A crop can change everything.
This was my first time working with the lovely Serena Ryder. We shot in a bunch of spots all over her neighbourhood and had a lot of options to choose from at the end of the day.
Typically I'll send my clients two folders; one with my selects and one with the rest of the shoot. I don't do this to influence their decisions, but quite often I'll get asked to flag my favourites as a way of breaking it down so it's less overwhelming than seeing everything at once.
The shot that ended up on the cover of Serena's record wasn't in my selects folder. In fact it wasn't until I saw the way the art director cropped it that I realized that it belonged on the cover. It completely changed the way I looked at that photo. So thank you, Antoine Moonen for seeing what I didn't!
Now I've gotten into the habit of trying different crops when going through a shoot, and sometimes it makes all the difference.
When it came time to doing the album art for Billy Talent I, Atlantic Records sent the band a list of big name photographers to choose from and asked them to come shoot in Los Angeles. SInce we got along so well the first couple of times we worked together I was hoping to get the gig. Then the label got involved, so I figured that was the end of that.
The band shot in LA but they didn't love the photos, which is how I ended up taking pictures the day of the Try Honesty video shoot. It was their last chance to get photos for the album art before it went to print.
Even though I got that gig and the band hired me to do stills on all their music videos and took me out on tour, I still expected Atlantic to hire another big American photographer for Billy Talent II.
Then one day I got a call from Ben (Kowalewicz) telling me that the band wanted me for the next record. “What about the label?” I asked. He said the band told the label that I'm who they want, and they agreed.
I bring it up to let you know that I've always had self-doubt. Sometimes it's debilitating. But I've learned to embrace and appreciate every win as a way of building self-confidence. Despite all the exciting stories you may have read here so far, the reality is that there have been a LOT of failures in my career. It hasn't been easy. But success is impossible without failure, and I've learned to embrace the failures and do my best to learn from them.
Might be when I got Trust Yourself tattooed on my wrist.
While Foo Fighters weren't touring for a couple of months, Taylor went on the road with his own band Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders. Other band members are Gannin Arnold, Nate Wood and Chris Chaney. Chris was playing bass in Jane's Addiction when I photographed them at Massey Hall in 2003 (see earlier post), but we didn't meet until this shoot.
In the 2005 gallery there’s a photo of Taylor centre stage playing guitar with Foo Fighters with the caption (that he wrote) “Where every drummer really wants to be.” So what did he choose to play when he started his own band? The drums. But unlike most bands, the drums were front and centre and he was also the lead singer.
They came to town for a show at Mod Club and he asked if I would take a few press shots. I got the ok from the owner to go up to the roof of the club and that's where we did most of the shoot. It was nice to spend some quiet time with T. The only times I'd seen him since meeting in 1997 was with Foo Fighters and there always a lot going on.
After the show in Toronto I hopped in the van with the band and we drove to Ottawa. This tour was lean and mean. One hotel room for the band and one for the crew. I slept on the floor between two beds. It was great. The next day we walked around the city taking in the sight of the nation's capital. Might have been my first time there now that I think of it.
Before sound check the guys told me they wanted to get a photo inspired by a classic shot of The Allman Brothers Band from 1969, where they're sitting in front of a wall of road cases. We used every last case but it turned out great.
Later was a loud, sweaty punk rock show. I loved seeing them headline all ages shows. Everyone having so much fun. Except for Inge, as you can see in the 2nd photo. I found out years later that he was having girl troubles at the time. There's something about touring with this band that makes me feel like a kid again.
Warped Tour was becoming an annual thing for me and is where I met a lot of great new friends.
Billy Talent introduced me to both Rise Against and Anti-Flag that day. Thanks to that I've worked with and hung out with these awesome humans many times over the years.
Six months later I saw all three bands again when Billy Talent brought Rise Against and Anti-Flag across Canada on their first ever arena tour.
Their paths crossed a lot over the years, and it came full circle in 2022 when Rise Against and Anti-Flag each did half of Billy Talent's Canadian arena tour.