Metal Photographer Jeremy Saffer’s 10 Favorite Shots of the Year
Although he's not a rock star, Jeremy Saffer still lives the kind of life most of us only dream about.
The Massachusetts-based artist is one of the most sought after photographers in the metal, punk and alternative model scene today. In the last couple of years, Saffer has shot everyone from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees to just about every rising artist in the hard rock scene Noisecreep covers on a regular basis.
This month, Saffer teamed up with Chris Motionless (Motionless in White) and released a calendar of their work together. The calendar has been the culmination of photo shoots done over the past two years with Chris. It's the kind of thing that would be a great gift for the rock fan in your life this holiday. Also, Saffer recently announced that he's being represented by Miss Management (Maria Ferrero) as his new management, and he's also teaching a music photography seminar. The next seminar is scheduled for mid-January.
Noisecreep is obviously a huge fan of Saffer's work, and we're honored that he took the time out of his schedule to give us his list of the 10 favorite photos he shot in 2011. Check them out below along with his stories about each photograph. As an added bonus, we've teamed up with Saffer to give away some killer swag from his photo work. The details for the giveaway are at the bottom of the post.
10. Adam D. (Killswitch Engage), Mike Martin (All That Remains) Jason Roy (Awesome)
"Two of the most universally amusing and sardonic friends I have are Adam D. (Killswitch Engage) and Mike Martin (All That Remains). When Adam said "SAFFER! family portrait! COSBY SWEATERS! my house... LETS DO THIS!" I was instantly in. We went to the Big E (fair) to win some stuffed animals for the shoot, and about $50 of poor ring toss and softball games, we had a sweet $5 stuffed animal for the shoot. We set up in his living room - I used two large softboxes (3x4) on dynalite uni-400s and shot this with the 24-70 L lens on the canon 1ds mark 2. The idea was to do a few sets and put one of the sets in the frame behind them as if it were "last years shot". So this is what we came up with, and if you know anything about Adam... this fits that house PERFECTLY."
9. Megan Massacre ('NY Ink')
"Megan came up while I was doing a big shoot with Chris from Motionless in White. We had plans to shoot years ago, but it never happened. I was pumped to finally work with her. we only really shot a few short sets, but this one was my favorite. I was shooting natural light outside of my studio against a green wall. The green made all the color of her hair and eyes pop out SO much, it was perfect. I shot at 2.8-5.6 to get the really shallow depth of field. She glows in the image, looking both beautiful and ghostly."
8. Mitch Lucker (Suicide Silence)
"This was from a full band shoot with the Suicide Silence guys. I took some shots with Parker the pup (Mitch's puppy) under a little bridge area backstage at the Comcast Center in Mass. Its my go-to area for backstage shoots there. Ive shot Deftones, Murderdolls, Megadeth, In Flames, and countless others, there, as that venue has VERY limited shoot area. The trick is to make it look a bit different. For this I used two bare parabolic rims and pointed them in so there would be a bit of a lens flare - and a large beauty dish main - all on dynalite uni400s. shooting F10 with the 24-70 lens on the canon 1ds mark 2. This is my favorite of the bunch, it has a surreal silver tone to it that initially was unintentional but upon finishing the shots, I made the effect more prominent by desaturating the image 15% making this image perfect for print."
7. Get Scared
"Sometimes when I go in to do a single photo shoot with one band, it turns into me doing four photo shoots with four bands, as this day was Aiden, Vampires Everywhere, Eyes Set to Kill, and Get Scared. I hadn't done a shoot with them before, though I had worked with the other three - and had a live image of Get Scared print in Outburn Magazine just a few weeks prior. So we set it up and the shoot was going to be directly before they went on stage. I used two large soft boxes on the side to give them a more shadowed/darker feel than I've seen in their past photos. I shot this at F10 at a 160th - and by this point in the shoot their intro nusic was about to roll, so they had to run in and play. The horizontal softboxes were perfect here, just enough light on everyone's faces in this triangular pose, being one of my favorite three-piece band shots."
6. Keith Mina Caputo (Life of Agony)
"This shoot was a perfect storm. We had been planning a shoot when the whole "sex change" controversy hit, which to refresh anyone's memory... was basically a bunch of idiot tabloid metal sites speculating that Caputo was "cutting off his d---" "gay, faggot" "breaking up Life of Agony by being a wife of agony" etc. Basically a lot of homophobic and transphobic headlines followed by 100s of supportive comments (in favor of Keith Mina Caputo, against the s---ty phobic journalism). So we decided to fire back with a photo shoot, which would be the first Mina Caputo photo shoot. This was the first image to come out of the shoot. We wanted it to represent that Caputo was labeled... judged.. before even getting to speak and thereby silenced by these labels. It shows the duality of frailty and strength. Strength is something both the subject and the image have no lack there of."
5. Motionless in White
"After a very quick photo shoot much earlier in the year, we had planned to do a bigger one whenever we both could find time. We finally got the chance late spring to do a big shoot which would coincide with their 'Creatures' video and their summer/fall press. I felt this band has NEVER been photographically represented properly before. This is a very image heavy band who were put into weak settings and lit improperly.. basically in most past MiW shots you could remove them and put in ANY band with tight pants, white belts, and sideways hair who write emotional songs about high school while abusing auto-tune. NO MORE! I wanted to give them an image that fits not only their sound, but their personality. (though in just this one photo, you cant really see what im getting at but none the less..)
I shot this with the 70-200 IS on the 1ds mark2 at F10 - I went with five lights on this shot - two rims (umbrellas) two soft boxes (3x4 pointed toward their legs) and a large beauty dish main to give them full lighting with highlight, mids, and really making those dark colors pop out of the white. The lighting HAD to be perfect - not ghosting any faces (with make up) into the background - making sure the details were visible in the clothing, hair and eyes, making the backround a perfect light grey/dark white - all while having a non-linear pose. With all that calculated, here is my favorite photo from that shoot, and since, they have become my favorite band to work with recently, especially their singer Chris who I had just released a calendar with earlier this month to overwhelming praise."
4. William Control (Aiden)
We shot backstage at The Palladium during their headlining show (same day as Get Scared). I had shot in the dressing room there countless times before, so I wanted to make it look a bit different. After shooting band shots on the couch (as seen on the back of their new record 'Some Kind of Hate'). I had William stand on the couch, I brought up the lights a bit (two rims, beauty main) and started firing away while he smoked. I was using the 24-70 at F18, The lights were giving a bit of flare and giving the wall an awesome pastel green color, so i readjusted my lens for a head shot, he took a drag while the flash went off, and in an instant, created not only my favorite group of images of Aiden, but my favorite image I've taken of William in my career thus far."
3. Robert Englund ('A Nightmare in Elm Street's "Freddy Krueger")
"I got approved to do a portrait spread on rock and shock. So there was my chance to do a photo shoot, albeit a quick one, with Robert Englund. For those who don't know me... I am not a horror buff.. I border on insane HOARDER when it comes to horror merch/movies. Right now, next to my TV. there is a lifesized figures of 'Pinhead,' 'Jason Voorhees,' 'Leatherface,' 'Freddy Krueger,' 'Crypt Keeper,' and more. On the big day, I brought along a prop glove from 'A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors' and had him use it in the shoot. Englund spotted it before I even started shooting, grabbed it, and put it on. I shot this with multiple set ups, but this one is two rims, and a beauty main. EVERY shot is a keeper, he know what to do in front of a camera, and this lead to being one of my favorite portraits I had ever taken in my career. A Milestone, completed."
2. Andy Biersack (Black Veil Brides)
"This shoot was part of the NIGHTMARE that is photographing Warped Tour, both as a live event AND doing multiple (27) photo shoots. Black Veil Brides were part of a Warped spread I was doing over two days, this was shot on the second one. We were in Connecticut and did the shoot in a spot behind the press area. I did the group shots, and then finished up with some solos. For this I really wanted to make sure the key light hit his eyes perfectly giving him a slight fall off in lighting around the hair. I used two rims which lit the outside of his hair, and a beauty dish main shooting at F14. The wind started blowing his hair to his left, and as the wind hit I took this shot. This shot has been a favorite of many, including Andy, and was printed as a main image in the spread. To me, this shot has the perfect mixture of light and dark, all concentrated in the right spots for one of my all time favorite portraits I have taken, ever."
1. Alice Cooper
"As a photographer, IMAGE is everything, despite what sprite may tell you. Being a fan of horror, and of bands with a strong image, the godfather of it all is Alice Cooper. He created something so iconic and legendary, it will always be a staple in the history of rock 'n' roll. This year I got an assignment to shoot Alice, and an opportunity like that, to me, is on par with a lingerie model getting a modeling gig for Victoria's Secret.
I had a plan to shoot using his props, which are many. We used an electric chair, guillotine, his canes, different jackets, but then he took out the snake, and it happened. For some reason the snake just looked right at the camera and by some luck I had the shutter go off the very second the snake stuck his tongue out. The Light set is two rims and a beauty dish boomed down above him using the 24-70 lens at F13. Oddly enough, the original version of this shot is a full body one. I cropped in for this and it is, to me, what one would expect from an Alice Cooper photo, and that is all I could have ever hoped to create working with such a legend. This was my shoot of the year, and something I got to cross off my photographic bucket list."
Head to Twitter and send @noisecreep and @jeremysaffer a tweet telling us which of the photos in Jeremy's top 10 list was your favorite and why. The prize list is below. Make sure you include the #saffer hashtag when you enter. We'll pick the most creative entry and Jeremy Saffer will announce the winners on Fri, Dec. 30 on his Twitter account.
One grand prize winner: 'Top 10 Photos of 2011' mini-print collection
Second place: 4 prints from Saffer's collection
Three runner-ups: 2 prints from Saffer's collection