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Top10 Photographs From 2017

It's that time of again where I look back in my archives from this year and be baffled that, yes indeed, that photo is from this year and not the previous. I started thinking about it, especially when looking at my favourite records this year but holy hell I did a lot in 2017. We tend to remember the last three months of the year as a good representation of the past 12 months when in reality there is so much more that happens in that time. For myself, I traveled across the country, had two planes cancel on me on a journey to and from Boston, took numerous trips and endured a lot of long drives both on tour and for myself. I met a lot of amazing people who changed my world and I became close to people who I had never anticipated becoming close with. I learned a lot about myself, moved (again), quit a job that made me unconsciously exhausted and miserable and moved on to allow myself to be more flexible, happier, and more consistent with my career and dedication with photography. Now that might be a lot to read as a preface to ten images that I have compiled together but I do genuinely feel that all of the events, big and small, had an impact on my perspective in photography. Although you will see mostly live imagery there will also be a mix of candids and posed work from tours or plans that I made with different people / models. Thank you for taking the time to scan through these, whether or not you read the caption to any or all of the images. The best of luck to you in the New Year! 

10. PIERCE THE VEIL @ MACEWAN HALL

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When I was younger I listened to a lot of Pierce the Veil. I've now been able to photograph them twice this year, once when they were opening for Rise Against (who oddly didn't make the list? idk, i've photographed a LOT of shows and content this year) and in their Misadventures tour. This photo is from the Misadventures Tour. Their lighting was so exciting, and I remember this show being the moment where I thought to myself, "yes, this is the kind of thing I want to feel every single night." I have never had so much fun photographing a show in my entire life. They are always so lively and enjoyable and it makes taking photographs so much more challenging and fun. Too often, after doing this for 8 years, i've found that things become mathematical and this is one of those bands where things can't be simplified to math and studying the band before the show to a Y. This photograph specifically was a quiet moment with Vic and I appreciate that so much. It isn't often that I like my dead straight on look but this is one of those exceptions where the moment and the lighting collided to create something perfect, for me. 

09. GOOD CHARLOTTE @ THE PALACE

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To anyone with a personal relationship with me, or follows me on twitter, you probably expected me to bring up this show. For years I have spouted off about how Good Charlotte should and would get back together so that I would be able to photograph them. While realistically the band that owns my heart is tied with From Indian Lakes and Basement (yo, hit me up in 2018 please) Good Charlotte is probably the band that has had the greatest impact on my life from the single digits, now into my mid-twenties. I unironically know and love essentially every song that they have ever written. I am unapologetic with how loud I will scream / sing the lyrics back at someone, and besides, this band brought Movements across Canada so I could finally see them live as well. This show specifically I was granted All Access (although it was the Palace so that doesn't mean much or anything) and I specifically was working with a media company that would publish these images on Good Charlotte's social media. You can only imagine my childish joy when I saw them post my images on twitter, instagram, and tagging me in their stories. Truthfully, I had a difficult time photographing them. The lighting is always poor in this venue, the barricade is tiny, and the crowd is unforgiving to photographers even in their short time spent in the pit. When I went upstairs to enjoy the show I sang along passionately to every song, taking a photo here or there. Another photographer on the tour sat down next to me, told me to watch out for some of Good Charlotte's jumps in the next song, and I got ready. This image was used by Good Charlotte multiple times and holds a special place in my heart because of that. After their set, the other photographer gave me a GC guitar pick and told me to have a good night. Unfortunately, I didn't get their name nor have I ever been able to find them but I do appreciate them a lot for enabling me to get this image. 

08. ROYAL TUSK @ CALGARY, AB

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This was one of the last shoots that I had in 2017, thank to and with assistance from Ruel. The guys in Royal Tusk came down for some promos and we spent approximately three hours around the city. Towards the end of the shoot we wandered into this hotel that Ruel had picked out, with this couch in mind, and took some time here. There were two people having a coffee that moved out of the way for us (thank you to those unnamed human beings). We moved furniture around and got everything set up perfectly. We even found that the door behind me, that made everything really hard to photograph with, was unlocked. Ruel held the door open while I got on the ground and was able to take some of these photographs. The lighting here was so dramatic compared to all of the outdoor light we had earlier in the day and while it is something I often struggle with I really enjoyed the look of most of these indoor photographs. 

07. COLOUR IN THE CLOUDS @ MERCURY ROOM

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A friend and I always seem to end up going on road trips to Edmonton to see my friends in Colour in the Clouds when I am unable to drive up in the van. I have always loved this particular venue in Edmonton and I really enjoyed photographing them this particular show. I will have to give it to Sho for all of the times that I have photographed them performing live that there is something a little different to photographing them. I find that there are a lot of mathematical ways of photographing most bands and this is simply not true with Sho specifically. This is one of those quiet moments that Sho will have with themselves every once in a while. The lighting was perfect, the mood was perfect and I have never stepped away from taking a live photograph with so much satisfaction, especially in a smaller venue such as the Mercury Room. 

06. EVERY TIME I DIE @ MACEWAN BALLROOM

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I've sent out requests to photograph Every Time I Die three times since I moved to Calgary for photography. I never received a response and from my understanding it isn't often that they let outside photographers come in and document them. I was lucky enough to have a friend working on a few shows on the tour that was able to talk to them and I was let into the space. To my surprise when I showed up I saw that I was put on All Access. This was great mostly because I got to see and talk with that friend for a bit in between the times that they were working. As I came around the front into the photo pit I got to see all of the beautiful things happening with this energetic group. They were so much fun to photograph, so lively and all over the place. That's why I ended up choosing two photographs from this show. The one being from the photo pit and the other being from behind the stage. Both of them show off some of the best things about this band, how committed they are to both their music and putting on a show for the people that got them to where they are. This show came in perfect timing for my own personal life and showed me all of the aspects that I absolutely love about my job. 

05. FETTY WAP @ COWBOYS TENT

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This was easily one of the most stressful experiences of my entire life. That being said, I learned a lot. For one, I had just finished traveling four hours to come back home. Within ten minutes of being home I needed to rush down to the grounds. There was a part of me that was super excited to get down there knowing that my friend, Tom Falcone, was in town with Big Sean and both of us would be working All Access. This meant I would have some more time to say "hey" to him outside of our usual hour long coffee meet-ups. Throughout the night I had to run around the whole venue for different tasks, doing some work for Fetty's VIP packages and taking some candids in his trailer and then backstage, before he got up on the stage with Monty. I cannot deny that all of this brought me into a lot of new experiences, especially since most of my experience is with alternative / punk / emo bands. One of the best parts of the night was being able to be on the stage with Fetty and his crew, taking photos up behind him. I remember looking at my friends' snapchat stories after the show and seeing myself, blue jacket and all, running across the stage taking different photos and then running back into the photo pit. It was hilarious. At the time I was super stressed but ultimately, I am so happy to of had such an experience and to be able to work with such a high-profile artist their whole set. I couldn't just include one of the photos from on the stage, because I love that candid moment of Fetty turning back, as well as his time looking out into the crowd. 

04. LANY @ MACEWAN HALL

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What an aesthetic group of artists. I wasn't sure how I was going to go about this show. We weren't allowed in the photo pit during LANY's performance and while that was a rule, for the first song myself and several other photographers were able to get in. It was a fairly limiting experience in there before we were rushed out and put back into the crowd. I took some time to walk around and see all of the different people holding up roses with glitter on their faces. I personally do not know LANY all too well musically speaking but with the imagery that they kept up I was intrigued and impressed. Standing in the back of the room I took some photos and was really excited when the room went red as the roses came up on their screen. There's not a lot of crowd photos that I have taken that I've been particularly interested by but the isolated feeling that those screens made I was so infatuated with the imagery. This is the beautiful thing about live music photography, sometimes the moment, the space, the timing and the feeling all come together to construct something unexpected and beautiful. That's what this image is to me. 

03. JESS @ CENTURY

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I took this photograph on February 2nd, only one and a half hours after I photographed the Arkells. It was a gnarly night of running around and trying to get to all the places I needed to get to. I was photographing Jess until almost 1AM and ended up coming home to a party at my house. That's another story, but just a memory of mine worth sharing of just how stacked this day was. There's a lot of story behind the scene of this photograph, where we were, how we shouldn't have been taking photos there, and ultimately how these portraits will probably be some of my favourite fashion photos I've taken in a long time. I visited this location once while volunteering there and I fell in love with the carpet. Yes. That's right. I fell in love with the carpet and I knew no matter what that I was going to return there to take some photographs, so two weeks later I did, bringing an assistant (Ruel). We wandered around the place and stealthily took photos inside and then went outside to take some snowy, cold, neon photos. I have so much respect for Jess for fully committing to everything in these photographs. I don't think that I will ever stop loving this photograph and as an artist, that's a really rare thing to feel. 

02. SHO @ BOSTON, MA HOTEL ROOM

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The only time that we ever went into Boston was when we were setting out to fly back home. The thing about that is our plane broke down before taking off so we ended up staying the night in Boston. The airport payed for the hotel and it was right on the harbour. Sho and I shared a room that had an amazing view of the harbour and I knew I was going to take a photo of the sun rising before we would set off to go home. Working around a sleeping Sho I took some long exposure images of the room until they woke up. As we were getting ready to leave I looked over to see Sho checking out the view of the room and snapped a quick photograph. It was all weirdly candid and beautiful and sort of reminded me of all the little detailed things that I had learned in art school. I fell in love with this image and still am particularly nostalgic of it. 

01. DEATH FROM ABOVE @ GREY EAGLE CASINO

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Sometimes it's not the specific moment we capture as photographers. Sometimes it's how we felt in the moment, sometimes it's the editing, and something it's just something we can't completely explain. I battled for weeks to decide what was my favourite photograph from this year. I suffered a severe depression, especially with my work, and even more so especially as my work got further and further behind. I knew that Death From Above would be my last big show of the year. I also genuinely enjoy this band and was so excited to get that approved notification. I had so much fun photographing this band. There's only the two of them but their lighting was so frustratingly difficult and stunning at times. Their set up reminded me of the amazing time I had photographing the 1975 last year, with light bars set up at the front of the stage. I made it work in multiple photos and there are two photos from this show that I am just so genuinely in love with. This was the first photograph I edited from this show. It was also the first photograph I loved immediately as I was working on ... In months. It's simple. It's asymmetrical. It's in focus. It's the way I have wanted to feel when working on my photography. It may not be the most interesting photograph from this year, and I have had a lot of crazy experiences that I don't think I even fully comprehend the way I maybe should, but this is certainly my favourite photograph I have taken in all of 2017. 


In addition to these images I also want to take a moment to thank a few people. I will try to keep this as brief as possible, but I have found greater introspection this year than I have in previous years. While a lot of this was brought up on my own I do wish to thank these people: Mum, for listening to me and still answering my phone calls even though you're so far away. I also have to thank her for grounding me and listening to me talk even when we both know I am just being petty. Them bois in Colour In The Clouds, my closest friends and long time touring / traveling companions. Many thanks for also indulging my spooky stories and loving me the same even when I kick flipped the van. James, for both the good and bad times, for picking me up from work and events and being the sweet person that you are. Ward, for being the best most laid back person and partner in Flesh & Bone Magazine. Mark, for making me see the world in new colours, always allowing me to test out lighting on you, for remembering the small things, and helping me with everything. Craig & Erin, for being who you are and opening your door to me at my most miserable time and always being there for kitchen and puzzle conversations. Jake, for being the best roommate that I have ever had, sharing spirits and smiles all the time and for sharing embarrassing teenaged experiences with. And then here are my thanks to all the other people who would be too long winded for me to go off on rants for: Vince, Kelly, Josh Platt, Dorian, Ruel, Ashley Osborn, Kennedy, Church Tongue, Beefy, Conveyer, & Nick Pegg

Brandynn Popetop 10s, 2017Comment