A little after I moved to Calgary almost 20 years ago, I met a young up and coming country musician named Paul Brandt. I was hired by his people in Nashville to photograph one of his concerts up here, so that they could use the photos as promo material. I met Paul briefly at sound check, and he welcomed me to the show and crew. It was a great show he put on to a packed house and after his third or fourth song I knew he would be on the scene for a long time, I knew, he would be a star.
After that, Paul moved off to Nashville, where you go to make it in the country music world. He has made a lot of really great music since then, major hits here and in the U.S. But after many years in Nashville he has moved back to Calgary to run his own music gig. He, like so many other music artists have been effected by the internet, music sharing, downloading; the business is way tougher I hear from my many friends in the music business. I of course feel their pain, as photography has been effected much the same way. Practically free photos on so called “stock” web site, where photographers see none of the profit and the owners get richer everyday off the backs of people desperate to leave their day jobs as accountants or engineers hoping to see their name in lights under one of their published pictures.
But this past summer, Paul and I got to reconnect as I photographed him for Canadian Cowboy Magazine. It was a wonderful shoot and we got along grand, so well that he asked if I would be interested in doing some work for him. I jumped at the change as Paul is a pure professional when it comes to how he handles himself. The great artist he is, he treats you the very same with respect for what you do. He appreciates what you as a photographer will bring to the table and you end up working as a team when you work with him. Really, he is a photographers dream to work with.
So we spent a day shooting some new promo material for him and every once and awhile you get lucky and the photo gods give you a special moment. We were working away after a short prairie thundershower hit the area and the skies parted, for a few moments everything comes together. Out of it we got this photo.
It was one of those moments when you look at the back of your camera and know this will be a cool photo. Both he and I knew we had something special. He liked it so much it’s on the cover of his new album coming out today, “Just As I Am.” It’s a country bluegrass gospel collection of a lot of classic favorites.
There have been few people I have enjoyed working more than with Paul Brandt. What a gentleman to work with, a great singer, and friend. Thanks for letting me be part of this.