So I happened to be wearing a Linkin Park t-shirt from the band’s 2008 Projekt Revolution tour when the request to photograph the release concert for the band’s fourth studio album, A Thousand Suns, hit my inbox. And while I refrained from, as my editor suggested “wearing the shirt to the assignment to have it autographed,” I was definitely psyched to have the chance to work closely with a band whose music I’ve been following for over a decade.
I photographed the guys both back stage and during the concert with special effort put towards executing a portrait that involved abstract digital art projected over the band.
The following are some of my favorite shots from the assignment along with the shooting notes.
This shot was the final frame in a series that started with the band walking towards me as I snapped away with on-camera flash. I was careful to balance the flash with the ambient light such that the road cases and pipework would register in the exposure. I often incorporate walking shots not because they get the band moving naturally, which they do, but because they tend to create nice arrangements of people even after the motion has stopped. In this case I liked how lead guitarist Brad Delson ended up in front with Joe, Rob, Chester and Phoenix falling into place on either side of Mike.
As many of their fans know, Linkin Park is heavily involved in the visual arts in addition to video and music. After the assignment was confirmed, the band contacted me with an interesting portrait concept – shoot the guys behind projected art that matched the visual themes from the new album. The idea was a gamble on all sides in that, if the concept didn’t work out within about 5 minutes, there wouldn’t be enough time to try anything else.
After spending a few hours figuring out how to make it work, we decided to project the artwork on to a white muslin backdrop set up behind the stage. The projector was mounted on a tripod which was then stacked on top of a tall road case to provide the height needed to ensure I didn’t literally overshadow the band.
Once everything was set, I asked Mike to step in for a final exposure check to make sure the projection was still visible over his black shirt. The shadowy figure next to mike is Joe, who is standing too close to the projector.
This is a shot I initially rejected for being noisy, out of focus and underexposed. I came back to it while writing because even with all of it’s flaws, it’s still a nice glimpse of the quiet moments right before the storm.
Shooting portraits and backstage reportage right up until the band takes the stage makes getting a good spot in the pit very difficult. Still, I was able to work my way to the center to get the good stuff.
Other Equipment Used:
While shooting in the pit, I relied heavily on the 14-24mm and 24-70mm lenses only switching to the 70-200mm for closeups of Chester and shots of Joe and Rob, who were set up at the very back of the stage.
The portraits and the majority of the back stage shots were taken using the 24-70mm.
Huge props and massive high fives to Andrea, Brad, Rob, Phoenix, Joe, Mike, and Chester for making this all happen.