Portrait of Kyle Johnson at Sasquatch ’09 courtesy of Patrick Wright
We are so happy that Kyle Johnson, one of our favorite photographers snapping in America today, agreed to share his favorites with Sound on the Sound again. We gushed about Kyle’s talent last year… and it’s all true and more. Kyle is still one of the finest concert photographers shooting today and in 2009 he added accomplished portraiture to his list of growing accolades. Kyle seems to capture the essence of his portrait subjects in a way that is both stark and soft. In 2009 alone Kyle’s portraits have been featured on the cover of The Stranger, in Sound and City Arts Magazine, and most recently in Vice Magazine. Many of you will recognize his cover image of then Mayoral candidate Mike McGinn, posted on telephone poles everywhere, as one of the most iconic Seattle images of 2009.
As beloved as Kyle’s images are to us, it is his tireless work as an organizer, collaborator, and inspiration to other local photographers that we appreciate most. Kyle’s importance in Seattle’s vibrant photography community cannot be overstated. He’s a mentor to many and seemingly a friend to all. (Seriously, have you ever met someone who doesn’t love this guy?) This Thursday, Kyle and some of the other talented local photographers he’s collaborated with and who he calls friends are showing their work at Winner’s Circle.
In the spirit of community that Kyle is continually fostering, he asked to share some of his favorite live music photos by other photographers from the past year. We’re so excited that Kyle took the time to revisit some of his favorite images for us and that all these talented folks let us share their work on this site. That an image we took was included on his list of favorites is truly an honor. Here (in no particular order) are Kyle Johnson’s favorite live music photos of 2009.
Phoenix had quite a year in 2009. I’m a huge sucker for back-lit shots. this stage lighting is a dream. Megan had a perfect angle to capture it. Amazing mood.
The Drummers are often neglected in Live Music Photos. Not only did Sarah get right up in Johnny’s Kit but the movement/energy she captured was everything I love about a live music photo.
Chris shoots a lot of live music and I always enjoy his photos. Pairing him up with a band like Ghostland & their laser show was sure to deliver an amazing set. This was my favorite that he posted.
Spencer’s Sasquatch antics were talked about for days. We all got amazing photos in the pit that afternoon but I think this series takes the cake. Paige got up close and personal with Spencer…
Ryan documents life. I love his photos because they are so honest, colorful, and have a really candid feel. This shot taken with his little Yashica T4 of Scraps singer Andrew is a perfect example of why I enjoy his work.
Alex loves shooting live music and has been doing it much longer than I. I respect his work a lot. This photo cracks me up. You catch some amazing expressions musicians make while playing when shooting live shows and this one stood out to me instantly. The light, sweat, and angle all work well too.
Bon Iver by Sound on the Sound
My lovely friends at Sound on the Sound are at so many festivals/shows in a year that its hard to pick a favorite from them. I was next to them during this set by Bon Iver and the music was magical. I think this shot shows anyone who wasn’t their the mood and power he delivered that night at Sasquatch Festival.
I’m a sucker for drummer shots, yet another great drummer shot by my buddy Chona. She shoots a TON of music and this was one of my faves from her this year. The lighting and black and white suits it well.
Tyler has documented the thriving Seattle Hip Hop Scene for as long as I’ve known him. Go Machine was such an important event for Seattle Music this year. Tyler’s images captured it perfectly and this was one of my personal faves from the night.
KISS by Jesse Carmody
Although I prefer to focus this list to Seattle Photographers, I had to include an amazing shot from my friend Jesse in California. His work is always inspiring and I thought the use of a Polaroid was incredible for this shot. KISS has been known for their live show for years and as much as I love the close up shots from the Pit. It was cool to see a Polaroid taken from so far away that gives such a nice view of the stage show.