Judging from the spirited flashing of iPhones at most events, the public is as engaged with that portable camera that rarely leaves the hands as the concert photographer. I was thinking about this at a recent Tenors concert at Massey Hall. Gone are the screaming body slamming security guards stationed in every aisle, there to prohibit that unauthorized capture. In with that performer/fan moment. I truly get that, having been subjected to every form of intimidation through the years.
I sensed a break from this at the Budweiser stage several years back when Carlos Santana implored the audience to photograph and video his concert and post on social media. Fans aside, there are those with access. Access through the years. Down front in the pit access. That’s where today’s podcast centres on. One of Canada’s most prolific concert photographers, Richard Beland.
I’ve served in the pits for 35 years and understand the rules of engagement, the art of the moment, the big capture, the sprint home afterwards, and that magic moment when an image jumps off the screen. I’m also a huge fan of those who spent the early years rolling up film, bathing, drying, and printing. It was rewarding and dangerous. Too many died of chemical exposure.
John Rowlands, Art Usherson, and David Leyes are Canadians who come to mind who, from this perspective, got to the heart of the moment. Usherson is on a level with the great Jim Marshall. Not just snaps, but Joni and Dylan, Gordon and the Hawk – intimate moments. It’s with great pleasure to witness the fine work of Canadian Richard Beland. Passion is imperative, and Beland is a fountain of ideas and expectations.
More on Richard Beland
Liss Gallery, a Toronto-based leader in contemporary art, has announced Richard Beland’s exclusive world premiere, showcasing his incredible collection of live music shots from May 14-31, 2022. The award-winning live performance and studio portrait photographer was in attendance at the official exhibit launch on May 14.
Internationally renowned for his vast body of work dating back to 1986, Beland will feature 55 prints available at Liss Gallery, displaying iconic musicians including U2, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Kiss, Dolly Parton, and The Rolling Stones, among many more. Having shot more than 3,000 shows in his career, including 100-150 The Tragically Hip concerts, Beland has enjoyed second-to-none access to shows as the exclusive tour and promotional photographer for The Tragically Hip and Nickelback. Beland has also photographed 11 Glastonbury Festivals, 2 Woodstock Festivals, and several Lollapaloozas and Edgefests. Beland’s range of work has captured candid and sentimental moments from musical legends that celebrated popular music’s depth and eclectic breadth.
Over the years, his photographic contributions have been recognized with numerous awards and nominations, including a Juno Award nomination in 2004 for Album Design of the Year in Gord Downie’s album, Battle of the Nudes. Beland has also received the distinction of a Canadian Country Music Award for his work in Jason McCoy’s Greatest Hits CD, and a Canadian Country Music Award nomination for his photographs within Johnny Reid’s album Kickin’ Stones. Beland’s photographs have also made appearances in well-known publications, including Rolling Stone, SPIN, Mojo, Kerrang!, People, and Maclean’s.
Following a 5-year stint of shooting shows at the Casino Rama Resort, Beland has been the in-house live music and VIP Meet and Greet photographer at Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort since 2007, where over 200 of his photographs are on display in a “permanent gallery” backstage and across the walls of the theatre lobby. Currently, Beland is a tenured professor for the Digital Photography Program at Lambton College, a program he specially designed and created for the institution.