Noir33 is an amalgam of talent
By Roger Barrett
TFW Contributing Writer
I don’t remember the first time I saw Perpetual Werewolf at a house show.
I remember seeing photos of the show a few weeks later and wondering what I had missed, only a few feet away. I’ve been a fan of Noir33 photography for years without realizing it, without realizing the still frames in my recollection of events weren’t mine. So, finally meeting John Moore (Noir33), it came as no surprise that his band photography breaks down the boundaries of spectator/musician because he breaks them himself, without reservations, to deliver images that become yours.
Besides his band photography, Noir33 has designed album art for Queen Beast, Wade Ogle and the upcoming Fayetteville 2011 Audio Sampler. I asked John some questions about Noir33:
TFW: When did you start Noir33?
Moore: First off, I would like to say, “Thank you, I’m humbled.” Noir33 started as a photography thing several years ago. Now, it’s an amalgamation of all the things I do. The name is something you can figure out.
TFW: Why black and white?
Moore: Its imperfections are its beauty. It has more of a timeless look. Black and white, like film, is more romantic.
TFW: What interests you most about photographing bands?
Moore: It all comes down to how you want to be remembered. For the most part, live music poses more of a challenge and demands the most of your abilities. Where something like portrait photography requires quite a lot of reliance on others, music is all you.
With live music, you show up and it’s happening. It makes it easy on you in that aspect. But unlike portrait photography, you have no control over the lighting, timing, the subject or even the angle of the shot (in many cases). It puts all your effort on the photograph, not the other way around. Everything you give to it comes back, if that makes sense. It’s tremendously rewarding.
Musicians are great subjects for a variety of reasons. They’re showmen. They are very driven and passionate people doing what they do best. It’s the process of “becoming”… not contrived, controlled or forced. That’s why I quit doing portraits last year.
You also have to ask yourself, sooner or later, is what I’m doing “relevant”? Is anyone going to care about photographs of people they don’t know 25 years from now? More than likely, the answer is “no.” Case in point, very few photographers, let alone people, even know the name Veruschka. To me, she was the quintessential fashion model. And yet, no one virtually knows who she is.
With music, it’s more of a historical record. Why do people remember Jim Marshall’s 1967 photo of Jimi Hendrix at Monterey, Alfred Eisenstaedt’s 1945 V-Day Celeration of a sailor kissing a young woman or Eddie Adam’s 1968 shot of Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing an alleged Viet Cong guerrilla? It was real, it was “in the moment”… it was life. And that is where it’s at.
TFW: Are there bands you prefer to shoot?
Moore: As of late, not really. It’s all about the room. I navigate to the places where it’s more conducive for light. The subject is of no consequence; a good photographer can make an interesting photograph with any subject.
Naturally, some musicians can hand you a pretty effortless job. Ruben (Perpetual Werewolf), Zach (Egyptr), Wade Ogle, Kari (Drunkards), Andy Hate (BKA) and yourself (The Counterlife) … just to name a few.
TFW: Which filmmakers and musicians have inspired you the most?
Moore: It’s interesting you should ask that question. Personally, I seldom look at photography. Film and music is where I find most of my inspiration. When it comes to film; Michelangelo Antonioni, Jess Franco, Sergio Martino, Radley Metzger, Pupi Avati, John Waters, Marco Bellocchio, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Blake Edwards, Jean-Luc Godard, Ingmar Bergman, Sergio Leone, Federico Fellini and Luigi Bazzoni. Anything European and shot on film, especially “Giallo” films.
Music is a more complex subject. I listen to just about everything. I have a fondness for instrumental music. Soundtracks and early ’70s “library” music for film and television (KPM, De Wolfe, Bosworth, Bruton and Chappell). Ennio Morricone, Alan Hawkshaw, David Axlrod, Alessandro Alessandroni, Dusty Springfield, Armando Trovajoli, Edda Dell’Orso, Bruno Nicolai, Nora Orlandi and of course, Madonna.
TFW: What have you been working on lately?
Moore: Writing more than anything else, I’ve reached that part of my life. Doing some magazine illustrations, book covers, local music CD packaging, motion film editing, teaching my cats to use the toilet, staying in shape and studying Kabbalah.
TFW: How did the Fayetteville 2011 Audio Sampler come about?
Moore: Jeff Kearney of The 1 oz Jig came up with the concept. Together, we worked out the project. In fact, we are pondering releasing one every year.
The idea came from our love, of all forms, of local music. Fayetteville always has, and still does, have one of the most diverse scenes for a town its size. There are a lot of very talented and dedicated people here (musicians, producers, instrument makers, clubs and artists).
Live music, all across the country, has ceased to grow in the last decade or so. But what is interesting, the music we do have is extremely good and you discover that it’s right where it needs to be. This CD is a marker on the highway of a very long and great road called Fayetteville’s music scene. Last year was an incredible year for live music and 2011 looks to be even better.
Check out Noir33.com for more.