Moments in music
STORY BY KEEGAN PROSSER // PHOTOS BY MAT HAYWARD
The Pacific Northwest is known for its pool of creative energy – tech start ups, entrepreneurs, stage actors, musicians. And while music has been at the heart of the scene for years, it’d be hard to comprehend its impact without acknowledging the people who’ve helped document it for so long.
That’s where rock photographers come into play.
“There’s this really incredible underground community of photographers that have shot [concerts] over the years,” says photographer Mat Hayward.
This month, Hayward’s work, along with that of several other Northwest-based rock photographers, will be featured on the walls of the Musiquarium Lounge, located at the Triple Door in downtown Seattle. The month-long exhibit, which kicks off April 4 with a special concert event, will showcase 20 images from shows in the Greater Seattle area.
“My whole life, I’ve been obsessed with photography,” Hayward says. “My earliest photo album, I wrote on there that I was eight years old.”
When Hayward is not behind the lens, shooting as the station photographer for 107.7 The End, you’ll find him working as the general manager of Wild Ginger in Bellevue – a position he’s held since October 2011. Before coming to Bellevue, Hayward worked at the Seattle location – and before that, at the Hard Rock Cafe down the street.
But for someone who cites Jane’s Addiction as his “favorite band ever,” Hayward’s first venture with rock photography comes as a bit of a surprise. The situation? He was working at the Hard Rock Cafe in Sacramento when singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson stopped by to perform.
“I brought my camera in that day and took some shots,” Hayward says.
He’s since covered countless concerts, festivals and station-sponsored private gigs.
Each month, the Triple Door features a new artist in the Musiquarium. Hayward says the idea to feature images of concerts in the Northwest came about after his own images were showcased in the lounge last year.
“There’s a pretty established group of core photographers that you’ll see at least a few familiar faces in every pit,” Hayward says.
He says he wants the exhibit to highlight the amazing talent of these photographers.
“These guys are my friends and I think they are so good at what they do.”
Photographer Morgen Schuler is one of the photographers Hayward selected for this month’s exhibit. For the April showcase, Schuler submitted a photo of Seattle artists Allen Stone and Macklemore, from Stone’s concert at the Neptune Theatre in January 2012. She says she picked this image because she felt it was a moment that no one else captured.
Also participating in this exhibit is photographer Jason Tang, who submitted a photo he made of indie/electronic duo Matt & Kim during their headlining show at the Neptune, in October 2012. The image is a favorite of his because he feels it captures the lively interaction between drummer Kim and the crowd.
“To me, that’s what live music is all about,” Tang says. “And Matt & Kim are a perfect example of that.”
Hayward admits there are some really great photographers in the area that aren’t on the list this time around, but there is only so much wall space. He hopes the concert, and the exhibit, are a big success – so they can do it again.
In addition to providing eye candy for those stopping by the lounge, the exhibit will serve as a competition among the photographers. Guests who visit The Triple Door in April will be presented with a ballot with their bill and will be asked to vote for their favorite image.
“Hopefully [the other photographers] will encourage their friends to go to the Triple Door and vote for their favorite shot,” Hayward says.
The photographer who receives the most votes will be a awarded a prize package featuring two nights on the 5th floor at Hotel Max, two tickets to the Experience Music Project and two souvenir Sub Pop Records patches, among other things.
To kick off the exhibit, blues-rock duo My Goodness will headline the Triple Door stage on Thursday, April 4.
“I wanted the music to be awesome, Hayward says. “Which, with them, it is.”
Tickets for the kick-off party are $15 and on sale now. They can be purchased at The Triple Door box office, located at 216 Union Street in downtown Seattle, by phone at 206-838-4333 or online.