America’s Most Wanted Tour USA / SXSW 2013
Time / Date:
Camera Body: Canon 1Ds Mark II & Fuji X100s
Lens: Canon 17-40mm f/4L, Canon 35mm f/1.4
Shutter Speed: various
Focal Length: various
I met G-Eazy in October 2010, while he was a supporting act on one of Drakes early tours. G and his manager along with a few of their close friends were traveling around the country in their fifteen passenger van all while G was still attending Loyola University in New Orleans.
At that point, I was 17 and just starting to take photography seriously. Getting to shoot my first big show at The Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri was an eye opening experience. I kept in touch and got to shoot for G whenever he was in St. Louis.
Fast forward three years and I’m gearing up for a trip to Austin, Texas to shoot for G during SXSW. Capturing all of the showcases, parties, meet and greets was a non-stop job. It was the craziest five days of my life but also some of the most memorable.
In the middle of all the SXSW chaos, there were whispers of another tour. The details were unclear at the time but it sounded like something big was in the works. Those whispers eventually turned into an announcement that G would be direct support for the Americas Most Wanted Tour with Lil Wayne, T.I., and 2 Chainz.
My time on this tour allowed for plenty of opportunity to create some great portfolio pieces and also generate a bunch of web content for use across all of G’s social media networks. Having access to shoot pretty much wherever and whatever I wanted was a huge advantage.
Being able to capture the progression of G’s music and his rise into the industry has been a rare experience that is sure to continue.
Tour life is like something out of a movie. Words can’t really describe it. You loose complete track of time and every day is a Friday or Saturday with your best friends. Capturing images during the pre-game, during, and after the show in a very candid manner is something I strive for. Did I mention living on a tour-bus with all of your homies?
In all honesty I’m not that big on talking gear. If you can master the tools you have then I don’t care whether you shoot this or that body or what lenses you have. With that said, the best camera is the one you have with you and I had two on this trip. The Fuji X100s proved to be a great investment. It’s the perfect solution if you are on the move because unlike my 1Ds II it’s very small and discreet. For those of you who might be in the market or on the fence about the X100s, make sure you get an extra battery because you will need it. I still brought out the 1Ds II when I had time to set up a shot or if I was in a more controlled environment. Nothing beats that camera and a nice portrait lens.
Making the Shot:
What I think all of these images have in common is a feeling of calmness amongst chaos. When you’re in this field of photography, you rarely get to pose your subject or get a second chance to recreate a scene. Be fully aware at all times because anything can happen. For me, it comes down to timing. Learn your subjects physical gestures on and off stage and the rest will fall into place.
Editing & Processing:
Stylistically, the images reflect the brand aesthetic that has been associated with G-Eazy for some time now. Leather jackets and slicked back hair…black and white, very crucial.
These images stand for a relationship I have built with an artist over a period of time resulting in an in-depth look into the life of a rising rap superstar. Being able to document a national tour all before I was even 21 was a surreal experience that I will never forget.
My advice to those trying to “make it” in this industry is to shoot what you love. The talent pool is growing at an exponential rate and if you’re not shooting what you love then it’s going to show in your work. On that note, I really strive to get to know my subjects on a personal level and make sure there are no boundaries between me and my subject.
Surrounding yourself with people you respect on a professional level is a great way to stay inspired. More times than not, these people become lifelong friends who constantly make you push for more. I have to shout-out Mark Katzman who has been a mentor of mine for going on four years. He has taught me more about this industry than anyone and I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without his support. Also a big shout-out to my good friends Bobby Bruderle and Grady Brannan who I’ve had the pleasure to work with on tour multiple times.
About the Photographer
St. Louis based entertainment and youth culture photographer. Published in Rolling Stone and Elektro Magazine. When I’m not shooting music you can find me assisting on commercial sets for clients such as Grey Goose, Purina, and Anheuser- Busch. I drink green tea daily.
He’d also like to be a travel photographer, or even better, travel with one of his favorite bands on an international tour.
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