Earlier, we introduced you to our 12 favorite music photographers in North Texas. We got more than 50 nominations, and our team of expert judges narrowed it down to these 12. Over the next two weeks, we'll be introducing you to each of the finalists in turn by having them share five of their favorite concert photos and answering a few questions about their process and passion. Next up is Karlo X. Ramos, whose work can be viewed from his website, karloxramos.com
Karlo, what's the best thing about live music?
I think that the best thing about live music is the effect that it has in your mood and how that translates to the collective. To me live music and shows serve the purpose of uniting people though experiences. It gives people something to talk about and to relate creating memories by association of times good or bad.
What makes a great concert photo?
I think what makes a great photo is the element of connection. It doesn't matter where it comes from. Whether is the performer connecting with himself during a very personal song or just exploding, raging and flying off the stage and into the crowd it doesn't matter as long as there's that exchange of emotions. To me that comes first because if you can spot those moments then I believe you have given a meaning and a purpose to your capture. Granted, you have to know the settings of you camera and a knowledge of how things work in order to create a exposure but like anything mechanic those skills come with practice you'll find that the more you do it the better you get, like most things.
What drives me when photographing, I guess is the feel that you are embracing the unpredictable. The rush of making a work of art that documents the moment in time. Out there you have no control over lights, over posing, over the amount of time you are in the pit. NOTHING! The only thing that you control is when your shutter clicks and how much light you let in. I think that's enough to make magic.
What's the strangest thing that has happened to you while photographing live music?
I think the strangest thing lately was fans throwing panties and bras to the stage i though it was a lost form of admiration from old rock and roll days. However it seems to be making a comeback. Other than that business as usual beer cans flying, people getting drop kicked and tackled while couples make out in the pit. You know normal stuff.
What makes a professional photographer as opposed to an amateur?
I guess what makes you a professional is the way you carry yourself when you are doing work in exchange for payment. I mean when you are out there shooting you see everything sex, drugs, fights you name it. However when you are pressured and expected to deliver and you are carrying over $5,000 in gear on a given night, you just can't act that silly and get shit faced or black out you gotta be on top. You have to find a sweet spot between having fun and being a cool guy to be around with and on the other hand be the cutthroat, take no bullshit photographer that takes care of business.
Anyway what I'm saying is that your ethics and the commitment to your craft should come through in what you do. From delivering and showing up on time. to creating a balance between, generating the captures needed for editorial purposes against those shots you want with an artistic edge. To me that is what determines whether you will become are a successful professional or not. That or wining the lottery.
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Pick one of the photos you've submitted and tell us a little about it: Where was it shot, who is featured and (most importantly) how did you capture it? We'd love to hear logistical description or technical breakdowns or whatever else you want to tell us.
I think my favorite photo is the Ty Segall one. I mean there's no flashy technical aspects here other than the fact that I stood my ground as the guy sprayed chloraseptic on my lens. To me that picture is important because it means that ill get the picture I want, no matter what. Anyway so after he was done he kindly smirk at me went back to tune his guitar for the next song. I spit on my lens, clean it with my sweaty shirt and kept shooting. Later after the show he apologized and asked about the camera we talked a little then he gave me a vinyl and sign it.