April 12, 2006

“Are you a photographer?”

Someone asked me that question Monday night at the Willy Porter show at The Attic.

Me: No. But I play one.
Nice cashier: I think I walked into one of your shots earlier. I’m sorry.
Me: Oh. No. Don’t worry about it. It’s OK.
Nice cashier: You know, we show local artists here, if you ever want to get your photographs out in the public. Here’s the contact number for the person who handles all the art. (Hands me a business card.)
Me: (stunned) Oh! I’m not good or anything! Really, I don’t know what I’m doing.
Nice cashier: Nah. I’ll bet you’re a good photographer. All the great ones think they’re not. I’ll bet you’re awesome. And if you’re taking shots of performers here, we should show them!
Me: No. Seriously, I’m not that good.
Nice cashier: Yeah. Yeah. You must be really good.

Her impression had nothing to do with my talents, and was based purely on circumstantial evidence.

My Nikon SLR was stuck to my face for most of the night, while I tried to capture the magic that is Willy. I exuded importance, sitting next to (e) who was recording the show. Our table was covered with tech geek goodies: his laptop, headphones, and recording device, and my camera bag and lens. We gave the false impression that we were “with the band” or something. (Note to self: next time, to complete the charade, wear black.)

Yes we are geeks.

Apparently the nice cashier didn’t see how many times I consulted (e) on my shots, and how many times he checked the settings, nodding as he reviewed the images. (He’s very helpful, that (e). Mainly because he just is, but partly because he knows the irrational frustration that results from my not knowing how to do something right. Pouts, grumbles, and huffs and puffs do not make for a lovely concert companion.)

Part way through the show, a group came in and pulled some chairs in front of our table. “Ah well,” I thought, “no more shots.” But the gracious latecomers created a space between them, right in my line of sight, so I didn’t lose my view of the stage.

That, my friends, is the power of Nikon.

Or maybe people who see concerts in Santa Cruz are just considerate.

3 people have roominated about ““Are you a photographer?””

  • starbender says:

    I was a camera nut! U couldn’t get it from my face! Then after a few kids, it got to be toooo much money. Thank God 4 digital!!!!

  • Allan says:

    Most shows here do not allow you to bring cameras. Local press photographers can usually take a few shots during the first couple of minutes of the show, but then they have to leave.

  • (e) says:

    Willy is one of the great performers who knows that you CAN have a good time, and not lose out on money if you’re accomodating to your audience. He allows photos (no flash, or video), and audience recordings, no soundboard patch. That’s fine with me. It means I can set up anywhere I can find a power outlet and a coupla square feet for my gear. I’d imagine there aren’t too many people who go around recording shows anyways. I’m a freak. 🙂

    I never sell the recordings… heck, I’ve got like 6 or 7 shows that haven’t even seen the light of day, much less my ears for a proper cleanup, tracking, and uploading. Way backed up. Need some sort of auditory bran muffin or something.

    Go see Willy. You will NOT be disappointed. Or your money back (contact: bill gates). While you’re at it, go see Peter Mulvey (, Eddie from Ohio (, Catie Curtis (, Ani DiFranco (, etc, etc, etc. Support the smaller bands people. They appreciate it more.

    … stepping down from soap box. 🙂

roominate on this yourself