Photo© 1996- Robert Altman

Backstage with Primus

Tuesday, May 7, 1996

It was that kind of a night.

Now I bet you think I'm gonna talk Rock n' Roll but I shall tell you a tale of photographic contretemps. Everything that could have gone wrong with the taking of this photo did.

It all started with Web Broadcasting the Primus concert. I was operating under the auspices of Media Gems as a digital photographer with my pals from DigiLink Jack Satta and Matthew Carden. Now Jack owns a hi-end Digital Nikon which I am just becoming familiar with. Well the standard of this model is that the actual shooting field is about 50% smaller then the image you see through the viewfinder. I understood this dictate.

I leapt into the backstage dressing room to begin shooting photographs of Primus but I had a funny feeling I should check with Jack one more time. I bounded back to home base and it was here that we decided to change lenses to a super wide 17 mm I had brought along. It was also here where our wires got crossed... I thought Jack indicated that I now had an enlarged wide shooting field and that what I saw is what I would get, a perfect prescription for the confined, 6 foot wide backstage dressing room.

I happily sprang back thinking I had this super vista from which to capture amazing pictures of Primus. The interview, conducted by ATN's Michael Goldberg was hilarious, with live on-line question and answers with fans like Scooter, Funkmeister, SpaceBar, Stinky, Tweaker and whose gonna forget Butthole. You might want to check out the transcript of Michael's interview on the Primus Chat Page with lots of snaps (fortunately salvaged thru the magic of the camcorder.) There's even a shot of me jamming a camera in Les Claypool's face. And here is Beth Winegarner's take on the backstage antics.

Anyway, to my abject horror and utter mortification, I discovered that all my masterful technique disappeared in a flash as I downloaded the digital images. The small field effect was still in force. Where I thought I was capturing three able bodied Pimusians I only had one and a poorly framed one at that. My heart sank. My ego became a puddle. How could I face my peers? What was I to do?

Well I had to do something and I finally faced the music and turned to Jon Luini, Exec VP and Tech Director of Addicted to Noise Magazine and major domo of this project and confessed my plight. I expected the worst but as cool as the proverbial cucumber and in the middle of all the madness Jon blithely asserts...

"Just make 'Art' out of it Robert."


And that's just what I tried to do... on the spot...juggling 'dem bits and bytes.

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