The stories behind classic shots of Amanda Palmer, Sia and more. With Boston Photographer, Natasha Moustache.

Nathasha Moustache locks hands with Tim McGraw. Photo by: John A Russell

Photographer: Nathasha Moustache
From: Boston, MA
Where you can find me:

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The shots and the stories:

Amanda Palmer:

My first ever book published image — that I know of — shot at the Paradise Rock Club in 2008. I’ve been a fan of the Dresden Dolls since “Coin Operated Boy” hit the radio waves, not unlike most of their fans. The first concert of theirs I attended was Halloween night at the Avalon where my gf at the time and I actually dressed up like Amanda and Brian. Very original. Needless to say, I attended most of their local concerts whenever they came around, camera in hand. I remember feeling a bit like I was that annoying photog in a packed crowd with an obnoxiously large camera and a backpack to boot. Probably because I was. Thankfully the Dolls have an extremely loose camera policy, which generally means I’m not the only one. Protip: when you’re shooting without access or in the crowd with the fans, always be courteous to those around you. Chances are they’ll be much more likely to forgive your constant shuffling and cumbersome equipment if you’re thoughtful about the space you take up. I remember standing on my tiptoes to get above the bobbing heads and working to center Amanda in between the lights, half focusing on the subject and half on not falling backwards. Often if I’m shooting from a crowd my body is doing this awkward mix if trying to be the tallest it can be, while taking up the least amount of space. Perfecting awkward photog stances is definitely a thing.

I shot this image and posted it to my Flickr site where it sat for years. Many years later after becoming a bit more well known in the Boston music scene and among Amanda’s peers, this image was chosen to be on the first page of her NYT best-selling book, ‘The Art of Asking’. Talk about a fanboy dream come true.

Garth Brooks:

Speaking of fanboys…I’m a big country music fan, and like most of us who were introduced to country in the 90s, Garth Brooks is at the top of that country playlist.

Country Music Association Fest 2017, I had just wrapped a three day shoot with Garth Brooks in his studio where I was hired to capture images for his upcoming book, Anthology: Part 1. (I’ll not get into what an insane and surreal experience that was for me.) I’ve be honored to shoot CMAFest for the past 6 years, but this was Garth’s first time back for the CMA crowds in sometime and his performance during the night concert was completely unannounced. I already had all access as I was shooting CMA, but after working closely with Garth and his camp, he asked me to come backstage to shoot during his performance. I had the option of shooting in the pit with the rest of the photogs, but I’ll never forget the moment before I took this shot. Garth Brooks standing side stage waiting to go on. I’ve just rushed from the pit to get backstage and made my way to a few feet from where he stood. He caught my eye as I crouched on one knee waiting for him to go on, looked down with a huge smile and fists bumps me moments before walking out to tens of thousands of surprised and screaming fans at Titan Stadium. Part of me really wanted to be in the pit but this shot really captures a moment for me; not only Garth’s reintroduction to the CMAFest crowd, but a true career high.


This shot was nominated for Boston Music Awards, Photograph of the Year in 2016. This image was made while covering Boston Calling when it was still held in Government Center. Sia was the last and main act of the night. The crowds had been gathering at her stage for a while and getting to the singular entry point for the pit was proving difficult. After a long day of running back and forth between stages, I decided not to waste my limited shooting time trying to make it up front and instead shot from somewhere between the middle to the back of the crowd where I had a bit more space. Standing again on my tiptoes and taking full advantage of my 5’11 ft frame, I did my best to balance my 70–200 2.8 as straight and level as possible, keeping an eye out for tops of heads and jutting arms. Thankfully at that distance shooting at 200 and possibly at 2.8, most of what’s in the way becomes a soft blur. This shot is so wonderful to me because in one frame it captures a quietness and stillness from that night that was the opposite of; a perfectly aligned set, dancer mid-flight and fully extended and a main act who doesn’t need to be center stage to create a powerful performance. Looking back, had I rushed to shoot front of stage, I never would have made this picture as even a wide-angle lens wouldn’t have covered the length of stage her performance was using.

~ Natasha Moustache

Headshot by: Diana Levine
  • all photos by Natasha Moustache used with permission

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Produced/in collaboration with Jeff Gorra:

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