Venues Today occassionally asks photographers to tell the story behind their images. VT friend and photographer Paul Hoopers shares how he captured this image of Marilyn Manson at Rock on the Range inside of Columbus Crew Stadium on May 20.
Live music photography has no shortage of challenges. Typically the biggest obstacles a concert photographer encounters are dim lighting and shooting locations with little visibility. If that's not enough to keep you on your toes, then some “love” from the artist is sure to feed your photographic masochism.
On Sunday night, the industrial metal band Marilyn Manson, led by a singer with the band's namesake, was one of the headlining acts at the 2012 Rock On The Range festival in Columbus, OH. Manson has developed a reputation for his dislike of photographers and is often known to not allow any photography at all or approval to shoot only one song (instead of the typical three). This night though, Manson broke that pattern, allowing photographers to shoot the first three songs of his set. We all felt privileged but not without a little concern for what he may have in store.
The first song went along fine with some moody lighting and a heavy industrial rhythm. Not a second after the song ended though he began spitting beer at photographers and lobbing opened beer bottles into the photo pit. Despite the annoyance, it was nothing any seasoned concert photographer hadn't seen before. It was the middle of the second song where something truly unique caught everyone off-guard. Manson reached down in front of the stage and pulled up a nozzle, similar to one you'd pump your gas with, and began blasting the photographers with smoke from some sort of compressed smoke canister. When he pointed the gas canister at me, I quickly held my camera lens down so he wouldn't ruin the glass, and closed my eyes not really knowing what was spraying me in the face. While concerns began flowing through the back of my mind about choking on the gas or ruining my Nikon D90, I immediately refocused on Marilyn when he moved downstage to spray the others in the photo pit. I got shots of him wielding his anti-photog weapon, which may have made for my best shots of the festival.
It's hard to tell if Marilyn Manson was trying to assault the photographers or poke fun at his reputation of doing so, but at the end of the day I got to shoot three songs of one of the most illusive artists' set while he was wielding a glowing smoke gun. I can't see that happening again any time soon. There were very few upset faces leaving the photo pit. Most photographers were grinning from the wild experience and nodding at each other with the realization that it's only rock and roll, and we love shooting it.
More photos from Paul Hooper at Rock the Range