The first time I saw Public, I was in my fall semester of sophomore year at Elon. Now, a college graduate, so much has happened between then and the most recent gig I've caught them at. I've fallen in and out of love, traveled to the other side of the world, and of course, graduated with my lifelong friends. And somewhere along the way, I got my hands on a camera
I count my first time out shooting as Hopscotch 2016, not even a year ago. But I recently realized that the first time I shot a gig was actually a Public show -- a little college set in rural Virginia.
After owning a camera for roughly a month, I decided to take myself, my friends, and my kit lens (18-135 f/3.5-5.6) (also--bars) to Ferrum College to see and shoot the show.
I was very timid about the whole thing. I tried to shoot exclusively from the back of the area, as no one was really standing terribly close to the stage. I didn't own my work, or the fact that I was working. Below are some shots from that night (January 2016).
Cut to August 3, 2017. A multitude of concerts, productions, events, and portraits under my belt and another Public show.
I drag myself, my friends, and a slightly better lens (17-55, f/2.8) to Rockwood Music Hall for Public's first headlining New York show on their first headlining tour. The fun thing about growth is watching others grow beside you.
Seeing Public release another EP, gain a dope fanbase and just give it their all as artists just a year or two older than me is truly restorative. I wanted to create the images to match the energy and love they put into their work.
Almost two years since I first picked up the camera. I continue to grow and change with every passing day and frame. I'm not totally sure where I'll be in another two years, or even in two months. Working in a creative field is one-way ticket to uncertainty, but having an outlet that allows me grab snapshots of my life and the lives of others is a treat. And being able to somehow follow along with others on their journeys is a gift in itself.
I talk about growth happening in public to also acknowledge that without working hard and sharing my work and re-editing and so on and so forth I wouldn't be in the spot I am right now. It's so important to just make as much stuff as possible. Not at all of it will be good. Most of it will be kind of okay. But then you have your gems that rise to the top and keep your finder burning. Make a lot of stuff. Make a lot of shit. Then make more shit. Eventually, you'll have some not-shit. But you can't get to that point without constantly sharing and growing.
Of course, a special thanks to Public for indulging all of my various journalistic and creative endeavors and supporting my silly, unapologetic behavior. Y'all keep my heart beating.
Originally published on Introspxct
Yesterday, Alex Garskarth, lead singer of All Time Low, posted a photo including all the support acts and crew to mark the end of the Young Renegades Tour.
In the caption of the photo, he lamented that they "need more ladies around !!!" and the backlash came quick. The wording of the tweet seemed as if it were almost preemptive damage control. However, acknowledging the problem in hindsight at the completion of tour doesn't do much good.
Therein lies the issue: The Boys' Club. When those in the industry, specifically in the plethora of successful male rock bands that litter arena shows and festival line ups only pick from their circles, they're picking people that are like them. When you're consistently aligning with people who have similar backgrounds, upbringings and social circles, more often than not, they physically resemble them as well. Note that in the photo, every single one of the men is white passing as well.
When Alex reacted to naysayers by asserting that they "tour with women all the time," it was clear that the diversity issue wasn't a matter of having the incredible number of female fans that follow ATL see representation on the stage or giving women in the music industry who are so often looked down on an opportunity. It was about checking boxes.
And when it comes to gender diversity, it goes beyond having a single female-fronted band sharing the bill. There are whole Facebook groups full of aspiring non-male sound techs, roadies, tour managers, and photographers just waiting for their big shot.
All of this leads to a broader issue in music. Many women trying to make it in the music industry simply aren't taken seriously. They're considered "fan girls" or "groupies" (both terms that are misogynistic and target the demographic of young women as a whole) who just want a way into the band's inner circle. The sooner that women are seen as potential colleagues, employees, coworkers rather than people that want to sleep with the band, the sooner that some of the rungs on the upward ladder to success can be repaired.
More often than not, though, we still need a hand to reach down and pull us up (I say "we" and "us" as a woman who sees myself in this situation as well). This hand comes in the form of established bands who have the platform to allow us to grow. And while there are bands like Diet Cig who have taken active stances on diversifying their touring cohorts, they are in the minority.
Proper allyship means using privilege to help others who may not have the same experiences and connections. Alex, women in the industry can absolutely put this on you. The onus is on you to make the change, rather than lazily caption a photo on Twitter. Proactive behavior by those in power are the only way to change up this Boys' Club of a scene.