Burn Baby, Burn [or Nas & Jared get married]

I’ve reached a point in my life where if I’m not making images at a wedding as the photographer, then I’m most likely not involved in Wedding Photography at all. The reason is simple: most of my friends are married…with kids! In fact I’m more likely to be shooting a Bar or Bat Mitzvah of a close friend’s child. But when I do get to attend nuptials, I find it impossible to walk out the door with only my iPhone in hand. Much like the curse of being a concert photographer, I just can’t enjoy myself without a camera.

One of the most important things a photographer like any other artist needs to do is look to challenge oneself every day. So when I left for what promised to be the most unique wedding I would probably ever attend, I decided to travel small and light. But I did not leave myself without an arsenal of weapons. This made my choices for the night rather easy. I decided to take my favorite new toy: the Fujifilm XPro-2 with a 18mm f/2 prime lens. And to make sure I would have enough light, I grabbed my iBlazr. Although not a full frame camera, the XPro-2 renders wonderful skin tones and more than acceptable images up to ISO 6400. The 18mm f/2 lens allows me a wide image from essentially a pancake lens while also being relatively fast (ideal for low-light captures). And the iBlzr is one of the neatest gadgets I’ve picked up in the past few years. It would allow me a continuous source of light if needed (and it most certainly was at this affair!)

Dressed for a “Rocktail” party, my wife and I headed out the door for our 6:15 arrival time in Freeman Alley having only been given the time and location less than 48 hours before the event. Most people would find this a bit strange for a wedding. But then most people don’t know my close friend Jared. He is a world traveler and an ardent member of the Burning Man world. It was on his travels to the Far East two years ago that he met a wonderful young lady from Russia. And after a whirlwind romance around the globe, the man that many of us thought might never settle down, asked the love of his life to marry him. And none of our close friends who grew up together on Fire Island ever thought that this night could be anything less than monumental.

The alley dead-ends at Freemans Restaurant…that was not where we were going. But adjacent to the restaurant was the back entrance to The Box. And if you know anything about the venue, the Burning Man culture and my friend Jared…

My philosophy for photography is stated in the name of this blog. On any given day, anyone can be a Rockstar. Sometimes the person literally is one. Other times it is just a girl becoming a woman at her Bat Mitzvah or a little boy playing in the waves on the beach. And other times it is a couple like Anastasia and Jared who are made for this moment every single day.

I’m always hoping when I go to work to walk away with a few more than memorable images to make my clients happy. And when traveling “light” and going as a “spectator,” it feels really good to be able to give your friends and “extra” wedding present.


Mazel tov to Nas & Jared. The effort put into the details of your big day showed. May your love continue to burn brightly. And may you keep on rockin’ for many years to come.

You never know where you’ll end up [Or how one very cold day in Brooklyn turned into working for Jane’s Addiction and The Smashing Pumpkins]

By Marc Millman

The one thing that I always tell people when they ask me about becoming a photographer is that you have to follow your dreams. There is no question that you need to put in the long hours learning your craft. And, of course, these days everyone (myself included) wants to make it all about the equipment. But for all the hours you spend behind the lens and sitting at your computer culling and then editing images (the modern equivalent of the darkroom and light table), it is best to have some sort of endgame in mind. For me, that has been relatively easy to envision. I love music and people and I need to be able to convey the excitement of life through my imagery.

I shoot events such as weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs along with family photo shoots when I’m not out at night shooting concerts. My belief is that “anyone can be a Rockstar” at the right time in life. My goal is to convey that feeling in the work I present to the public. Musicians along with their managers and publicists seem to find my unbridled enthusiasm, yet laid back demeanor as the perfect combination with which to work. Ultimately though, I like to think that it’s just the way I see things which is influenced by all the time spent at the MoMAWhitney & Guggenheim museums as a kid and looking at my father’s Kodak 35mm slides.

In January 2014, I was hired to do a photo shoot with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe while they were in town for a weekend-long stand at the original Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg. It turned out to be one of the coldest days of the year and just after one of the many snowfalls we had that winter. I prefer to shoot outside since my portraiture is generally done with natural or available light. But this was a day that I knew we needed to be inside. Luckily my friend and possibly greatest ally, Rock impresario Peter Shapiro had a space nearby that was being used as satellite office space for both his newly expanding Brooklyn Bowls venues and Relix Magazine

I got to the location early to scout the space. The only person there was the booking agent for the Bowls. I asked him if he was excited about the new venue preparing to open in Las Vegas. He was very enthusiastic about how things were shaping up for the first run of shows. When I asked him whom he had so far, one name popped out at me: Jane’s Addiction. The band was set for a three night stand as a the first big name to play the venue. And even better, they would perform their classic album, “Nothing’s Shocking” in its entirety each night! My mind was abuzz with thoughts of what this would be like. I knew I had to be there. But first I had to shoot the Tiny Universe.

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We had a good time that afternoon. The band came decked out in black suits with white shirts. I captured some fun images including one I though of on the fly where I had them mimic the classic Madness album cover from “One Step Beyond…” They were even willing to go outside for a few clicks of the Nikon D4. I think being a Southern California band made the idea of snow exciting to them.

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When I got into the cab to head back to the City after the shoot, I sent a text to Pete thanking him for use of the space…and telling him that I heard about the Vegas shows and had to be there. He told me he would make it happen. The next few months passed quickly. And before I knew it, I was landing in New York from a week covering the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. I  then headed home to swap clothes out of my bag and spend a few hours with my wife and daughter before flying out to Sin City for three days with the man who created Lollapalooza and his band. I had no idea what was in front of me, but i was ready, willing and able.

After landing and checking into the hotel, I received a text telling me that I might not have access to the pit. This made my stomach drop out. How could I have been flown across the country to cover the first big shows at this incredible new venue and not be able to shoot the band from up close?! A few minutes later, I received another text from the production manager telling me to come over to the venue. When I arrived, I was told that the band’s manager wanted to meet me. My introduction to Peter Katsis took place backstage while Dave Navarro sound checked his guitar rig. Peter had asked the venue if they had a photographer in town they trusted. They informed him that I had just flown in for the shows. He explained to me that he had a few VIP guests attending opening night. He hoped to get some photos of them. There was a chance that they would even join the band backstage at some point for a picture. He also told me to have fun and gave me “All Access” to shoot from anywhere I wanted in the venue for the whole show each night.

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The VIP guests turned out to be Tommy Lee from Mötley Crüe and Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins.

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 And needless to say there were plenty of outrageous images from the three nights

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I returned from my Vegas trip and tried to settle back into my regular routine after almost two weeks spent in the Big Easy & Sin City shooting bands. Summertime for me generally means long stretches away from the craziness of New York City and concert stages. I choose to spend most of it with my family, on the beach out on Fire Island. But the experience of working the three nights in Las Vegas stayed with me. And towards the end of the summer, there was an announcement that Jane’s Addiction would be headlining the second CBGB‘s Festival in Times Square in October. I didn’t hesitate to reach out to Peter Katsis.

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That call landed me my first images run in Rolling Stone magazine and Billboard. And it happened simultaneously when the publications ran the above photo of Perry Farrell crowd surfing in the center of Times Square.

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It was another awesome set from an incredible live band. I could not have been more thankful to the band and the management for allowing me yet another great opportunity.

In late March of this year, I received an email from Peter Katsis asking how large I could print the image of Perry crowd surfing. After a little back and forth, I ordered a 30″x 45″ metal print and shipped it to him. When I checked back a few days after I received notification that it was delivered, his response was “can I get two more at the same size?” A moment later I received a separate email in which Peter asked if I was free to shoot The Smashing Pumpkins the following week at the Beacon Theatre. I checked the dates and confirmed the middle of the three nights, but only after requesting that I be given “All Access” to shoot the band from wherever I wanted and for the whole show. Besides the standard first three song rule which limits a photographer to no more than 15 minutes on average to capture the performance, The Beacon is notorious for pinning the photographers to the extreme left or right orchestra aisles since there is not pit to shoot from. It is nearly impossible to make a memorable image from those vantage points Knowing the type of imagery Peter wanted, I had to gain these concessions.

On the night of the show, I arrived at the stage door to meet Peter. I was greeted with a big smile and hearty handshake, handed an All Access laminate for the tour and told to have fun. That’s exactly what I had. The show was great. Billy had found these four incredible old theater backdrops. Each one was used for a section of the night to help set the mood. And unlike the early loud Alternative Rock they became famous for in the 90s, this show was acoustic-based. Billy and original drummer Jimmy Chamberlin were joined by current touring guitarist Jeff Schroeder and two female multi-instrumentalists. The audience was treated to a career retrospective including the second segment of the evening known as “The Siamese Suite,” which was made up of seven songs from Siamese Dream, the album that launched them to super-stardom.

I went home electrified by the performance and got right to work editing the images. I sent Peter a handful that night and more the next afternoon. He had requested I not post anything before he had a chance to review them with Billy. I waited several days and heard nothing. The radio silence had me crazed. Were the images bad?! I finally reached out and the response was that they loved them and would be back in touch shortly.

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The following Monday my phone rang. It was Peter with an idea. Could I fly to Chicago that Thursday? The band was playing a homecoming show at the Civic Opera House. My schedule was free that day. The arrangements were made and my flight information and hotel reservation arrived the following afternoon. The one thing that I wondered about thought was the reason for the trip. Sure it was the band’s hometown show, but the set was the same each night. And only extremely wide images of the almost 90-year-old theater would look any different form those shot in New York City. I had my sneaking suspicions, but nothing concrete to back them up. The week before playing the Beacon, the band played The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles only four nights after kicking off the current tour. And during the Siamese Suite, original guitarists and co-founder James Iha joined the band onstage. I couldn’t imagine any other reason to fly me to the Windy City.

On Thursday I arrived at O’Hare midday and settled into my hotel. After a little excursion wandering the city, I made my way to Gene & Georgetti Restaurant for a steak dinner. On my way to the venue my phone rang. Peter called to tell me that James would play and nobody knew. The crowd went wild when he walked onto the stage. There was incredible energy in the room and I felt honored to be asked to capture it. When the show was over I got to meet Billy and the band. He told me really loved the images from the beacon. He felt I captured what he was trying to convey to the audience. It was an incredible feeling to receive praise like that from an artist of his stature.

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A week later I was on my way to New Orleans for Jazz Fest. As it turned out, the Pumpkins were playing the beautiful restored Sanger Theatre my first night in town. And although shooting the local Funk legends, The Meters that night, the timing and location allowed for me to get a third round in with Billy and company.

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I’m currently working on an interesting long-term project involving both bands. In the next few months there are shows with Jane’s that I look forward to, as this time they will be playing 1990s’ Ritual de lo habitual in its entirety.

And after that, perhaps a return to Chicago… But in the meantime as I sit here editing another Bat Mitzvah for young woman whom shown like a Rockstar herself last month, I think back over the last 18 months and find this ride to be truly incredible.

It takes a lot of hard work, a completely unstructured schedule, very little sleep…and the love and support of my wife and the smile of my daughter to keep pushing forward. Combine that with a few allies like the two Peters and perhaps you can actually catch a bit of a break in this business known as Concert Photography. And as for those two other metal prints of Perry? One ended up being a birthday present for the man himself and the other is in the lobby of the William Morris Agency. You really never know…

If you are looking for a great photographer for your next event or concert click HERE


Killin’ It with Kate

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By Marc Millman

The last weekend of January and the first weekend of February found me in Westchester and Connecticut to capture Kate Leffler’s Bat Mitzvah. Kate’s mom has become a good friend of mine over the past year. We share both a feverish obsession with live music, and a general tendency toward insomnia; which means that while I spend late nights editing most of my shots, she is the ideal person with whom to converse via text! It was through one of these conversations that Andrea decided that I should be the one to capture their special day.

It is my belief that when you choose an event-photographer for any important occasion; be it a wedding, a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, a milestone birthday, or an anniversary celebration, you need to make sure that you and your photographer share certain aesthetic values. Every professional photographer has a particular style, so when choosing someone to shoot your special event, you should ask yourself whether that photographer’s style matches up with what you are looking for. As an example, I like to shoot in a “modified” photojournalistic style. I aim for a balance between capturing the essence of the moment as it unfolds, and creating photographable moments that capture the feeling of the celebration. In this way, I’m able to present clients with the wide variety of photos they expect from an important event.

I believe very strongly in “the moment”; something I learned from my father’s Kodak slides shot on his Nikon and Honeywell Pentax 35mm cameras during my childhood. That said, understandably, people want to see themselves in the best possible “light”. Although I am not a Photoshop specialist, and my images are not heavily retouched or altered, I will work to “fix” a handful of images if a client requests that. Again, it comes down to a shared aesthetic—the more “in the moment” a client wishes their photos to be, the more I’m able to shoot in my particular style.

My connection to Andrea and her husband, Michael, is easy. They are laid back and fun. They love live music. They love their children. And they love my work (in addition to the photos I shot at Kate’s Bat Mitzvah, they also own some of my music prints on canvas that hang in their home). Connecting on a personal level with my clients, and sharing a sense of how an event should be captured is, to me, a match made in heaven! And, when you add in a beautiful place to shoot at (Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, NY), and a great party at The Loading Dock in Stamford, CT, put together by Eric Schiff at ESP (including a surprise appearance by the Berean Community Drumline, lead by the Director of the Brooklyn Steppers) it really made for several great days of “Killin’ It with Kate!”


Four and so much more

By Marc Millman
Last week I shot six shows in four nights. I started on Wednesday up at The Capitol Theatre with the incredible Joe Satriani and finished back there last night for the amazing Ben Harper. In between I shot my friends in Early Elton , The Infamous Stringdusters: The Ladies & Gentlemen Tour special guest Nicki Bluhm of Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers the sensational Jon Batiste and Weezer.

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Tonight I start a run of five nights straight with All The WOO In The World: An All-Star Celebration Of Bernie Worrell”. The it’s The Smashing Pumpkins with Liz Phair. From The Beacon Theatre to Brooklyn Bowl for Dr. Lonnie Smith‘s “Evolution” at Brooklyn Bowl. Then it’s E-Moves up at Harlem Stage and then finally back to my passion project on Friday night with Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane & Rakim.
But on my day of rest, I shot my biggest Rockstar and her entourage.
My Daughter Julia Summer turned four a week ago. And to mark the milestone in her very young life, we threw a bowling party at one of Daddy’s “offices.” My good friend, the rock impresario Peter Shapiro was kids of enough to help me arrange an afternoon with Live music of The Beatles for the kids to dance to followed by bowling, Oyster shooters, ribs, fried chicken, hummus, friends, pizzas and burgers. The girls mainly lived out their inner fantasies with the outfits. The adults ate and drank really well. And we even bowled (Some of us much, much better than others).

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There was basically no crying other than Julia smooshing a finger between two bowling balls. There was a lot of laughing and a lot of love. We brought together friends from growing up whether that meant junior high school or camp and fused them to friends from Fire Island while throwing in the grandparents, an aunt, and a cousin. And on top we sprinkled Robyn’s school connections and Julia’s classmates. We were more than 30 strong. And we rocked it Hard.

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But now reality sets in. From raising money for an extremely ill groundbreaking Funk player to William Patrick Corgan and the Pumpkins. From Dr. Lonnie Smith’s spacey Jazz Funk grooves to Modern Dance moves in Harlem. And from a few of the biggest names in the history of Hip Hop Music with Rakim. Slick Rick & Big Daddy Kane through the Bat Mitzvah I shoot on Saturday, I expect that there will be no star bigger than my beautiful daughter. But that’s the way I look at every job that I am hired for.
So whether it’s a family photo shoot this spring in Central Park or during the summer on Fire Island, I want you to feel the excitement that exists when the lights go down in the arena and the band takes the stage. If you’re getting married, I want you to think that this is the biggest day of your life. But you know that you are ready to own the moment. And you can be confident that I am there to capture it with a little more flare than the average photographer.
Let’s be honest. We all can take a decent picture on a phone or our small DLSR camera kit we bought. But it doesn’t mean you really know how to use it. And for sure it doesn’t mean that you understand the rules of making images, the basic principals for shooting and editing and cropping to make a compelling image. But I do. In fact, it is really all I think about day and night.
So if you are looking to be blown away with your imagery in a less traditional way, then let’s have a conversation. I’m shooting almost non-stop until I leave for New Orleans for two weeks to cover the Jazz Festival. In fact, I’m even shooting a wedding down there. But I have plenty of time in May if not before to set something up. So whether it’s new head shots, Images for a new website, blow-ups for a Bat Mitzvah, wedding promotion images, an album cover, 50th birthday party, another 4th birthday or a wedding or Bar Mitzvah, I am here to help make it happen.
I am far from the cheapest guy out there. But I am a long way from the most expensive. And I think my work and my demeanor speak to what you can expect to get back if you follow me on social media. We will have fun. We will act a little looser. And we will work hard to get you images you will feel good about.
I can’t wait to get to next Sunday for my day of rest. I’ll be going to see Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour at Radio City Music Hall…to unwind my mind…and get inspired for whatever else comes my way this spring, summer and even fall.
This weeks’ images? You can either see them on this blog, Instagram or Facebook on an almost daily basis. Because after all, this is just a tuneup for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival that starts in 19 days!
Operators are standing by…

Low On Cash, RICH IN LOVE: a benefit for Eric Lindell & Family

By Marc Millman

When you can’t play a note, but music is practically all you think about, it’s most likely that if you make images, eventually you will be hooked on concert photography. Of course, this isn’t the 60s & 70s anymore. So most likely, you won’t get as lucky as William Miller in Almost Famous. The odds of anyone being a Cameron Crowe or Lynn Goldsmith is slim to none. So the best way to go about it is by gaining access the old fashioned way: trust.

No matter how diverse my tastes in music and no matter how many albums, CDs, tapes & mp3s I have, there are certain songs and certain artists like The Rolling Stones or Bob Marley that you keep going back to. For me, the first artist that I truly connected with on a deep personal level once I decided I was going to shoot live concerts was Eric Lindell.

The funny thing with Eric is that I can thank the iTunes Store for our friendship. Eric was a suggestion it made to me around the time that Alligator Records released Change In The Weather. From the first times I heard “Give It Time” and “Casanova” I was hooked. A few years later I saw him play at Sullivan Hall in the Greenwich Village. After the show, I went up and introduced myself. The next time he was back, we started hanging. In fact, it was on one of our earlier nights hanging out that I captured the image that became the cover to his West Coast Drifter album when we were just downstairs in the green room at Sullivan Hall laughing with a few friends and having a good old time. As Eric might say, everything was “Steady!”

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The unintentional album cover- Sullivan Hall (Fri 2/11/11)

Since then, I’ve done more album covers and promotional pieces for him. I’ve also become a friend of his family and he of mine. In fact two of my favorite images I’ve taken come from Eric and his family. The first was a shot I got as a ran to catch up to him after he played the Blues Tent at the New orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2011. As I ran out the back door of the tent after catching the first few songs by Gregg Allman, I rounded the corner towards the dressing room trailers and came upon Eric walking hand in hand with his young son Harlan. I knew the moment was right. All the pictures of him playing onstage could never convey the deep emotional response of a father and his child sharing a moment after the public spectacle of playing before a crowd of thousands and thousands.

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Hand In Hand: Eric & Harlan Lindell (New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival- Fri 5/6/11)

Last year after another great set, we were back at the same trailers sharing a few laughs outside. Eric’s wife Sarah was there with her father. Both their son Harlan and Eric’s older son Ellery were there as well. Sarah asked if I could get a photo of them. I said sure but hat someone had to go get Harlan who was inside the trailer. I ran in and he didn’t seem overly interested. I came up with the idea of how to let him stay inside and still get the image. Once again, I came away with one of my favorite family portraits

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Where’s Harlan?! (New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival- Thur 4/30/15)

We’ve had a lot of fun over the years now. I never tire of Eric’s singing. There’s something about the way he interprets old gems you never heard before or possibly did a long time ago but can’t figure out what song it is once he does his thing with it. The music is pure Americana. And E with his guitar in hand makes the type of sweet soulful sounds that bring a smile to his audience’s faces from the very first note.

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Hanging before Dragon Smoke (Tue 5/1/12)

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Eric’s Gibson Explorer (Maguire’s- Ocean Beach, NY- Fri 7/31/15)

Of course, life isn’t always fair. And around Thanksgiving this past year, I spoke to him on the phone. Sarah was pregnant, which we already knew. But they had run some tests and there were major issues with the baby. By Christmas they were leaving Florida and heading to Colorado where the Children’s Hospital of Colorado had the highest rate of success with the baby’s medical issues. And on March 2nd,Kay Chevalier Lindell (Baby K) named after his grandma  “Millie Kay Chevalier” arrived via an emergency C-section. Baby K is now in the hospital fighting for his life. And Eric and Sarah are transplanted with young Harlan to Colorado. The man who lives life on the road has been forced to choose his family over his craft because that’s what a loving husband and father does for his family. About two weeks ago, Eric’s close friend and band mate in Dragon Smoke, Ivan Neville and his girlfriend Ashley put up a fundraiser on the GoFundMe site to help the family out. And with short order, some big fans helped to put together a benefit show in Brooklyn at The Hall at MP.

Rich In Love: A Late Night Show to Benefit Eric Lindell & Family took place as Friday night, March 25th melted into the early hours of Saturday. A crew of Eric’s cohorts from the Asbury Park area where he has established a Jersey Shore stronghold joined Scott Sharrard, American Idol contestant Elise Testone, the Bonerama horns, Seth Walker & Davell Crawford. Marco Benevento & Dave Dreiwitz even dropped in to jam straight from their Joe Russo’s Almost Dead gig at the Brooklyn Bowl. With less than two weeks of planning and almost no rehearsal a beautiful night of music was put together for fans to come and celebrate the Lindells and help raise more money for the cause.

Rich In Love: Seth Walker with Elise Testone “Give It Time” 

Seth Walker sings Eric’s “Lay Back Down”

Marco Benevento sings “Why Can’t We Be Friends”

My hope is that people will read this post. If they don’t know Eric and his music they will check it out and deeply connect as I once did. And if not that, perhaps the human spirit will move you enough from this awful story to help the family out anyway. At the moment the family may feel like they are Low on Cash, Rich In Love as his 2008 album was named. But ultimately, we are all praying that if they give it time, things will get better…

Remember, you can donate to the cause here. And I am donating 25% of profits made from the sales of my images of Eric between now and the week after Jazz Fest (May 8th, 2016). You can look at all my work with Eric here.

The luckiest guy I know

By Marc Millman

Today I turn 48. I can’t say that this is a milestone in any way other than the fact that I am now a year older than I was 365 days ago.

Life is interesting. I can’t say that, like many people I completely envisioned where this crazy joyride I’ve been on would take me. Like my parents, I’ve always been a “people person,” but having more friends and acquaintances than I can possibly account for is meaningful. However, in the grand scope of things, it doesn’t matter as much as having a successful business, gaining the respect of your peers, sharing the love from your family and thankfully finding yourself to still be in relatively good health as “the Big 5-0” starts closing in on you.

It’s been particularly hard lately to see several friends suffer losses and major health issues within their families. So, what I think about today is that I always assumed I would have a family. And I always hoped I would enjoy what I do for a living. And somehow both have come true. As a former redhead (one of the unfortunate things about getting older), I always had a thing for redheads. And now I find myself living with two redheaded beauties who care more about me than I ever thought anyone would. And I could never have envisioned how strong my bond to Robyn & Julia is. When I add to that the life I’m leading: shooting musicians and making friends with many of them, I feel like William Miller in Almost Famous. And I’m not sure what could mean more other than still having my mother alive. And of course being able to get back a few friends and loved ones who didn’t make it this far along in life would really be something special.

So, now that I’ve pontificated about a whole lot of nothing for a change, I leave you with a photo gallery of some great birthday memories over the past 48 years. Some were “directed” by me. But most were captured by my father, my wife or my friends. So remember that even a good photographer needs an extra set of hands every once in a while.My 3rd b'day in FloridaMy 4th birthday party (March (1972)_December 05, 20150017My 5th birthday party (March 1973)_December 05, 20150003My 5th birthday party (March 1973)_December 05, 20150024My 6th birthday party (March 1974)_December 05, 20150004My 40th birthday  some of the guysMy 40th birthday (the BT girls)My 40th birthday blue ribbonMy 40th birthday cakeMy 40th birthday me & lahooMy 40th birthday posterMy 40th birthday robyn & her parentsMy 41st birthday with Dad & RobynMy 41st birthday with RobynMy 42nd birthday cakeMy 42nd birthday kissMy 42nd birthdayMy 46th birthday dinner with Robyn & Julia Flex Mussels (Fri 3 21 14)_March 21, 20140043-Edit-EditMy 47th birthday (Sat 3 21 15)_March 21, 20150076-EditMy 48th birthday celebration (Sun 3 20 16)_March 20, 20160007-Edit

And of course, please remember that even on bad days, there are probably people in your life that have it somewhat worse. So send good vibes to them….and get ready for  my 50th birthday blowout in two years (because I’m definitely topping the 30th & 40th celebrations)!!! It’s going to be rocking!

Until then, I’ll see you out at a concert. And you can follow my adventures on this blog, on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.

[A small] Affair to Remember

By Marc Millman

For the Saturday night of New Year’s weekend, an existing client hired me to capture her second marriage. The wonderful small ceremony and reception took place in Westchester at the Bedford Post Inn located in the beautiful town of Bedford, NY. This beautiful historic property was first built upon in the 1860s. It was rescued almost ten years ago by local celebrity Richard Gere and some friends. In addition to the eight luxury rooms in which to stay there are also two restaurants overseen by Chef Michael White.

Mara & Frank were going to tie the knot in a small non-traditional ceremony (she is Jewish and he is from a large Italian family) followed by a cocktail hour for around fifty guests and then a sit-down dinner at two large farm tables. Unlike her older son Jack’s Bar Mitzvah, which I photographed a year earlier, this was not a “party.” This was an elegant & simple “celebration.”

What mattered to Mara & Frank was that I was there to capture images of four elements:

  • The immediate family before the ceremony
  • The wonderful ceremony itself
  • The cocktail hour with their closest friends & family
  • A “snapshot” of the dinner

Not all weddings have over 200 guests. And more and more brides these days seem a bit less concerned about images of themselves getting ready. For me, it makes no difference. My goal is to use my unique style that blends the feel of photojournalism with my unique style of Live Concert Photography imagery. And most important most of my clients and myself is that I blend into the background unless specifically requested [you can see Mara’s kind words here].

Wedding season is just around the corner. This snow will melt. The trees will turn green again. Flowers will bloom. People will walk down the aisle to say I do. But whether it’s a large wedding under a tent in July or an intimate one inside an old bard in January, I would love to have a conversation with you about the imagery that you will cherish for years to come. And even more importantly, I hope that we can build a relationship that leads to my sharing in more than one special day in your life


Mannish Boy[s]…or how Girls become Women and Boys become Men (Bar/Bat Mitzvahs: the Best of 2015)

[Editor’s note: this is not a post about the legendary Muddy’s Water’s Mannish Boy. I only wish I had been able to shoot legends of the Blues like him. This post is about one of the most important Jewish traditions]

Since this blogging thing is new to me, it’s going to take a little time in order to attempt to catch up with myself. After culling and then editing almost every individual job I shot in 2015 (this includes my passion project, otherwise known as my daughter, Julia Summer), I am down to almost 56,000 images kept from the last year. Bear in mind that, in general, I keep only about 25% of what I actually shoot. So, like most working photographers in the age of the DSLR, there is an awful lot to consider when trying to put your “best foot forward.”

For me personally, the goal is always – less is more. It’s something that I talk to many potential clients about in what I consider the “interview.” At some point during this initial conversation, I am almost inevitably asked how many “photos” they will get back. The first thing I tell them is that I will never be held to a specific number. I let them know that the “images” they see will represent the very best of what I captured during their big day. I then go on to explain that my ultimate goal is to give them back a selection of images that they can then manage. To me, this means that when it comes time to select a few choice images for prints and then tackle the larger task of putting together an album, they can actually get through the task without needing Ritalin!

I want you to enjoy reviewing your images as much as you did the actual event. And to me, too often we, as professional photographers, are guilty of giving you too much to process in a meaningful way. If I’ve done my job correctly, you won’t be asking if there are any other images with your Great Aunt Trudy or an alternate image of your husband’s side of the family, where his older brother is smiling and not making that face you warned me he always makes.

But in the case of the Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah or B’nai Mitzvah, the real goal is to make sure that my budding Rockstar is the focus of the day. However, with my style of shooting, it’s not about a lot of intensive time spent with them during the day. If we’ve done a shoot before the big day, that’s a different story. But when the “House Lights” go down and the “Stage Lights” are turned up, I want this young person, who has now entered adulthood in the Jewish religion, to feel like this is his/her moment to shine. The images in the gallery below represent the best of what I captured on these days last year. It was my busiest year yet with 13 year olds. And although some of these images are of random guests and other family members, this is mainly about your Rockstar in action

[You can see my complete Bar & Bat Mitzvah portfolio here]

The New Year is shaping up nicely. I have really fun Bar & Bat Mitzvahs lined up. There are great themes that will lead to wonderful images for the families. But I still have plenty of openings. Are you ready to let your child shine in the Limelight?

My Top Five of 2015

By Marc Millman

By no means is this meant to be a homage to last year’s, very funny, Chris Rock comedy, Top Five. As the 2015 draws to a close, I wanted to look back at all the live music that I shot and honor a few shows that really stuck out. I think it’s important to say that I stand on no pretense here. So, I’m not really concerned with the actual rankings. As I write this post, I am going with what comes to mind first. These were the shows that captivated my thoughts for quite some time after I left these various venues, went home to decompress and finally edit the images.

Some time around the summer of 2013, I discovered a great YouTube channel called OurVinyl. It is one of several “music stations” that you will hear me mention over time. The channel led to my discovery of some great bands and fantastic covers [which are going to get a special posting of their own shortly…]. One of the first bands I heard was from Birmingham, Alabama. With a performance of “Call Me” from their first full-length album, St. Paul and The Broken Bones were on my radar….barely. The song came up fairly frequently during the second half of that year in one of several playlists I created. But I never heard anything else about them.

In the Spring of 2015, the night shows held during The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival started to populate The Jazz Fest Grids. I saw St. Paul’s name pop up for a show at Tipitina’s. And almost immediately, it was sold out and followed by another. I had to shoot this band. Let’s just say, Paul Janeway and his band BLEW ME AWAY! Their set is an infectious blend of their Southern Soul-tinged originals and covers that ranged from a fitting Otis Redding tribute to a mind-blowing cover of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” from his 1972 masterpiece, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Paul never stops moving on stage. And he goes from dancing like a possessed man at a Tent revival to pounding the floor on his hands and knees. It’s Rock theater in the grand tradition of The Who, Bowie, The Kinks. And it was awesome!

[You can see all of my images from this show here]

Who doesn’t like a good surprise? I love when I catch wind of a show just beforehand. Then I’ll quickly scramble to figure out who to speak with in order to secure permission to shoot. Hopefully, I can arrange my schedule accordingly. These become the gems which make me snicker to myself every time I think back on how close I came to missing out.

When the great keyboard player, Brian Mitchell posted on Facebook that he was in the midst of a residency at the Cafe Carlyle with Buster Poindexter, I knew that I had to get there. The Carlyle Hotel is right in my neighborhood on the Upper East Side. It’s an incredibly intimate and elegant setting in which to catch live music. And I knew that local legend, David Johansen would not disappoint. I was right. The set was a mix of The  Great American Songbook, Blues classics, and of course it included an encore of his 1987 hit cover “Hot, Hot, Hot.” I remember seeing David open for The Who on their 1982 North American Farewell tour. The New York Dolls‘ frontman was electrifying then. And more than 30 years later in his bespoke suit, he still is.

[You can see all of my images from this show here]

Everyone has their true favorite. You may not listen to them all the time. And perhaps there are artists you actually tend to listen to more often. But at the end of the day, when it’s just you and your album collection with nobody around, they are the band you put on and turn up loud. And just like William Miller in Almost Famous, when the needle hits the vinyl and I hear that combination of Townshend‘s guitar over the manic fills of Moon and the thundering bass lines of The Ox with Roger singing over the top, I know there is nothing better than The Who.

Ok, so this one qualifies for Bucket List status…with several asterisks. Yes, I am well aware that two out of four does not make for the band. And yes, I admit that having seen them several times since that very same 1982 tour on which both Johansen and The Clash were openers, this current 50th anniversary celebration is not truly the band I fell in love with the first time I heard them perform “My Generation” on The Kids Are Alright soundtrack from The Smothers Brothers show. However, when the tour was announced and a show was put on sale for the former site of the US Open Tennis Tournament, I knew I had to shoot this! The tour was all larger arenas. And I knew this night, in late May, would prove to be an ideal one for capturing Roger & PT.

[You can see all of my images from this show here]

Sometimes you watch an artist over a period of years and wonder when exactly everyone else is going to realize that they are in the presence of greatness. The music of New Orleans has gained popularity both nationally and around the world since Hurricane Katrina almost wiped The Big Easy off the map in the summer of 2005. The displacement of the city’s residents led to pockets of musicians ending up in places like Texas, Atlanta & San Francisco. But The Big Apple, in particular, seemed to become a hotbed of activity for these Funk, Jazz, Blues, Soul and Rhythm & Blues artists. And it seems that the effects of this weather event may have combined with the cultural shift that took place when David Letterman retired from The Late Show and turned it over to Stephen Colbert.

With Dave stepping down came the end of what was once known as the World’s Most Dangerous Band. Stephen was free to hire his own bandleader and band. And what he did was go out and recruit the extremely talented Jon Batiste and his band Stay Human. Shortly after the announcement was made, Jon played two of what he calls “Love Riots” around New York City. In early June, Jon assembled the band on the corner of North 7th & Bedford in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn around 5:30pm. Like the Pied Piper playing the Melodica, he led a group of fellow musicians, friends, fans and locals swept up by the Second line-styled march down Bedford to McCarren Park. I had less than two hours notice to get to Brooklyn. The surprise made a beautiful early summer night that much more unforgettable. And my first trip to The Meatball Shop afterwards was the perfect ending to a perfect New York night!

[You can see all of my images from this show here]


On what most consider to be the absolute final night of what is loosely referred to as “Jazz Fest week” in New Orleans, local Soul/Blues/Country/Rock stalwart, Eric Lindell asked his good friend from Baltimore, Cris Jacobs to join him at the Circle Bar. The two singer-songwriters traded songs and accompanied the other during two intimate sets filled with a few originals and a whole lot of interesting covers.

Here’s a playlist featuring videos I shot during the set. I love the intimacy of the room. But it is possibly the darkest place you could ever try to take a photo. Without a flash, it is practically impossible. And flash is never favored by artists or their audiences for the distractions it can cause. In a case like this, I can only say that having these men as close friends allowed me to pop off a few properly lit frames. I’m glad that I did. What felt like so much fun to those in attendance on their “last legs” after another fantastic festival, turned out to be amongst the best of the performances of the year. Lindell is always out on the road sharing his brand of Americana with the masses. And Cris, since leaving The Bridge in 2011, plays with his own band. He now has a project with Ivan Neville called Neville Jacobs for which they are trying to fund the album recording through this Indiegogo campaign. I suggest checking out either artist whenever they come to a town near you.

Eric Lindell & Cris Jacobs Circle Bar (Mon 5 4 15)_May 05, 20150015-Edit.jpg(A few other images can be found on my Instagram feed)

That was the best of what I saw this year. I could have expanded the list. But shorter seems sweeter. However, I’d be remiss now if I didn’t mention two other great nights, which took place in a relatively short period of time at City Winery. The Southern Soul Assembly is four singer-songwriters performing their own version of VH1’s Storytellers. The combination of Marc BroussardLuther DickinsonJJ Grey & my friend Anders Osborne on the weekend after Thanksgiving was perfect. The proof is in these two clips: Luther performing a beautiful instrumental and JJ ending the show with his gorgeous Lochloosa.

[You can see all of my images from this show here]

Steve Earle has a charity that raises money for the special school his autistic son, John Henry attends. And with the help of friends like The Dukes, The Mastersons, his other son Justin Townes Earle and the quintessential singer-songwriter of the 1970s, Jackson Browne, the liberal Maverick played a four hour rehearsal show at the Winery for the following night’s official fundraiser at Town Hall. The show was comprised of sets by each artist. Steve came out during Jackson’s short set to cover “Cocaine.” The night ended with Jackson joining Steve and the current version of The Dukes, that includes The Mastersons, for a rollicking take on his classic, “Take It Easy”.

I caught about 200 different shows this year. I think this Top Five with two additional “honorable mentions” really shows the breadth of what I am looking for when I’m out in clubs, arenas and festivals across the country. I can’t say for sure where 2016 will find me. I do know that I’ll be back in New Orleans for the Festival. And I know I’ll be shooting Bar & Bat Mitzvahs and weddings all winter and Spring. Eventually it will be summertime again which means family portrait shoots on the beach.

Some of my Rockstars play Gibson Les Pauls or Fender Strats. Others pass from boy to man or girl to woman. And still others tell their true love “I do.” To me they are all the same. I may not know their full story before they meet my lens, but after a little “dance,” we’re hopefully in tune. I hope that my desire to constantly see who else is out there playing leads to another interesting roster for the year. This will help inspire new images made with my subjects outside the Limelight. And that in turn should make for another great post or two in about 365 days.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy & rocking New Year!

Merry Christmas [or Happy Holidays]

No matter your religious beliefs (or lack thereof), Christmas Day is a time of traditions. For some it’s presents under a tree. For others it’s a movie and Chinese food!

For The Millmans, it’s always meant skiing at Stratton, VT. Of course when it’s 54 degrees on the mountain after a few days of rain and virtually no snowfall so far this season…it means just hanging with the family in the Green Mountains as you’ve done for more than thirty years.

When your plans were to get your three and a half year old started on skis, this El Niño weather can be a bit of a bummer (at least to a Portrait & Event Photographer dad looking forward to those photographs of his little snow bunny on the slopes for the first time). Fear not, Julia wasn’t in the least bit phased or upset. And a morning spent playing with her new Lego Duplo set made any thoughts of glory on the trails fade away for all involved parties.

So, the day was spent checking out a mountain with about as much snow on it as there is currently in Central Park. That was followed by a viewing of possibly the greatest children’s television special ever (Free To Be You And Me). And before dinner with Grandma & Grandpa…Daddy had to get his “money shot” for the Holidays.

While everyone else relaxed by the fire, I scrambled around on the back deck like Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation untangling Christmas lights and prepping. And then as light rain started to fall, Mommy was able with the small bribe of a choice for dessert to get my little redheaded muse to join us on the back deck.

Julia Summer Millman - Year 4 Day 276 (Fri 12 25 15)_December 25, 20150033-Edit-Edit-Edit-Edit.jpg

Wishing everyone the very best at the holidays. No matter what you celebrate, no matter who you are with, I hope they light up your world, put a smile on face and make it a better place!