Hazy Eye Music Media is proud to announce another interview in a series of interviews I’m currently conducting with some of my favorite concert photographers. I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone and have begun picking the brains of some phenomenal photographers. My interviews in this series focus on concert photographers outside of DC, MD, and VA.
Anyway, check it out! I, Andy Jillson, was fortunate enough to interview Bill Garman. Bill is an extremely talented freelance photographer based in Massillon, Ohio. I met him last summer at the Knotfest Roadshow in Burgettstown, PA. Bill is the type of photographer I aspire to be. His work is unique and well, breathtaking.
Bill is not only a great concert photographer— he’s also an amazing sports photographer and shoots Notre Dame football for Irish Sports Daily. His sports photography is equally as impressive as his skills in the photo pit. Continue reading below for my full interview with Bill Garman. All photos copyright and courtesy of Bill Garman.
AJ: Hi Bill! How are you?!?
BG: Everything is going well here in NE Ohio. Definitely going through some withdrawals of not having any live shows or sporting events though.
AJ: Can you introduce yourself and tell us your general location and where you primarily shoot shows?
BG: My name is Bill Garman. I live in Massillon, Ohio which is about 10 minutes from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I primarily shoot shows in Cleveland, Columbus, Akron, Canton, and Pittsburgh; and any place in between.
AJ: You’re definitely among the most talented concert photographers I’ve met. When and how did you start shooting concerts?
BG: Thank you for the compliment. I’ve been shooting live shows for about 5 years now.
AJ: What inspired(s) you as a photographer? Why photograph concerts?
BG: My father actually inspired me to start shooting. He used to shoot me when I raced motocross while in middle school and high school. I actually still have the camera he used. It’s a Minolta SRT-101 film camera. Music is just a natural release for me and so I gravitated to shooting live shows when I could.
AJ: What are some of your favorite venues to shoot at?
BG: The House of Blues in Cleveland is a very cool venue to shoot. I would like to shoot at other House of Blues venues throughout the country and see how each HoB venue differs (since they all seem to have their own character). I also really like The Foundry in Cleveland. It’s a great spot in Lakewood and has great food as well.
AJ: What type of camera equipment do you normally use when shooting shows? What are your preferred lenses and camera settings?
BG: I am a Nikon shooter. So I use a D5 and a D3S mostly for shows. As for lenses it really depends on the venue, lighting, and where we are allowed to shoot from.
AJ: How do you edit your photos? Any particular editing programs or techniques you regularly use?
BG: I use Lightroom and Photoshop to edit. I really don’t have any secret editing techniques, that I know of. I just look at each set of pictures and see where they lead me. I do, however, usually listen to the band that I am editing, while editing the pictures of that set.
AJ: What were the first 3 shows you obtained photo passes for? How were you able to obtain the photo passes? What were the experiences like?
BG: Let’s see if I can remember.
1. Filter, Orgy, Vampires Everywhere, Death Valley High
2. Like Moths to Flames, Sworn In, My Enemies and I
3. Flaw, Impending Lies I was able to obtain a pass from a buddy that was in Impending Lies. The first show was pretty cool because Filter was a huge band when I was in high school. I was able to meet Richard Patrick backstage at that show.
AJ: Can you tell us a little about your sports photography? When and how did you begin shooting sporting events? How did you end up shooting football games for Notre Dame?
BG: I starting shooting sports because my son was playing. It enabled me to be close to the action and it kept me in check so I wasn’t a crazy parent because I’d get tossed. I’ve shot lots of sports and I have continued to doing so. I am actually a huge Notre Dame fan and when I was giving the opportunity to shoot for Irish Sports Daily, I jumped on the opportunity. Notre Dame is hollowed ground for me, so I feel extremely lucky and am very appreciative.
AJ: When and where was the last show you photographed? What bands were playing? What do you remember about it? Anything particularly interesting about the last show you covered?
BG: I honestly think the last show I shot was the Slipknot Roadshow last summer; when I met you in the photo pit.
AJ: When and where was the last sporting event you photographed? What teams were playing? What do you remember about it? Anything particularly interesting about the last sporting event you covered?
BG: The last sporting event I covered was our local high school football team playing for the Ohio State Football Championship. Unfortunately they lost the game for the second consecutive year.
AJ: How have you been staying active/keeping yourself busy since coronavirus altered our world?
BG: I have found myself re-editing old concert shots. I’m also a real estate agent and do all the photography for my property listings. That has been keeping me busy. The housing market in NE Ohio is still very strong.
AJ: What have you been listening to? Any particular artists and/or albums you’ve recently discovered or revisited?
BG: I listen to a lot of different types of music, but lately it has mostly been rock. Slipknot, Like Moths to Flames, Motionless In White, Every Time I Die, Fever 333, Korn, Ho99o9.
AJ: Have you watched or read anything interesting lately?
BG: Honestly I haven’t read anything lately. Ozark Season 3 was awesome though. Other than that I usually find something on Netflix or Hulu to watch and fall asleep 10 minutes in.
AJ: What are your best memories/proudest moments of being a photographer?
BG: I don’t know if I can pinpoint one thing. I honestly think about how many new friends that I have made while shooting. I think that is an amazing thing. I love how music brings people together.
AJ: Any funny, embarrassing, or awkward moments while in a photo pit?
BG: I thought it was funny when shooting Slipknot, Corey noticed me singing “People=Shit” while in the pit. I don’t blend in too well being 6’5”.
AJ: Top 5 best concerts you’ve photographed?
BG: 1. Slipknot (Rock on the Range)
2. Slipknot (Pittsburgh)
3. Like Moths to Flames
4. Fever 333
AJ: Top 5 favorite artists?
BG: 1. Slipknot
4. Like Moths to Flames
5. Bone Thugs n Harmony
AJ: What artists are on your bucket list? Who do you dream of photographing one day?
BG: 1. Rage Against the Machine
3. Limp Bizkit
4. Stone Sour
AJ: Anything you want to add to this interview? Any final words for the readers?
BG: Always a pleasure, I appreciate it! Happy to have met you in the pit. Always happy to meet to photographers and fans when I’m out shooting!
AJ: Thanks Bill! Fin.
Be sure to check out Bill’s official website, Bill Garman Photography, to view more of his work. Check out this other amazing photos by Bill…