Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Here's The Info On Our Next CLT 60s Rock & Roll Reunion

Hello All. Here's the venue page for our annual Charlotte 60s Rock & Roll Reunion, happening this year at the Neighborhood Theatre on June 27th. We've got the Bondsmen, featuring Phil Lee, reuniting for the first time since 1970, and the Mod VI, playing their first Charlotte show since 1969. We've also got the fabulous Mannish Boys, and one more killer band that we hope to announce shortly. Spread the word.

February 25, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

JD McPherson photos, Charlotte, NC, February 22, 2015

JD McPherson
Visulite Theater
Charlotte, NC
February 22, 2015
photos copyright 2015 Daniel Coston

Chita Rivera photo, Charlotte, NC, Feb. 22, 2015

Chita Rivera
McGlohon Theater
Charlotte, NC
February 22, 2015
photo copyright 2015 Daniel Coston

Friday, February 20, 2015

Ryan Bingham photo, Charlotte, NC, February 19, 2015

Ryan Bingham
Visulite Theater
Charlotte, NC
February 19, 2015
photo copyright 2015 Daniel Coston

Monday, February 16, 2015

Review of American Aquarium Show That Features My Photos

February 16, 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Thought For The Day

The world is a strange place. The friends and loved ones we treasure are often too far away, and problems are just a phone call or email message away. Hold on to, and stay in touch with those you love, wherever they are. It may take a minute to reach them, but reaching out can sometimes mean a lifetime to them, as well as you.
February 15, 2015

Briarhoppers Book On News14 Carolina

Hello All-

My thanks to all of you that saw me yesterday on News14 Carolina, talking about my book on the WBT Briarhoppers. You can check out the book on Amazon here-

You can find all four of my books, which includes our books on Fort Canoga Press, and other projects I've been involved with on Amazon, by simply Googling my name. Thanks,
February 15, 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ancient Cities photos, Charlotte, NC, February 13, 2015

Ancient Cities
Neighborhood Theatre
Charlotte, NC
February 13, 2015
all photos copyright 2015 Daniel Coston

Friday, February 13, 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Charlotte 240

Hello All-

I'm happy to announce my involvement in Charlotte 240, a new exhibit series on the history of Charlotte, NC. Presented by the Charlotte Museum Of History, the show will feature ten articles written by me, and numerous photos from my archives. Some of these articles will be posted online soon at-

I'll post links when the articles get posted. The series will also be featured in the Museum in May, and October. Thanks, and more soon,
February 12, 2015

JMSN photo, Charlotte, NC, February 11, 2015

Neighborhood Theatre
Charlotte, NC
February 11, 2015
photo copyright 2015 Daniel Coston

Dom Flemons photos, Chapel Hill, NC, February 6th, 2015

Dom Flemons
Southern Folklife Collection
UNC-Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC
February 6, 2015
all photos copyright 2015 Daniel Coston

Glen Hansard photos, Charlotte, NC, February 9, 2015

Glen Hansard
Knight Theater
Charlotte, NC
February 9, 2015
all photos copyright 2015 Daniel Coston

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Posed Photos From 2014

All photos copyright 2014 Daniel Coston

Top to bottom-
Dean Torrence
Carolina Chocolate Drops
Procol Harum

February 5, 2015

Jayhawks Live Photos, Charlotte, NC, October 21, 2014

Neighborhood Theatre
Charlotte, NC
October 21, 2014
all photos copyright 2014 Daniel Coston

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Interview I Did For A College Student's Paper In 2010

What does it mean to you to have been the last person to photograph Johnny Cash before he died?

Coston: I actually photographed the last shows he ever performed, two months before he passed away. They were also his last public appearances, and the only ones he did after June Carter Cash died. I know a couple of his family members and friends took photos (candids, pretty much) of Mr. Cash after I did. So I'm not the very last person, but I was there to document an amazing time near the end.

I'm very proud to have been there, especially since I was invited by the Carter Family to do so, and my photos were then used by Mr. Cash's people, and they still showed up in print. The last interview he did with Time Magazine (a month before he passed), featured my photo. For someone who first read about him and the Carter Family in a comic book while living in upstate NY when I was nine years old, it's a pretty amazing thing to have been a part of. (FYI, I'll be doing a show of the Cash photos in Charlotte in March and April.)

You are currently located in Charlotte, what is it like working in the city’s music scene?

Coston: The scene is good, and the venues in town have been pretty supportive over the years. People seem to know me for my photos, which is nice. I've never seen myself as a Charlotte photographer, to be honest. Early on, I learned to look just beyond your immediate circle, and search out other things in other places. For many years, I tended to work everywhere but Charlotte, as bands in other cities would hire me to shoot them. It's been nice to work more in Charlotte the last few years, but I've always thought of myself as a photographer that lives in Charlotte, as opposed to being a Charlotte photographer.

How often do you have to travel for work? How important is traveling to your career?
Coston: I travel as much as I can. Travels varies, depending on the gigs that come up, and how much work is going on in Charlotte at the time. Travel has been very important to my career. Very often, I went to the people I wanted to work with, and went from there. I often tend to be happier as a traveling photographer. Many of my favorite photographers were travelers, creating work as they went from place to place, and the romantic lore of the open road is something I still enjoy. 

How did you get started in photography and photographing musicians?

Coston:" I come from a film and video background, and occasionally still do video work. I was doing feature writing for a magazine in Charlotte, and the photographer was showing up less and less for my stories, so I started taking the photos myself. Within a week in September of 1996, I photographed the author Douglas Adams, and then photographed Farm Aid in SC. Around that time, I started shooting local bands, and all of them hired me for photos, because there were so few photographers in the scene at the time. And I figured out the rest as I went along.

In a digital age why do you still choose to shoot film?

Coston: Sad to say, I "went digital" about a month ago. While you do save a good deal of money on film, I was also ready to change the gear I was using, and the way I worked through the gear. That being said, I look forward to doing more B&W film photography, which I've been wanting to get back to for some time. B&W film still looks and feels like nothing else, and I've missed not shooting B&W on a regular basis.

The reasons I went with film for so long was that everyone was going digital crazy, and I felt that less was being focused on the quality of the work, and more on the "instant" nature of digital. You can look at the photo now? Great, but is it a better photo? I felt that my photos would look better on film, and I went with that. Especially in low-light concert settings. I still believe that, actually, and still often shoot film in those situations. One should always work through the medium they wish to work with, instead of being pushed into another because you feel like to have to. And I "jumped" on my own accord, and can jump back when I wish.

Exactly what role did you play in the creation of the Double Door Inn book? How does it feel to have been part of such an important piece of Charlotte’s history and the history of music?

Coston: I was the photographer, editor, and overall shepherd of the project. My friend, the late writer Debby Wallace, had the initial idea, and wrote the initial text. We both did the interviews for the book. I then edited and added to the text, and then Adam Roth and I worked on editing the photos, and shaping the book into what you see. I then was the go-to person for dealing with the publisher, and getting them to put the book out.

I'm very proud that we did the book, and that it's helped to draw awareness to the place. I always felt like somebody should do a book on the place, it just happened to be me that ended up putting it together.

What was the first band you ever photographed?

Coston: I took a photo with my dad's camera (the one I ended up using until recently) at my first ever concert, which was the Beach Boys at the NY State Fair, September 1983. My first show photos were of Joe Henry, at the now-defunct Sound Factory, near UNCC, in early 1996. The first big show that I ever photographed was Farm Aid, in September of 1996, and the first show I took under now-standard Big Show rules (first three songs, no flash) was U2 with Rage Against The Machine in May of 1997.

Do you ever take on interns or assistants? If so what qualities do you look for in an intern?

Coston: I haven't taken on interns, as I don't like to ask anyone to work for free. Coming out of the video field, everyone early on asks you to work for "experience," with the promise of maybe getting a paying job down the road. And I've never wanted to do that to people.

However, I did assist on video shoots for a short time before I got into photography, and I learned that the best assistants are ones that have things at the ready, and works with the photographer/videographer to get the job done. Assistants shouldn't get in the way, but be prepared to be another set of hands and eyes to the shoot.

If you could photograph anyone in music, past or present who would it be and why?

Coston: Beatles, Velvet Underground (White Light/White Heat era, especially), Benny Goodman in 1938, around the time of the Carnegie Hall concert, Frank Sinatra. Purely for the music, and the experience. I'm also a big fan of 1960s/early '70s garage rock, folk rock, and psychedelia, and while I've shot many of those bands in more recent times, I wish I could've seen them the first time around.

With the economy in the situation that it’s in, has your work been affected? If so, how has it been affected?

Coston: Yes. Bands are doing less stuff. Labels are relying more on free photos that other photographers send in, or post on blogs. The economy has had more of an effect on me not getting paid upfront for photos. I still shoot things, and sometimes get paid for them down the road, but even that's a little less sure. There's also less labels and magazines out there willing to pay for photos, as many of the mags I worked for in the past have folded.

Writing. It Arrives When It Arrives

Hello All-

With all of my recent photographic adventures, I really have not had much time for writing. Apart from a few poems (some I've posted here, some I will post soon), and some occasional PR blurbs for Fort Canoga Press, I have not had the chance to write at length. Some of this has been my schedule, but it also reflects how I tend to work as a writer.

Writing was one of the first things I ever did in my life that I enjoyed, and thought that I was good at. I often say that I fell into photography because I was looking for another way of writing, or communicating. And there's a lot of truth in that. Photography has been, and remains the creative outlet that I can do every day of my life, and feel good about that. Some days are better than others, but it's rarely a struggle to take photos. Writing, however, is much more finicky, and extreme.

I may not write for days, but when a good idea emerges, that becomes the only thing that occupies my mind. And in a short time, I can produce a lot of words. I sometimes get mad at myself for not being able to write as easily as I work with photography. Waiting for inspiration, or finding the time to be inspired can be a struggle. Like any person that dabbles in the arts, we would like to be in control of our muse than we sometimes are. But when the inspiration does arrive, it is akin to finding a thread, and following it down a rabbit hole until the end is found.

A recent example of this is a series of articles I did for a local history museum. Because I wanted to do it, and because I often have the inability to say no, I agreed to write a series of articles on Charlotte history. For this process, I decided to change the way I work, and test my thought process. I did research on all nine of the articles I agreed to write. Notes, information, and passing ideas on what I would say. I then emailed the rough notes to myself, and let the ideas simmer in my head for a week or two.

Some time passed, and I found myself with a day that I was mostly going to spend at home. At 1pm, I decided to work on one of the articles. By 2pm, I had that article done, and decided to work on another. When that article was finished, I knew that I found the momentum I had been looking for. I proceeded to write three more articles that afternoon, went off to photograph two events that evening, and came home to write two more articles after 11pm. The next day, I did a photo shoot in the morning, came home and wrote the remaining two articles. Nine articles, done in 26 hours.

Had I planned to do these pieces this way? No. Did I think that I might work quickly once I was in the right mindset for writing? Yes. There is an advantage sometimes to collecting a series of ideas about something over time, and then sitting down with them all when the time feels right. Will the next project I write arrive to same way? I have no idea. Much like life, you cannot overthink these things. You can only keep thinking, and hopefully be ready when the next good idea arrives.
-Daniel Coston
February 3, 2015