Featured Photographer: Todd Gunsher
This week, I’m featuring the photography of Todd Gunsher, who should be familiar to ND readers as many of his photos have graced this site.
I have been meaning to feature more individual photographers since taking over this column, but there has just been too much other stuff going on. Now, however, this week’s column is written by Todd and features his photos. Enjoy.
My first memory of going to a concert was during a family vacation to Toronto in 1976 where we saw the Beach Boys at the CNE, and I’ve been going to shows both large and small ever since. I also picked up a camera at an early age when I was taught the basics by my father — a serious amateur who would often shoot auto races, and still does.
Over the years, I would almost always carry a camera with me on trips, mostly shooting typical snapshots, occasionally taking photos at a local festival. In the mid-2000s, having always been a musician, I started getting more serious about shooting other musicians and relearning the craft. It paid off in 2013 when the IBMA moved the World of Bluegrass to Raleigh and I had the opportunity to be an official photographer for the event, which I have been doing ever since.
I can often be seen either playing gigs around the Triangle area of North Carolina, or at shows, camera in hand. You can see more of my work on my Flickr page. Here’s some information about the photos in the slideshow:
I believe this photo was taken in the summer of 1989 at a park on Buffalo’s waterfront. Albert is still my favorite bluesman.
Hubert Sumlin, Raleigh, NC, May 20, 2006
In 2006 as I was really getting back into photography again (and still using film!) Sumlin was playing at the art festival in Raleigh and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to shoot an old bluesman who knew how to dress for the occasion.
Sierra Hull, Southland Ballroom, Raleigh, NC, February 25, 2016
I enjoy shooting Sierra as much as I love listening to her music. She’ll close her eyes and smile, making it easy for me to just point the camera and push the button.
The Waybacks and Friends, MerleFest, 2013
Once in a while I manage to catch a mood. If you’ve been to Merlefest, you understand, and, if not, this is the Hillside Album Hour, nothing but peace, love, and music. The album that year was Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Deja Vu, and the friends included the T Sisters, two of which are seen here. Their smiles say it all.
Dick Dale, Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh, NC, May 7, 2014
Dick Dale has been through some hard times in recent years but he’s still on the road, constantly turning it up to 11, showing us guitarists how it’s done.
Hard Working Americans, Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh, NC, May 22, 2016
Todd Snider and Dave Schools. Enough said.
Bruce Hornsby, NC Museum of Art, August 3, 2013
Bruce Hornsby has long been one of my favorite artists, especially since his stint with the Grateful Dead in the early ’90s.
The Mavericks, NC Museum of Art, 8/29/2015
I wasn’t too aware of the Mavericks when a good friend told me I had to see them. They immediately became a favorite — it doesn’t get any better than this. They bring the party! Closeups of artists are nice, but I prefer to capture a whole scene like this whenever possible.
Steve Martin, IBMA, Raleigh, NC, 2013
As a kid I was a fan of Steve Martin’s movies and comedy. I never expected that a few decades later I’d be shooting photos of him playing a bluegrass festival.
Branford Marsalis with the Kruger Brothers, IBMA, Raleigh, NC, 2015
This type of situation is what music means to me: two Swiss musicians, influenced by American music, playing a bluegrass festival with a jazz saxophonist and a classical quartet. Music is truly the universal language.
Lake Street Dive, NC Museum of Art, June 10, 2016
One of my favorite bands of the past few years. Great songs, stellar musicianship, and they put on a fun show. What more can a fan-photographer ask for? I like this shot from the drummer’s perspective.
Tedeschi Trucks Band, Raleigh NC, July 18, 2015
The guitar of Derek Trucks and the voice of Susan Tedeschi backed up by a 10-piece band with horns. One of the best bands on the road today.
St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Raleigh, NC, June 6, 2015
The first time I heard St. Paul and the Broken Bones they sounded familiar, yet new and contemporary. Then, I’ve always been a sucker for good soul music. Paul Janeway is a force of nature and the rest of the band is up to the task.
Mike Farris, The Clayton Center, Clayton, NC April 30, 2016
I first saw Mike Farris at Merlefest 2013 when he was part of the Hillside Album Hour, and I was blown away. I’ve had the opportunity to see him three times since and can’t think of a performer I’ve seen in recent years who exudes such joy on stage.
IBMA World of Bluegrass, Raleigh, NC, 2015
The last shot isn’t of anyone famous or known; it’s just some young folks playing music. My favorite part of the IBMA World of Bluegrass is being surrounded by music everywhere and people playing music for the best reason there is: because at that place, at that time, they just have to sing a song.