B List: Kevin Fuller’s Best Photos and the Stories Behind Them

A few weeks back photojournalist Kevin Fuller reached out to us about contributing to HT. We’ve long been a fan of his work and jumped at the opportunity. To introduce Kevin and his work to our readers, we asked him to put together a piece about his best photos and the stories behind them.

Trey Anastasio, Phish, Bethel Woods, 5/28/2011

[All Photos by Kevin Fuller]

This show almost didn’t happen for me. It was the Phish Summer Tour 2011 opener at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, so there was already a lot of anxious energy on the way to the show. I had already been confirmed for a photo pass. Upon arrival, I walked up to will call, where Phish’s publicist said the pass would be. I went earlier than I should of but I wanted to take care of it right away. The lady behind the glass had no pass for me and looked at me as if my face was on fire. She had no idea what I was talking about. After a lot of calls and a lot of me standing around — and the show start getting closer and closer — I decided to talk to someone else.

I went to the other window and the guy told me to walk into the building. Low and behold upon entering a lady says, “Are you Kevin Fuller?” “Yes!” “I’ve been waiting for you for an hour.” “I’ve been waiting outside these doors for an hour.” This happened with about five minutes to go until Phish took the stage, but thankfully everything turned out alright and I was able to snap the photo you see above.

B.B. King, CMAC, 8/26/2011

I’ll always be a bluesman at heart. Growing up, my father was always playing old blues LPs, so anytime I shoot blues artists, it means a lot to me. I had some history with B.B. King that stemmed from a meeting on his tour bus a few years back. Shooting B.B. King at my home venue was deeper than the roots my father laid. The King walked out as I waited in the pit. Slowly, he reached for something out of his pocket. About 20 feet back on stage, he whipped whatever it was in his pocket towards the crowd. It fell short of the photog’s pit by about 5 feet. It was a guitar pic. He reached in his pocket, grabbed another and flung it. Without a flinch, I stuck out my hand without over reaching and it landed perfectly in my hand. He saw what had happened and smiled. I put the pic in my pocket and that was the start of my shoot.

Wayne Coyne, The Flaming Lips, Nateva Music & Camping Festival, 7/3/2010

Every music photographer has a Wayne Coyne photo in their portfolio. This shoot was absolutely off the wall. It was my first time shooting The Flaming Lips. While I knew what to expect in terms of the theatrics, I didn’t expect the photographer’s pit to be completely overrun by non-photographers. There were so many people in the pit, festival organizers practically pulled all photo passes the next day. The thing of it was, there were probably only 20 approved photographers in the pit. I’m not sure who the others were. Each photographer literally had to stand in the spot they started in – it was that packed. Luckily I camped out on the front of the stage where Wayne’s launching platform jutted into the sea of fans. I was lucky to get the shot I wanted. I did make some other photog’s shots in the process. To them, I’m sorry. Not really.

Dave Matthews, Dave Matthews Band, Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, 6/2/10

At the expense of someone calling me a wanker, I was a Dave Matthews Band geek long before I bought my first camera. Those days may be over, but it was still meaningful to shoot him for the first time. It brought back a lot of raw emotion and memories. It was also my first time shooting at Darien Lake. Little did I know, the stage is the tallest stage I’ve ever seen in my life as I could barely reach the stage on my toes. It was like shooting from the base of a cliff. My classic hail-mary wide angle need not apply – I shot blind most of the shoot by resting my camera on the stage and pressing the shutter while saying Hail Marys hoping for a good shot.

I pulled out my big lens a couple times and could get many good angles. I needed to get creative, so I kept my long lens on, checked to see if security was looking, propped myself up on the barrier and the timing was right. The lights were perfect. I snapped a few photos and stepped down. Sometimes you have to break the rules. That’s rock and roll.

Yim Yames, My Morning Jacket, Mountain Jam, 6/5/2011

Sometimes you just don’t get the shot you’re looking for — but it works. It was Sunday and after a weekend of shooting, I was exausted. It was the last shoot of the weekend — and a big one. I was watching the guitar player, Carl Broemel, and I looked over and noticed Jim James right in front of me with arms spread wide. I held my camera over my head and held down the shutter. He soon after lowered his arms. I hit preview and, of course, my lens was zoomed too far in to frame it how I wanted. I thought the shot was ruined but when I got home after the weekend and reviewed the photos, I thought, ehh, that was ok I guess.

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