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 “local” concert photographers. That is photographers around DC, MD, and VA. The DMV as we call it.
Anyway, check it out! I, Andy Jillson, was fortunate enough to interview Brad Price. Brad is a talented up-and-coming concert photographer and has already covered some great musical artists. Brad loves music, live shows, and all types of photography; and he’s a member of the Hazy Eye Music Media team! Continue reading below for my full interview with Brad Price. All photos copyright and courtesy of Brad Price.
AJ: Hi Brad! How are you?!?
BP: I’m doing well my friend; it’s good to chat with you!
AJ: Can you introduce yourself and tell us your general location and where you primarily shoot shows?
BP: I’m Brad Price, and (before the world got put on pause) I enjoy shooting shows mostly in Baltimore and Washington D.C. My hometown in Calvert County is quite distanced from any sort of music scene, so I’m used to driving long stretches to get to shows. I also make the trek down to Richmond, VA when the stars align for such a journey.
AJ: When and how did you start shooting concerts and reviewing live performances?
BP: I started out by bringing my camera to house shows that my friends’ bands would play back in high school. I always enjoyed shooting those way more than whatever was assigned in my photography class because it was something I couldn’t prop up, pose, and take a bunch of trial-and-error photos of; you really learn how to adapt and adjust settings on the fly.
AJ: What inspired(s) you as a photographer? Why photograph concerts?
BP: Concert photography has always appealed to me for a few reasons. The challenge of trying to capture the energy of a band’s entire set into a set of photos is a challenge that really drives me. I remember being on the barrier at shows when I was younger and seeing the photographers moving freely about in the space between the stage and barrier. It looked like such a cool place to exist within, and I always wanted to gain entry to it.
AJ: Do you also write live concert reviews, album reviews, or interview musicians? If so, what inspired(s) you as a writer/music journalist? Why write about live music or musicians?
BP: I’ve drafted a few reviews of things in the past, but nothing ever too serious. Writing is something that I like to do when the desire or inspiration strikes me, but it’s not all often that it does.
AJ: What are some of your favorite venues to photograph at around the DMV?
BP: The 9:30 Club in DC is such a sentimental venue to me. I’ve seen so many of my favorite bands there, and a lot of the time, it was my first time getting to see that band too. Shooting shows at the 9:30 Club is always a treat, because it feels like home shooting there. Another venue that sticks out is Ram’s Head Live in Baltimore. Their staff are some of the friendliest folks I’ve met. Before it shut down, Rock & Roll Hotel was also a really cool place too. I got engaged there during a show I was shooting!
AJ: What type of camera equipment do you normally use when shooting shows? What are your preferred lenses and camera settings?
BP: I’m shooting on a Canon 6D body with either my 50mm f/1.4 or my Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8. I try to keep a balance of not having to sacrifice too much aperture vs ISO, but man, shooting shows is so tricky sometimes. It’s the worst possible combination of things happening at once; low-light and fast-moving subjects. Shooting a concert really challenges the limits of your camera.
AJ: How do you edit your photos? Any particular editing programs or techniques you regularly use?
BP: I edit everything on my phone in Lightroom. It’s probably terrible, but I have thousands of RAW files just chilling on my phone taking up space.
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?
BP: The first three shows I shot were J. Roddy Walston at Ottobar, METZ at Rock & Roll Hotel, and Wavves at Baltimore Soundstage; all these shows were in 2017. I started by seeing if I could obtain photo passes for shows I already had tickets to. I asked Ottobar what their photo policy was, and they told me that they didn’t allow professional gear. I guess they were pretty lenient, because I didn’t get any gruff bringing my camera in. I got maybe three decent shots out of the whole night. The biggest lesson I took away was to get there early and learn where to shoot from, because most of my shots consisted of a pillar blocking most of the stage. I messaged METZ on Facebook asking if I could get a photo pass for their show, and they graciously obliged. That was such a cool experience. I got there before the band had even loaded in, so I got to hang out with them a bit before the show. They confirmed that it was cool for me to bring in my camera, and I got a few shots that I’m still really proud of. One is of the singer of the opening act -Uniform. It reminded me of an exorcism, and I always thought it looked so sick, even though it’s exposed really poorly. The other one is of Alex, the singer of METZ. He was wearing a shirt that had a bunch of mouths spelling out “SHIT.” I had the idea of timing it just right for when he was yelling during a song so that it looks like he’s yelling in tandem with the mouths on his shirt. It’s one of the photos I’m most proud of to this day. One of my favorite bands, Culture Abuse, was opening for Wavves and Joyce Manor, so I messaged their singer, David, asking for a photo pass. He hooked me up, and is one of the nicest dudes I’ve met through this venture. That show was the first time I experienced shooting in an actual photo pit. That was really cool, because it was the first time I could freely roam about to take photos during the first three songs of the set. I honestly just tried taking as many shots as I could. I’ve tried to learn over time how to use that three-song time frame as wisely as possible.
AJ: Any photographic or musical projects planned for the near future?
BP: With everything going on in the world right now, I’m proud to be a photographer. I’ve gone to a few local demonstrations for the Black Lives Matter movement, camera in hand. As much as it sucks not having any concerts to shoot for the time being, the historical moment we’re living in is beyond anything I could photograph at a venue.
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?
BP: The only shows I was able to shoot this year were two nights of J. Roddy Walston’s first solo endeavor. Parker Gispert from The Whigs was opening with a solo set of his own. J. Roddy brought his new band, Palm Palm, along with him. He pulled double duty, switching immediately from his solo set to his set with Palm Palm. I remember those shows being AMAZING. I brought my fiancé to the first night at Ottobar and had a really fun time. A week later they were playing at the new Union Stage, which was the last show I attended before COVID cancelled everything. I actually covered that show for Hazy Eye Music Media. Ironically, that’s the show I felt was the pinnacle of my concert photography. I took so many awesome photos that I printed up a few zines of them to send to all the guys in Palm Palm to have as a keepsake. I felt like that show was going to be the beginning of an amazing year of shows.
AJ: How have you been staying active/keeping yourself busy since coronavirus altered our world?
BP: My fiancé and I have been going walking around the neighborhood pretty much every day. We try to go hiking when we can. I work at a Starbucks, so I’ve been back at work since May. My my routine isn’t too terribly altered anymore.
AJ: What have you been listening to lately? Any particular artists and/or albums you’ve recently discovered or rediscovered?
BP:Man, I listen to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Infest the Rat’s Nest entirely too much. That album is so good all the way through and just makes me so happy. There’s a band called Flesh Panthers that I freaking love who just put out their new album Holy Roller. That’s been in the heavy rotation. I’ve also recently discovered some bands off this label called “Riding Easy Records,” like Warish and R.I.P.
AJ: Are you a record collector? If so, what are a few of your most valued/loved records? If not, do you collect something else?
BP: The only album I own on vinyl is actually Holy Roller. I supported the Kickstarter for it because I love the band. I don’t even own a record player. HA! If I find an album that I really like, I’ll buy it on CD. It’s a small collection so far, but I want to own all of my favorite albums in some physical format in case streaming services are no longer a thing one day. Plus, I like the idea of having a physical thing with my favorite music to be able to pass down to my future kids one day.
AJ: Have you watched or read anything interesting lately?
BP: I bought a few books to try and reignite my passion for reading, but so far nothing has grabbed me. Somehow I always wind up re-watching Predator.
AJ: What are your best memories/proudest moments of being a photographer?
BP: That J. Roddy/Palm Palm show was for sure one of the proudest I’ve shot with all the photos I took. There’s two other shows that stick out as proud moments as well. The first was when I obtained a photo pass to shoot Slayer’s farewell tour stop at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Randy Blythe from Lamb of God hooked me up with a pass to shoot only the first three bands on the bill, minus Slayer. I had just moved home from North Carolina and was at a really low point in my life; and then all of the sudden the singer of the band that got me into heavy metal is granting me permission to shoot Lamb of God, Amon Amarth, and Cannibal Corpse at the biggest venue I’ve ever gotten to shoot at! It felt truly surreal. The second was when Gwar was playing at Ram’s Head Live on my mom’s birthday. It was the show I met you at! I had a moment in the photo pit where it felt like time stood still. I had the realization that I was photographing my all-time favorite band; that the monsters I had worshiped since I was a weird twelve-year-old were posing for me. It’s a moment that I think back to often.
AJ: Any funny, embarrassing, or awkward moments while in a photo pit?
BP: The first time I got to photograph a Gwar show, I made sure I was prepared and bought a rain jacket for my camera. I guess I was the only photographer in the pit that night that knew what they were in for, because everyone looked pretty puzzled by how protected my gear was. They were all pretty shocked when Gwar started spraying blood and spew into the crowd. Being pretty well-versed in fifteen-plus times seeing the band, I would signal the other photographers when to stand back and protect their gear. It was pretty funny.
AJ: Top 5 best concerts you’ve photographed?
BP: J. Roddy/Palm Palm at Union Stage, Slayer (without actually shooting Slayer) at Merriweather, Gwar at Ram’s Head, Culture Abuse/Turnstile at TLA in Philly, and Gwar at 9:30 Club the last time they were there.
AJ: Top 5 all-time favorite bands/artists?
BP: 1. Gwar 2. Culture Abuse 3. Motörhead 4. Off With Their Heads 5. Nirvana
AJ: What artists are on your bucket list? Who do you dream of photographing one day?
BP: Getting to shoot Off With Their Heads would be legendary to me. I’ve seen them so many times before getting into concert photography, but the universe hasn’t aligned with seeing them since getting into it. Hopefully one day. King Gizzard would also be INSANE to say that I’ve shot. I’m still kicking myself for discovering them a week or two after they were in town.
AJ: Is there anything you would like to add? Any last words for the readers?
BP: We’re living in a time of uncertainty for a lot of artists. So many folks had to cancel tours and lose out on one of the only things that brings money into the music industry anymore. If you’re able to toss a few bucks to some of the bands/artists that you’re streaming throughout your days that would be helpful. Buying some of their merch is the biggest thing you can do to help support them. Also, wear a damn mask!
AJ: Thanks Brad! Fin.
Be sure to check out Brad’s official website, Planet B Photography to view more of his work. Check out this other amazing photos by Brad…