Photography is a quiet art. Sometimes a lot of people don’t notice what is in a photo, how much work went into each one, or even the photographer themselves. Sometimes it can take years to find what is in a photo. Sometimes a photographer’s work is more famous than the subjects themselves or their work has created the image, concept or idea you have of a subject (e.g. Jim Marshall, Herman Leonard and Raeburn Flerlage).
Johnny Cash, San Quentin. Jim Marshall (1969).
There’s one intuitive fraction of a second that separates a timeless photograph (a memory, a story) from the many less inspired frames surrounding it. This instinct cannot be taught. It isn’t a skill photographers acquire as part of their craft. It’s a creative force that defines an individual style. Photography is about the subject, and not the photographer.
While it does take practice and speed, knowing your subject intimately, not betraying their trust, knowing their movements and understanding their emotion is invaluable. When it comes to music photography – knowing, seeing, hearing, loving and enjoying the music will define the photograph.
“Let the music move you, whether to a frenzy or a peaceful place. Let it be what you want to hear—not what others say is popular. Let the photograph be one you remember—not for its technique but for its soul. Let it become a part of your life—a part of your past to help shape your future. But most of all, let the music and the photograph be something you love and will always enjoy.” – Jim Marshall.