Any real ska fan will agree that there is nothing like a good concert from one of the pioneers of this genre – the Skatalites. The iconic band has been around since the mid-60s and continues to thrive among crowds of all ages.
Something happens when this band steps into stage. Everything turns quiet for a minute, but it’s some kind of comfortable silence. In a way, this band has earned its respect and you know it will be a good show. You just have to stand there and wait for it.
I loved photographing this event. Shooting artists is a very fun process. They are performers but also raging fans of what they do, so you know there will be a lot of feeling in their movements and expressions. The best part? It’s all natural. No posing, no acting.
The tricky part is getting the exposure right. There usually isn’t much light at concerts and musicians are always moving. You have to remember to bump that ISO up to make the shutter speed fast enough. At the same time, you don’t want your image to be a sea of grain, so finding the balance is where it’s all at.
Of course, the Skatalites were the featured musicians. It’s usually the band most photographers wait for, but there was an opening band that really called my attention. Skavolutionary Orchestra (photos below) is a local, San Diego band with great personality. I couldn’t help but rush and get my camera ready!
Not only is their music great, but they seem to have a flow about them that is unique. As a musician, I can say that can only be accomplished when you really trust your band members. It almost seemed as if they were family and/or very close friends. (You may think this is the case for all bands, but you would be surprised…).
I found it very interesting to see a pregnant woman performing. It shows how ska and reggae bands see music and their lifestyle. It really is a way of life, something they tend to teach kids from a very young age. In this case, the baby is performing before even understanding the concept of music… from his mother’s belly.
I have seen reggae and ska musicians bring their children to shows, which is something I love. Some even let them hang out in stage (in a way that’s going on here).
I had a lot of fun and came out with results I am very happy with. To make things better, Skavolutionary Orchestra and the World Beat Center loved the images. There is no better satisfaction than that.