Nu Style Fellas SAPC

Askia Bennett- Ole and Nu Style Fellas SAPC

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Ave.

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Ave.