A few weeks back, when I was four days out from heading to Shanghai/Hong Kong for a round of ad agency meetings, I get a call from my buddy at Rolling Stone asking if I was around the following Monday.  The call went something like this..

Me: “No, unfortunately, i’ll already be on a plane, but just out of curiosity, who were you going to ask me to shoot?”

RS: “Roger Waters rehearsing for an upcoming show in New York.”

Me: “Wow, well thanks for thinking of me anyway.”

…and I hang up.

…5 minutes pass…I realize I’m an idiot…I call them back..

Me: So you haven’t found anyone yet, have you?”

Long story short, I was able to change my flight without too much of an issue, and had the opportunity to spend almost an hour and a half in a NYC rehearsal studio, with Roger Waters, GE Smith, and about thirty injured military personnel- who were all great musicians in their own right.

The project was for a benefit show at Madison Square Garden, called Stand Up for Heroes- a fundraiser to help support veterans who have returned home battling physical injuries, depression, unemployment, substance abuse, etc.  A very good cause, to say the least.

Whenever shooting editorially, it’s rare that more than a single frame or two are used, so wanted to share a few more of my favorites here…

12 responses to "In the studio with Roger Waters of Pink Floyd"

  1. Joe

    You’re probably too busy shooting to write more, but if you get a chance I’d love to know your thoughts and approach to such a subject. What was running through your mind and how did you get a handle on it. Great pictures man.

    6:30 pm - 26/11/2013 Reply

    • Joe– happy to give some more insight!

      All I knew was the following:
      - I had 15 minutes with Roger Waters at a rehearsal studio, and that though it was unlikely, I was going to try for a portrait.

      I knew nothing of the project he was a part of, going into it, and when I showed up, found that the band was 30+ people, there were another 2-3 photographers and 2 video crews there, and my portrait request was turned down by his publicist. There was also a middle area of the studio, where they didn’t want any of us to be, as we would have been a distraction at that point. Luckily, his publicist told me I could stay for the entire rehearsal- which ended up being about 90 minutes.

      Before they started playing, I got up close to Roger and started hammering away with my Leica, as this is prime territory for rangefinder work, in my opinion…quiet, unobtrusive, etc. Then, once they started playing and I couldn’t get up too close to him, I shot a good chunk of long lens from across the room, just trying to find any interesting angle I could, and more importantly, ones which told the story of the project.

      It’s almost always an improvisational crapshoot (at least to some extent), when working on-location, and that’s half the fun of it. The more you do it, the better you deal with the stress of it all, and the more you can sink into your own element and craft a decent couple of frames.

      Hope this helps, and happy to answer questions anytime at all!


      6:43 pm - 26/11/2013 Reply

  2. Bob

    Drew – great back story. I hear two lessons here: do as many shoots as you can and make the most of each one. thanks for posting this one.

    3:04 am - 27/11/2013 Reply

  3. This is fantastic work and I am incredibly jealous of your experience. You have worked hard and deserve opportunities like this!

    1:24 pm - 27/11/2013 Reply

    • Thanks Joel! As a freelancer, you never know when a job like this is going to sneak up on you, but the key is to be prepared for it as best as possible, and work your ass off when it comes through the door.

      8:11 pm - 27/11/2013 Reply

  4. Nice work Drew! It is really enjoyable following along & seeing what pops up on your rapidly growing list of achievements.

    6:19 am - 29/11/2013 Reply

    • Hey Simon- Thanks so much for keeping in touch, and appreciate the kind words. Hope to catch up soon.

      3:05 pm - 29/11/2013 Reply

  5. As always Drew, great work, thoughtful, professional and story-telling. The ‘take-a-ways’s as said above are many here. First you were smart enough to say !!!! and call RS back. Then you did as much mental work in advance as possible by going in with shots in mind and the ability to jump on different shots as the situation dictated. You were prepared for those shots. You also stretched the parameters of possible with the publicist. Though the portrait didn’t work out your pro attitude and thoughtfulness did get you a lot more time. And we all know time is the hardest thing to get after access.
    Great stuff. Loved seeing that fat credit in my issue.

    2:26 pm - 30/11/2013 Reply

    • Art– thanks so very much for your insight as well, and glad the post was useful to you! As for being prepared, I was was much as anyone could be, knowing that there’s about to be a whole lot of winging it, once I arrived :) I do, however, know for a fact that I was hired based on my style of shooting BTS photos, and if I hadn’t already shot a ton of work like that, I would have never gotten the gig.

      In any case, thanks again, and keep in touch.


      3:21 pm - 01/12/2013 Reply

  6. Cool post, Drew. I’m loving watching your journey here. Can’t believe you turned RS down in the first place :-) but glad it lasted only 5 minutes. Nice to hear about your work process here as well.

    Keep ‘em coming! ~ Mark

    5:21 pm - 01/12/2013 Reply

    • Thanks Mark…appreciate the support! Had to dump a bunch of miles to change my flight, but it was most definitely a necessary change in plans :)

      5:55 pm - 01/12/2013 Reply

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