Concert photography isn't easy. While portrait and landscape photographers have the luxury of time and stable conditions, concert photographers must do their work in three-song segments, boxing out other photographers and reacting to unpredictable movements of the musicians on stage while adjusting settings on the fly to accommodate lighting changes that happen between drum kicks. It requires a tremendous combination of technical knowledge, artistic eye, and musical sense.
The novelist Mark Z. Danielewski, in his masterpiece House of Leaves, put it best when describing the task presented to photojournalists:
"A photojournalist is very much like an athlete. Similar to hockey players or bodyboarders, they have learned and practiced over and over again very specific movements. But great photographers must not only commit to reflex those physical demands crucial to handling a camera, they must also refine and internalize aesthetic sensibilities. There is no time to think through what is valuable to a frame and what is not. Their actions must be entirely instinctual, immediate, and the result of years and years of study, hard work and of course, talent."
We'd like to find the best photographer Phoenix has to offer and give them their due recognition. Therefore, we are now accepting nominations for the the award of Best Concert Photographer in Phoenix. Here's how the process will work. For the initial round, photographers must nominate themselves and send us five to 10 samples of their work. Then, a panel of experts (who have yet to be finalized) will whittle the nominations down to anywhere between five and 10 finalists. We will then make a series of blog posts featuring each photographer, and then we will have a poll. Readers will get the final say as to who gets the title.
To nominate yourself, send five to 10 samples of your work to david.accomazzo at newtimes dot com by Friday, September 19, with the subject "Concert Photography Contest." And since we here at Up on the Sun believe we employ some of the best photographers around (and since it wouldn't be fair to exclude them), any photographer who shoots or has shot for us in the past may enter as well. No restrictions.
Easy. We're looking forward to it, and check back later in the month for updates.
Edit: To answer some common questions:
1) Yes, anyone who shoots photos in the Valley of the Sun, whether they live here or commute to take photos, may enter.
2) Photographers must enter themselves. Nominations from people other than the photographer will be ignored.
3) Please send, via email,no more than 10 high-res photos that are at at least (or close to) 8 inches by 12 inches.
4) Please remove watermarks before submitting.
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.
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