Story by Rina Marie Braley-Yanko
Rock Legends Photographers
Disclaimer- this story is not about any one artists, but it is probably true of most!
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Turn The Page
Devon Allman goes backstage to try to cool off during a performance in the hot sun with no stage cover.
Every time I start to charge camera batteries and gather my gear to shoot a concert this song plays in my head. Sometimes I will even sing it out loud, sometimes it comes naturally, and sometimes I have to put it on my check list. Once I grab my camera bag the weight of the gear reminds me of the words written and sung by a great musician and artist. The artist I’m about to shoot may be living this song’s words. He may be missing a lover, numb from the amplifiers still ringing in his ears from the night before, or lack of sleep from nothing familiar for days except airport terminals or the smell of the diesel coming from the tour bus.
“Here I am
On the road again
There I am
Up on the stage
There I go
Playin’ the star again
There I go
Turn the page”
I have to be prepared that I might be photographing you on what may be your ‘Turn the Page” day. If it is, you will still greet me and the fans with an exuberant smile, allowing me to capture a few photos as you stop and shake hands just as you get off the bus. You will politely say no, you don’t have a sharpie to sign a cocktail napkin as you notice off to the side the your merchandise table sits with memorabilia to be sold and signed. You also notice that the person responsible for your pay to perform is nowhere to be found.
You keep smiling as you are lead to a six foot table with no chairs for an unorganized meet ‘n’ greet where folks pass right by your merchandise table full of shirts, 8×10 glossy’s and CD’s, but have the nerve to ask if you they can get a picture with you. They hand their cell phone to their friend that does not know how to work the picture process of that phone, so you wait while the line is getting longer. Finally a click, and there goes another blurry photo that will spread all over social media not capturing your best features. In the corner of your eye you see all kinds of food and beverages that you desperately need for fuel, but won’t get a chance to get until it’s probably too late… and you wonder , how did all these folks get back stage passes?
As a photographer that is supposed to photograph you with the fans during the meet and greets to promote the band and venue it is really difficult knowing that the page has turned for you. It’s hard to capture your genuine smile with your best features when they are covered with sweat in the shade and you are about to go on a stage with hot spotlights making the heat index 110 degrees… just like you did the day before in another town.
You do it, giving it all your best. Your best is what the fans get at a live show because you won’t let them see the exhaustion, but I do! I just patiently wait for that second wind, which is your passion that kicks in when all the attention is on you during your guitar jam, drum solo, or building your strength to get out that last high note. I saw one drummer rip off his shirt and pour a bottle of water over himself which was very sexy, and the fans were going nuts. What they didn’t know was that he had heat exhaustion and had to stop himself from throwing up. I was at another show where the performer was doing a duo with the lead guitar and sax and again the fans were going nuts, but the sax motioned for the guitar to take over as he went behind the stage to throw up from the heat. The Fans never notice, but I do. I keep my camera down or focus on the lead jam and the crowd response with their hands in the air having the time of their life at your concert.
Turn the page
End of part 1
Stay tuned for part 2
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