Jarred Gastreich: Meet the Best Music Photographers in St. Louis

Categories: Best Of

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Photo by Jarred Gastreich

What's the strangest thing that has happened to you while photographing live music?

The strangest thing that's happened to me since I started shooting concerts is (ready to get sappy?) that I've made a lot of really great, high-quality friends. The smaller venues (Off Broadway, Firebird, Old Rock House, Plush) are where it's at. That's where you'll see the greatest shows, and that's where you'll meet the greatest people St. Louis has to offer. Simply put, there's a lot of hard-working, creative, talented, friendly and extremely fun people who love to go to shows.

What makes a professional photographer as opposed to an amateur?

The only difference between a professional and an amateur is that a professional has been doing this for a little while longer. We know things like: You shouldn't park on President Street near Off Broadway.

I don't like the classification of professional and amateur. I'd rather everyone who considers herself to be a "photographer" to stand behind her work and be able to "defend" it from criticism. And when I look at the work, I better find it inspiring.

A professional photographer is inspiring.

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Photo by Jarred Gastreich

Pick one of the photos you've submitted and tell us a little about it: Where was it shot, who is featured and (most importantly) how did you capture it? We'd love to hear logistical description or technical breakdowns or whatever else you want to tell us.

This is my favorite of the bunch because it speaks to my style. I prefer wider shots that play with the surroundings. I prefer running around with a prime (non-zoom) lens. I prefer my little rangefinder film camera because it's such a joy to shoot. I love simplicity, a little grain, and a happy candid moment. Charity Rose Thielen from the Head and the Heart looks like she is enjoying the show as much as the audience. And above all, as any photograph should do, it recalls a great personal memory for me. Hours before their nearly-sold-out show at the Pageant, I was honored to spend time with the band on a rooftop across the street for my one-shot music video series Show Me Shows and through some Schlafly Beer they proved to be some of the nicest people in the whole wide world -- as nice as she seems in this photograph.

The camera settings were far from ideal for concert photography. Inside my Leica M6 with a Voigtlander 40mm lens, I had Fuji Superia 400 asa film and I snapped it at 1/30sec shutter speed, with my aperture at f/1.4. It just goes to show that you can achieve a lovely photo from behind the photo pit with what you have.

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Photo by Jarred Gastreich



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