Thursday, March 29, 2012

Credit Where Credit Is Due

First promotional shot for New Man. 1983, I believe...
About 25 years (or so) ago I was working in a camera store in Boston. It was one of about 30 stores in a chain called Underground Camera and my store was on Boyston Street, right across from the Boston Public Library so we had a lot of local musicians come in on a regular basis.

One of those musicians was a sax player named Bob Gay. He came into the store one day and I mentioned that I could take better band photos than the ones that he was picking up.

He suggested I come by a club that his band was playing at that night and I could meet everyone and we could discuss photos.

After he left, I realized what I had just gotten myself into and went into full panic mode since I had,
A. Never photographed a live band at a club before and, B. Never done a band promotional shot before.

Robert Douglas Gay. Halloween at Bunrattys.
A million years ago.
Needless to say that the first shoot with the band was mediocre to say the least. I remember looking at the contact sheets and thinking that my photographic life had come to a screeching halt. For some reason though I got a second chance and this time the photos didn't actually, um, suck.

The club I met the band at was Bunrattys and the band was New Man and for the next several years I learned much of what I know shooting New Man and many other bands in clubs like Buns, Jacks, The Channel, The Rat and Jumpin' Jack Flash. It was like going to photo school for me but with stickier floors.

Those years were priceless for so many reasons and if it had not been for Robert Douglas Gay and his belief and support, well, I would probably be the photo guy at Glamour Shots at the mall right now (not that there is anything wrong with that).

The coolest part of this whole trip is that he and I have kept crossing paths over the years and just a little while ago I was able to bring my son to a gig at his bands rehearsal space. Priceless.

RDG and MJK meet for the first time and now I know 2 cool sax players.
I decided to title this post
"Credit Where Credit Is Due" because I was feeling grateful today for where this journey has taken me so far and the amazing people that I have met along the way.

Bob was the first of many that took a chance on me and invited me into his life. I don't take things like that lightly or for granted. Through him and his band I was introduced to people and places that you couldn't
pay to meet or go to and I learned more in that time than could ever be taught in any school.

Robert Douglas Gay with the Velveteen Playboys
in 2011. Cooler than ever.

The last couple of years I have been very lucky to connect with Bob and his new band Velveteen Playboys where he has once again been surrounded by some truly amazing musicians.

I was able to bring my son to a recent gig at Showcase Live in Foxboro where he not only got to see and hear the band play in a beautiful venue but he photographed
the band as well.

It was the coolest thing to see how this part of my life had come full circle. Here is my son photographing the man who played such a huge part in the direction that my life took, doing what he does best while I get to watch. It does not get much better than that.

I have always been told that you should photograph what you love, what you have a passion for, and the rest will fall into place.

I have come to find that this is very true. Its easier said than done, but with the help of some people along the way that understand what you are trying to do and are willing to share their talent, lives and heart with you, well, it makes all the hard work worthwhile.

25 plus years later the man rocks harder than ever.
The list of people that I have met along the way that have made a huge difference in my life and work grows every day and I always look forward to meeting the new additions, but at the top of that list, always, will be the amazing musician and gentleman, Robert Douglas Gay.

Looking forward to the next gig...

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