Music icons up close and live: Miranda Lambert to Jay-Z
Scott Dudelson is a self-described music nerd. As a concert photographer, he’s been to at least a 1,000 concerts across the country and has photographed nearly 3,000 bands.
“Being at a live music event is extraordinary, but being in the photo pit taking pictures is magical,” he tells The Weekly Flickr. “When you get to be in front of icons like The Rolling Stones, Jay Z and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, there’s nothing quite like it.“
“When people look at my photos, I want them to feel like they have a VIP seat to the show.”
Scott began his career in 2004. After experiencing the unique access to bands and camaraderie with the other photographers, he realized this was the path he wanted to pursue.
“Being at a live music event is extraordinary, but being in the photo pit taking pictures is magical,” Scott says. “Behind you is the front row where all the biggest fans are going crazy! That excitement feeds right into the performer, and I’m in the middle of that. It’s like a vortex of awesome energy that you just get hit with.”
As a music nerd, Scott loves all genres of music. He says he’s agnostic to what he shoots, as long as the performer is excellent. He’ll attend country shows, rock shows, pop shows, bluegrass, etc. “As long as the music is good, I’m the first one there”, Scott says.
“Every artist has their signature moves,” Scott explains. “Whether it’s Mick Jones from The Clash — he does a little machine-gun thing with his guitar. Or it’s Johnny Marr from The Smiths — he’ll do a big, high kick. It excites me to capture these moments because it allows other people who may not have been at the show to see it. It’s incredible.”
One of Scott’s favorite live artists to capture is Miranda Lambert. Her signature moment is running away from the microphone with her hair flailing out, jumping up and down. Another is Dave Grohl of The Foo Fighters who, similar to Lambert, shakes his head with his hair all over the place like a wild man.
“Kanye West loves to do a thing where he points to the sky,” Scott says. “It’s like he’s telling the universe that he’s Kanye West and will do it at least once a set. Mick Jagger will walk around the entire stage and play to both the fans and the camera. You’ll see him throwing his hands up, jump up and down, as limited as he can do.”
Apart from capturing a good photo, Scott believes these signature moments are historical.
“If you go back 30… 40 years ago and see pictures of Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin,” Scott says. “These are moments that at the time, people now relish to relive. I can only hope that in 20 years, people look at my pictures and feel like the essence of who these artists are was captured.”
To Scott, concert photography ended up being one of the greatest things he’s ever done in his life and enjoys it every day.
“The opportunity to take pictures in a photo pit, two feet away from some of the greatest starts in the world,” Scott admits. “It fulfills every music nerd dream I’ve ever had.”