Metallica, Savages, Tribulation — the stories behind these epic shots

Photographer: Ben Stas
From: Boston, MA
Where you can find me:

The shots and the stories:

Metallica — Gillette Stadium — 5/19/2017

Canon 5D Mark III / Canon 70–200mm f/2.8 + 1.4x teleconverter

I frequent a lot of small, poorly lit clubs, and while a huge arena show typically offers a comparatively generous amount of light to shoot with, other challenges abound. Metallica’s WorldWired tour this past summer had the band performing on a massive horseshoe-shaped stage with wireless instruments, meaning that guitarists James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo all had plenty of freedom to move around and interact with the crowd. Great for them, less so for photographers trying to capture more than one band member in a frame. Moving around the outside of the horseshoe, I tried to be prepared with a wide zoom lens on one camera and a 70–200mm zoom with a teleconverter — which extends its focal length to 280 — on the other. As it turned out, I needed that reach to catch this shot of Hetfield and Hammett side by side on the far side of the stage from where I stood.

Savages — Paradise Rock Club — 4/1/2016

Canon 6D / Canon 16–35mm f/2.8

Boston’s Paradise is a mid-sized club without a barricade for photographers, so getting good shots in that room typically means staking out a spot in the crowd to shoot from for the duration of the night. That approach does force you to get creative with angles to capture each band member and get some variety into a gallery shot from one spot, but it also allows for moments like this one. U.K. post-punk group Savages, built a reputation on their intense live shows, which sometimes saw band-leader Jehnny Beth venturing out into the crowd, and sticking to my spot up front until the end of the set gave me the shot when that finally happened on this night.

Tribulation — Royale Boston — 11/3/2015

Canon 6D / Canon 16–35mm f/2.8

This shot simply exemplifies why the 16–35mm ultra-wide is my favorite lens to shoot with. I think the best and most evocative concert photography — as in most other schools of photojournalism — is the variety that gets as close to the action as physically possible, and the 16mm focal length invites you to do just that. I was nearly struck by a headstock to get this photo of Swedish gothic metal band Tribulation, but I love the end result because I think it effectively captures the band’s theatrical, in-your-face performance style.

~Ben Stas

If you enjoyed, please recommend below and sign up for our newsletter

Follow Artist Waves on: facebook |twitter | instagram

~ follow Jeff Gorra | twitter @JeffGorra |