Monthly Archives: October 2011

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September Afternoon

Holga 135 • Fuji Superia 400

Vignettes from a playground

Summer Past {One More for the Road}

Nikon FE • Kodak C-41 B&W film

My long-time BEF Meredith moved to Portland, Oregon at in August. We in Memphis didn’t see her often because she’d been in Bowling Green, Kentucky for four years (or so.) I was so glad she breezed through town before heading off to the Pacific Northwest, asking me to join her for lunch at our favourite Vietnamese restaurant. It was lovely to catch up and over some lemongrass tofu. And, boy, did we laugh.

{CD Release Show} Looking for Alaska: “There Is Hope”

I realize that the Shoot With Personality blog is starting to look like “Looking for Alaska Central” these days. But I am A-OK with that!

The latest in Shoot With Personality’s LFA coverage is the show they played this past weekend to kick off the release of their first full-length album, “There Is Hope.”

As a someone who is good friends with this band (well, with members of this band…) I have been looking forward to their album release since they recorded it this summer. I was even more excited when they set the date for its release. And more more MORE excited as the date (October 22) approached. If I felt this way, I imagine the guys in the band were just plain over the moon as October 22 neared!

One thing that was very cool about this show was its opening act: Jim Cannon, grandfather of the irrepressible Josh Cannon (LFA member/superfan of Shoot With Personality.) I think we all especially enjoyed the duet Jim and Josh did, as well as when Jim performed that little ditty “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” The latter song required crowd participation, and Paw Paw Cannon actually got the crowd of young whippersnappers to participate!

The Star Killers played next,. They are another great band I started seeing at Smithseven shows this summer. The Star Killers has a petite red head with a BIG voice as their frontwoman, and they’ve pretty much killed it every time I’ve seen them play. The LFA show was no exception.

I’ll level with ya folks: there was a more metalcore/hardcore band who played after The Star Killers, and I am sure they were lovely but…as Mr. Chad Turner put it, “Amanda Raney 2003 would have been in there fighting the pit to take pictures.” Amanda Raney 2011 wasn’t so much doing that…Maybe next time though!

And onto the main event (for me): Looking for Alaska!

I hadn’t realized this would be the case before arriving at the show that night, but LFA played the new album in it’s ENTIRETY. I thought it would have been a funny joke if they said “We’re going to play every song on the album tonight,” and then brought a boom box on stage and pushed play. You know, instead of actually playing all their songs live? Get it??? But I digress…Luckily for those of us in attendance, that was not the case!

It was probably one of the longest sets I’ve seen a band play at a local show, but with LFA, this is a good thing. A very good thing indeed. I was happy with everything I heard, the guys played their hearts out, and the crowd seemed to respond very positively to all that was going on up there on the stage.

As the band finished their final song and started putting up their instruments, something unexpected happened…Chad began playing the old hymn “Be Thou My Vision” (a favorite hymn of many in our social circle.) I was used to this sort of thing because I have gone to several churches with Chad where he’s led music, but I am sure for many in the audience this was a new experience. I know it wasn’t something that the band had planned, but it was powerful. I hope no one involved minds that I’m adding this part to my blog about the show, but I had to. Everyone was so moved. You could hear voices from people in the crowd, singing along with the hymn. It was an intensely personal moment being shared by a room full of people, and I’d say it was the perfect ending to this band’s CD release show.

And now….on to the pictures! Click on through to ’em below!

Jim Cannon. The Star Killers. Looking for Alaska. Oct. 22 ’11 @ The Abbey. Memphis, TN.

(Pssssst. In addition to gushing over my friends, I am also into giving shameless plugs for them…Looking for Alaska‘s album is available at Amazon and iTunes. Get on it!)

Band Press Photos: Looking for Alaska

I have to tell you: here lately, the weather has turned beeyootiful in the Mid-South.  What a perfect time to do some press photos for the boys in Looking for Alaska!

The band and I made arrangements to meet downtown. Did we have a specific plan? No. Did we do some explorin’ until we found a couple of righteous places for snapping  photos? We sure did!

Being downtown, it’s hard to avoid a bunch of cliche backgrounds. When you’re photographing bands for promo or press photos, it’s SUPER hard to avoid cliches.  I had one rule: no brick walls. LFA had another rule: no fields. Other than that, we just set out on a trek around downtown Memphis. We were on a {photographic} mission.

When I started seeing spots that sparked my interest, I didn’t have to think “Is this trite? Has this been overdone?” All that mattered was getting these Looking for Alaska lads into those interest-sparking spots, getting them to interact with each other, and, you know, snapping a few photos along the way.

Someone in the group suggested we go to the Peabody rooftop. I hadn’t really been up there before and didn’t know what was in store for us since the light was getting so dim (thanks to autumn, which brought shorter days with it!) I was not too sure that we were going to have (what I like to call) a “workable situation” on our hands. But then, we rounded a corner on the rooftop and saw that there was an old-fashioned street lamp giving ample lighting underneath it. I breathed a sigh of relief.  I also loved how the camera picked up on the last bits of dusky light the sky was offering us in the background!

Once I’d called it a wrap on the rooftop and headed back indoors, we caught a glimpse of some VERY PINK light coming from a room off to the side. I thought for certain that the door would be locked. It wasn’t. Then I thought we would get yelled at for going into The Skyway. But then I reasoned with myself, “If they didn’t want us in there, they should have locked the door!”

We ended up having a GREAT time together. I hope to have the pleasure of photographing Looking For Alaska again in the future!


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