Festival FriendsNovember 16, 2020
In the spring of 2019, I moved to NYC. Nothing more planned than a temporary part time job with Tribeca Film Festival as a tech liaison in the theaters. My passion for music and event photography had run dry as I was flat broke after trying to break into the Nashville scene and a winter in Vermont working a handful of events.I brought along my Fuji Instax camera for a few days at work. It was the only one that could fit in my pocket. Taking a few photographs of my fellow colleagues while working, at festival events and around town, I had started this collection of photos subconsciously. This is where I met my core group of friends. I once heard from a fellow photographer Matt Day, “Take photos of people you care about”. I did just that.
My naive self at the time thought these festivals and events could be centrally located. New York would provide a home base. Inching my way from production, operation, marketing and taking photos full time in the city. Alas, the consistency I searched for was only wishful thinking. There are only a handful of full time salary positions at each festival. A skeleton of work for 10-11 months of the year. However, we (I) learned this quickly. The lack of stability of work only brought me closer to the people I began to work with. We had each other to explore NYC, share music and films we discovered, and be the ear we desperately needed to get through a long day.
The beginning of this book is where I took my first show on the road. Extending my knowledge of the collective soon to be “Festival Friends”. Chronologically from Mill Valley Film Festival to Sundance Film Festival. I brought along my Canon AE-1 and thrift shop find Pentax 70-XL to bring light to the people not seen. The life we lived.
The soft endless beaches of the Marin headlands. Driving to a sponsored hotel and enjoying complimentary wine reception as we discussed work and life. What is next, what’s on the horizon. The stress of the next gig, while enjoying some of the best perks any job could provide. If pleasure had a friend it would be anxiety. Again we had each other to bring us back to the moment.
Road tripping the coast and into the mountains till we met Sundance, my story grew three folds. The largest production, events, and personalities to photograph. Working alongside craftsmen, film makers, photographers, writers, and gig workers. A true misfit of people, we would have never crossed paths if only for this festival. Each and everyone of them having a story I wish I could tell, yet we had this time and place together for the story of this moment. Schlepping 12+ hour days through snow storms that slapped our box trucks. Event parties for guests turned into house parties when lodging is on the festival. Still the same discussions of what’s next and our next move.This bunch allowed me to thrive in this work. I felt comfortable being who I am and what I do. They let me in. Maybe because their story and my story aren’t so different.
This body of work was short lived to its intentional life. These festivals are now less of a skeleton as usual. The life of this work is non-existent for a few years. The life I lived is non existent and so is the same for millions of people. Festival Friends has become more of a time capsule of my life and a period I will never forget.