One Saturday night at a photography club gathering, I showed people in the group a book of photographs I took myself, of a young, female-fronted band I decided to follow on some gigs. I was just starting to take photography seriously, and was frustrated I can’t be as good as I want to be. Tapping into live band photography was something that seemed worthwhile that time, more than a decade ago. A veteran photojournalist I looked up to asked if I was in love with the girl in the band, the vocalist. Of course, I said no. It was the truth, but it was a question I may have been too quick to answer, a word of denial to ignore this fog of confusion of why I was even asked that, and that didn’t even merit attention.
It was apparent that no subject on a live stage has attracted me as much as women. No maestros of their instruments can match. There are little voices that tell me how, hey, there are other members of the band, and that this pursuit is somewhat suspect when seen objectively, but before there’d be anyone to satisfy with the images I get to produce, there was me, and my insecure self.
Could this explain why you don’t really reach out to the bands?
No. I’ve always had in mind that reaching out would be a compromise, and my selfish tendencies shot down.
Oh, but the rock photographers of the olden days didn’t do this! They would follow the band like photojournalists!
I know this, but I was a stubborn case.
I did reach out on social media. It was a gesture on public display, but that time, it felt appropriate. This entire endeavor was for me, and my pictures, and acknowledgment wasn’t expected in return.
Because you don’t want to be disappointed!
I didn’t want to be disappointed.
A(nother) muse, an unsuspecting trigger who started all this, greeted me one weekend night in Quezon City -and not timeline-distant from when I made that photobook- after their live set. I was alone as usual, occupying a table to rest from shooting. The details of the interaction are gone from memory now, and all I remember was this gorgeous being I have not met knew who I was, and that I am, for that moment, a pathetic excuse of someone who should stop being a spectator to it all and be a willing participant, someone who can be more.