Brutal Planet Photographers Speak! Best of 2019: Eric Peterson

Photography can be very subjective and the viewer may not understand why the photo may be a favorite of the photographer. For myself, it is the story behind the photograph that makes it great so I have compiled 10 of my favorite photographs of 2019 and a short story behind the photograph. They are in no particular order, just ten photos that I felt describe the situation the best. Enjoy!!!

Steve Vai- Generation Axe Show in Salt Lake City

Some photos take skill to take and some are just pure luck. This photo is one that is just pure luck. Steve was playing and I was standing in the audience photographing him when he rotated his guitar my way. The light reflecting off his guitar hit my camera just as I was shooting creating this halo effect. I could not have been any more lucky to have captured this shot. The fact that the halo encapsulates him almost perfectly is amazing.

Dropout Kings @ The Loading Dock in Salt Lake City, UT

Dropout Kings played a small show in Salt Lake City early on in the year. I had never heard of them and decided it would be fun to cover them. To say it was fun would be an understatement. I had a blast with these guys. At one point during the show singer Adam Ramey came down into the crowd and found a true Dropout Kings fan. They both belted out the lyrics to the song. It was such a moving picture to me to see the matching intensity between them, that I could not pass it up in my top ten. 

Wednesday 13 @ The Royal in Salt Lake City, UT

There are many reasons why this photo made my list of favorites. Here is the story behind the photo. First, this show had no barrier so the crowd was right next to the stage making for an intimate setting. Second, I had talked with the girl in the photo before the show and she was a huge Wednesday 13 fan but had never seen him live. I told her that she was going to love his live show. The photo was taken during “Decompose” and I had put on my fisheye lens to get some close shots. Wednesday had covered himself with paint and was coming to get close to the crowd. The other part I love about this shot is that unless you really notice this is his back towards the girl. During his show he wears a mask on the back of his head and will make movements that look impossible but he is actually backward. You can see no eyes in the mask and his hand is facing the wrong direction, making it an even creepier photo. I have wondered what the girl was thinking at the time I snapped the photo.

Chuck Garric and Calico Cooper of Beasto Blanco @ The Union Events Center in Salt Lake City, UT

It was my first time seeing Beasto Blanco this year but it won’t be my last. These guys were amazing to see live. The show itself spoke volumes. The outfits and the set were epic, but what else would you expect from Alice Cooper’s Daughter and Bass Player? This photo was originally in color but I could not get rid of all the blue lighting. So I switched it to black and white and it took it to a whole new level. The detail in them popped out as well as visually it told a better story of Beasto Blanco.

Jorn Lande and Oliver Hartman of Avantasia @ The Grove in Anehiem, CA

I was fortunate enough to see Avantasia twice during their North American tour. This photo is of Jorn Lande and Oliver Hartman of Avantasia during a guitar solo. The shot was one of my favorites because Jorn is so passionate when he sings and seeing him during this solo he was fired up and that is what the photo represents to me. 

King Diamond @ The Complex in Salt Lake City, UT

King Diamond is an icon in the Metal world and when he announced he was coming to Salt Lake I signed up as soon as I could. I do a lot of research before I shoot a show. I like to watch videos of what songs they play and how they move around on stage. I saw King was getting wheeled out on stage so I set up waiting for a shot of him coming out and this is what I ended up with. I loved it. It looks like something out of a horror movie.

Jyrki of The 69 Eyes @ The Soundwell in Salt Lake City Utah

Jyrki and the 69 Eyes have always been a favorite of mine and Jyrki’s photos just look so iconic in black and white in my eyes. He has one of the best voices in Metal with that low almost Johnny Cash or Peter Steele sound. This show had so many great photos of the band but I had to choose one and this was the one that was my favorite.

Oliver Palotai of Kamelot @ The Complex in Salt Lake City, UT

When you shoot a Kamelot show you should expect to take a lot of photos as well as have some great lighting and fog. It used to be that fog machines would drive me nuts when shooting a show. To some extent they still do but when they are used right they can create some amazing shots. This is one of those shots. An introduction to a song had begun and the lights were out. The lights started to rise and as they rose it was on Oliver. I was able to capture this shot just as they started to rise and use some enhancements to use the smoke to make a really neat shot.

The Hives @ The Union Events Center in Salt Lake City, UT

I had never seen The Hives live so I had no idea what kind of a shoot it would be. As soon as they hit the stage I knew that my three songs were gonna be fun to photograph. They were on the barriers singing with the crowd and sticking their faces in my lens and then singer Pelle Almqvist decided to take a leap off the drum kit. I had already raised my ISO for some action and the lighting was good and I was able to capture this shot. I am always happy when a concert photo turns out looking like this.

Jeff Pilson of Foreigner @ The Utah State Fairpark in Salt Lake City, UT

Foreigner always puts on a great show and being a hair metal guy I am always drawn to Jeff because of his Dokken roots. This shot was a lucky shot in a couple ways. I had just finished shooting my third song and was walking towards the side of the stage. I saw Jeff standing there and decided to snag a couple of him. We made eye contact and he flipped a bass pic to me. I caught a pic of the pic in mid-air as it was coming towards me. Unfortunately, the pic went over my head and into the crowd but I was left with this amazing shot. The white blur in the photo is the pic racing towards me.

If 2020 is as fun as 2019 you will see some great re-cap photos next year at this time. Thanks again for reading my review of my favorite photos and we look forward to an amazing 2020.