For a recent assignment for Rolling Stone.com, photographer Chip Kalback documented Los Angeles-based indie duo Capital Cities. Kalback had an idea of what director of photography Leslie Dela Vega wanted, as he had worked for Rolling Stone previously shooting a “day-in-the-life” of Olympic snowboarder Nate Holland prior to Sochi. Kalback also documented the first day marijuana was legalized in Colorado for the magazine.
Rolling Stone.com contacted the band with the initial ask, but Kalback also got in touch with the band’s manager in advance of the shoot to begin establishing a level of trust with the band. Kalback says the duo was “super nice” and accommodating, allowing him to shoot soundcheck and their dinner in addition to photographing before, during and after the show. “They’re letting me into their private dressing room, allowing me to photograph them offstage, etc., so I always try to be mindful of staying out of their way and giving them a little bit of privacy, still while trying to get the shots I’ve been hired to get,” Kalback told PDN via email. Wanting to be a fly-on-the-wall, Kalback did not bring an assistant, tucked his camera bag away in a corner and split his shoot time between his Fuji X100S and Canon 5D III and two lenses.
Kalback, a commercial and editorial photographer based in Denver, has photographed bands before, mostly for personal work and just for fun. He says most of the time he’s allowed to shoot “the first three songs,” of a band’s live show. A few years ago, when the band Sublime reformed, he emailed the band’s manager asking for a pass, and was granted some time to shoot them in their dressing room at Red Rocks. “That was a really fun shoot, and since then I’ve pursued lifestyle images of musicians more than standard live performance photos.”