I’ve just launched my new Anne Ferguson Rock Photography website at http://www.screamatmephoto.com. Please stop by and like, hang out, view pictures, read my blogs (some from my old myspace days, check out my links and have a great time checking out the most fantastic 6 years of my life as a rock photographer. Here is my blog of why I created this site. You all are a part of this!
When I started to put this website together, I found myself taking a 6 year journey from my first concert with my daughter, shooting with a point & shoot digital camera to standing in the photographer’s pit for numerous years at Warp Tour. I went back to myspace and looked through my earlier albums, read my blogs (many of which I have reposted on this site), gathered up the testimonials bands and others had sent to me for my myspace page. I remembered the first time I was called mom by Craig Mabbitt. I remembered when I had been coined BTFMom. I remembered the painful drama when Craig was sent from BTF and ended up with ETF. I remembered so many things, and I knew I needed to create this site not only for me but also for you, the bands; for you, the fans; for you my friends, who have supported me and the bands and each other.
I don’t believe we choose our creative gifts. I believe our muse does, and I’ve gone from being a folk singer (we’re talking way back in the 60’s/Joan Baez status), to a poet (true emo before the word emo existed), to a novelist of gothic suspense, to a painter of landscapes and still life, to a photographer of everything. The happiest I’ve been has been as a photographer, and most particularly a rock photographer. Never in my life have I ever felt so alive, so privileged, so active in sharing my creative gift with all of you.
I remember recently I had gone to photograph a band, and I had stepped outside to get some air…This girl was side-mouth talking to her boyfriend, but they were staring at me.I asked her if I could help her, and she said somewhat sarcastically, “do you really like this music?” I guess someone’s who’s 61 couldn’t possibly right? Wrong. I said, “Yes, I do. I listen to it everyday…I love it…I photograph bands whose music I covet.” After they were satisfied, they were like, “can you introduce me to so and so in such and such a band that way playing that night? lol Wow, um, okay.
I really do listen to the music, and have to keep myself from rocking to it when I’m photographing, so I don’t miss the shots. I’ve stood in the pit listening to other photographers talk about how they don’t even know your music…I’ve heard them talk about oh yeah, give me the old days…these bands today…I don’t even understand them. My God, how can they photograph you without some kind of connection to you? I guess by then it just becomes a job…not a love affair. For me it is a love affair.
I duck surfers (sometimes not successfully) and waving guitars. I unwind your mic cords from around my lens. I wipe off the water you throw and spit at the audience. My back hurts. I’m dehydrated, I’m sweating to the point where I no longer wear eye makeup, because I just end up looking like a racoon. I’m hungry and after 4-6 hours of standing, I’m toast, but if I have a chance to catch up with you after the show, I’m going to. :)
Sometimes you wave to me. Sometimes you reach your hand out to me as you start your set. Sometimes you literally lean over and give me a hug. This is so valuable to me, because of the relationship we have created over time. I share my time with your fans waiting for you to come out. I take care of your fans when they friend me. I support you to them. I listen to their hearts. I try to get their messages to you. I care so much for them, because they care so much for you, as I care so much for you, and we all care about the music. I’ve made a lot of wonderful friends in some of you. People I can’t wait to see again. People I’ve helped with money (sadly not so much of that to go around anymore), and support, and emotional strength when yours was fading. I buy your music. I buy your merch. I promote the hell out of you when your show is coming up or your new album is coming out. I send you sup messages…and how’s it going,and when are you coming back East, so I can photograph you again. Some of you have been absolutely amazing back. This is an amazing blessing in my life…To be part of this world you all live in…AND I love every fucking minute of it (okay, maybe not being hit by surfers, because face it…OWWWW.)
I’ve traveled to Poughkeepsie, New Jersey, Long Island when I had work the next day, just so I could photograph you. I’ve taken days off from work just to work on your photographs (which I had to stop, because in this financial climate, I almost got fired…oops). I love what I do. After a full day of that “real job,” I love getting to the venue and photographing you. You’re all so amazing…So talented, so alive, and for the most part, you all are incredible people. Great, friendly, responsive, and truly appreciated.
In late 2010, I found I was having trouble keeping up…I had gained too much weight. One night I had come to shoot when I had been sick. It was a really tough night for me. Two of you stayed by me the rest of the night after the show. You brought me water, texted my daughter, who was not at the show, to tell her you were taking care of me, and I was okay. You stayed close, and I was so touched that I mattered that much to you. Since that night I met my reality. If I wanted to continue photographing you all, I’d have to make some changes, and on February 7th of 2011 I committed myself to dedicated weight loss. It meant of course, I couldn’t do shows for awhile, and I couldn’t be out there being tempted to slip back…Since then I’ve lost 90 lbs…and God love you, when I see you now, your support and love keeps me resolved to complete this effort…
When everyone believes that all bands are filled with egos, even as you grow bigger, there are so many of you out there who have stayed honest and grounded. These are the people I am closest with. It’s not just my being there for you. You have been there for me. I want to thank you for that.
In the time I have been putting this website together, I have thought a lot about the last 6 years. I have mourned the bands that have broken up, bandmates who have chosen to go on another path (thankfully a lot of us are still friends), and I have wrapped my arms around those who are becoming bigger and better and God, I love their success. I understand their sacrifices, and I don’t know how they do it living in close quarters, pissing in soda bottles, unable to take showers, or eating food out of cans…When you’re sick, have toothaches, get hurt at a show…YOur resilience is amazing…Your love of what you’re doing is mesmerizing…What I experience at a show is nothing compared to what you experience on a daily basis while on tour…I respect you for your dedication to your muse.
This for me, is a labor of love. It’s not just about photographing you, although I love that so much…My muse goes crazy when I’m in the pit, or working at my computer editing the pictures. It’s also about friendship, loyalty, mutual respect for our gifts…
I’ve walked away once or twice from this for my own reasons that some of you are aware of and I’m not going to go into those reasons here, but you always bring me back… and I’m always happier when I’m back…Maybe this is actually where I’m supposed to be…With all of you, Photographing you, spending time with you, presenting you with awesome pictures, being a small part of your creative lives…to some being mom…to others, just being friends, and to some, feeling like family.
I just want to close this by thanking you for inviting me into this world of yours. I know there are not many my age, who are so lucky to be able to be part of this with you. My daughter says I’m about 17 now instead of 61. I figure the only part of me that’s actually 61 is the physical toll shooting a show takes on me, but hell, I’ve heard 16 year olds complaining of the same thing. lol
Finally, I want to say something to the fans, some who have become my friends, some who also call me mom. You guys are amazing. You follow these bands and their music with so much support and love, and many of you have given me that same support and love. I feel so lucky. While many people my age are sitting at home watching TV, I’m out there interacting with all of you. What generation gap? You keep me young. You ask my advice, which I offer honestly. You also give me advice. Honestly, age has nothing to do with wisdom…That comes from the many experiences we have in our lives, and the types of hearts we have as people, and let’s face it, some of you have had such intense times in your young lives, and I am the first to say, I don’t know everything, and if I’m 90, some of you will know more then me. You’re there when I’m depressed, or happy or frustrated, because I didn’t get a photopass or there has been a real crisis in my own life. You comment on the photographs I’ve taken that I put up of the bands you love. You remark oh this one’s so hot, or sometimes, Anne, this is an awesome picture. This connection is something I truly value. Adults who don’t get you…they don’t spend time hanging out with you, sharing your music, your dreams, your thoughts. I get to…I love that.
Some of you have decided to photograph bands, because you’ve seen what I’ve done. It’s not for money…it’s for fulfillment. Recently a dear friend, who calls me mama, had her first concert shoot with a photopass. I stayed with her through texting for a few hours. lol…I coached her through the set, and it was awesome. I love that I can share what I’ve learned with others who have the same passion.
Other times, friends I’ve made through the bands will go to Warp and text me throughout giving me a blow-by-blow account of the bands in their state. It’s just so cool. And the bands have brought me into such close family-type relationships that they come to me, and I come to them with real-life issues…some of these people I’ve never met before in person, and yet the connection is there and sometimes outlives the bands.
Anyway, I’ve gone on and on. I want you to know that all of you have helped me to create this website with so many experiences that we have all shared together. I could not ask for a better life than I have right now, because of all of you. I will continue to do this as long as I’m able. You are all so important to me, and my muse and I thank you.
So I’m finally tackling my biggest block, and I’m forcing myself to finally learn Painter and finally use my Wacom tablet and stylus that I’ve had for many years…Guess I’m just finally ready. Today’s competitive project for myself is painting Mabbitt from my Warped Tour shoot from the photographer’s pit. Yesterday I painted a pear. lol I’m going to continue with this until I get it. I used to paint, and I miss it…What better way to now incorporate my previous painting skills with my photography. Wish me luck! It’s beastly hard for me, but hey, learning without difficulty isn’t learning at all. :)
Finally broke down and downloaded (legally yes) Falling in Reverse. lol
There are few words to define how deeply this is affecting me. When my husband Bill and I were in the midst of the bullshit that always goes with a growing relationship, her music got me through so much of it. I am crushed to hear of her death…If it was drugs…I hope everyone who’s fucking around with them, and you all know who you are, and we know who you are too, STOP. I don’t want to cry for anyone else who has gone that path. Please get help before you are the next name I hear about!