'68 / by Liz Brown

I want to write more about my real life, so here is an attempt. I shot '68's show last night, and between bands snagged some portraits. I edited everything either with a VSCO 00 black and white filter or VSCO 05 Portra 100T--. In case you're curious.

This is Michael: he's in '68, the evening's headliner. I talked to him for a few minutes inside Vaudeville Mews, about Des Moines and Kansas City and burgers and donuts. In most conversations, at some point, I start talking about donuts because I'm awkward and that's my default. He was kind enough to continue the conversation and when I explained to him how I do stranger portraits and asked for his portrait, he said yes. We stepped outside and shot in the doorway of a partly-rennovated building then parted ways, him to play the show, me to walk around a bit more, then shoot it.

Between bands, I stepped outside to get some fresh air and get some portraits. Meanwhile, I shot a bit of the surrounding area.

Pro tip: wear mom jeans to show if you're shooting. The big pockets are perfect for lenses and prisms. Also, they're just comfy.

The next portrait I got was of the other half of '68: Josh Scogin. Josh and I had met briefly a few years ago, when The Chariot came through Chicago and we all went out for cake shakes, but we reintroduced ourselves and, once again, I asked him for a quick portrait. Shooting portraits this quickly is a fun challenge. You have a minutes (sometimes less) to scan the area, find a place, and pose a person. The area by Vaudeville and the Royal Mile was too colourful and distracting for my taste, but we didn't have time to find anywhere else. So I spotted the one place that wasn't splattered with paint--the stairwell. Josh nailed it. Then we made our way inside to watch Idlehands.

I've shot loads of hardcore shows; it's how I began shooting and I feel strangely at home in those loud, sweaty, screaming, dancing rooms. This was the first time I shot a hardcore show without the safety of a photo pit. It was exhilarating and I headbanged as I shot and only got hit in the head once.

Idlehands was a fun surprise. I hadn't seen or listened to them before, but quite enjoyed their set.

I missed '68 the last time they were in town--about 2 years ago--and I was not about to miss them again. I snagged a spot up front and watched and shot. I love how Josh and Michael play off of each other and seem to have a blast.


I'd seen Justin playing earlier in the evening (he's in Idlehands), then shooting around the venue with a disposable camera. Partway through '68's set, he came up to me and asked if I'd shot his band, too. Yup! I had. So after the show ended, he gave me an email to send the photos to and I asked, "Can I take your portrait?" He agreed and suggested the green room, where we used the single lamp to take this shot. He's about a foot taller than me, but I stood on the couch and we made the shot work. I'm all about light and people--this is both.

I was on my way out of the venue when Michael asked me what I thought of the show, so we chatted for a couple minutes, mostly about Zombie Burger. Then, because it's what I do, I asked him for a portrait. It was absurdly dark, both outside and inside, but we found a bit of light.

After the show and conversations, I wandered across downtown to Zombie Burger. I'm pretty sure I pounded some fries. The walk wasn't long on the way there, but it felt long on the way back. However, I snagged the shot below which nearly made the walk worth it. And I refuse to regret spending time outside or in my city. Slowing down is good for me. And, strangely, so are hardcore shows.