“Thank You for being a part of my story …” MPK, 08.02.2023
Two long days have past as I’ve struggled to find the right words to describe the most amazing photoshoot of my life. I still can’t believe that after many years of no’s or no response at all my dream of photographing one of my favorite musicians has come true. Most people outside of the photography community do not know the difficulties of getting to photograph a concert, especially if you do not belong to a media outlet. Little did I know that a concert I photographed last September would set things into motion, and I would be granted permission to take pictures of Michael Patrick Kelly!
It started as a normal cold dark day working from home, when I received an email. As I sat at my desk my eyes began to tear as I realized it was a response from the concert promoter giving me permission to photograph the concert. I couldn’t hold back, I sprung from my chair jumping for joy, speechless for a moment, then I let out a loud OMG I CAN TAKE PHOTOS OF MPK!!!! I don’t think anything or anyone could have brought me down,… except for my biggest critic ME.
Just as swiftly as the feelings of joy hit me, a cold crushing wave of fear and doubt washed over me and froze me solid. Who am I? I stood silently in fear. I’m not a pro. I don’t have the newest, most expensive camera equipment. I have shot concerts before, mostly just for me, for experience. This time, this time was different there was a promoter with a contract and a deadline. As I stood there I realized two very important things. A concert promoter chose me. I have been given the opportunity to show the world what I can do. The other is something my husband told me before a photo shooting. “You work with what you have, and make the best of it” He was right.
Wednesday the eighth I am so nervous. Im dressed all in black. Ive checked my camera bag at least ten times. Can’t stop shaking. My ride picks me up, traffic. I get to the arena an hour early, and as I arrived my fear turned to excitement. It took all I had to control my self. MICHAEL PATRICK KELLY!!!!!!!!!! Ok, ok time to calm down. I am a Pro. Be Professional. OMG MICHAEL PATRICK KELLY!!!!! Ok last one I promise. While waiting in the press area I started making small talk with security trying to keep myself calm. Before I knew it, it was time. I was picked up by the promoter, and taken down the corridor towards the photo area. I was in awe, so many people all to see one person. Amazing. Show Time. I was happily surprised when the promoter took me and another photographer to the front of the stage and asked if this was ok for us. YEAH! I couldn’t believe it front of stage dead center. It doesn’t get much better than this. 2 minute warning. I changed my lenses, got a base exposure and found a good spot to start from. Lights, Camera, and I’m in action. The concert starts and I start shooting. There’s not time to waste as a photographer at a concert. We were given four songs, no more. I was so captivated by the entire experience I almost forgot I was there to take photos, and dance a little. Four songs, twenty minutes , I live my dream.
As the the fourth song ended I packed my gear, said a silent thank you, and we left the area. I couldn’t believe it, I DID IT! I have to thank every one involved in the show. The band, the stage crew, and lighting people especially you. This was a pro concert. The lighting the placement of band members, and props was so well done it made my job all that easier, and took it from a concert to an experience. MPK is a true entertainer. His stage presence is the best I’ve ever seen. We all know what an amazing vocalist he is, but he is also an excellent performer. He posed, he commanded the stage, and he truly was the captain of the ship, or “B.O.A.T.” As a photographer I couldn’t ask for a better setup. Lighting- check, smoke-check, Models-Check.
Fan Time. I took my bag outside gave it to my ride , and quickly made my way back into the venue. Oh Yeah I have a ticket to the show! One would normally think watching a show alone would be no fun… NAH. I had the time of my life. I also knew I wasn’t alone. My Buddy was with me, miss you Sabrina. You went with me on my very first concert shooting and you were there with me with this one. I made it to where my seat would have been but this is Nürnberg, and it was taken. No surprise there. Doesn’t mater, I stood the entire time. Can’t bring me down, not today. This is my time My day.
I have never seen MPK as a solo act before, and I was really impressed with how professional he was. He handled every situation that arose with calm and ease. Sound issue, no problem, Slight mistake during a song, no problem just keep on going. Its nice to see that even the pros make mistakes, and I learned its how you handle the situation that makes you a pro. I truly felt he loves his fans. He was engaging from the littlest to the oldest, front row to the darkest corner in the back row. It was not just a show, but a piece of him being gifted to us, the fans. This feeling, this warmth, this enveloped the entire area, and even wiped away any residual feelings of fear and doubt I had.
The Fans. As I watched the crowd I realized how diverse they all were. So many different cultures, religions, ethnicities, didn’t matter, they were all one. Those poor poor boyfriends and husbands forced to go see a Kelly, well they had a good time as well. I wonder how my husband would have reacted? I witnessed a man, cold, arms crossed, checking his watch watching the second hand move slowly in circles, and after two and a half hours he was smiling and dancing to “Shake Away”. He even took his phone out and recored a bit. GOTCHA! A new fan is born. Many fans wanted to record and take a piece of the show home with them. I saw a woman in front of me dancing, singing having a great time, and trying to record herself at the same time. I walked up to her and asked if she would like me to record her so she could enjoy the moment. I got a promotion from photographer to videographer, and I loved it.
The Cell Phones. Throughout the concert I noticed there were very few cell phones out. In this day and age of social media and everything being recorded, you would expect to see every phone out. Not tonight. People seemed to just want to enjoy the moment, and not look at life through a screen. Credit goes to MPK and his crew. If it would have been a lesser show, or he would have blown up at every little glitch, the likely hood of every phone being out would have been greater.
The End. Music all through history is the most important part of many cultures, and still is today. I wonder some times how aware artists are, aware of the emotions flowing through the venue moving the hearts of everyone around. Do they see the smiles on peoples faces as the leave this wonderland back to their everyday lives with only the warm memory of what they just experienced to keep them going throughout the day.
MPK said “ Thank You for being a part of my crazy story” to which I answer “No, Thank You for being the soundtrack of my youth, and thank you for giving me this amazing memory and once in a lifetime opportunity to photograph your show. It may have only been four songs, but they were the greatest four songs of my life.”
I would especially like to thank…
The people behind the scenes. MPK crew, band security, and the security and crew at the arena. Julia and ARGO KONCERTE for making this dream a reality. Thank You So Much. Sabrina, I know you were behind this, I hope you enjoyed the show. All the people who supported me lifted me up, told me I could do it. Thank You.
Enjoy the Pictures.