Music Photography by Joe Papeo

Best of 2015 Music Photography

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Nutley, NJ, MY Office, 12.31.2015 – I take a look back at my year and struggle with putting together a “Best of” post for my music photography. I hate “Best of” posts only because I don’t like judging myself. Best is a strong word. I would much rather call this post “My Personal Favorite Music Photography Photos” since really that’s what it is. These are photos I connected to, no matter how technically sound they are. They are moments captured in photos and my attempt to bring you to a show you missed. Or to sell you on going to the show the next time the artist is around.

2015 was an interesting year for me. A transition from a full time job with an added crazy photography schedule to leaving my day job to make a true go of this. I got to go back to Firefly Music Festival as their head festival photographer for the second year in a row. And I have shot every year of the festival now. I love watching its growth every year. They manage to get bigger and still maintain that Firefly vibe.

I got to shoot my hero, Sir Paul McCartney. An I got to sing Hey Jude with 90,000 people and some of my favorite photographers.

Red Frog brought me on for Big Barrel, the country sister to Firefly where I got to cover Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, and some classic country artists that are normally outside of my genre. Big Barrel introduced me to Shakey Graves. And I fell hard for him.

I shot a bunch for Rolling Stone this year, and a lot of cool shows like the David Foster Transcendental Meditation Benefit with Sting, Jerry Seinfeld and Katie Perry. Yeah, Katie Perry in a ball gown with a team of ballerinas at Carnegie Hall. Pinch me please. I was also at Carnegie Hall for for the Bill Withers tribute where Aloe Blac brought the house down and had people in tears. I started the year with finally shooting Bjork at Carnegie Hall. Rolling Stone sent me to the Hard Rock for the Les Paul tribute where I got to cover some of the greatest guitarists of our time.

I feel blessed every time I step foot in a venue.

How many time can you shoot Cage the Elephant and get unique photos? The answer is every time. I think I have shot them 10 times now and Matt Shultz never stops amazing me. They are a rock band. The epitome of one. You’ve never seen a band leave it all out there and truly connect with a crowd until you’ve experienced a Cage show.

I watched some of my favorite people in Walk the Moon grow from an opening act club band to the brink of an arena band. 2016 should be huge for them. I consider them friends and have been lucky to make some great friends doing what I do. 2016 saw me with them at many different types of venues. I got to spend more time with Young the Giant. And I miss my friends in Grouplove while they took some time off so they can bring a little one into the Grouplove family.

After years of covering Chris Cornell, whether it be solo or with Soundgarden, I finally got to spend some time with him and my work. And I got to shoot All Access and watched his daughter slay on stage with him at the Beacon Theatre to Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”. Something I may not have appreciated as much before I became a dad.

I covered shows ranging from 90,000 people in the middle of a field to 70,000 at MetLife Stadium to 40 people in the back hall of a church. And I loved every one of them.

My one resolution for 2016 is to blog again. The busier I got the harder it was for me to stay on top of it. The blog will be back this year.

The thing that I love about this business is the people I meet and the new friends I make. From rock stars to photographers to publicists to venue security. They all become my work family.

I got to watch good photographers become great and great photographers do special things.

I can’t wait for 2016. I already have some cool stuff lined up that I can’t wait to share with you.  I hope you enjoy my 2015 recap. I enjoyed taking these photos for you.

Thank you to all the photographers I get to share this ride with. Thank you to the publicists who give me access. Thank you to the managers who trust me with their artists. And most importantly, my family. My wife puts up with a lot of shit. My kids don’t really understand what I do. But they trust me and understand my goals. And enable me to do what I love.

 

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All of the photos you see here were shot on some type of Canon hardware. I shoot 2 Canon bodies and the 2.8 zoom trilogy. But everything I captured I could have captured on a Nikon as well. Don’t trust anyone who tells you one is so much better than the other. Pick the system that’s right for you. Learn the system. Become one with the system. That is way more important than the brand.

Check out my full galleries:

www.joepapeo.com/livemusicgallery

Slide Show Below:

  • Full Gallery of Photos
  • See photos BIG

Equipment:
Canon 5D Mark IIICanon 6D
Canon EF 16-35 Mark IICanon EF 24-70mm f/2.8LCanon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS

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