Zenfolio | Karl Shreeves | Shoeless Abe

Shoeless Abe

December 25, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Abe Rodrigues drummer

Professional photography, at its core, is a continuous problem-solving exercise. Every shoot differs, providing something you didn't expect. That cool-and-collect attitude you see from a seasoned pro doesn't come from having seen it all. It comes from knowing that whatever comes up, you'll be able to solve it because you always have.

Commissioned to shoot portraits of Soultone-sponsored drummer Abe Rodrigues of The Droppers, the challenge was that he performs barefoot.  Ever heard of the baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson? He got his nickname following a single game in which his feet were so blistered that he went to bat and ran the bases in his socks. But, shoeless isn't a one-off for Abe's sessions; it's how he usually plays. Problem is, drums hide the drummer's feet, so how do I shoot that?

When he's not playing, of course. Like most good images, it started with getting the lighting dialed in so that we could let the moments happen without worrying about that. After several different shots drumming and not, Abe took a breather and leaned back, much as you see him here. Yes! But not quite there yet. We went through a few variations, and he nailed it. (Plus some others -- check them out here.)

And that's the other cool thing about shooting performance artists -- they're not afraid to commit to the shot, and they know how to play to camera. It's been my privilege to shoot some talented  artists over the years (magician Scott Tokar, actor/singer Thomas R. Cummings, various bands, etc.) and it's always a joy.  Given the chance, I rarely turn down a chance to shoot performance artists, but I'd especially love to shoot Gwen StefaniAilee, or G-Dragon, if you happen to have any connections. <g>


Note: Given we're in the Christmas season, I initially thought I'd call this The Little Drummer Boy. But, Abe's not that little, nor a boy . . . .


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