October 14, 2013 Entry: Will The Wannabe Concert Photographer?

Tonight the three of us attended a Plumb concert in York, PA at a place called Church of the Open Door. We’ve taken Will to a few shows in his short life, even since before he’d been born (but apparently when the fetus could already start hearing), but it’s been a few months now since we last took him to a concert.

He recently turned 3 years old. If my memory serves me right, the last show we took him to was in March of this year and he really seemed to have a lot of fun, getting into the rock music by dancing near the stage.

This time, Will seemed very fascinated with my photography. See, I love taking concert photos and I like to use them for reviews on Jesusfreakhideout.com, but tonight’s more chilled out vibe kept people in the audience sitting down through most of the show, so it was difficult to be inconspicuous if I wanted to take photos. This then requires me to do a lot of kneeling or squatting to stay out of people’s way. (They paid for those seats and that view of the band after all, right?)

Tonight, Will started to follow me wherever I went. This meant that when I snuck up front and knelt off to the side in front of the front row, Will followed me… and followed my lead as well. He ended up dumping himself at my feet and sat right down, feet straightened out across the floor in front of me, with his eyes fixed on the band on stage, and then back at the large magical lens I wieled in my hands. He seemed super excited to be up there with me.

Soon he was trying to see inside of the lens to find out how it exactly worked, but I had to continue doing what I was doing. Will’s presence seemed to go unnoticed by Plumb herself, but I noticed that the drummer seemed to find it a little amusing, as did some of those in attendance around me. I was a little self-conscious about the attention I was attracting by having my little partner-in-crime in tow, but it didn’t seem to annoy anyone so I tried to get what I needed and pull him back from the frontlines.

The later instances didn’t go quite as well.

Will proceeded to follow me like a puppy around the venue. At one point, I asked him to stay with Amy and I went up to get some shots from the other side of the stage and then came back past the seats a to where I left them. Will was a basket case. He looked at me with tears streaming down his face with a hand outstretched in my direction muttering either “Daddy Wait for me!” or “Daddy come back!” (or both?) It was heartbreaking, and the look of helplessness on Amy’s face made it worse. She wanted to keep him out of the way too, but didn’t know what to do. And how do you tell a 3 year old that what you’re doing is allowed and needing to be kept inconspicuous and the toddler isn’t allowed to come along?

Later, I sneaked away from Will and Amy to do some more shooting and it seemed to work nicely. However, when the music stopped between songs, I recognized a familiar voice crying out “Daddy! Daddy!!!” Yikes. It was indeed Will.

If I had to be completely honest, I’d say that as much as I absolutely love taking photos at shows (and I do), it can sometimes get lonely. I think, if you’re doing it right, you’re up there needing to do your job and you need to worry about staying out of people’s line of sight as much as possible. You’re meant to be invisible and to get what you need and do it without becoming a hassle. In other words, you’re better off not being remembered for ever being there than being remembered for being “that guy with his camera who got in the way” or worse yet, “…had to be told to move/sit down/leave/stop doing that,” etc. So, depending on how much the job can separate you from a fellow concert-going partner, or if you end up attending a show alone, you’re going to be spending some serious time alone around people who don’t particularly want you there.

As much as I’ve been waiting 9 years to see Plumb again and as much as I loved her seeing her live again, my favorite moment of the night was my son sitting at my feet as I performed my photographic duties.

And I wish I had a picture of that.

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