Brad Heaton was never allowed to go to large concerts as a kid.
Which is pretty hilarious considering he’s had the best seat in the house for roughly 130 in the past year.
While he may have broken into the concert photography scene the way many do (guest list for some shots?), Heaton has separated himself from the pack by realizing that he could pick his point-of-view, and apply interesting, varied shooting styles to the live concert experience.
It helps, too, that he’s become the go-to documentarian for hometown Grammy winners Twenty One Pilots, whose concerts are more Super Bowl than rock show.
And Brad Heaton is there to make you feel like you were…
I treat concerts like sporting events I used to photograph. Every parent would love a shot of his or her kid in action making a diving play at first base. Translate that action into concert photography and that’s how I came into the industry with my own style those first couple years.
The very first [Twenty One Pilots] show I attended in 2011, I saw this band toss some drums into a crowd of 30 people and put on an insane show. At one point Tyler looked to the crowd, pressed a few melodic keys on his piano, said “I believe…” paused for a few seconds, “in myself.” Something special clicked when I heard those words and I knew they’d completely overtake the music industry.
I’ve always just wanted to present to the world that I’ve never been static. That my photographs from day 9,999 are better than day 9,998. And that day 10,000 is [gonna be] even better than that. I’d love for the world to recognize concert photography as an artistic representation rather than documenting an experience. So many times I’ll see photographs on Getty Images of a close-up, boring shot of the lead singer of a band. There’s so much more to the show than that.
There’s just so much to do as a photographer in Columbus. So many ponds to get your feet wet in. Want to photograph sports? Adult rec leagues, NHL, college sports, etc. everywhere. Want to shoot cityscapes? Go climb a parking garage at dusk downtown. Concerts? There’s about 15 different venues, big or small, within a 4 mile radius of each other. Just gotta find the drive and the ins to make photos.