With every tour and Hanson event, amazing photos appear online taken by fans from all corners of the globe. We are grateful for the generous way that fans share their images and in awe of the candid shots they capture. Their pictures reveal more about the tenderness and passion of Hanson’s performance and the power of their connection with the audience.
In this Tulsa Times, Minna from Finland shares the first part of her experiences, Picturing Hanson, focussing on aspects of the process and being at the London 5 of 5 in 2011. Minna lives in a southwestern town in Finland and you may recognise her as EyesWideOpen on H.Net, or by the screen-name Imppu on Twitter.
I became a Hanson fan almost exactly twenty years ago when I got the “Middle of Nowhere” CD with my pocket-money savings. Hanson was not my first album or even my first favourite band, but they certainly became the biggest and most meaningful favourite to me very soon that summer. And as it turned out, a very lasting favourite band, too! Due to various circumstances I didn’t get to see them live until 2011, and this is my story about that experience both from a fan perspective, as well as that of a photography hobbyist.
It’s a bit of a contradictory feeling to take photos of your favourite band. On the one hand you want to capture the mood, the energy and the best stage moments, and on the other hand, you want to fully enjoy the show and give the band the respect they deserve by being in the moment and focusing on the live music experience. But to be honest, I want and try to do both, and I believe I usually strike the right balance. I admit that sometimes I overdo it, afterwards gaping embarrassedly at the number of shots taken during a single concert. After such occasions it can be a welcome relief to attend a concert where photography is forbidden, like the Hanson Day concerts in Tulsa.
I got my first DSLR (Canon EOS 450D) in 2009, and remember wondering why I had never really realized how much photography gave me, how entirely I could get lost in it. Not wasting too much time on fretting about the lost years, I spent the next couple of years taking photos of just about everything. Nature and landscape were and still probably are my primary interests, as that also gives you the chance to enjoy some peace and quiet and take in a bit of fresh air. I also started shooting all kinds of family events: birthdays, Christmases, weddings, babies. And yes, concerts. I’m glad I got some practice with a few other gigs (The Gaslight Anthem, Tom McRae, The Twilight Singers) before my first Hanson event, the London 5 of 5 in June, 2011.
Not only was it the first time shooting a Hanson concert, it was my first time seeing the band.
I had five full shows to get some successful shots of their live show and that in mind, I didn’t expect much of night one. Inside, I could see I was too far, roughly ten rows back, to get great pictures, so the focus was almost wholly on hearing and seeing them live at last.
On the following night, TTA, we went to line up a little earlier, and that concert is still to this day one of my favourite and best experiences of erm… shooting them. I stood a few rows back but right in the middle, so I was able to get decent shots of all three – although individually only, as I only had the 50mm lens with me.
Night three was a total miss for photos, because we were on Taylor’s side of the room, packed inside a tight group of fans much taller than me, and complete with a little fan drama and shoved elbows. After that disappointment and mayhem, for the Walk night we decided to leave the camera at the hotel and just completely focus on the live show of our favourite album. That was maybe not the best decision as a few songs into the concert I found myself on row three somehow and could’ve gotten quite good shots.
On the last night we went a little earlier again and figured Isaac’s side (which quickly became rebranded as “The Ike Side of the Moon”) might be the best bet, as it worked out nicely on night 4. Indeed, at some point I saw an open space (say what?) on the front row, at the very farthest spot and snatched it fast. I decided this was my chance and definitely made the most of it.
The perspective was not the best possible, especially as far as seeing Zac, but Isaac offered some great photo ops, and the side view also made for some interesting, different Taylor shots. And it was front row, after all, even if perhaps the worst spot in it.
The London 5 of 5 was an amazing experience – seeing your favourite band for the first time, after a fourteen-year wait, would’ve been a lot in itself. But to see them play all the albums on subsequent nights during one week was much more than I ever imagined as a teenager in the late nineties.
Let’s not forget the Story part before each concert too, which also provided everyone with nice photo opportunities, too. Having a decent camera with me during that week enabled me to save those memories a little better.
Please do not use Minna’s pictures without credit.
Part 2 of Minna’s experiences Picturing Hanson is coming soon.