DJ Snake, is a Grammy-nominated French DJ who knows how to produce banger after banger. The list of what he’s produced is endless and he skyrocketed to commercial success with the hit songs Bird Song and Turn Down For What which features Lil Jon. He also collaborated on the mega-successful 2015 song, Lean On with Major Lazer and MØ, whose show I also attended on assignment at Webster Hall.
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I’ve been listening to DJ Snake’s music since he first got big and his music always has a way of making you want to dance. What sets him apart from his peers are the instantly recognizable melodies of his songs. Born to an Algerian mother and a French father, it’s easy to hear different cultural beats and sounds in his music. He’s mentioned in previous interviews how he’s influenced by other cultures like the Caribbean, African, and Middle Eastern.
At his sold-out show in the Brooklyn Mirage, Snake pulled out all the stops for an amazing experience. Even though it was raining, it didn’t stop concert-goers from putting on the ponchos provided by the venue in order to rage out at the rave. From stage flamethrowers to the standard colorful laser lights EDM shows are known for, this concert had it all. The flamethrowers were so intense I could feel the heat from the photo pit. I actually thought I had burned my face for a second.
As someone who typically frequents the Brooklyn Mirage as an attendee, it’s quite a different experience when working an event there. I’m not sure if it’s from all the years of going to raves and festivals and seeing how mean staff can be, but security was incredibly nice to me and let me weave in and out of all the VIP sections as I pleased in order to get the shots I needed. I almost had a hiccup getting into the photo pit before DJ Snake was about to start his set because the door leading to the pit was blocked by the crowd. The dope security team and the group at the VIP table in front of the photo pit helped me climb over the railing in order to get in on time! It felt so bada$s.
Once I got into the photo pit I was SHOOK that I was the only press photographer in there. I spoke with another photographer who photographed a different DJ a few days before and it sounds like EDM publicists are simply picky or strict about who they approve. Either way, the exclusivity was awesome and gave me a feeling of legitimacy I’ve been after since getting into concert photography.
For this show, DJ Snake had Devault and Habstrakt go consecutively before him as the opening DJs, and then as the main act, he went on at 1:00 am. After his set was done, another DJ named MIME closed out the show. I hadn’t previously heard of these three DJs, but from what I heard during their sets they played hype songs too. Habstrakt even came back out onstage in the middle of DJ Snake’s show and they jumped on stage together!
I have to say this was quite the challenge to get good shots. The venue is so big that on one hand, you want to be able to capture the sheer size of it with a wide-angle lens, but on the other, you also need a telephoto.
I opted to bring my widest lens, a Rokinon 12mm, f/2 but because it’s manual focus only, it was pretty hard to use in such a fast-paced environment. I know to keep the focus almost (not completely) at infinity, but even trying to determine focus using the stage light proved almost impossible because of how fast they were blinking/turning on and off.
I also brought my Sony 90mm, f/2.8 Macro OSS lens because when the macro function isn’t being used, it’s a long prime. For my full-frame lenses, this is the longest that I have. A 70-200mm would have been a preferred choice, especially once out of the photo pit but that’ll have to wait for the next purchase. If you want to break into concert photography I wrote more tips on how to get started.
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