It is early March of 2020. I’m relaxing at my parent’s place, reading some news articles, and in the back of my mind I’m thinking about photography opportunities I want to explore or get involved with this year. I stumbled across an article about local musicians being excited about the easing of restrictions and the opportunity to start performing live shows again. One musician they interviewed was a Christian rapper that I had a very vague connection with. You see, several years ago he was a guest performer for the Easter services at the church I was attending at that time – and I was on the worship team that weekend as well. No, I didn’t ask if he remembered me – I had zero expectation of that).
The news article mentioned he had a free show coming up, so I took a bit of a leap of faith. I reached out to him via Instagram and offered a bit of a trade. Even though it was a free show, I offered a trade. I asked for all-access: on-stage, back stage, green room, whatever and wherever – in exchange for the best of the best photos.
To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting much. Mostly I was expecting a negative response. “I can’t because… ” and some reason why. I mean there could be legalities, copyright concerns, privacy issues, any number of valid reasons he could give that would just shut this idea down. I was fully expecting something along these lines. Part of me was expecting to be completely ignored – I mean, I’ve heard nothing but positive stuff about this guy. Super chill, really friendly but he’s also won at least one Grammy and a few Juno awards. The dude is talented and could easily say no to some unknown photographer especially if he’s got someone he usually hires or works with for that stuff. But it was none of that. In fact, I had a response within an hour or two: “Hey Andrew! That sounds awesome!
The day of the shoot (April 8) was a long one. Sometimes working a full-time day job and also trying to get a side-hustle off the ground means something’s gotta give. In this case, sleep. But anyway, even though it was a long day, I had a blast. I mean, my day job was just typical Friday chaos (if you work retail you know how that can be). But even though I had to find the location, meet a bunch of new people in a place I hadn’t been to before. Even though several factors could have easily triggered an anxiety attack (either at work, or at the shoot), none of that happened.
In fact, I’m starting to see I tend to perform well in this sort of situation. Roll in, get a feel for things, and just get in the zone before my brain hits “overthinking” mode. If I can manage that, the shoots tend to go really well – both as far as my mental state as well as the quality and creativity I get with the images.
And even better – I just sent out the pictures today and already I’ve been invited to another free show, and they’re gonna give me some table space to sell some prints and have my business cards out. Its a start, and I’ll take opportunities like this whenever I can! Below are some of my favourites from the show