Sometime about a year ago I went down to Tennessee to work on a neon portrait concept with Tyler Carter of Issues. They were touring with a band I was newly introduced to, One Ok Rock. We met, and decided to do a quick photo shoot – see below from that day. Little did I know these guys were playing to 55,000 people HEADLINING in Japan. If I hadn’t been told that I never would have guessed it because they are genuinely some of the most humble, respectful, and kind musicians I have ever met. They’re very impressive and a pleasure to work with.
Fast forward to the Alternative Press Music Award Show a few weeks ago (check out my Portraits At The 2017 APMAS blog post). One Ok Rock was making an appearance, and I bumped into Taka at one of the pre parties. It was great seeing him again, and I let him know I was based in New York for the summer. They were coming through just a week later! Timing is everything.
One Ok Rock photographed at the 2017 APMAS with John Feldmann
To make the situation even better my friends in Set It Off, and Palisades were on tour with them. I went on my second tour ever with Palisades. We were in a van for two weeks (two months for them, I just joined for a stint) and it was a blast. Those two weeks really introduced me to the world of touring. We all quickly became close friends and have stayed that way still to this day.
Maybe I’ll tell that story in another blog post for everyone that asks how to get started with touring.
Taka, stretching in the greenroom
I honestly think I surprised him during rehearsal. About a minute before this I was on the stage behind him, but wanted to get a shot from where the crowd would be and ran out front.
Toru in the zone at rehearsals
Taka + Lou from Palisades
They had to do a sit down video interview. It was for something, but I’m not sure what. I was focused on them not the interview. I tend to get in the zone while shooting and tune out background noise.
I like this style because the only part of the image that’s really in focus are the eyes. This is hard to do, but worth it. Eyes are the most important part of a portrait, and this is a cool way to express that.
I brought a very simple light setup for backstage portraits. Found a nicely toned wall, and set up. Portraits are all about capturing who your subject really is. Unless it needs to be a big production for a press shot, or an album cover I like to keep it quick and simple. That way they’re not stressed out, or bored. It’s a good way to let them feel natural which I think yields a better image.
He was being hilarious. They’re pro’s and have a million great poses.
This is Jeff, he’s their tour manager and a cool dude
My friend Aaron from Palisades chilling in their green room
I called Cody and said we should make something. Here’s the result of that.
This is Julen. He also lives in New York, but he used to live in Japan for 10 years. Somewhere along the way he met One Ok Rock and began photographing them. Good hangs. Check out his work here.
Ran by and snapped a few frames during the Palisades performance.
Heading to the stage
Moments like these are always so cool. Totally calm in a room full of a thousand screaming fans.
Something incredible happened that I’ve never experienced in my life. It caught me off guard. One of their songs were winding down, the guys became still, and then nothing. Not a sound, not a movement. No one in the crowd spoke and it didn’t sound like they were breathing either. This lasted for what felt like an hour but couldn’t have been more than a minute or two. It was a room full of more than a thousand people in total silence. A chilling experience so surreal that this isn’t even a photo of the moment because the sound of my camera going off would have echoed throughout the entire room. Good job, guys. That was amazing.
Ryota has the moves
Try capturing something you wouldn’t normally shoot
There’s something about this image that I really love
After Night one, they came back for their second performance in New York.
I used a speedlite to light this shot. They’re not always easy to use, but if you bounce them off the right surface (like the ceiling, or a mirror) you can get really nice soft light.
I saw Toru throw a few jabs as he got ready before the show, so I asked him to aim one in my direction…
I snuck under the drum riser. I don’t know if I was supposed to… but I they didn’t seem to mind. There’s not much space under there, and you have to make sure you don’t unplug the entire show in the process. I always love finding new angles.
Also… DO NOT try this unless you are with the band. If you just got a photo pass and found your way to the stage this is a great way to get banned from a venue. (but really fun if you’re allowed to)
The moment being crammed and twisted under drums for 3 songs became worth it…
That’s all, folks. Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think!
Canon 17-40mm f4
Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art Series
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS L series
Canon 580ex2 Speedlite + medium sized octa bank + Fstoppers flash disk
Lightroom / Photoshop / NIK Collection Silver Effects Pro (great free software from Google I highly recommend)