Behind the Lens with Edwina Hay
Capturing moments in a young artist’s life can come to define not only the way they are understood in the context of their present work, but also how they are remembered for the rest of their lives. While they might be comfortable in front of a microphone, tons of musicians get nervous with a camera in their face. It takes a special person to be able to make their subjects comfortable and coax personality out of them. The photographers featured in Pepsi.com's Behind The Lens series are the rockstars of the music photography world who go to the ends of the earth to get the perfect shot.
Brooklyn born and based photographer Edwina Hay lives and breaths to capture live music events. Over the course of a decade-long career, Hay has learned that the best moments happen in front of her camera at small, intimate venues, front and center at DIY shows, and in unexpected settings. While her passion drives her to the lesser-known venues, the roster of talent she’s captured is anything but marginal. Hay is currently one of the Photo Editors of Impose Magazine and her work has appeared on sites like Gothamist, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice and Spin, to name a few.
1. of Montreal
"I was amazed at Matt Dawson’s commitment to wearing a white furry hat on an extremely hot day in Brooklyn. This photo is one of my all time favorites and I’m still in awe, years later that despite the heat, he never removed that hat during of Montreal’s performance."
2. Janelle Monae
"Janelle Monae is a fantastic live performer. She was the selected by of Montreal to be the opening act for their spring tour in 2009 and this was the first time I had the chance to see her in person. She managed convert an entire room people unfamiliar with her or her music and captured this shot of her crowdsurfing over a group of new fans."
3. PJ Harvey
"PJ Harvey is one of my favorite artists ever so I was extremely grateful and nervous to take photos during her tour in support of her last album, Let England Shake. During the second song of her set, the screen on my camera completely died. I could hear the sound of my camera shutter but I wasn’t 100% positive it was actually taking images so I just kept shooting even though I was internally freaking out. Thankfully, everything went fine and I got my camera fixed shortly afterwards. Otherwise, this would have ended in many, many tears."
4. John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees
"I am not exaggerating about this but the California band known as Thee Oh Sees literally played just one note and a mosh pit immediately (and unexpectedly) broke out at this show. I managed to stay up front as long as I could to take photos of their performance despite everyone else around me going absolutely crazy. Before moving to the back of the room where it was quieter, I managed to get this great picture of Thee Oh Sees’ singer & guitarist, John Dwyer, that I’m quite proud of."
5. Tim Harrington of Les Savy Fav
"Music Hall of Williamsburg celebrated their fifth anniversary with a concert from Brooklyn band Les Savy Fav. I love seeing Les Savy Fav live since their frontman, Tim Harrington, does unpredictable things while the rest of the band plays as if nothing strange is going on in front of them. I really like this shot of a shirtless Tim wearing a mask surrounded by nothing but negative space."
6. Xavier de Rosnay of Justice
"Justice performed a DJ set for The Creators Project and I found it challenging to take pictures of the famous duo playing recorded music without the pictures being boring. I managed to catch a woman, who seemingly came out of nowhere, to light Xavier’s cigarette for him while he was spinning. This short moment ended up making one of my favorite images from that very long day."
7. Nolen Strals of Double Dagger
"Baltimore’s Double Dagger decided to call it quits and performed a final New York show at DIY venue Death by Audio in October 2011. I am really fond of this photo of the band’s singer, Nolen, smiling amongst the band’s happy, sweaty fans."
8. Ghostface Killah
"Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah headlined a show in celebration of Lyricist Lounge’s 20th Anniversary at Prospect Park in Brooklyn last summer. He performed songs from his extensive catalog and barely paused for breaks during his show. I ended up leaving the park a couple of songs before his set was scheduled to end and there was a still long line of people watching from the gate, patiently waiting to get into the concert to see Ghostface perform despite the park’s security guard telling some of them the show was essentially over."
9. Erykah Badu
"Erykah Badu and her band, The Cannabinoids, headlined the first day of the annual Afropunk festival. The photo pit for her performance was extremely packed and I’ve never experienced anything like it before. A gentleman to my left saw me struggling to take photos so he moved out of the way slightly so I could take a few shots. Once I got a handful of images of her, I thanked him for being so kind and left the cramped pit to watch her performance from the back of the park, which means that I unfortunately missed out on taking photos of her special guest Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def)."
10. Action Bronson
"Action Bronson walked out onto the Brooklyn Bowl stage dressed similarly as the artwork from his mixtape, Rare Chandeliers, the day after Christmas. This was the beginning of an absolutely bananas show and I am so happy I chose to cover it. Bronson even managed to bowl while performing one of his songs."
11. Mario Cuomo of The Orwells
"If you have long hair and move around a lot on stage, I absolutely cannot help myself from taking photos of just your hair. For this image, I like that I’ve managed to catch that second where Mario’s long blonde hair, while in motion, manages to completely hide his face."
12. Killer Mike
"Atlanta’s Killer Mike played an intimate show for mostly NYU students earlier this year. I took some great photos during his performance but this photo of him laughing with his arms crossed is a really great moment, especially since he had an extremely serious expression right before this shot was taken. After the show, he generously gave his time to pose for photos for anyone who asked him to."