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Through the Eyes of a Child: Sydney Lewis' (She's 7) Final Shows of 2019

Photos by SYDNEY LEWIS // Story by MIKE LEWIS // Seven year-old Sydney Lewis, daughter to OMN Photographer/writer Mike is back at it, in the photography pit. Plus two videos with dad.

Is Sydney still shooting shows? \

This is one of the questions I’ve been asked and the simple answer is yes, she has. However, this also happened to occur right before the holidays. That combined with trying to prepare for a trip out of the country for a few weeks put any efforts of getting anything written on the backburner. Now that we’re back and looking at a New Year, it’s time to look at those last couple of shows Sydney had and see how see did in the photo pit.

Over the years Sydney has asked me why I will get photo passes for bands that I don’t listen to and in some rare instances, bands I don’t even care much for. Part of it is practice but I’ve also found that for me, every genre of music offers a different visual approach. A blues show will be different from a metal show, a rap show isn’t going to be like a country show. It also helps me to expand my portfolio. Sydney more or less knows the music that she hears from my wife and I although she does occasionally explore and find music of her own but when presented with the opportunity to shoot another show, this time being bands she wasn’t familiar with, she decided that she wanted to accompany me to the photo pit once again.

Sydney joined me for the Let Light Overcome the Darkness Tour which consisted of Our Last Night, I See Stars, The World Alive and Ashland. This would be her first experience with bands of the alternative metal or metalcore variety since, despite my love of metal, these aren’t the types of artists that I tend to gravitate to. Ashland however is the band which we were both approved for and they were more of the oddity for they are a pop / rock duo and completely on the opposite side of the spectrum than the other artists on the tour. This was Sydney’s third show and to date, she’s been used to being able to simply take photos to her hearts content. This wasn’t the case with this show however.

After Ashland’s first three songs I told Sydney we needed to leave the photo pit. She looked at me, stunned. “That’s it!?!?!”
I explained we could only be there for the first three songs and she assumed that this meant it was the end of the show. She started to tear up before I told her we still had three more bands so we’d be going back into the pit later. This relaxed her a little and she simply sat back and enjoy the remainder of the set, telling me later that Ashland was her favorite of the evening. During The Word Alive she did have a few moments where the vocalist paid attention to her and did a bit of posing on stage of her much like other bands had with her first show.

Every concert is a learned experience when you’re starting out and this proved to be the case here as well although not for me, but for Sydney. Having done with long enough, I’m used to checking my lenses and making sure they are clean but I didn’t think about Sydney not knowing that vital piece of information. The next day I found that at some point, she had a piece of dust or something on the lens which resulted in a large blackspot on her photos for the remaining two bands and thus, the photos were unusable. I used this as a teaching moment for her and she already has it in mind that she should always clean the lens even if she doesn’t think that it needs it.

Aside from that the other thing that was learned is the Sydney just doesn’t care of metalcore or post-hardcore bands. The only other artist in 2019 she really wanted a photo pass for, King Diamond, she was decline resulting in a bit of crying before I told her that I had been declined plenty of times over the years and it wasn’t really a big deal. Most bands will tour again although there are those which definitely won’t. I’m thinking back to those four different times I was declined for Rush and then of course the recent news.

As for 2020 I’ve already asked Sydney about a couple of shows that she didn’t want to be a part of. After hearing Heilung, a folk inspired collective, she decided that she wasn’t interested because, as she put it, their music was just too weird. She thought she wanted to shoot a black metal show with me until she saw how dark the lighting was and determined that she wouldn’t get any pictures. Meanwhile she’s expressed interest in the Blues Festival again and has been relentlessly asking me about KISS which is months down the road. It’s safe of say however that this doesn’t seem to be a passing fancy and she’s definitely interested in continuing to accompany me into the photo pit.

Lastly, as a bonus, there is a second video from another show she attended with me. A friend of mine passed through Portland with his band, Bitter Lake, and wanted Sydney to have a photo pass. However, the tiny venue was too dark for either of us to get any good photos out of the show and thus, a lesson was learned about the role that lighting plays during a concert.

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