Monday, October 15, 2012

Treasure Island

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locked & loaded
This weekend I had the honor of photographing my favorite music festival in the world (that I've been to, anyway) for the third year in a row. I love everything about Treasure Island Music Festival: it's extremely well organized, fairly small, close to my house, and attracts a crowd that isn't there to show off the latest fashions or hang out with celebrities (I'm looking at you, Coachella). It really is about the music. Other great things? There are zero overlapping sets, and you can drink anywhere on the festival grounds (no beer gardens). It definitely has a San Francisco vibe to it, and I love that.

The festival also keeps it interesting by having two very distinct days of music: the first day is heavily electronic-themed, while the second day is "so indie it hurts." I know a lot of people who go for one day only, but I've found I love the contrast between the two days, and prefer doing both. It's actually a really fascinating study in the types of people who are drawn to each genre of music. The mood of the entire event feels different on Saturday versus Sunday, and I kinda love that. I just love this festival.

This year, unlike the previous two years, I shot for The Owl Mag, something I'm very proud to be doing. This was also the first year I went alone, instead of with Scott & Megan, my festival buddies. I was honestly dreading the alone part, even though I'm solitary by nature and am perfectly happy attending almost any event by myself. This seemed like an awfully long period of time for that to be the case, though. And while I missed my husband and friend a lot, a funny thing happened: I had a totally different type of experience, one that helped transform some of the ways I think about myself, and definitely, absolutely has made me a better photographer than I was last week. True story!

I don't get to hang out with other photographers for long periods of time, typically. At music festivals in the past, I've always had Scott with me, and the "being with him" part of things always took priority over the photography part. I never spent time in press tents, ever, because I was with Scott. This is a very fun way to do things, and the best of both worlds in my opinion, but I discovered this weekend that something IS lost when you only show up to photo pits and interact at a minimum with other photographers all weekend. I guess its more than that, though, because you have to want it to be something positive, and you have to want to interact with other photographers on a positive level & have that lead to better things. I won't divulge publicly any "secrets of the photo pit" but here's a funny thing: of any show I've ever shot, and that counts festivals and large shows down to tiny shows and everything in between -- I'd never before experienced the amount of drama in the photo pit that transpired this weekend. Serious drama & rude behavior by a very small minority that could have gotten them kicked out. Luckily, this potentially disastrous scenario didn't actually have a negative effect at all, because the majority of the rest of us bonded through the shared experience.

I spent a lot of time in the press tent this year. I spent a lot of time hanging out with and talking with my fellow photographers, some of whom I remembered from last year (and who remembered me!). We got to talk about nerdy things like photo pits and crazy experiences shooting shows and festivals and stuff, which made me realize how I never usually get to do that. It wasn't a competition, it was peer to peer, and I absolutely love that. It felt like we were in our own little world, a group thrown together for the weekend, figuring it out together, and living in some kind of alternate festival reality (I love that, too). It's that alternate festival reality, however, that makes it sad to leave & return to "the real world," where nobody understands what you just experienced except for other people who were there. I'm feeling it today.

Without making this post a zillion years long: I really loved seeing The Presets, who were so fantastic live, I kept hearing shades of the masters of electronic music, The Chemical Brothers, in their live show. That's an enormous compliment from me, because I love The Chemical Brothers, and I'm still convinced that no other electronic artist puts on as great a live show. That The Presets even made me think of the Chems is a big deal, and I really hope they only keep raising the bar in the future! I danced so hard and it felt so good.  And of course Gossip was phenomenal as always, the best I've ever heard them. Beth Ditto, I love you. The rest was discovery & tolerance & finding ways to appreciate music that is normally outside my "cone of certainty" (see what I did there, weather geeks?), and there was so much to do and see that it didn't matter if an artist I didn't like was on, because I could escape it (after shooting, of course). The weather was glorious. I found a $50 bill on the ground on Saturday afternoon, so thank you, miserable stranger, whose misfortune helped fund my ability to eat overpriced festival food and drink $7 cups of wine. Thank you! I ran into friends I hadn't seen in a long time (too long). I brought a book, and read that book while sitting on the grass in the sunshine. I saw the most gorgeous sunset I think I've ever seen. What a surprising & life affirming weekend. This was my adventure to have, and I (to use a phrase I hate) "carpe'd the hell out of that diem."

I took a gazillion professional photos which will hopefully be published this week. In the meantime, here are some of the many, many Instagram photos I took over the course of the weekend.

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I love to arrive early (before the bands start) and enjoy the grounds with hardly any people. It''s so relaxing!
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art installation -- so pretty 
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finally got to try the food truck I've been following on Twitter for 2-3 years already, the chairman -- so good!
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exhaustion in the press tent on Saturday night -- waiting for Girl Talk
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ferris wheel with, as someone so nicely put it "grease stain" effect (sorry, my fingers were greasy apparently)
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egg art 
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the group of festival goers who sang "do you know the muffin man?" on the train home Saturday night
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blurry bay, from the bus to the island on sunday
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karl the fog, receding 
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relaxing in front of the bridge stage on sunday, 2pm
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laid back sunday vibe
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balloons in the sky
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Los Campesinos! performing at the Tunnel Stage
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the beginning of THE SUNSET 
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moar sunset
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yet moar sunset -- starting to get good now
Treasure Island sunset
AW YES. Right before Divine Fits came on, this was the sunset behind the stage. Amazing. So perfect.
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Gossip! 
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fire art 
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fun with light (the fire heart from above is actually the heart in this photo, too)
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one last look at the grounds before I left last night -- bittersweet as always! also the xx was playing, and it was sad

2 comments:

  1. How fun! It looks like a blast to go too. Thats neat that you,ve documented it 3 years in a row. Kind of turning into a tradition ;)

    - Sarah
    agirlintransit.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I love creating my own traditions since my family was never any good at them. My husband and I first became an official couple while attending Coachella together in 2004, and we went each year for 7 years after and that was a tradition...thankfully this one I'm creating here is cheaper (as press, I get in free & get access to free water) and the weather is SO much nicer

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