Black Music Month: What does music mean to you; photographers

by: cathy foreman

This week I wanted to chat with photographers, specifically concert photographers. I went this route because one would think you have to be profound lover of music to delve into concert photography. At least that’s what I thought. When I decided to go this route, I wanted to honor all that these musicians give us by documenting these performances and sharing my enthusiasm with other lovers of music. I feel safe in saying this is probably how these two photographers feel as well.

Derrel Todd:

Derrel is an amazing and highly sought after photographer who’s been in business for over 30 years. He’s done a lot, photographed some high-profile individuals such as Prince and President Barack Obama. He also gives back by teaching and sharing his knowledge with aspiring photographers. When I got into concert photographer and became aware of him, Mr. Todd was instrumental in supporting my path and sharing his wealth of knowledge with me. At a time when I was still trying to define who I was, he was there to lend and ear and a hand. I’m grateful to him. Aside from all of that he’s a great dad and guy who has the most amazing stories.

Derrel Todd

Music means that regardless of how tough times get, there’s always something to sing about. I am listening to the blues and it’s inspired me to write this. With segregation, lynchings, and more, we found a way to sing; that’s remarkable to me. With police brutality, women’s bodies being policed, a leader of the free world that would rather we not be free, we still find a way to sing… to make music… in a word to rejoice. Isn’t that something? So, I say music means that regardless of how tough things get, there’s always something to sing about.

Victoria Ford:

Victoria Ford, know as ‘SneakShot Photography’ is well known in music circles and rightfully so capturing some of the most dynamic photos of some of the most popular artists of today. I remember when I met Vicky, first following her on social media and then making contact with her to ultimately meeting her. When I met her, I felt like I was meeting a rock star. At least that what she was for me. She was the only black female photographer that I knew of, who was making waves and also who didn’t mind sharing tricks of the trade and sort of pseudo-mentoring me. It feels like yesterday when we sat across the table at Dame’s Chicken n Waffles, before heading off to the next set at The Art of Cool Festival. Gosh, I think that was three or four years ago now. But I remember her blushing because I was making such a big deal out of meeting her – she was/is a big deal to me. It’s true when they tell you, we need to see us doing things so that we know it’s possible. I had already seen and heard stories of Derrel doing things, so I knew what was possible … but with Vicky, she was, well is, a black woman and that had a resounding affect on me.

Victoria Ford

Music is life. Music is a big part of my life, it created many special moments and memories. My mother shared her love of music with me since I was born. And it created a special bond between she and I. So, I’ve shared my love of music with my children. I can’t sing or play and instrument so I made my camera MY instrument, hence why I am a Music photographer. Music is me and I am music.

Thanks so much to Derrel and Victoria. You guys always come through and it is much appreciated. I salute you for all you’ve done and all you continue to do.