The second half of 2016 started in August, with a last minute approval to shoot Best Coast at the Ravinia Festival. Because the pavilion is seated, the photographers had to shoot from crouching positions in the specially marked spots in the aisles which was one of the oddest conditions I’ve ever had to deal with.
Next up was the weekend every photographer looks forward to the most: Riot Fest. This year was my fifth year covering the festival, and all together it was one of the best, most organized ones I’ve ever been to. For once it didn’t rain so hard that the grounds turned into a mud pit, it was easy to get from stage to stage relatively quickly, and as always the line up was stacked with some great bands. Friday included Diarrhea Planet (who blew me away), GWAR (always a favorite), Jimmy Eat World, All Time Low, and Pierce the Veil among others. The Flaming Lips closed out the day and gave an outstanding performance.
Saturday was really my jam with Fitz & the Tantrums, The Hives, Brand New, and my favorite band: Death Cab for Cutie. This day marked my final time seeing and photographing Motion City Soundtrack which was very hard. I’ve been seeing them for so long that I still can’t believe I won’t be seeing them this upcoming year.
Sunday I dubbed the day of women that rock, with the standouts being Juliette Lewis & the Licks, The Julie Ruin, and Sleater-Kinney. Kathleen Hanna is someone I look up to, and the photo of her lying on the stage might be my favorite image I captured all year.
Riot Fest always marks the beginning of the fall semester, and this time around I was going to try my hand in fashion photography. To me, music and fashion are closely related, so I hoped that I could transfer my music photography knowledge to my fashion work. One of my favorite things I got the opportunity to do was a shoot in the DuSable suite of the historic Hilton Hotel in Chicago.
Ben Folds’ solo tour was my next show in October, and one of the best I saw all year. I drove out to Wabash, Indiana for it and it definitely didn’t disappoint. After the show I got a chance to meet him, and he loved my lyric tattoo so much that he took a photo of it (which might be my favorite moment of the year). People often say meeting your idols ends up in disappointment, but that wasn’t the case here.
Every photographer has a bucket list, and one of my items was always to shoot a show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. I’m thrilled to say that I crossed it off the list in October! I flew out to Denver with some friends for a weekend trip to see the Jeep on the Rocks show with Bastille and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. It was surreal to be in this beautiful outdoor space, my only regret is not being there during the day to get photos of the environment.
While we were in Denver, I also photographed Something to Smile About. It was a charity event to raise money for the Dear Jack Foundation, and Zac Clark (part of Andrew McMahon’s band) was generous enough to donate his time to headline. There’s nothing better than being able to use my talents to help a good cause!
Early in November I was hired by the Hilton Hotel to the photos of the Cubs’ world series rally from their roof top on Michigan Ave. It was quite an experience! It’s not everyday you get to go on the roof of the Hilton and I won’t ever forget it.
The last two shows for the year were Yellowcard’s farewell tour, and Good Charlotte which were both in November. There was great energy onstage from both bands!
In the fashion side of things, I produced a series that I’m incredibly proud of that is based off of the style of Roy Lichtenstein. It was a lot of hard work coming up with the concepts, getting wardrobe, and painting props, but it was so rewarding in the end! I hope to continue more work like this in the future.
So that’s it! My year in a nutshell…if you’ve made it this far in reading this, I thank you! It means a lot to me for people to see my work, and hopefully enjoy it. I certainly cannot wait to see what 2017 brings, but I’m sure it will include tons of new work and images!