From The Song, To The Show: Photographs by Daniel Coston
A song comes from many places. An passing idea, a simple phrase, or a strong emotion. Or just the need to talk about what is moving you, at that moment. From there, a song goes through many stages. The idea can seem very concrete at the time of writing, but its presentation can change drastically when the song is being recorded. Other musicians, producers and engineers can put something of themselves in someone else's song, altering the course of that initial creation. Finally, the song reaches the performance stage, where one voice shares the song with any number of ears. And then, the journey begins again.
In fifteen years of photographing musicians, I have seen a song begin, change and emerge in all three of those stages. There is a purity to the process of creation that still excites me, and still makes me want to document it. Along the way to the stage, there is also that time before the show when the artist is waiting to go on. Some musicians talk to fans, others look for quiet time backstage. While this stage of the process is a waiting game for some, it is nonetheless another stage in the cycle of music, creation and presentation. And as a photographer, it is another moment to document a musician at work, and preparing for the work ahead.
This show is dedicated to all of these stages, and to tie all of these collected moments, ideas and places back together. I have been lucky to work with a large variety of musicians, and watch how they would take their songs from scribbled notes in homes and backstage areas, to singing those songs for thousands of people. I have seen the Avett Brothers at some of their earliest shows, and witnessed the final shows of Johnny Cash, and Guided by Voices. I have photographed Jonathan Richman backstage, when he didn't even care why I was there, to having Pinetop Perkins stare me down when he didn't know who I was. Through all of this, I witnessed the creative stages of many of artist, and their experiences became part of my own. Because the songs, and the subjects, had an impact on my life, just like those songs have reached many other listeners.
Here's to all stages. Enjoy.
October 2, 2011