The Chicago Riviera is a big room. I had photographed bands in big rooms before, but that unsettled feeling of having to prove myself in the real world hung heavy from my neck beside my camera. Despite my education and hard-earned experience, Imposter Syndrome loomed in the cavernous theater like an ominous raincloud foreshadowing the oncoming storm of adulthood responsibility.
However, the spotlights struck the stage like a bolt of lightning and a dissonant piano chord reverberated like a roll of thunder before the rollicking, familiar melody of the Cure’s In Between Days filled the room. The deluge of sound precipitated over the flailing limbs of the jubilant audience. Drenched in inspiration, I began to work in earnest. I frantically adjusted the aperture to take into account the drastic changes in lighting.
I knew I didn’t have the versatile lenses of my more experienced peers in those trenches. I also knew I only had the first 3 songs to try to capture something...anything. So I dug my feet into the proverbial mud and focused on Ben’s facial expressions as he beautifully attempted to articulate his own life’s perspectives through a refreshing blend of honest yet awkward compassion tangled in humor.
Much like song-writing, and much like life, many of the images came out foggy while others were gritty with some amount of grain. Despite these learning curves, and perhaps even because of them, the portraits are saturated with tremendous emotion and miraculous affection.