Introducing Joe Stadele (music photographer)Published by Jeff Becker, April 14, 2013
We’re uber-excited to add the very talented Minneapolis photographer Joe Stadele to our team. Here’s a little Q & A with Joe after we kidnapped him and added him to our staff without any option for ransom or parole.. 🙂 Joe had to answer these questions in trade for food and water thus, his answers may have been provided under duress – but we really needed top talent and these kinds of things can happen. 🙂 Once again, we’re excited to welcome Joe!!!
Which area of the U.S. do you shoot?
Currently, I cover bands playing from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, down to Madison, WI and Chicago. I am happy to help out and go on a world tour with The Smashing Pumpkins, My Morning Jacket, Sigur Ros, Pearl Jam, U2, Ryan Adams…oh, you didn’t ask that. Well, I guess I am just saying I am open to opportunities.
What’s your claim to fame or what photography opportunity are you most proud of?
I worked as a commercial video producer for 7 years and had some proud moments. I shot, edited and produced several award winning commercials. In 2011, I tied myself for first place which was gratifying. In this time, I did commercial photography and had some work published, locally and nationally.
To be honest, I am most proud of my landscape work because it is much more personal. Many times, it was just me and my camera hiking and exploring. When that moment comes and everything aligns, I am most fulfilled from my work.
Who’s your favorite band?
I love music. I love it the way sports fans love their favorite teams. I keep up on music news and the latest releases. I listen to music across the spectrum and have a lot of favorite bands. However, the pinnacle of it, for me, is The Smashing Pumpkins. In one moment you could be losing yourself in a song as simple and beautiful as “The Rose March” or “Cupid de Locke,” then whisked away on a journey through “Oceania” then grabbing for your ear plugs before “Tales of a Scorched Earth” blows out your inner ears. Their lyrics have depth, perspective and connect to me on a very personal level. Corgan’s music continues to evolve and his brand IS the definition of “alternative music.” “Alternative” feels like a vague term but it is just that, the alternative.
Which existing band that you’ve never photographed are tops on your list to shoot someday?
Tops…there are so many great artists but I would have to say U2. Their shows are so visual and emotional; it would be an honor to be part of it.
If you could go back in time to shoot one band during a specific year, who and when would you choose?
Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii in 1972 or the Division Bell Tour in 1995.
I am a big fan of David Gilmour. His guitar tones and solos are legendary; easily one of the best guitarists of all time. He and Richard Wright defined Pink Floyd for me.
What’s your biggest concern about the music industry?
Pointing the finger at the music industry is an easy way out of this question. Their job, in an ideal world, is to financially support the artistic development and promotion of artists. If they are unwilling to do so, they should be bypassed.
The industry may be broken, but it’s the general public that doesn’t ACTUALLY support the music they love. Music is so readily available it is taken for granted. The general public no longer buys albums and ultimately cheat themselves of an experience. By only downloading the hit song they limit themselves from discovering other great songs and the art as a whole.
My piece of advice: If you like an artist, support their art. Buy their album, attend a show, buy a t-shirt. Buy an actual record. Be proud to support the music you love.
What’s your biggest concern about the photography industry?
I enjoy practicing guitar in my leisure, but reading music is difficult for me. You won’t find me on stage, at least performing, anytime soon. Facebook, iPhones and Instagram have allowed everyone and anyone to claim to be a photographer. To a certain extent, it has reduced the art. In 2012, while on a shoot, a gentleman said to me he was more interested in what the software can do for him, than knowledge of photography as he took an HDR image of a sunset on his iPhone. It looked great but he had no idea of the actual mechanics behind it.
I don’t think I am a great photographer. However, I have dedicated thousands upon thousands of hours working on my craft, learning the equipment, learning lighting and have a fairly strong understanding of what I am doing. When it comes to clients, their needs always come first and I will work my tail off for them. Photography is a passion and it brings me much satisfaction. When it brings joy to others it is a big bonus. But I digress…
What’s your all time favorite live music photography experience?
As a kid, I think we romanticize everything. We do the same looking back and it has become increasingly difficult to be overwhelmed by the emotion of music as I have gotten older. With that being said, I have two thoughts.
When you can sit on the balcony and the music reaches out and just grabs your heart and soul…that’s an experience. In 2012, I photographed The Flaming Lips and it was insane to see the amount of joy being felt by the crowd and I felt it as well.
With that being said, the best experiences I have had are when I am just in the crowd, up front and everything just drowns out.
What was your worst live music photography experience?
This brings out some repressed memories. My worst photography experience happened before I even photographed professionally. I was attending the Beastie Boys/A Tribe Called Quest show at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI. They had a circular rotating stage and some friends and I were near the fence. I went to take a photo during the Beastie Boys set and all of a sudden a security guard reached down and just took my camera. They didn’t confiscate…they took it and I wasn’t very enthused.
Name one band you wouldn’t photograph even if you had full access?
Truth be told, even those performers I would prefer to steer clear of may lead to an excellent opportunity. Besides, that is why they make the GOOD ear plugs!