Through the Lens of Christopher Nelson
The Paramount Theatre, Courtesy of Christopher Nelson
When we say the name Christopher Nelson it might not ring a bell, but most of you know him through his photos. He has lived in Seattle for the past 15 years, during which he became “The Photographer” for Seattle’s best events, from Bumbershoot at Seattle Center all the way to Sasquatch at the Gorge. He moved to Seattle because he saw in it a place where the people and the state appreciated and supported the arts, and that’s where his photography journey started. He grabbed his camera everywhere he went, even to his work when he was a production assistant for Bumbershoot.
Bumbershoot holds a special place in his heart, since it was that festival that paved his way into event photography. After Bumbershoot, he began shooting photos for the Family 4th fireworks show at Gasworks, Sasquatch Music Festival, Paramount Theatre, The Showbox, and The Triple Door, just to name a few.
His photos speak for him; In the camera he found a medium where he can express himself and narrate what his eyes are seeing. While some people use the pen, Christopher uses his lens to capture the uniqueness of the things he’s shooting.The first thing that we noticed in his photography was how well he was able to capture the vibe in the events he went to. We could feel the energy coming from the people in the photos to us, making us feel as if we were there cheering with the fans. While some photographers focus on the stage and who’s playing, Christopher’s camera was aimed towards the audience and their reaction. “The crowd is what makes a concert great,” he said. “Aiming the camera towards them is as important as aiming it towards the artist on the stage.”
We asked Chris a couple of questions over lunch at Pike Place:
Q. What makes Seattle’s music scene so unique?
Hands down, the people! It is their support and love for the arts in general that makes Seattle what it is today. There is also an amazing community of local artists and a very diverse music scene. The support of the state has also a huge impact; the City of Seattle has placed a lot of importance on the arts and supported its artists.
Q. What is your favorite spot in Seattle?
I would have to say Golden Gardens. I just love going there, love the fire pits & the sunset. Also, I love Seattle Center. So much goes on there. It’s a place where different cultures are embraced and a lot of things happen in the same spot, from the skaters’ park to EMP and the Space Needle.
Q. What are some tips you want to give to people who are into concert photography?
- The first tip is respect the people that are around you, especially if you are taking photos in events. Be respectful to their space. They came to enjoy a show, try not to obstruct their view.
- Avoid using a flash. It can be distracting to the artist/audience and can take away from the ambiance of the photo.
- Buy the camera that you will use, not the one that you think you need.
- Take as many shots as you can from different angles. Experiment. Sometimes the best photos are not the ones you intentionally planned.
Q. What is the best thing about Seattle’s summer?
Seattle is amazing in the summer. People just go out and worship the sun. And I think that is what makes Seattle so special; the winter is a time where people reflect on their work and ideas, and it is in the summer that they go out and share them.
Christopher Nelson, Pike Place Market
Christopher is a very passionate photographer. You can feel it when he talks about photography. It’s an overwhelming passion that inspires you to just go out and shoot with whatever camera you have handy. His journey has started in Seattle, and this city became home for him, and he became the eyes that record its arts. We’re looking forward to seeing what more he has to offer for this city.
Check some of his work here: http://christophernelsonphotography.com/bio.php