A few years back I created what would become a classic Red Rocks concert photo. I am happy to share that the photograph was selected to be included in the the new coffee table book Red Rocks, the Concert Years, put out by G. Brown and Colorado Music Hall of Fame. He will be spinning stories and signing the book tonight, 7 p.m. at The Tattered Cover on Colfax. I hope to see you there!
Here is the story of how this photo came to be.
Australian supergroup The John Butler Trio was in town. A perennial Red Rocks favorite, they played an intimate show the night before at the Fox Theater in Boulder which I photographed. The next day I was feeling a cold coming on, you know that feeling? When things start getting scratchy, energy flags.. I was looking forward to a cozy night at home resting. Then the phone rang. It was the lighting guy from Red Rocks who also does the Fox lighting. John Butler’s management had just had the “UH OH!” moment realizing a fantastic Red Rocks show was going to happen and they had no one lined up for some amazing Denver concert photography. So I got the call.
Not too keyed up honestly, to haul out to Red Rocks not feeling well, I had terms. Payment! Check. Four VIP passes for some friends (darn sure wasn’t going to drive myself lol!). Check. ALL ACCESS, all night. Check. Ok, we’re on!
The last one, ALL ACCESS, was really key. Normal protocol for a photo pass, is first three songs, no flash and maybe you get to hang for the show. This protocol is fading more all the time as artists’ “handlers” get more and more uptight about images. Kind of crazy with all the cell phones you see, taking crappy quality photos that end up all over the place.
I arrived at Red Rocks, and how nice to be treated with such respect as an artist! I was allowed to crawl all over that place, including the stage. I never bothered going in front where all the other shooters were for their restricted time and access. As a result, I got some of the best concert photographs I’ve taken, ever. And the band and management concurred. This particular shot was literally at the very end of his last song, taken from stage right. A moment that needs no explanation. Perfection. John Butler himself regards it as one of his very favorites. Stay tuned for more from this show and other concert faves from over the years.
On April 11, 2008 a dream concert shoot finally happened: I photographed B.B. King, the king of the blues! Over the years I have been blessed to photograph so many of my favorite bands and become known for my Denver concert photography. But not all of the performers bear the mantle of honest to goodness legendary status. I had always hoped for the opportunity to document in my own style, this amazing patriarch of the blues.
Hope isn’t always enough to make your dreams come true. So when I heard the king was coming, I had to make something happen. He wasn’t getting any younger! I had by now made some connections in the industry so I reached out and one thing led to another which led to getting B.B’s manager’s phone number. Somewhat to my surprise, permission was granted and just myself and one other photographer were in the photo “pit” on that night at the Buell Theater.
This was a pivotal night for me for another reason. It was my first time shooting something that truly mattered with a digital camera. I was a die-hard film fan. I still love it and miss it being the mainstream medium of the day. But that night, I was advised our time shooting King may be quite short as old school bluesmen usually let their band warm up the crowd for a tune or two. Not knowing what kind of light we were going to have or how much time, I decided to pull out my new digital camera as with that, I could change my ISO setting in nearly an instant. I was very pleased with the results and during the course of just one song I made several shots that rank among my favorites. This shot here is one of them, capturing that great joy B.B. King always exhibits when he gets to play the blues for a live audience. The detail, colors and latitude of digital capture had finally come around to my exacting standards.
Fashion photos for print work is definitely up there as far as what a lot of photographers aspire to do with their careers. This kind of work can afford travel to beautiful locations and the opportunity to work with models who can definitely make your work easier. Depending on their level of expertise and their ability to know themselves and how to “work it” for the cameras, working with a professional model can make for a very smooth session.
I did this shoot a few autumns back, in Hollywood and Malibu for a designer I met in Denver who was in town for the big Western English Sales Expo that coincides with our famous National Western Stock Show.
She invited me to L.A. for the session. The first half of the shoot we did at her Hollywood Hills home. It was (of course) a lovely and unique place to do photography. I was really lit up with excitement and creativity that was contagious and the shoot went great! The designer, Marrika Nakk, was thrilled – so much so, she requested I take the models to the beach (oh, I suppose..) and make it happen without her. She was in extreme pain having recently broken her arm. She flipped with joy when she saw the results. Several of the shots are represented in this ad she ran with my images. We now enjoy a great friendship and I look forward to returning to California for more work soon!
Wouldn’t it be great if life gave us many more “aha!” moments? Those moments of “this is the right thing to do,” be it choosing the right home, car, date, life partner or career? Career – that’s a biggie. I was blessed with such a moment when I decided to choose photography (at least for a year) while also considering a career in law.
I went to college and got my degree in marketing. That qualifies you for a sales job, of which I had several. Coming to terms with the fact that jobs aren’t all that great, I was in search of my career.
Well, why not go back to school? Law intrigued me. So I took the Kaplan Course, passed the LSAT, got accepted into the school of my choice, took a breath, and then was confronted with my creative side and outside observers who said “Why not be a photographer? You have way more than a passing interest and talent.” Hmm… I guess if others were making a living doing that, so could I!
So why not do it? I’d try this out and have law school to fall back on. Well, that was the “aha” moment. I immediately began answering the “What do you do?” question with “I am a photographer.” Wham…I started getting inquires left and right for jobs. I hadn’t even begun my photo training with my guru Heinz Richter.
I knew enough to get in trouble, but also to seek coaching from the master. Often! But I definitely possessed the eye and the gift for this craft.
This image stands to this day as an “aha” moment/image. My first paid portrait session, and an image that to this day remains one of my favorites (and many other folks’ as well). It was even requested and sold at an event at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. I still have it on my wall to serve as something of a talisman. I hope one day to track this young man down (now no doubt in his twenties) and recreate this timeless shot!
Memorial Day is always a special one for me. In fact I consider it the most precious of the “secular” government declared holidays. It is for me as spiritual and soul-moving as Christmas and Easter (sans Santa and the Bunny).
Yesterday I was able, through the gift of my travels and cameras, to have a solemn remembrance and reflection at Omaha Beach and some of the other Normandy beaches. Particularly moving is the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.
On June 8, 1944, two days after the landing, the U.S. 1st Army established the temporary cemetery, the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. After the war, the present-day cemetery was established a short distance to the east of the original site.
Like all other overseas American cemeteries in France for World War I and II, France has granted the United States a special, perpetual concession to the land occupied by the cemetery, free of any charge or any tax. This cemetery is managed by the American government, under Congressional acts that provide yearly financial support for maintaining them. The U.S. flag flies over these granted soils.
From this view, I am at a loss for words at the thought of human carnage and death that colored this sand and water red seventy-two years ago. As the clouds parted on an impossibly heavy overcast day, and this rainbow shone, I am reminded that good does conquer evil in the end.
Thank you to everyone and their families who sacrificed on these beaches to bring peace to Europe and the world. Thanks to all who sacrificed through the ages and continue to do so to this very day, to keep our nation and way of life free and alive!
There are days and then there are dog days. This beautiful Standard Poodle and I have been friends for over ten years. He is also a client. Romeo was the first “child” of some friends of mine. The lone recipient of his parents’ attention and affection for many years, Romeo inevitably faced what many dogs do in life – the arrival of a child. When the first born came into the world it was time for another photo session. Alas, Romeo would be relegated to a somewhat smaller role in the session even though he towered over the newborn.
I spread a black sheet on the floor of my clients’ bedroom to create a simple contrasting background for B&W images of the precious newborn. While she was being changed, the unexpected moment presented itself. Looking around as I am prone to do as a visual artist (and I was prone myself) I noticed my friend Romeo peacefully if not somewhat sadly taking in all the action from my level close by. In an instant, I created one of my favorite and most lasting images of the beloved canine (Canis lupus familiaris to be exact). You can see into his soul and sense I feel, a bit of longing and sadness in his eyes. He would no longer be the one and only, however, out of all the photos I have done for the family (now 2 young girls strong), this photo of Romeo is the largest in the house and enjoys a very prominent spot.
What a blessing to be able to live a life where you never really “work”, using your gifts to bring joy and good to others and all the while sustain your own living. The Bible says “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them” (Romans 12:6).
This passed weekend was a joyful recurrence of one of the most amazing events I have ever been witness to. The Colorado Youth at Risk launch course. This is the “kick off” if you will, to a new year and new community for this wonderful organization. Colorado Youth at Risk empowers teenage students to make life choices that positively impact their future through community-based mentoring and intensive training. Colorado Youth at Risk (CYAR) aims to reduce the number of high school dropouts, match students with an adult mentor and provide students with a sense of the future and their place in that future.
What “lights you up”? For me it is photography. And working with these young people. I have been blessed to parlay my passion and gift for photography into a means to make a living. I photograph, as my brother once said to me, “All that is good in life. Weddings, children, events, live music, food, parties…” He went on to say, “what you create, people put on their walls. No one hangs their tax returns on the wall”. That conversation, opened my eyes even wider.
I am also passionate about our young people. Particularly the young people CYAR serves. I have worn many hats with this organization – mentor, group leader.. Last weekend provided me the opportunity to use my God given gifts to witness – and with my camera – bring permanence to that witness, for all involved or who may want to be involved. To visually share what transpires and more importantly, what transforms, all who are present during this weekend and subsequent year(s). Please enjoy a few moments from this special time and look into how you can contribute to this incredible organization.
The “trust fall” or “freedom fall”.
Look at the all the things that the young people said they are up against.
It’s becoming more and more common for couples to meet through dating sites such as match.com or OkCupid. In 2014, nearly one in four Americans met their spouse online. But with all of this competition, how do you set yourself apart from all of the selfies and bathroom mirror shots? You have a professional photographer take a headshot that will make any potential mate look twice at your profile.
There are many reasons to have Garrett Hacking of Photography G take your headshots. One of which is his knack for capturing your personality along with your good side, but here are three more reasons you need a new profile photo now:
1. Set Yourself Apart
When it comes to online dating, it’s all about the first impression… of your picture. Many men and women won’t start a conversation with someone who doesn’t have a photo of themselves on their profile, but if you have a bad photograph your message is being filtered straight into the trash.
2. Show Off Who You Are
A professional photo shoot doesn’t land you with just one photo. You can showcase who you are, and what your hobbies are all while looking your best. Denver, and Colorado in general, is a great backdrop and if you’re like most Coloradans, you probably love the outdoors. Photography G offers multiple options for professional headshots including on-site and studio shoots.
A majority of profiles are filled with group shots from a bar or birthday party. Don’t be that guy or girl. Be original and meet the one you’ve been looking for. Who knows? You might be hiring Garrett for your wedding photography in a year or two.
3. Get The Conversation Started
A great profile picture on a dating site is the best way to get a conversation going. Once you have a good connection with someone, your photos pale in comparison to your spark, but you still need a great headshot to get you in the door.
If you’re looking for a photographer in Denver, call Photography G today at (303) 444-6994 to schedule your photo shoot. Garrett Hacking does all genres of photography in Denver, Colorado and nationwide.
An artful sunset in Paris: the city of lights. Nothing tops what the big light in the sky can do. The “golden hour” occurs in the waning hour or so of evening as well as early in the morning. Since I am late in posting this today, I elected for a favorite sunset shot. And nothing beats the glorious Eiffel Tower and the Seine’s magical bridges and historic lamps and lanterns.
You will notice in a lot of my work I shoot silhouette. I like the shapes and outlines I can see in my mind’s eye. In reality, all of the foreground is completely visible. Through”stopping down” your exposure, you eliminate shadow details and help some details in the highlights shine (nice pun) through. Another valuable note.. even though I was exhausted from the travel, I got my butt out the door the afternoon I landed for what would be the first and last sunset on an otherwise mostly cloudy and rainy trip. Seize the moment, it may never come again!
An emotional wedding moment with the father of the bride is like few others on a wedding day. Sure, there can be many special moments at a wedding — the first look, first kiss, first dance. The list goes on. It is, after all, one of the most amazing days and milestones we can experience.
After nearly twenty years in the business of wedding photography, the moments that I see move people the most involve the father of the bride. There is a special bond between a father and daughter that transcends most other relationships. I hear about it time and again. I’m not a father myself, but I believe it because I have seen it. I’ve photographed it!
One of those father-daughter moments is when he walks her down the aisle and “gives her away” to to her soon-to-be husband.
This is one of my all-time most popular photos. Over twenty years, you internalize your craft and the mechanics of photography. It becomes like a second language that you speak without thinking. You pray to the gods of creativity and aliveness that you remain awake, alert and in command of your senses, so that when the moments arrive you are ready.
Everything came together for this timeless moment: Composition, depth of field, a veiled bride whose beauty does not distract and the most important – Dad! That face is so precious and perfect. A split-second in time, and I was ready.
I can’t tell you how many times prospective clients have come to my studio and upon seeing this image, the tears begin to flow. There is no better compliment to my work than to see people emotionally moved by an image of someone they don’t even know. Let me know how it affects you and share this photo to see how it touches others.