40,000 Photos, 2000 Bands, and 10,000 Screaming Kids
John Neidhardt and BandGallery.com
Impressive numbers, huh? That’s just a little bit of John Neidhardt’s work. Neidhardt is the founder of the amazing resource BandGallery.com, a site where amateur music photographers can post their work to get noticed by places like IndependentClauses.com, as well as by other photographers. In addition to that, Neidhardt is also editor of theHvScene.com, a huge local music site. I had a chance to snag a couple minutes of his time to answer some questions, and this is how it went.
Independent Clauses:What got you into band photography in the first place?
John Neidhardt:I’ve always viewed bands and musicians as a powerful source of photography. I first became interested in photography when I was introduced to The Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie NY. I went to my first show and was amazed by the lighting and the sound of the bands. I saw a photographer on stage taking photos and within a few weeks I found those photos online. To me, this was amazing. I received my first camera through my father. With this camera, my father and I have shot easily 2,000 bands ranging from local to national. These photos were taken for The Chance Theater, kind of as an internship, and used for my local “scene” website: TheHvScene.com.
IC:What prompted you to start BandGallery.com?
JN:With a collection of over 40,000 photos, I couldn’t let them go to waste. I wanted to create a personal website for my own photography and within a few weeks of thinking, I decided to turn the idea into something that photographers just like my self should be able to utilize and take advantage of to show off their own work and let it not go to waste.
IC: What is the basic idea behind BandGallery.com?
JN: Basically, BandGallery was developed to allow photographers to create and organize an online portfolio containing an unlimited amount of their work. Since photographers aren’t the only ones who enjoy photography, users can also register for their own personal web site and share 30 of their own photos and create their own personal profile.
I figured there are thousands of concerts going on every night world wide with at least one photographer. There should be some way for each of those photographers’ photos to be seen by the world.
IC: How has response to the site been?
JN: Surprisingly, the response has been overwhelming! We have over 4,500 photos already uploaded and nearly 300 users in our community. Technically speaking, everyone loves how the site works and how they can interact with it. I designed the website on my own with programming features from PHPBB. With a response from Independent Clauses which is absolutely fantastic!
IC: Do you have any “ultimate plan” for the growth of BandGallery.com?
JN: Well, like any other website today, of course I can wish that my site grows into something as large as MySpace.com. But ultimately that is not my goal at all. I want the site to grow as a community and let it involve those interested in what the site was actually created for. I do plan on doing some heavy advertising campaigns to promote the website such as radio ads and banner ads online. Hopefully some record labels would like to work side to side with me to promote their bands photos.
IC: What advice would you give to those who want to start band photography?
JN: Pick up a camera…big, small, expensive, or even cheap and just start shooting every thing you see in a low light situation. Try to be in contact with as many bands as you can to see if they would like you to help them out. Do everything free for a while to help you learn. The bands will be your number one source to getting into a show and taking your shots. Eventually other bands will notice this and a chain reaction will occur, you’re on your own from here!!
IC: Is having great equipment a necessity to start doing band photography?
JN: Not at all, as I said: Pick up any camera and learn the aspects of the field. Once you think you’re serious enough and would like to move on, buy the next level of camera.
IC: What is/was your favorite band to photograph?
JN: This is a very hard question. I’ve shot thousands of bands. My favorite time photographing bands would be on the Warped Tour 2005. I shot bands such as My Chemical Romance, Atreyu, Acceptance, Mae, and The Offspring. It was just awesome. I even met some of them. Being in front of 10,000 screaming kids shooting some of my favorite bands was one of my most enjoyable moments. But I would say The Offspring was my favorite.
IC: Describe your favorite band image you’ve taken and the story/show behind it.
JN: My favorite band image would be of a local band called I Am The Pilot, check them out at myspace.com/iamthepilot. It was at Club Crannell and the singer, Chad, dove into the crowd and the crowd was singing along with him. There was so much action and excitement, I loved it. Although the photo itself isn’t amazing, the meaning behind it is.
IC: What have you been listening to lately?
JN: Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Mae, It Dies Today, Just Surrender, Armor For Sleep, Haste The Day, and Bury Your Dead.
IC: Anything else you’d like to say while you’re on the record?
JN: Thank you so much for the interview! Check out BandGallery.com if you are interested in photography what so ever or if you listen to any types of music. With 4,500 photos already uploaded you can expect a lot more in the future. Look for your favorite musicians and show your friends. Help this community grow. Thanks Stephen.
-Interview conducted by Stephen Carradini in January.