I always start my blog postings with text, but this time I thought I would start with the above image. Musician Laura Benitez likes to place stickers on her guitar case, stickers from places she's been to. There's something to be said about a well-worn guitar case: it means that the owner has traveled far, and yet the precious thing the case is protecting is safely stored inside.
Like un-peeling and onion, the above shot now shows Laura's guitar.
Laura sings country music, hence the name of her band, Laura Benitez and the Heartache. I was never really into country music per se, but upon photographing and listening to bands like Dirty Cello and Laura, I came to appreciate the genre more. I think when you photograph a band, as a photographer, you make a small connection with your subject. Sometimes you really have to because when taking photos, you're getting into their personal space.
As you can see, I used both the 56mm and 90mm lenses. The 56mm primarily for closer shots where I needed to isolate specific elements in the frame. The 90mm was used at a distance to show Laura in relation to the audience. When using the 90mm lens, I always made sure to have either foreground or background interest, or both.
I think too that after my mom passed away a few months ago, that also helped me appreciate country music a bit more, particularly since the song, "I'll Fly Away" was the closing song of her memorial service. Laura was singing that song in the above shot.
Laura was initially supposed to have the rest of her band with her that day, but she ended up performing solo, and that took nothing away from her performance. Her voice filled the hotel lobby with mournful tunes that touched the heart.
In the above shot, Laura had just finished playing a song that someone in the audience requested. About half the songs she did that were audience requests.
In the next and final shot, you can see Laura in relation to the audience. She had everyone captivated that day.
I chose sepia for the above photo because that color scheme just speaks "country music", much like it also speaks, "bluegrass". And I think too, that knowing Laura sings country music, and seeing the sepia tone, our eyes feast on the image and our brain interprets that sense of place and gives us a feeling of atmosphere.
Check out Laura's website when you have a chance. She's taking pre-orders for her new album which will be released soon!