A Much More Realistic Approach

Portraits In The Key Of Punk Rock still lives, I just such at updating the website, I hope that will change. I am hoping for a post or two a week at least, but who knows, I never claimed to be a writer.  I am coming up on two years of hacking away at this, I’ve had my ups and downs, my starts and stops, but I know I still want the book to become a reality. Photographing live music is what I love to do and I know I am good at it, what I am not good at is talking to people which makes it hard to make connections. The coming months will include me making a concerted effort to make as many new connections with musicians, management, promoters and record companies as possible. Watch out because here I come. Don’t worry you’ll see me coming, I’m kind of hard to miss.

Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival Countdown

It’s that time of year again, only four weeks till the Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival in Las Vegas Nevada. This years lineup of bands looks amazingly awesome to say the least, a bit of something for everyone. You can’t really complain with headliners like Cock Sparrer, Descendents and NOFX. Throw in some SNFU, OFF!, Good Riddance, The Adicts, The Dwarves and Left Over Crack among others, how could you go wrong? Don’t forget either that this is not just the three days of the festival, it’s also three nights of club shows which never fail to disappoint.

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This will be my fourth Punk Rock Bowling and the second for Portraits In The Key Of Punk Rock, I wish I had been to more of them, there is never a shortage of great people and fun times. I did not mention the pool parties did I, you will not want to miss the pool parties, always a possibility of surprises!

Here is just a small sample of what Portraits In The Key Of Punk Rock saw last year, on and off stage.


I can’t imagine all the work that goes into putting this amazing weekend together, I for one am very thankful and appreciative of everyone involved in pulling this off year after year. If you are going to be there this year I hope to see you there, if not, then maybe next year.


Why So Red

Here I have for you an example of what happens when a band performs with only red lighting. The top is straight out of my camera untouched and actually exposed properly for the amount of light. The problem here is that there is no other color lighting. A camera will catch all the lighting information available and the file can be adjusted later providing there is more than just one color light to work with. Red only and green only light cannot be adjusted to look natural, it can be made black and white and look okay, but not great. With all red or all green, detail that can normally be brought out in a photo is just not there.
As a photographer I hate this situation, I love detail, I love expression, I love the way a persons passion comes across in the effort you see on their faces when they sing, when they really belt it out.
Don’t get me wrong, I love black and white, I love grainy images, but not when that is all that is possible because someone chose to light only red.
Setting aside my feelings as a photographer, as a music lover and a person that loves to see live performances I hate red and green lights even more, by brain can’t convert that live performance to a more exposed, more detailed, black and white image.
I can’t speak for performers, but I would imagine it wouldn’t be too easy on them either. So really what gives? Why the Red lights? Unless your theme is murder, murder, death, death, blood, blood, die, die, a lonely single bare incandescent bulb hanging from the ceiling would be much better.

Red Light Bad Black and White Okay

Portraits In The Key Of Punk Rock Portfolio

I have been making a lot of posts on Facebook, as I made the decision to try and build an audience there and then attempt to move that audience over here as well. In concentrating on Facebook I felt it would be an easier way to reach people locally as well as connect with the fans of the artists I have been photographing. Because of my focus on Facebook I have not been posting many photos or updates here, which will be changing soon, more regular updates forthcoming. The point of this post, rather than going back and posting a bunch of photos here from past shows over the past year or so, I have a portfolio site setup which will be added to. Please check it out and let me know what you think. Click the site here, Music Portfolio and I will be adding a link up top as well.

Jen Holiday of The Declaimed
Jen Holiday of The Declaimed

Time For Change

I haven’t posted in a little while, sorry about that. I went off to Denver, I just want to forget that, then last weekend was Punk Rock Bowling. After my initial hopes were dashed on the rocks, things worked out better than I could have hoped for. I was able to somehow manage a photo pass all three days of the festival, I’m sure I have more than one person to thank for that. Still working on getting the photos up here on the site, some are already up on Facebook. So for right now I am getting concert photos and not the portraits I am looking for, but that will come with time.

So I am thinking Portraits In The Key Of Punk Rock might end up being more that just the book I initially envisioned. Moving forward the format of the site will be changing slightly and there will be much more visual content. Pictures make everyone happy and look for some video too. I want to keep the site clean and simple, so for now just shuffling some sections and pages around.

The Indiegogo campaign has so far not worked out the way I hoped it would so I need to come up with some other funding ideas.

Keith Morris

Revealing Who’s Included

I have been struggling with this one since the beginning, do I reveal who has said yes to being in the book? Do I reveal who I’ve actually photographed for the book? I want the project to have merit of it’s own without relying on who you will see, to get peoples interest. I would have no problem if a band or musician believed felt so strongly about the project that they themselves came out publicly supporting it. I am not comfortable asking for endorsements from musicians though, but I do want publicity. I have become wedged between a rock and a hard place. I have had contact with numerous bands, but saying this gives you no information as to who and how well they are known. I can only say “trust me” so much. Part of me wants it all to be a surprise until the final book is off to print and part of me is scared that if I reveal people along the way they will get upset and pull their support.

Here Because of an Email

Well if you’re here because I sent you an email then great, I love you for that. Everyone else, I love you too. I have been hard at work contacting promoters of concerts and festivals, but the real hard work comes when trying to contact bands. Contacting bands is not an easy task for basically a first timer, I have no real credibility and no foot in the door, so thank you if you are taking a chance on me and Portraits In The Key Of Punk Rock. Unless a band is a total do it yourself operation, there are often managers, agents, publicists, bookers, and record companies to get through. Often I wonder if my email is even read or passed on to the band, I am not saying that it is not, but I still wonder. I am working hard on this and will continue to do so until the finish line. I want to get everyone excited about PKPR, bands and fans alike. Thank you all for your time.

P.S. I got a new tattoo.pkprtattoo

Paypal Donate Button

I have a hard time asking for money for myself or things that I am doing, but truth be told I can’t make Portraits In The Key Of Punk Rock a reality without a little help and some of that help will need to be in monetary form. I have added a PayPal Donate button over on the right side of the website, which makes it very easy. I promise I will not be buying beer with the money that this might bring in. I will be using the money for expenses related to the book, travel, food, lodging, and equipment. I really do appreciate any support I receive even if it’s just a hug or a pat on the back or maybe even an attaboy or two. Finally let me be very clear, I am not trying to make money off this project, money I raise initially goes towards the production of the book and then all the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to Little Kids Rock.

Why is this all about?

So you find yourself thinking, what is this all about? Well let me be as clear as possible, this (Portraits In The Key Of Punk Rock) is the best thing ever. Or at least it will be when I’m finished. I say when I’m finished, because it’s just me a one man operation, I know I will have support along the way and I will always be more than willing to give credit where credit is due. For now I need to let you all know what I am doing, wanting, needing and looking to achieve.

Doing? Photographing Punk Rock musicians and putting those photos together in a book. Travelling to get the shots that I need (without going broke). Let me be clear that Portraits are more than just static head shots. Portraits can me colorful, dynamic and emotional.

Wanting and Needing? Access is key. As well as acceptance. I’m not looking to take advantage of anyone, I am looking to build trust. I want to photograph musicians performing, backstage (both pre and post performance), hanging out after a show (if they are so inclined to do so), practice sessions, in the recording studio, and just being regular people. I am looking for candid shots, spontaneous shots, not looking for posed or studio type shots. I also need sponsors and backers.

Looking to achieve? Something unique that hasn’t been done before, to my knowledge. An overall picture of what is happening right now and what came before and influenced today.