Piper Ferguson has photographed a ridiculous number of incredible bands, capturing their essence in her own unique way. I ran into the LA photographer at SXSW in Austin and realized a visual preview of Coachella would be a great way to spotlight her work. She tells us some stories and shares some of her favorite shots below.
1. The Swell Season – I’ve been fortunate enough, thanks to Howard Greynolds, to travel with Glen and Mar documenting many special moments they’ve had. This photo was taken of them as they opened their show at Radio City Music Hall last January. It was an epic night and Glen’s singing will leave you gob smacked.
2. The Black Keys – Went to Akron, Ohio in a snow storm to shoot these 2 sweet guys for Mojo. Saw them at CMJ ages ago, Coachella, Wiltern, etc. it’s so exciting to watch them explode into this super band, with only 2 of them (and a lil help from Danger Mouse! 😉
3. What can I say, Elbow and their music mean a lot to me. This shot was taken in 2002 and I remember I had a pretty crazy night before the shoot, so it was very relaxing to sit around pool side at The Roosevelt just snapping them hanging out. Guy’s music, lyrics and their arrangements honestly slay me, adore Elbow.
4. Animal Collective – This was a band I was asked to shoot for Mojo that I hadn’t seen or heard yet. I quickly did the portraits, then photographed their show at the Troubadour. It was a treat to see them in such a small venue. I had NO idea they were one of the most innovative, creative, artistic bands with incredible energy. I totally wish I could have seen the gig before the shoot, changes ideas.
5. Kele – I’ve seen Bloc Party play everywhere — from Spaceland, a warehouse party at SXSW in 2004, a couple times at Coachella. It’s great to see Kele playing on his own, expanding his universe! He ran past me back stage at Coachella and I watched him go by, then suddenly he came running back, waved at me with a big smile and then took off. That’s how he is..;)
6. Mariachi El Bronx – I photographed The Bronx for Swindle magazine many moons ago as The Temptations. It was so hilarious and fun. Then last year, Kerrang asked me to photograph Mariachi El Bronx at SXSW and I didn’t know it was the same band. These guys could totally hold their own in a variety sketch comedy music show for HBO.
7. The Kills – I have a lot of live photos of The Kills I’ve taken over the years, but I particularly love this one because it’s taken in back of the Mojave tent at Coachella where they were watching a band. They are such a fierce live band and this photo – to me – is so sweet and vulnerable of them, like they are fans just there to enjoy the show.
8. Kanye – This was the first time Kanye played Coachella, in 2006. I remember thinking “why is Kanye playing this cool, low key, indie festival?” I get it now. He may mess up sometimes but he’s like Jay Z, no matter what you’re into, you can’t help but love him.
9. Broken Social Scene – I met them through Director Edgar Wright when he told me they were doing the music for Scott Pilgrim and he took me to see them. It was at Sunset Junction and they played incredibly. Filter Magazine wanted to do their first horizontal cover with them in Toronto so I jumped to do it. I called it my indie rock Vanity Fair shoot.
10. The Strokes – This photo was shot at The Troubadour in 1999. I remember Joe Strummer asked me to introduce him to Julian, so I did and I have a photo of them somewhere. The gig was insane. I was shooting a random note for Rolling Stone and they didn’t’ want to do it because they were having so much fun — as you can see by the photo. Finally, by about 2am, I was able to coral them in the booth and get some shots.