am first and foremost a music fan. Since the first time I listened to Kasey Kasem's American Top Forty, I was hooked. When I was a kid, I had thousands of records -- since destroyed by poor storage techniques -- and, in fact, I bought a reel-to-reel (anyone remember those) when I was fourteen so I could make longer mix tapes for my own listening pleasure. Even so, music lover that I was, I had little idea what was in store for me here musically, when I moved to Texas in 2003.
Pretty soon after my arrival in San Antonio, my friend Phil had a couple tickets to a Guy Clark show at Floore's Country Store. I had not heard of Guy, but went -- and was blown away. The next night I went back to Floore's for the James McMurtry show. That was it, I was hooked. Who were these guys making great music that I'd never heard before? I had to find out more about this Texas music.
As I continued to go to shows at Floore's, Gruene Hall, and other venues, I became more and more intrigued by all this great music that few people outside Texas seem to know about.
Then one night I stopped into a little bar near my house called Gus & Woodrow's. I had been to Floore's for the Little Feat show, which had disappointed me, so I thought I'd hit G&W's to see what was happening there. The music was already over, but there was a lady at the bar and she was handing out CDs of the artist who had just performed. The lady was Lindsey Parten, Jackson Parten's mother. I took a CD, listened, and it was then that I really saw the power of this Texas music phenomenon. Jackson was in his early 20s, but his songs were so good that I could not help but offer my assistance to this unknown kid, try to get the word out.
So I built him a website. He had no photos, so I took my little point-and-shoot Olympus digital and soon discovered the shortcomings of such cameras when shooting in dark venues: shutter delay, forced flash. I needed better equipment, so I bought an Olympus DSLR, and have progressed from there, moving into video along the way, as well.
As I said at the beginning, my first love is music, but my second love has become photography. I am intrigued by the nuances of shooting live shows in lowlight situations, using only available light, trying to get that awesome, candid shot. I also enjoy the challenges of posed photo shoots, aiming toward the perfect photo, which, honestly, simply does not exist. But that doesn't keep me from trying.
(Website design, by the way, is still my primary job. The overriding principles of my web designs are to keep things simple, affordable, and on point. Way-cool Flash-based band websites are nice, but do they do a good job with their primary purpose, which is selling music and getting people to the shows? I don't think so. Those types of websites are best left for bands who have already made it, not the ones who are still trying to find an audience.)
As I continue to hone my photography and Photoshop skills by shooting 200 or more shows every year, I will also continue to help out the artists I appreciate with quality photography. So that's where I am now. Please check out some of the shots on this site, then call or email me to tell me about your great unsigned band. If I like your music, we may be able to work together!
--Steve Circeo, Texas Music Lover, Photographer, and Videographer