No One Likes Being Vulnerable

Vulnerability.

Some might say it’s a sign of weakness.

I’m not one of those people.

To be vulnerable means we open ourselves up to others. It means we put ourselves at risk for being hurt and feeling pain – we bear our hearts and souls. The alternative is closing ourselves off and feeling nothing.

I’ve been on both sides. I’ve shut myself off completely, built walls and shut down all for the sake of protecting myself. The reasons are vast, but, put simply, I thought feeling nothing was better then feeling the stabbing, twisting pain that comes with being open – the pain of rejections, loss or disappointment. But I’ve come to realize that pain is part of life. Pain is one of those emotions that’s meant to be felt as much as joy. It’s all part of living. And I want to live and experience things while I’m still part of this world. After all, even when I was closed off, I was still hurting myself. I was the one who chose to isolate myself, just as I was the only one who could make myself open up again.

Recently, I chose to take a chance. I chose to open myself again – open myself to the very real possibility of being hurt. It’s the most vulnerable I’ve been in years. I was terrified to even take that initial step. At first I felt frozen. I wanted to move, but I couldn’t. My feet were rooted to the ground. When I started to move forward, I could feel myself hesitating. In my mind I knew it would be like stepping off a sea cliff and free falling – and what if I hit the ground with a giant splat? What if there was no one to catch me?

That’s the chance I’m taking.

That’s the chance we all take.

But feeling something is infinitely better then being numb. Eventually we all have to take a leap of faith. We will all find that one thing, or things, worth fighting for, worth waiting for, worth opening ourselves up to. The possibilities life has to offer us are infinite – if only we are willing to notice them and take hold of them. Eventually we’ll all find something worth the risk.

I have.

To open ourselves to a state of vulnerability is truly terrifying. At the same time it’s also truly wonderful.

I’m well aware of the risk involved, but, to me, it’s worth it.

A Birthday Message

Let’s show Jon Foreman, lead singer of Switchfoot, some love, as he turns 39 today!

SwitchfootHappy Birthday Jon! You are a lyrical genius. You always give it 110% (most times much more) and leave everything you have on stage. You take the time to preform after shows and share your music with the world. What your music has done for me is something I may never be able to put into words (but thank you nonetheless). The way express yourself onstage and feel the music makes me believe in the songs more then I already do. Your energy is contagious, as is your kindness. You have one of biggest hearts of anyone I’ve ever met. Thank you for everything you do, all the sacrifices, all the travel, all the tours. Thank you for making beautiful music and sharing it with all of us. We appreciate it and we appreciate you. I hope you have a great day. I wish you all the best, always.

Being a Concert Photographer

There’s a certain energy that takes over the atmosphere of a venue during a live show. It’s different in each place and with each performance, but it still exists. The crowd feeds off the energy of the band and vice verses.

When I listen to music, it absorbs me. The notes carry me away as the melody wraps around me. And live shows, well, I love the feeling of the bass as it vibrates through the speakers and snakes along the floor. It’s an interesting and wonderful sensation to have the beat of the drums and bass weave their way through my body until it feels as though the music matches my own heartbeat.

As I stand there, now part of the melody, the performers take my breath away. Most of the bands I’ve had the opportunity to see live have produced an energy like no other. I can tell simply by watching that they can feel the music and believe in the words they are singing. And that makes me believe in the songs that much more too.

On the nights when I’m working a show, the whole atmosphere takes me over. (And I use the word “work” lightly, since I love what I do and it never feels like work.) I’m in front of the barricade bar, wedged between the bar and the stage, an entire group of people behind me while the band is inches from my face. I raise my camera, the lens now acting as my eyes, and capture the moments. I capture the songs, the notes and the emotion in a single frame.

Even when I’m standing stage-side, my adrenaline is still pumping. I’m standing in the mist of security, band members, tour managers (although I can rarely pick them out), maybe one or two other photographers, sound equipment and instruments. It’s a different view from standing in the crowd, a view I would never give up.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way because I love my job.

If you would like to take a look at some of my photos you may do so by visiting my website.

24 Hours in The Wonderlands

Sunlight.

Shadows.

Darkness.

Dawn.

It’s a beautiful place – The Wonderlands.

These songs represent each hour in the day – 24 hours in total.

And on Oct. 24th Jon Foreman will bring The Wonderlands to life. He will be playing a record breaking 25 concerts in 24 hours. Each concert will take place at a secret location and consist of three songs. Once song will correlate with that hour of the day while the other two will be a mix of old and new recordings.

I would love to join Jon in the chaos of these 24 hours, and to lend my support, but East Coast to West Coast is a long way. I would love to grab my camera and document these 24 hours and all the moments in-between. But it’s just not possible at the moment. (Sorry, Jon. My camera and I will have to meet up with you some other time.)

The greatest part of this epic experience is that all the proceeds will benefit the Bro-Am Foundation in San Diego, CA. This is a great foundation that raises money for San Diego youths and gives back to the community. To find out more check out the Bro-Am Foundation website by going here.

If you’re like me and there’s just no way of making it, there are other ways to show your support. One way is to take the 25 in 24 challenge. You can also buy a commemorative t-shirt or poster. Again, all proceeds will support the Bro-Am Foundation. To find out more about any or all of these options, visit Jon’s website for details.

Even though I won’t be there, I’m anxiously awaiting the chaos of 25 in 24.

Best of luck Jon!