Dead South performing on 09.27.21 at the Sylvee in Madison, Wisconsin
photo by DeWook
Where do I begin?
From the rough restart of the music industry to rebranding myself as a photographer that writes, it has been an uphill battle since the reboot. Even the year itself did not start on January 1st. This year for me has proven itself to be a challenge. But in my mind, I was bored. Things in my frame needed to change.
My last show in 2020 was on March 9th. I was at the Majestic Theatre in Madison Wisconsin working with Yonder Mountain String Band. Not sure if it was blind luck that their tour was ending in Madison on the day that Covid has risen to be a true threat to us all, but either way. The party was over. I had my last show on Monday. Smiling, I walked out of the venue not thinking twice about how serious things were going to become. I just rode it out like the rest of the planet. Waiting for the day for the fog to lift so I could go back to work.
Through the pandemic my business was in the dirt. No shows, no clients. I went stir crazy and sold my Nikon D750 and all its gear. I switched over to a mirrorless camera. Basically, I started over from scratch. Learning photography again from the ground up. It was like being back in Basic 101, I thought I knew everything. I was about to discover a whole lot more. I ended up doing a handful of gigs in 2020, slowly realizing I needed to upgrade all my camera gear if I was going to continue DeWook Photo into 2021. While everyone else was saving their stimulus check for homes and cars, I reinvested in my dead business. Hoping to bring back new life.
Unbelievably, 2021 began with a lot of studio work. Bunny shoots and screaming kids. I had to do something. When Matt Williams of Steez put out that he was doing a show at the Barrymore Theater in Madison Wisconsin I knew the fog might be lifting, a little. I hooked up with Bodhicitta to be their tour photographer. It was at this time I began writing for Maximum Ink Magazine. I felt I needed to elevate myself as a writer. So, with my publisher’s blessing, DeWook Tour was launched. More of a behind the scenes look into the life of a rock photojournalist. It felt right, but I also felt like I had some big ass shoes to fill. I mean who am I to write let alone make you read it? Amazingly, I wrote 20ish pieces in 2021, so I must be doing something right.
Summer of 2021 exploded. Summer Stomp returned to Mackey’s Hideout in McHenry, Illinois. I began bouncing around with Bodhicitta pretty hard. I got reacquainted with Mungion. Worked a couple of shows at the Harley Davidson Museum. Then got ready to head out on tour with Bodhicitta. My friends Water Street Jacks from Madison Wisconsin were back in the loop along with Wise Jennings and Mountains On the Moon. New and old clients were returning to my calendars.
In fall I had my only festival. Wise Fest was a brief reminder of the long days and tough terrain a photographer dedicates themselves too. For me, at 50, I’m not totally out of shape, and for my age, I’m not that bad. But my feet, damn. No matter what type of shoes I get my dogs are always barking. I’m just not the festival photographer I used to be. So, I turned my focus to shooting headliners. It only seemed logical. At the end of September, I did my only wedding of the year. Right in the nick of time as events in the music industry were about to get crazy.
A gauntlet of shows hit. The Dead South visited the Sylvee in Madison, Wisconsin. I worked with Spafford, Another One, Kick the Cat, Henhouse Prowlers, Astral Hand, Bodhicitta, and four shows with Widespread Panic. October was fucking Rocktober and November did not disappoint. I was back with Spafford and Eggy. Still rocking out with Bodhicitta. Then things got crazy. I was working with Pigeons playing Ping Pong, Twiddle, Party Marty, Lettuce, Mungion, and Bodhicitta.
It was at this time that I began to find myself bored at shows. Taking the same pictures over and over again. So I started experimenting more with multiple exposures and working through new techniques. Discovering new ideas and pushing the limits of art and light. The challenge for me was reproducing the ideas, trust me it’s still a work in progress.
December was a slow month for me. I had a few shows with Dopapod, and a four-night run with Fireside Collective. A little blip with Steez, Bodhicitta, and Mugion for their Christmas shows. Now with Omicron back on the rise I’ve seen many end of year shows get cancelled. Making it a very quiet last week of 2021.
In 2021, I turned 50. I began breaking rules of photography by pushing the limits of my imagination. My writing for DeWook Tour has expanded itself, hopefully in a good way. With all these little things all based on music, as a center. Really has kept me afloat. Not just financially, but also mentally. So many things have changed. Some good, some great. Way too many things made me evolve. For me 2021 was about change. Let’s see what 2022 can do now. Thank you all for your support and love of what I do.
Cheers - DW
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