COVID-19 has made a huge impact on many people all across the world, and its put many people out of jobs and at some high risks etc. So here at The Vinyl we wanted to celebrate the insanely talented creators in the photography business. We are celebrating the Concert Photographers, the Lifestyle Photographers, the Wedding Photographers, the Wildlife Photographers and every other type of Photographer behind that camera that brings such joy to the eye.
Introducing Barry Adkins!!
The Vinyl: Please introduce yourself and tell us your primary photo location(s)?
Barry Adkins: Hello, my name is Barry Adkins of Better B#. I’ve been writing album reviews, interviewing musicians, and doing concert photography since 2012. I normally cover gigs that occur in and around Baltimore, MD and Washington D.C.
TV: How did you know that being a photographer is something you truly wanted to do, and what/who are some inspirations you may have had/have?
BA: Photography is one of my favorite things to do. I was swept away in its magic in 2012 by my then girlfriend, now wife. It began with film photography on an old Pentax 1000 that I picked up from a thrift store, at the tail end of when it was easy to get film developed by major retailers. As retailers began ridding themselves of their photography departments, my wife and I took the plunge into DSLRs. We typically focus on nature photography, and love to visit national and state parks, often capturing the same subject matter with different perspectives. I was the one that got her going to concerts more often, and she encouraged me to take the plunge into doing concert photography. There’s something about capturing moments of a live show that’s just satisfying to me. As far as my inspirations, the only music photographer I remember admiring the pictures of during my childhood was Ross Halfin. He’s taken some of the most iconic shots in rock music. Otherwise, I’m constantly inspired by the work of people I’ve met in the photo pit, such as Luis Rosales, Liz Peterson, and Shane Gardner. They always make me want to be a better photographer.
TV: What equipment is a must-have for you no matter where you are going to be working? What does your typical photographing setup look like?
BA: I’m pretty plain when it comes to my equipment. I’m currently using a Nikon D750, and tend to switch between Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 ED and Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G lenses. The former is great for wide shots and close up when you’re in the pit at smaller shows. The latter I find to produce slightly crisper shots, but I’d recommend going for a 35mm instead of 50mm, as I usually have to tilt my camera at that distance to fit in musicians and their instruments. For longer distance shots, my wife got me a Nikon Nikkor 70-300mm f/4-5.6 G lens, which I used to cover Yes’ Royal Affairs Tour last year, but you definitely need a lot of light for that to be effective.
TV: What are some of your favorite techniques when it comes to editing styles/ways you present your work? Do you have different aesthetics for different types of work?
BA: In terms of framing photos, I’m a sucker for the Rule of 3rds. As a result, when my photographs aren’t framed with the subject positioned in line with that, I typically crop the photo down to make it that way. Otherwise, I sometimes like to make particularly dramatic shots with the subject in the direct center of the image. I don’t find myself operating too differently, whether it’s concert or nature photography.
TV: COVID-19 has completely changed the lifestyle for soooo many different people, how has it effected you? Whether its work/photo related or just all together? How do you. keep yourself busy?
BA: COVID-19 has certainly changed my daily routine. I’m more fortunate than most, I believe, in that photography is a hobby, or labor of love, rather than what pays my bills. My day job has been very kind to me during this time, so the lack of photography has been unfortunate but not economically detrimental for me. Probably the biggest change for me due to this, however, is that the website I was writing for is closing down – either temporarily or permanently – so I’ve tried to salvage the last six years of work I’ve done and transfer those reviews, interviews, etc., to my own site and give it a face lift.
TV: Now that Concerts/Festivals/Events/ Social Gatherings(weddings, reunions, family portraits etc) /Sports etc are being cancelled/postponed all over the world due to COVID-19, how are you finding ways to stay creative?
BA: I’m pretty bummed about having no concerts to look forward to in the near future. However, I was already on a bit of a hiatus to do some self-care, so I’m trying to more heavily invest in those areas. These most prominently include foreign language study, instrument practice (mandolin and piano), and catching up on the massive backlog of books I’ve let pile up.
TV: Once all this (hopefully) goes away, what are some of your plans to get back to a somewhat “normal” schedule?
BA: Once things return to “normal,” I’d love to get back into the photo pit and cover more concerts. I’m also hoping to focus less on album reviews and more on artist interviews, but we’ll see how that goes!
TV: What are some of your favorite creative pieces/photos/opportunities you have gotten to do in 2020 before all hell broke loose?
BA: The most recent thing I did was interview Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal [Sons Of Apollo, Asia, ex-Guns N’ Roses] and photograph his solo show at the Milkboy in Philadelphia. If you love prog rock or metal, definitely check out Sons Of Apollo’s most recent album, MMXX, and, if you like kooky songs with crazy guitar parts, check out Bumblefoot’s solo material. His most recent album is entitled Little Brother Is Watching.
Here are a few of Barry’s favorite photos:
TV: Is there anything you would like to add as we end this interview?
BA: Thank you so much, Alyssa, for thinking of me for this. If anyone reading is interested in following what I do, you can find me at www.betterbsharp.weebly.com, which has all my album reviews, concert coverage, and interviews listed, as well as links to my social media pages. If you’re mainly interested in seeing photos, head over to www.betterbsharp.smugmug.com and browse through my galleries!