Both an uncomfortable requisite and a grand adventure, going on tour is part of the life of a musician. But it’s not just the entertainers who endure/enjoy the weeks spent away from home in favor of tightly-packed spaces and late, late nights; technicians, mamangers, and yes, even photographers are also along for the ride to make sure the entire thing goes off flawlessly — and it documented all the way.
Plenty of concert photographers make a fine living without actually traveling with bands, instead working from their home base city and selling images to Getty and other wire agencies. But a select few are chosen by the musicians/their people to pack their bags and haul their gear across the country or even the globe to shoot the whole tour.
Here are just a few tour photographers who are living the lives of rock stars (kind of) from behind their camera lenses.
Robin Harper: Notoriously strict about which photos are made public, it’s no surprise that Beyonce would have a preferred shooter to travel with her and husband Jay Z for their mammoth “On the Run” tour. Not only does Robin appear to get to go play in the cities where the tour stops, she also gets to, you know, hang around backstage with Bey and Jay.
Sean Hagwell: Portrait photographer Sean Hagwell is young — just 29 — but already, he’s got an impressive resume. Last year, he went on tour with Hot Chelle Rae and Justin Bieber, which he documented in a fascinating blog post, which includes a gear list and other insights. More recently, he directed the above video.
Autumn de Wilde: The child of a music photographer, Autumn de Wilde came by her talents honestly. Shooting iconic musicians like Elliott Smith, Sonic Youth, and Willie Nelson, her work spans generations. A coffee table book featuring over 200 images of Death Cab for Cutie is a particularly beautiful look backstage.
Adam Elmakias: Adam Elmakias travels so much, his website has a special widget just to let fans know where he’ll be and what he’s shooting. He’s also the creative force behind The Music Photographer DVD, a resource for prospective concert photographers wherein Adam shares what he’s learned over years of touring and shooting.
Rachel Demy: Calling Rachel Demy a tour photographer would actually downplay the rest of the work that she’s done; currently on tour with St. Vincent, Demy is both a photographer and a tour manager, and previously toured with the National. She’s also a distance runner, which means she can probably do almost anything.
— Bon Jovi photos (@BJ_photos) August 10, 2014
David Bergman: Working as a freelance concert and sports photographer, David Bergman seemed to hit the jackpot with his gig shooting Bon Jovi’s tours between the years of 2010 and 2013. The images have now been turned into a book called “Work,” which offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at what goes into pulling off a huge tour.
Ashley Osborn: Currently on tour with Chiodos, Ashley Osborn may never sleep; she’s been on four tours this year, including the Warped Tour to shoot ISSUES. She also experiments with instant photography.