When I am approached by musical acts to do photos, there is usually a conversation that takes place regarding concepts for the shoot. Does the artist want something thematic or just a cool portrait? Something dark and moody or airy and bright? Bold colors or subdued, even black and white tones? It’s an important thing to work out ahead of the shoot, since it allows me to be prepared (both creatively and technically) and always results in better photos for the client.
But every once in a while, I have a music client that knows exactly what they want. Bob was one of those clients, and I love him for it.
Bob has been playing guitar for more years than most of us have been breathing, and for a lot of those years he has been a respected pillar of the St. Louis blues community. He is a charismatic performer, whether bending notes (and time) on a soulful slow blues or churning out vintage rock-n-roll licks in the vein of Chuck Berry or Buddy Holly. And his guitar face…oh that guitar face!
Since the Bumblebee is currently in the process of revamping his press kit he thought it wise to get some updated photos. Bob knew he wanted some classic, old-school portraits but he also wanted some live shots so we got together at one of my favorite bars on Earth: Beale On Broadway. The Beale is a downtown St. Louis staple, presenting live blues music every single night of the week. Bob has a standing weekly gig there on Wednesdays, so we decided to shoot some portraits inside the bar before his outdoor performance that night. Since Bob knew exactly what he wanted, things went quickly and we got a variety of looks for him to choose from. After we worked out which images he liked best, I edited them in the manner he requested: “Make em old lookin'”.
It was a different treatment from the squeaky clean, unedited look I usually go for, but I like the results. So did Bob: he called and told me, “Damn, you really know what the f&!k you’re doing!”.
I’ll consider that a glowing endorsement.