Each year, Consequence of Sound hits up more festivals, more concerts, and more events. Almost every other night, our trusty photographers scatter across the globe to capture moments you can experience from the comfort of your own home. It’s an unenviable task that’s sometimes dangerous, almost always tedious, and the death of your mind, body, and soul. Ever haul four bags of groceries and think, Almost there, almost there, almost there? Try doing that for a whole weekend, surrounded by ultra hyper festivalgoers, and underneath a barrage of rain. The word “hell” comes to mind.
Because we reap so many benefits from their hellish endeavors, we feel it’s our duty to return the favor and pay homage to all their best work. Over the next few pages, you’ll find a couple of things. For one, 175 photos from over a dozen of our greatest photographers. What’s more, we’ve also gone ahead and named our Photographer of the Year, a first for our Annual Report and something we’ll continue for years ahead. So, throw on a pair of headphones and revisit 2013 in the most stylish way we can offer. If you’re a fan, hit up their provided social networks and follow their ensuing adventures.
On a related note, we’d like to take this opportunity to remember Andrew Youssef. On Monday night, the renowned Los Angeles photographer lost his fight with colon cancer at the age of 38. Although Consequence of Sound never had the opportunity to work with Youssef, we’ve long been fans of his portfolio and were deeply saddened by the news. Please revisit his epic work and, if possible, donate to a PayPal account he set up for his family prior to his death.
Photographer of the Year: Ben Kaye
He’s already the coolest teacher in the New York area, and now he’s this year’s top photographer. By day, Ben Kaye teaches English as a Second Language to 16-60 year olds at the ELS Language Center on Adelphia University’s Manhattan campus. By night, he’s Assistant News Editor for Consequence of Sound. During the short free time he does have, however, he finds himself at nightclubs, or arenas, or festivals, snapping shots for his own written coverage. He’s like Peter Parker, only with less spandex.
Reliable, dedicated, and resilient, Ben makes this stuff look easy, capturing each moment with the emotionality and depth we typically find in person. Performers look natural yet the surroundings feel vivid and that’s exactly what I look for when it comes to pairing visuals with editorial. While choosing his best photos, I found myself amused and also frustrated, knowing damn well I’d be leaving some goodies behind. I can’t wait to see where he goes in 2014 and what he turns up.
His favorite moment of 2013: “As challenging as Bonnaroo is to shoot (or attend, really), it’s also the coolest place on earth and always rewarding. This year I fist-bumped Officer Dangle at “Weird Al”; danced with McLovin during Jim James when the guards neglected to kick me out after the usual “first three songs” and I got to watch the entire set from the photo pit; and, perhaps most memorably, handed Action Bronson a joint. Some fan tossed the J on stage, but it got trapped under a speaker right in front of me. Bronson was fishing around for it, so I just reached up, pulled it out, and handed it to him. He sparked it up, and I snapped this picture. Afterwards, he mugged straight at me at the “pose for the cameras” line during “Steve Wynn”, but this shot is way more Bronsino.”
“Weird Al” Yankovic
His favorite moment of 2013: “It’s so hard to pick a ‘favorite’ moment from the year- each show is so different. It would be an easier task to pick one moment PER show. In today’s video dominated/24fps world, I love being able to stop time and freeze one special instant that captures a performer, a concert, and an evening. Sharing those ‘perfect’ moments is what it’s all about.”
The Postal Service
His favorite moment of 2013: “Even though I’ve shot photos at the Metro a few times before, taking the pit for James Blake was a bit more a challenging than past shows. Capturing Blake’s airy dubstep aura all depended in finding the right setting on my camera. As soon as the band stepped on to the stage, they immediately found their groove and played an intimate and stunning performance coated in thumping bass lines and lush orchestration.”
Her favorite moment of 2013: “I remember the day I shot Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field as one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life. Apart from the stress of the sweltering heat, wall-to-wall people, and fatigue, I will also never forget the excitement of hearing the sold out stadium’s roaring reaction to when Pearl Jam finally took the stage. It was like a dream come true: standing in one of my favorite childhood places, working my dream job, shooting one of the most successful bands in the world. As one of my first concerts I’ve ever shot, it was quite a way to set the bar for my career.”
Her favorite moment of 2013: “One of my favorite pit moments this year is from MIA’s performance at Pitchfork. She was all over the place — grinding on speakers, jumping into the audience, climbing the stage — it was mayhem. I like an over-the-top performance because it’s challenging to try to document and incapsulate all the craziness in a single image. And if you’re able to get that perfect shot it can sometimes be more satisfying than the actual performance.”
The Dismemberment Plan
The Rolling Stones
Her favorite moment of 2013: “There’s something surreal about seeing some of your favorite musicians live on stage and for me this was most apparent when I was shooting MGMT at Firefly Music Festival earlier on this year. It was like time stood still and the amazing visuals that they used have made it an incredible memory. As a South African concert photographer, it’s not often that I get to see some of my favorite alternative acts, unless I’m traveling, so that memory is burnt deep and I’ll never forget it.”
Debi Del Grande
Her favorite moment of 2013: “I’ve been very fortunate to photograph my favorite musicians, including The Cure, Radiohead and Björk. One band that I hadn’t photographed was Depeche Mode. DM was my very first concert (Rose Bowl 1988) and the last time they played in Santa Barbara, I was behind the rail with my point and shoot. This year, I was in the photo pit about to take photos and this enormous surge of excitement grew in my chest as they were about to go on. I had many friends at the rail I spoke with and we were all giddy. I just remember singing as I shot and Dave twirled.”
Queens of the Stone Age
Dale W. Eisinger
Adam Yauch Park
His favorite moment of 2013: “For the first time in years I managed to survive a Glastonbury weekend without being soaked through thanks to the British ‘summer’ rain. But I was hit in the face with a snowball and a tomato. It’s those moments that make Glastonbury a (painful) pleasure to shoot each year.”
Her favorite moment of 2013: “Savages are pure joy to shoot, and I was lucky enough to end up at the edge of their stage with a camera a few months ago. While I’d been impressed with their debut, my suspicion that I hadn’t really understood the band yet was confirmed when they packed Chicago’s Metro. The band’s songs are solid but they’re really just vehicles for presence, scripts for Jehnny Beth to work a defenseless crowd. She’s all charisma and fierce quick gestures, but her bandmates carry a huge, quiet presence beside her. Bassist Ayse Hassan was particularly wonderful to photograph as she loomed right above me at the left side of the stage, totally absorbed in her playing.”
His favorite moment of 2013: “Wavves — both Nathan Williams and Stephen Pope — were dealing with pre-tour sickness the day I interviewed them. But they soldiered through breakfast, a few rounds of FIFA, and a photo shoot that included impromptu basketball and this American flag mural, which framed their tired, stoner glory.”
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Matt and Kim
Nine Inch Nails
Her favorite moment of 2013: “I’ve been following Bon Iver for years, so photographing Justin Vernon’s Volcano Choir was a welcomed opportunity. I was quickly immersed in the Metro’s atmosphere with the haunting lighting and textural backdrop. Vernon was a prime subject to photograph while addressing the audience from his mossy podium.”
His favorite moment of 2013: “Bonnaroo is always a blast to shoot. Fans want the music to be good, while photographers just want the artists to move. Father John Misty jumped, swooned, pleaded, collapsed, twirled and flopped. It was beautiful.”