Monday, September 24, 2007

The Sociology of the Crowd Shot.

(Serious insular-ass essay warning. Apply gauze. .. This is being submitted to JPG Magazine, so I took it for serious.)

* All the photos below got cut off. Until I can figure this out, the link below leads to them all, if you're curious.

Stories Told Around the Mosh Fire.


After 15 years of being part of what [despite our individual and collective efforts] often amounted to "The Spectacle," my recent time spent observing from this perspective has gone further into breaking down the 'us and them' dynamic between "the kids"/fans/the audience/the crowd/... and the "performers" to my mind [than playing in punk bands that refused to grant legitimacy to this paradigm] ever did.


In the case of Ozzfest, I was between the barrier and the stage and was the only photographer that broke from capturing the bands to acknowledging the crowd and the ways they processed the chaos... in the air and within themselves. Unique, in this case, is the way they reacted to the lens, since, as far as they knew, I could have easily been in a position to publish them in Rolling Stone or the like. When I was noticed, the desire for the story of their mood to be told, publicly rose up. In the most [seemingly] randomly composed shot, the kid dead center, reminiscent of "Dwane" from Little Miss Sunshine, wanted me (and, more so, whomever might view the image) to know that he was distinct in his composure; that his weight should be shared.


In my experience playing in bands for half my life, the spectators are never just that. The degree to which they consciously participate in their own temporary emotional transformation varies greatly along with their respective needs- conscious or otherwise. Some want to be noticed (by bands or media) and some earnestly pretend that they're the only one in the crowd active in their desire to heal themselves... if for just that show... that song... that chorus.



Behemothcrowd_Mos Eisley Cantina

Some will never emotionally activate beyond following orders from bands who instruct them to, "Put your (their) middle fingers/horns/fists/lighters in the air!" We'll probably never know who is who and how much was carried away from this catharsis. This is what's endlessly fascinating and what keeps me from writing off humanity in darker times.

***Here is a slideshow of all my Ozzfest (crowd and band) shots.***

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