Sunday, June 27, 2010

I Will Follow

After I decided to stop shooting rock, the first show I went to see was a U2 concert from the WAR tour at the Palladium in 1983. I went with a record company exec friend who was a big U2 fan. We were sitting upstairs on the side-really good seats--but  as I was used to being at the edge of the stage, I felt like the show was a mile away. Without my cameras, I didn't know what to do with my hands. The show was great, I was in awe of the way Bono handled the crowd, but I really really missed the cameras and the ability to do something more than just watch and listen. I could see that it would have been a great show to photograph. Right then I knew I wouldn't be going to that many more live concerts, at least, not without my camera. 

My photographic interests these days are more in the gallery world. So in 2005 when a photographer friend  from my rock days invited me to go to an exhibit of photographs of U2 by Anton Corbijn at Stellan Holm Gallery in Chelsea, I knew I wanted to go to the opening and see the exhibition. And when he said the band might be there, I knew I'd bring my camera. 

The gallery was full of photographers, there to shoot the band and the other guests, and didn't seem that interested in the photographs on exhibit. It was amazing how different it was from the old days. People brought ladders to shoot over the heads of the other photographers and you could barely find a place to stand. I was glad I wasn't doing this so much anymore. (I still shoot the occasional concert, but I don't mingle much with the paparazzi) 

Corbijn's photographs in the exhibit were really good. 
And I did finally get to photograph Bono. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

No Regrets

Once upon a time in a place long gone (and now NYU dorms) there was a girl who was trying to figure out what to do with her cameras. She didn't want to carry them around and make photographs in the street (how times have changed). She loved music, that good old-fashioned rock and roll music.

When people asked her what she did, she would say she shot rock and roll. Then they would say,  "oh, you're a groupie." 

Every single time.

And every single time I'd have to say "I'm not a groupie. I'm a photographer."

Somehow, that was what most people thought of female music photographers at the time, and I could name the photographers who gave us all such a wonderful reputation. (Don't ask, I won't tell)

So I felt there was a line I shouldn't cross. I was a professional photographer dammit,  and worked hard to make sure I was thought of in that way. I admit it, I crossed that line once really early on (nope, I won't tell you who), and maybe I came close a time or two, and I definitely had some good times with a record company guy I worked with (won't name names there either), but mostly I tried to separate love and work and I considered the musicians I photographed off limits.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hail Hail Rock 'N' Roll

I also photographed Lou backstage with Garland Jeffreys in November 1979. Garland had just given a concert at the Bottom Line and Lou was visiting after the show. If you don't know Garland's music, you should. Wild in the Streets is probably his best known song, but he is still an active, exciting performer, with a new CD coming out soon. Can't wait! He'll be playing a show in New York this fall. Of course, you can find videos of his songs and performances on YouTube. Go. Listen. It's worth it. 

Lou Reed and Garland Jeffreys backstage at the Bottom Line in 1979.

Here's Garland posing backstage at the Dr. Pepper Music Festival in Central Park in 1977.

And here he is performing at the Bitter End in 2007. The place was packed. And yes, he's still a man who wears many hats.

All photos and text © sheri lynn behr unless otherwise noted.
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