Concert photos for the wasteland known as your phone

Get in the moment and stay there

Dear Hipster:

I’ve got a 21st-century problem for you. Every time I attend a concert, or really any other significant event, the wall of cell phones taking snaps and Vines drives me to distraction. You wanna know the worst part? When I want to take my own photos, I get this ugly border of phone screens across the bottom half. The little, glowing screens distract my autofocus. So, how do I get a good photo at a concert (or wherever) when everyone else has the same idea? Is there some kind of trick other than pushing my way to the front so that there aren’t any phones in front of me?

— Jillian

More and more musicians, entertainers, and on-stage types have joined the losing battle of requesting, sometimes not so kindly, that fans confine phones to pockets and pay attention to the show.

“Get in the moment and stay there,” artists urge, which is actually pretty good advice. I’m with them. I can’t think of a stronger appeal to the hipster quest for ever-greater authenticity. Going to a show with nothing but an ID and a few bucks for beers is so old-school. In practice, we can’t resist Facebooking a blurry photo of Ed Sheeran’s legs and (barring a Dune-like rejection of technology in a last-ditch effort to save our humanity) we probably never will. Interestingly enough, you want to know where I see a much smaller proportion of cell phones taking grainy never-to-be-watched-again concert video?

EDM shows, where everybody is too busy having a chemically delicious time to be framing shots for Instagram.

That’s right. Eurotrash wannabe rave noodles have somehow managed to be more engaged with their music than all the hipsters who love concerts enough to write reviews for their local alt-weekly. At least we hipsters can appreciate the irony in this.

Accepting the basic premise that crappy homegrown concert “photos” aren’t going anywhere, the most hipster of all workarounds for your particular problem would be leaving your phone at home so you won’t be tempted to break it out in the middle of a concert.

“What?” you say. “Did you not hear me? I demand memories! I want snaps!!!”

Not so fast. Instead of whipping out your Galaxy Tab at that BØRNS show, you’ll capture the moment through vintage daguerrotype. You have to wait for a down-tempo break, where the musician(s) won’t be moving around much onstage. The 15-minute exposure time won’t be able to capture the iPhone screens that flash briefly into the frame. Only the musicians will remain and you’ll have a precious, super-vintage treasure that you can will to your hipster grandchildren.

What could be more hipster than painstakingly preparing a perfectly polished silver plate, on which you intend to capture a still image by exposing it to noxious vapors, light, then still more noxious vapors; all in the name of 19th-century tech and never forgetting that time you saw Tegan and Sara cover an Iron Maiden song?

You might even end up actually looking at the photo again, since it’ll hang on the wall in a hand-carved wooden frame, rather than languishing in the 64GB data wasteland otherwise known as your phone.

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This happened to me a few months ago...

If there are any professional photographers or videographers in the scene, do yourself a favor and just keep your phone in your pocket. Search for the images/video later if you want to show off to your friends you were there.

No one wants to see your potato quality pics/video.

And for the love of the flying spaghetti monster... please never film vertically.

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