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Photography: Shooting Classic Rock Bands in the 1970 Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Peter Frampton, Eric Clapton Classic Rock

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Shooting classic rock bands in the 1970’s would eventually lead to my photography career. This would also change how I watch the musicians on stage. I was now looking for the perfect moment to fill my frame and capture the moment. I was no longer just an audience participant.

Why did you become a photographer?

As a senior in high school I had an English class on media. We all had to make a media project with art, photography, writing and so on. So I picked photography and had to create a slideshow that would give a message.

I used the song Born to Be Wild and went on a photography sphere shooting my story on the life of music and hippies. It was mainly about musicians and the story of the music from the late 1960’s and the early 1970’s.

What was your interest as a photographer?

I wanted to be a musician like everyone else, but photography started to become my second choice as an artist. I started going to concerts and taking my camera with me.

Now bear in mind, I’m a novice as a photographer. Although, I made my way to the front of the stage and at times behind stage by just holding a camera and a few lenses looking like a pro. I was not even close to pro material, but I had to act like one to get where I wanted to go to get the shots. I had an average Pentax camera with a low end zoom lens and a couple of prime lenses.

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Who were the bands that you shot?

Back then the bands, managers or unions did not care who shot what, where, when or how. Once I learned the ropes of how to get around, I was golden to shoot what I wanted. Although I did not get to be close to the artists backstage before or after the show, just live on stage.

I shot George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Aerosmith, Yes, Dave Mason, Deep Purple, Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Peter Frampton, James Taylor, Grand Funk Railroad, Little River Band, Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer, Emerson Lake and Palmer, James Gang, Gary Wright, The Who, Ella Fitzgerald, Ace, Doobie Brothers, Allman Brothers Band, J Giles Band, Jethro Tull, Queen, Charlie Daniels, and many more.

Aaerosmith

Led Zeppelin

Peter Frampton

The Who

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Did you keep the film and are they worth anything?

I kept every frame I had shot since I started as a photographer. As time went on I would learn from my mistakes and get better shots. What I really needed at the time was better and more expensive equipment, especially lenses.

Some of the images are in really good shape and others are quite soft from the poor lenses I had at the time. Once I learned how to expose the lighting properly they got even better. The faster film stocks, pushing the film and being able to hold still with slower exposures helped too.

Some of the images were respectable, but most were somewhat soft and slightly blurry from long lenses and slow shutter speeds. Today, I am able to sell some of the classic rock images and people from all over the world buy them. I guess it’s a classic look from the past that they all remember.

Dave Mason

The Allman Brothers Band

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Shooting concerts today

I have shot a few concerts to date and they give you a place, a time, and that’s it. Unless you work for the artist you have to follow the rules.

Your badge gets you in and where you can go. Usually you get to shoot the first three songs and then that’s it. You are done and off to somewhere else unless it’s an outside concert that does not have too many restrictions. Sometimes you can go to smaller venues, especially outside, and they have no restrictions.

Generally those are the bands that were once very big and still tour, or a show of multiple bands that come together for a special tour. Big bands like Paul McCartney, Rolling Stones, Elton John and so on have the very tight rules.

Kevin has 40 + years’ experience as a director, photographer, cinematographer and editor. Winning over 200 awards of excellence in Commercial Advertising, Broadcast TV, and Fine Art Photography. You can see his Gallery of still photography on his website.

Kevin Cable

Kevin Cable’s Gallery

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