Louis Kwok: Meet the Best Music Photographers in St. Louis



Earlier, we introduced you to our ten favorite concert photographers in St. Louis. We got well over fifty nominations, and our judges narrowed the field to these ten folks. Over the coming week-plus, we'll be introducing you to each of the finalists in turn by having them share with you five of their favorite concert photos and answering a few questions about their process and passion. Up next is Louis Kwok, whose work can be viewed (and purchased) from his web site, www.musicvsman.com.

See also: -The Ten Best Music Photographers in St. Louis: Meet the Finalists -Finalist Profile: Todd Owyoung -Finalist Profile: Jon Gitchoff -Finalist Profile: Jarred Gastreich -Finalist Profile: Bryan Sutter -Finalist profile: Corey Woodruff -Finalist profile: Nate Burrell -Finalist Profile: Jason Stoff -Finalist Profile: Ben Fournier

RFT Music: If you had to guess at the ballpark number, how many concerts would you say you've photographed?

Louis Kwok: Somewhere around 150 over the last three years.


What makes a great concert photo?

To those who went to the show, it's a photo that captures the mood and tone of the performance. To those who didn't go, it's a photo that makes them regret not going. And to the photographer, it's a photo that none of the other photographers were able to get.

What's the best thing about live music?

Seeing all of the personality and eccentricities of musicians/bands that you can't experience with a recording.

What's the strangest thing that has happened to you while photographing live music?

No real horror stories, thankfully. My closest scare was once losing my wedding ring in a packed photo pit for MUTEMATH, but I fortunately found it on the ground at the last minute before having to leave.


What makes a professional photographer as opposed to an amateur?

A paycheck? Having fancier equipment? Number of shows shot? Honestly, I don't know where to draw that line and haven't really thought of myself in either of those terms. To me, concert photography has always been more of a hobby.


Pick one of the photos you've submitted and tell us a little about it: Where was it shot, who is featured and (most importantly) how did you capture it? We'd love to hear logistical description or technical breakdowns or whatever else you want to tell us.

Being at the right place at the right time is huge in concert photography, and your ability to control that is limited at smaller venue shows without the luxury of a photo pit. Knowing that Japandroids and the crowd were going provide some killer shot opportunities, I camped out at the front of the stage as soon as doors opened with my wide-angle lens to ensure I'd be in an ideal position. Once there, the band and front row did everything else.


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