I've been shooting concerts for over three years and sadly it's become rather routine lately. First three songs, no flash then you're out. You do your best to capture something dynamic in that short time but after a while almost every set feels the same, especially if you shoot in the same venue. The only time it gets interesting is if it's a big-time artist or there's something special about the show. Last week, Kanye West's Saint Pablo tour hit both of those marks and I felt genuinely anxious for the first time in a while.
Coming into the show I knew exactly what to expect looking up other photographers' work. On this tour Kanye ditched the traditional stage setup for a floating platform hovering just feet above the GA crowd and I was just hoping our shooting location would make for some decent photos. What I didn't account for was how much smoke/fog he'd be using. Those thick clouds of fog made it nearly impossible for any of the shots to look sharp, which kinda bummed me out. But in retrospect the soft focus only adds to the industrial, Mad Max-esque aesthetic to the show.
The fog was difficult to work with but I also freaked out for a little bit because the first song was played in almost complete darkness. When the shallow spotlights came through he wasn't moving around too much so there wasn't much opportunity to get much variety during the three songs.
It sounds like a lot of complaining but these are just the conditions you have to work through and acknowledge on the fly. Of course it was great and fun to shoot an artist the caliber of Kanye West and these photos are wholly unique to him and this tour. When people who were there see them in the future they'll know exactly when they were taken.