Bay Area is known as the cradle for trash metal scene since the 80’s and 90’s, serving as a home for bands like Metallica, Exodus, Testament and Death Angel. Even Green day got their early start here, at a club called 924 Gilman Street
in Berkeley. This suits well this hard rock photographer who has been a fan of the genre since a teenager.
Thanks to his profession, Miikka finds himself at all kinds of concerts. Recently he got a chance to take photos of a Japanese Wagakkiband
at the Fillmore. The group combines rock and traditional performing arts, something Miikka never thought he would attend. That is also a part of the fascination of being a professional photographer, you end up seeing and hearing performances that you wouldn’t otherwise seek out. “It gives you energy when you end up seeing a band that is so completely different from what you think you would like, but which ends up being a great experience” Miikka says.
Miikka does generally two photographing gigs a week, and already this year he has seen over 60 concerts. In order to make the work worthwhile, a photographer can’t choose the concerts he attends from a fan perspective or by thinking which bands would serve visually as good objects. Often it comes down to which images sell; which artists are interesting for the public.
Taking great photos can sometimes be challenging, but never impossible. “It’s all about the light. The more there is light, the more you get good photos. And you can’t affect that yourself, it is up to the venue and the band. If it’s a big venue with good lights, I’ll have 50-60 good photos after the gig, but sometimes there are gigs where you only get two,” Miikka explains. Many popular artists welcome professionally shot photos, because those stand out from the pictures taken with mobile phones by fans. Luckily SF Bay Area is a popular destination for interesting bands and there are multiple great venues in the region.