Music News

A Phoenix Photographer's Storm Footage Is in Pearl Jam's Latest Video

Local photographer/storm chaser Mike Olbinski's footage is in the new Pearl Jam video.
Local photographer/storm chaser Mike Olbinski's footage is in the new Pearl Jam video. Mike Olbinski
Mike Olbinski can add "Pearl Jam video" to his list of many accomplishments.

The local photographer and storm chaser discovered that some of his storm footage made it into "Dance of the Clairvoyants," the first track off of the Seattle band's upcoming album, Gigaton. (Full disclosure: Olbinski has been my family's photographer for several years.)

You'll see Olbinski's name on the YouTube page that hosts the nearly five-minute clip (he believes his footage appears around the 1:45 mark). It contains some stunning naturalistic visuals to go with the experimental track, which climaxes with the world on fire. It's Greta Thunberg's warnings on climate change brought to musical life.

It's not the first time a performer has utilized Olbinski's time-lapse weather footage to enhance their music. He says his clips have been used from everyone from Metallica (of course, it was for "Ride the Lightning" during a European tour) to a Blake Shelton video.

Artists usually don't contact Olbinski directly to license his footage. The licensing agency Filmsupply curates a catalog of high-quality footage. According to Olbinski, because he is the only photographer specializing in weather clips on the service, he'll often hear about his footage being used in movies and music videos.

"I love chasing storms," he says. "I'm blown away when people use my work. It never gets old."

When asked if he'll be going to the band's show at Gila River Arena on April 11, he didn't seem sure. That's usually around the time he heads out to chase storms.

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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil