Behind The Lens: A tour photographers view on and (forced) off the road. By: Sanjay Parikh
I started off playing guitar in bands and touring the US. After playing our set, I would put down my guitar and pick up my camera to shoot the other bands. Being a known musician in Arizona allowed me to network with people in other bands, local radio stations, etc. I would do everything I could to get photo passes to shoot big shows in town, anything to get my foot in the door. I would get the occasional “no” but the “yeses” allowed me to really push myself to get better at my craft, improve my content, and develop my own style over time.
Funny story, I remember walking up to this guy, Dominic, who works at the rock station in my hometown, 98KUPD. I explained that I was a photographer/videographer and handed him my business card. He totally brushed me off as just another one of the many that would hand him cards daily. I think he might have even rolled his eyes at me. That guy ended up being the best man at my wedding and we laugh about how we met.
After a few years of shooting for 98KUPD and touring with some bands, I found myself with the amazing guys in Asking Alexandria. I was with them for a few years.
For me, I don’t think it would have turned out the way that it did without having had experience as a musician myself. The industry can be tough, but you have to learn to network and swim with the sharks.
Being in the music industry from a young age, I learned early on to network as much as I could. Along with that, I spent years shooting bands and figuring out my style. The first time I met Shinedown was actually back in 2015, when I covered one of their shows for Arizona’s rock station, 98KUPD. I would see them a few more times at different shows and festivals. Fast forward a few years and we ended up being on the same European summer festivals together. We would all hang out and talk in catering or meet up after shows. The guys in Shinedown had already seen the work that I was doing for Asking Alexandria at the time and appreciated it. A month later when I was off tour, Zach Myers called and let me know they needed a fill in for media on the US tour they were currently on. I packed up my gear, hopped on a flight and have been with Shinedown ever since, that was in 2018.
MY ARTISTIC APPROACH:
My process of shooting varies from show to show, but no matter what, I always get shots of the fans. Additionally, I have a very routine process of editing, cutting together, and completing the video the day after a show is done. This way, I start with a clean slate for the current day’s show. Sometimes I start shooting pre-show and maybe do a time lapse of the stage being set up, fans rolling through the door, or the guys doing what they do backstage. It’s always important to have extra footage to piece together (B-roll), you never what may be usable or work once the final video is being cut together. As the person with the privilege of capturing those special moments in the show, I love to get shots of the fan’s reactions. Like the moment I captured of the mother that was singing to her son as Brent Smith sang “Simple Man” or the young kid who was handed the guitar by Zach Myers. I think that’s one of the best parts of job, I get to see the raw emotion of how this incredible band’s music and lyrics affect people when they think that no one is looking. It’s a genuine privilege to be a part of the extra special moments along with just the genuine energy that the band and fans bring to a show.
2020 AND BEYOND:
When COVID hit, it was a blessing in disguise for me. My daughter was born in October of 2019 so I was able to spend the entire first year of her life watching her grow, not missing a moment. In late 2020, I went to Malibu to record studio footage of Smith & Myers recording their double album. Although I wasn’t busy touring, I was at home creating 17 studio music videos for Smith & Myers. Along with that, I was in the process of editing and completing the Shinedown “Live in London” video.
~ Sanjay Parikh
For more information visit: sanjayparikhmedia.com
Watch Parikh’s “Shinedown Live in London” concert video.
Parik will be on tour with Shinedown this fall. For tour dates and tickets visit. Shinedown.com/shows
Follow on Instagram @SanjayParikhphoto
Check out “How Shinedown Changed My Life” by Shinedown Nation, featuring photography by Sanjay Parikh