So this one time, my friend Zach and I were onstage shooting photos at a Helmet show. It was the dead of summer and to compound the stifling heat, the club was sardine’d to the seams. Kinda like one of those “it was so hot, the walls were sweating” situations. The club owners decided it’d be a brilliant idea to bring in some industrial fans and point them towards the stage at the band. That way, Helmet could continue being TOTALLY AWESOME!! without fear of dehydration / heat stroke / exhaustion / death.
Of course, Helmet + Heat + Angry Hyperactive White People isn’t exactly the formula for a Tibetan peace rally. It wasn’t long before a couple skins and a couple jocks traded blows in the pit and then some vegan edge kid popped off a fresh dose of pepper spray into the air. Which usually would disseminate into the atmosphere, but on this particular occasion, there were 6 INDUSTRIAL FANS BLOWING ALL THE FREE AIR TOWARDS THE STAGE. Remember? And Zach and I, and the aforementioned Helmet, were the only ones on stage. Remember?
The music stops. Helmet goes down. Zach starts choking. It felt like the weathered fingertips of Lady Death had slithered into my lungs, pinching the life out of each and every airsac… errr.. Or something like that.
After a half hour, Helmet pulled themselves together and Zach was right back on his game. SNAP SNAP. Annnyways.. The point being that even after downing a pepper spray cocktail, my man Zach pulled off some of the best images from the night. It didn’t matter that he could barely see out of his mucus-encrusted redeye, or that he couldn’t feel his face. That’s just what good the best photographers do.
Steven Vogel just published a really great read on Zach and the stories behind a few of his favorite photographs. Check it out on Black Lodges.