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Looking Back

The 1970's were a time of unparalleled musical creativity which would prove to have great influence, not only on that generation of musicians, but those that followed. Bands, such as the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who played in huge arenas attended by tens of thousands of screaming fans. Others, played smaller venues which provided attendees a more intimate musical experience. These smaller venues were my preferred choice, where my camera and I were privileged to witness hundreds of these shows over a six year period. However, realities of life intervened and the dream went on hold.

Photography was quite different in those pre cell phone and digital camera days. Getting close to the stage was only the first of many obstacles to overcome in getting acceptable photos. Having a quality camera, a few fast lenses and a steady hand certainly improved the chance of capturing the action on stage in dimly lit venues. Image stabilization in cameras and lenses were decades away from reality. Film was nowhere as sensitive as even the most basic of today's digital sensors and processing to squeeze out more sensitivity was the norm. A keen knowledge of darkroom procedures was certainly advantageous.

There were occasions where I was the only photographer at a given concert, where as at large venues, a dozen members of the media might be vying for positions to get the best shot. Even with all those difficulties, photographers were permitted to shoot the entire show, not just ten or fewer minutes at the beginning. which seems to be the rule today.

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