2016 in 16 Photos

December 31, 2016

Collective opinions seem to all share a common theme, that 2016 was overall not the best year. Personally, I had my share of struggles in 2016, but as the year comes to an end, I am also fortunate to say that this was one of the best years of my life so far. I had so many amazing experiences that I wouldn't trade for the world, and I got to a point where I was truly happy with my photography, for the most part. To reflect, I wanted to share my 16 favourite photos of 2016. These are not really in a particular order, except for maybe the final 5. Hope you enjoy!

 

16. Ryan Key of Yellowcard 

Vans Warped Tour 2016, Seattle

 

 

Yellowcard will always have a place in my heart, and it was bittersweet knowing that this would be the last time I would ever see them live. Their music helped me through high school, and I will be forever in debt to them for that, along with a ton of other bands. I don't think pop punk will be the same without these guys, and they leave behind a huge hole in the scene. I'm grateful that I was able to see them live three times, and photograph them once. I really like this shot because of how well it works in black and white. Warped Tour is a challenge to shoot, given that you're shooting in the brightest conditions you'll ever shoot in for a concert. I love his facial expression, the completely white sky, and the fact that you can see other photographers in this shot, for some reason.

 

15. Arkells

X-Fest 2016, Calgary

 

 

I've been fortunate enough to work for the Arkells, one of the best Canadian bands out there right now, five times. I tagged along with them this year in January for their two sold out Flames Central shows, their secret show at Commonwealth Bar, and lastly, at X-Fest. I have not gotten tired of photographing these guys, and I really love being able to take candids and behind the scenes shots. This photo was taken right before they hit the stage at X-Fest, and it's one of my absolute favourites.

 

14. Paul Stanley of Kiss

Stampede Roundup 2016, Calgary

 

 

Photographing Kiss this year was one of the highlights of my photography ventures so far. This is one of three of my favourite shots. This show was a challenge to shoot given that the stage was extremely elevated, however, one of the best shows I've ever shot. I love the colours in this photo as well as the composition. 

 

13. Scott Helman

2016 Juno Awards Reception, Calgary

 

 

Scott Helman is one of the cutest human beings alive, and his genuine kindness and humility along with his talent is one of the reasons that I have no doubt he will have a successful career. I love this photo because it was hard to be on any of the Juno's red carpets and actually get the artists' attention, but he's looking right into my lens with that adorable, million dollar smile. 

 

12. Burton Cummings 

2016 Juno Awards, Calgary

 

 

This photo was taken moments after Burton Cummings was officially inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the 2016 Juno Awards. Like the previous photo, I love that he's looking right into the lens. Burton Cummings is one of the most legendary Canadian musicians, so to even be in the same room as him was a pinch me moment. But to get a photo like this was more of a holy shit moment, to be perfectly honest.

 

11. Billy Kottage of Reel Big Fish

Vans Warped Tour 2016, Seattle

 

 

I will be honest and say that ska-punk is not one of my preferred genres of music, but when legends of the genre like Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake play Warped Tour, I always catch them because it's one of the most entertaining experiences of live music. I was so stoked to capture this shot. It's not every day that I get to photograph a trombone player, mid jump. The fact that I pulled this shot off makes me insanely happy.

 

10. Ghost

Popestar World Tour, Calgary

 

 

When I first heard Ghost's music, I didn't like them at all. When I found out they were coming through town in October, I figured it would at least be a spectacle and an amazing show to shoot. However, I walked out of that show as a huge fan. Their theatrics perfectly balance their music and create an original experience that I've never witnessed before. Their anonymity is something that I also find incredibly unique and a really awesome approach in the music scene today. I love this photo because of the white light, and also, because I have no idea who this is a photo of and I can't put a name to the face under the mask.

 

9. Jacob Hoggard of Hedley

Hello World Tour, Calgary

 

 

Hedley were one of my favourite bands when I was growing up, and every time I see them live, I'm reminded of how much their music used to mean to me, but also how Jacob Hoggard is one of the best musicians and entertainers that I've ever seen. This was the first show I ever photographed at the Saddledome as well, so I think it will always hold a special place in my heart. Jacob is a difficult subject to shoot, given that he moves around constantly, but I managed to snag this shot during the third song. I really like the yellow tones, and it was after this show that I really found an editing style that I liked for my photographs as well. Ultimately, my favourite part of this photo is his facial expression, as I feel like it captures his passion and intensity as a performer.

 

8. Alice Cooper

Spend the Evening With Alice Cooper Tour, Calgary

 

 

"I'M NOT WORTHY! I'M NOT WORTHY!" was the only thing going through my mind when I got the opportunity to photograph Alice Cooper this year. This was one of the most exhilarating experiences that I've ever had in a photo pit. I was one of two photographers approved, so there was lots of room and a lot going on, making it the perfect situation to be creative. I love this shot because I can't tell due to the shadows around his eyes if he's looking into my camera or not, but I just really fell in love with this photo and it's the one that sticks out the most for me from this show.

 

7. Matt Webb of Marianas Trench

2016 Tour

 

 

Marianas Trench were another one of my favourite bands growing up, and I got to photograph them on their 2016 tour in early April. I spent a lot of time hovering around stage left, but during their third song, ventured over to stage right, and right before the final chorus of the third song, Matt looked right into my camera and posed for this shot. It's one of my favourites because I know I'm the only person who got this shot, so it feels pretty special.

 

6. Paul Stanley of Kiss

Stampede Roundup 2016

 

 

My second favourite shot of Kiss this year, again with the looking into the lens moment. Kiss are true rockstars, and they know how to play to the audience as well as the media, which is why so many of my shots feature them looking right at me. I don't know how other photographers feel about this, but I personally love when artists do that. It's quite rare as most musicians act unaware of press, but it's a moment of acknowledgement and it's amazing because there's no communication. I wasn't like, "Starman, down here! Look into my camera!" He just noticed me, and did it. I love that his guitar pick is on his tongue in this moment, and I guarantee the person who caught it afterwards has it behind bulletproof glass right now.

 

5. Matty Healy of The 1975

North American Tour 2016, Calgary

 

 

I didn't even think that I would be able to see The 1975 live in 2016, let alone photograph both the Calgary and Edmonton shows. They're one of my top five favourite bands, so I was like a kid on Christmas in the photo pits, and sang along to every single song. One of my least favourite things is how pink this photo is, but I love absolutely everything else about it, and despite it being intensely pink, in a way, it captures their new aesthetic, and I hope I was able to do them justice through my photographs.

 

4. The Weeknd

2016 Juno Awards, Calgary

 

 

I remember when all the photographers were told that The Weeknd wouldn't be stopping in the press room for photographs. It was a slap in the face, and an anticlimactic end to a fantastic weekend (no pun intended). However, something happened, and he was brought back into our little crammed media room for all of two minutes. I took so many photos, but this one was my favourite (and apparently his girlfriend, Bella Hadid's favourite as well as I think this was the photo she tweeted afterwards without giving me credit!) I love the genuine smile on his face, as he's very collected and suave. I think this captures Abel Tesfaye, and not The Weeknd, which I love. 

 

3. Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens

Vans Warped Tour 2016, Seattle

 

 

This photograph was created by me being in the right place at the right time. A bit of luck, and a bit of me actually finally knowing what I'm doing. I'm not a fan of Sleeping With Sirens anymore, but I love this photograph. I've taken a lot of jump shots, but I love how this one isn't the most conventional. I really like the composition and the way the photograph flows.

 

2. Josh Dun of Twenty One Pilots

X-Fest 2016, Calgary

 

 

Twenty One Pilots' live show is a spectacle, but one of the most difficult and sporadic live shows I've ever shot. This was my second time photographing them, and I definitely felt more confident and walked away a lot happier with my photos. This photo was captured right before the second chorus of "Heathens," when Josh does the gun movement with his drumsticks. The light came up at the perfect moment, and I was in the right place and had the right settings to capture this shot, making this one of my favourite photos I've ever taken.

 

1. Gene Simmons of Kiss

Stampede Roundup 2016, Calgary

 

 

This photo takes the cake for my favourite photo of the year, and it's the first photo in my portfolio. I don't really know what it is, but I just love it. It's not the iconic, tongue out pose. But if it's true that a picture is worth a thousand words, I will let you interpret and appreciate it in your own way.

New Year's resolutions, for me personally, are a waste of time. I'm proud of all that I accomplished in 2016 and am grateful for the lifelong memories I have taken away from this year. I hope to keep improving my photography and videography skills, and see what direction this will take me in. Thank you to all my friends that I have met through photography as well as my friends who I've met through other walks of life. Every compliment that has ever been said to me does not go unheard, so thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Wishing you all a safe and happy new year, here's to 2017!

 

 

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