Steel Nation (2008)

steel nation st. albans

Inspired by the likes of Jim Marshall and Glen E. Friedman, I began photographing my friends’ bands around 1995 when I was 14. For nearly 15 years I took photos at shows on a regular basis until I became pretty cynical about the over-saturation of cameras at shows. Shooting punk or hardcore shows was always the most fun, though. My aim was to be close and intimate with the band performing and the crowd. That is why I most enjoyed small, stage-less shows like this one of Steel Nation playing at The Brickhouse in St. Albans, West Virginia.


steel nation st. albans

steel nation st. albans

Photographer: Jim Marshall

jim marshall jimi hendrix

Jim Marshall is the reason I became a photographer. It seems a bit hyperbolic to say that, but there is truth in the statement. As a child I’d take disposable cameras on school trips or borrow my father’s Nikon AF point and shoot to take photographs of my friends acting out or make them pose in different environments. Around age 13, I was getting heavily into Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival and other artists from the Monterey / Woodstock era. Through the music, I discovered Marshall’s work and the concept of documenting musicians. That influenced me to photograph my own friends’ bands. That got me deeply involved with the West Virginia music scene, which led me to writing for ‘zines, which led me to a career in journalism. So in the end, I owe my professional existence to Jim Marshall and his photographs of rock musicians. Thanks, Jim.

jim marshall janis joplin

jim marshall johnny cash

jim marshall bob dylan

Photograhs via NPR