Every photographer has some sort of dream gig. For lots of us, it would involve photographing a specific music artist we idolize. And with their recent reunion, we don’t know which millennial wouldn’t want to photograph Blink 182. As luck would have it, photographer James Baxter got to do just that, and he didn’t even know about it until the day of!
James got into photography due to his love of the automotive scene. “I would take photos of all the cars I liked at car shows,” James tells us. “After photographing cars for a while, I decided to start taking photos at local shows for artists that came through LA. I also use to work at a night club and some weekends the club would hire artists to perform at that club…” He continued to say that he always had the most fun photographing the artist and capturing the energy of the show.
Blink 182 recently announced that they’re getting back together. Their work spans the 1990s and 2000s until they broke up. They’ve worked on various side projects since, but got back together as their most iconic iteration very recently. Every time punk rock kids from that era see photos like this, they’re bound to get excited. Of course, they’re filled with nostalgia and the easier times in life when they’d listen to their favorite albums on repeat.
Before I was a photographer and a journalist, Blink 182 was a major inspiration to me as a musician. My artistic endeavors evolved into writing and photography. Every time I pick the bass back up, I can’t play anywhere as well as I used to. That’s part of the exciting thing about Blink 182; colloquially speaking, they didn’t really know how to play their instruments.
James has some experience photographing big music acts, so when it came to Blink 182, he kind of knew what to expect. However, he wasn’t told who the talent was beforehand. “Once I saw who it was and how big this moment was going to be I didn’t panic, but instead got extremely in the zone and excited,” James tells us. “I had three cameras on me at all times that day to capture different formats and focal lengths because things were moving extremely fast that day.” James says he had a blast photographing Blink 182 and that they’re incredible to work with.
“It was an honor to work with them and a day I’ll surely never forget.”
Even more phenomenal is the fact that he shot the photos of Blink on film. “My Fuji GA645 is an absolute essential for me,” James says. “I also always carry a Sony A7r iii and my Olympus Mju ii.”
In fact, James shot both film and VHS that day simply because, to him, it felt more appropriate for the vibe of the band. He brought a digital body that day too because most of the time the clients want to see photos immediately and can’t wait for the turnaround time on film.
James says that every shoot of his is different. However, he usually overselects the photos and editing them down to his final selects. This, of course, is how lots of photographers shoot these days.