My Time at Bonnaroo, 2002

Way back in 2002, long before I considered being a music photographer, I went to a music festival with my camera. This was the time before digital photography.  In those days, I was the friend that always had a camera, and my friends were comfortable with me snapping pictures. There was no digital photography, and social media didn’t exist. I think this kept photography special.

The only cameras I brought with me to Bonnaroo, were my Rollei 35 S and Koni-Omega Rapid 100. The Rollei was a great compact camera for the festival. It’s small and the lens is beautiful. The Koni-Omega was perfect for the more “landscape” style shots. It’s a big 6×7 medium format camera with a very sharp 90mm Hexanon lens.

I didn’t have a plan for taking pictures, I just brought twenty rolls of film and shot about sixteen of them. I wouldn’t say everyday at Bonnaroo was a new adventure, but it was more like every twenty minutes. I didn’t shoot any live music, I just photographed my friends and the crowd. I look back at these pictures and barely remember taking most them. It was a music festival after all.

These days music festivals are documented on Instagram and Facebook. I think that takes away a lot of the luster that photography once offered us during these kinds of events. I’ve shot Treefort in Boise for the last few years, and while I don’t think I’m getting bored with it, but maybe I should shake it up a bit by shooting more film while I’m there. Hopefully I’ll get issued another press pass in 2019.

I haven’t been back to Bonnaroo since 2002, but perhaps I can make it back to see how it compares to my memory of it. Perhaps I can rally my friends for a reunion. I think we deserve it.


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