Alan Sparhawk (Low)

Camera settings (I'm not exaggerating...just so all of you photogs from afar understand our poor working conditions! ;) )


1.8 aperture. 800 iso, 1/5th of a second...yes, you read this right.


It's been 14 months since Low came to Chicago. The last time was a personal disaster. I was serving jury duty on a criminal court and the day Low was playing was also the deliberation day. It was a rather violent case with four separate charges and I ended up having to turn around half the jury to a non guilty charge for the heaviest one...which took about 3 1/2 hours. Then, I was supposed to shoot an early Lucinda Williams show at The Vic Theater.


I drove like mad to get there on time from the south side where the courthouse was. I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world to get a spot right up front for Lucinda. After the opener, however, I was told by a security guard that Lucinda didn't want any photos of her from close so I had to go back and shoot in the way back of the club. For those unaware or outside of Chicago, the Vic Theater is a very large club and the soundboard is where the entrance is. Even if I had a 300mm lens, it would have had to have been a 2.8 with an IS to be able to get anything decent. I felt very upset about the whole thing and left after one song when I was clearly not getting anywhere. I ran to Low at the Metro, which I didn't have a photopass for and hid behind my friends Gavin (and I think Sei Jin, no?) as they are taller and therefore I could not be extremely tortured with all of the great shots I was missing with Alan and Mimi.


Alan seems like an incredibly nice person and there was a point when he was covering "Hatchet" that I caught him looking down at me singing along and smiling. Though, because it was so dark, I threw away 99% of my photos. I really had to work hard to get anything. Good thing I know the Low songs in advance to have a pretty good idea of when Alan is going to be stuck on a note.


I was going to ask him for a portrait shot but I thought....I'd really rather get a shot of him with Mimi someday. Alan, if you ever read this, know how much I love you and consider the possibility.

  • FRYBRAINRCK ( A Day in the Life)_ Ryan c. King 7y

    WoW ! this is a great B&W image ! Love it!
  • Marcelo Jhonas 7y

    great shot , Kirstie apart from bad conditions. You rule! :)
  • Kathalijne 7y

    oh i photohraphed them once as well!! haven't seen them in years though... hope'll have the opportunity to take his portrait some day.

    wonderful shot this
  • Javier Ayala 7y

    Electric shot!
  • Robert Loerzel 7y

    Great capture... you never let those awful lighting conditions stop you.
  • Oz Villanueva 7y

    feel the pain, its a shame all you had to go thru.
    manages a great shot, love the expression

    i have always loved low, ever since i heard "over the ocean" a long time ago. as i read somewhere, the beauty of their music resides not in the notes they play but in the spaces between those notes.
    (best example imo: laser beam)
  • Sei Jin Lee 7y

    I think the shot came out ok! 'Course I still think the crazy shot with Alan Sparhawk's head a blur is a great shot too!
  • *ailicec* 7y

    I think it's an amazing portrait! You caught all his strength, that's pretty wonderful, K!
  • MF Charlie Chan 7y

    He wasn't covering Hatchet with RGC. It was a RGC song to begin with. Al wrote a bunch of songs with RGC that made it onto Drums and Guns. Al hired me to take the pictures of the Drums and Guns. He's a great guy.
  • Kirstie Shanley 7y

    hmm...interesting. I didn't know that. I have to admit, even though I enjoyed Retribution Gospel Choir's set (mainly because I love Alan's voice), I am a much bigger Low fan.
  • 8bitblues 7y

    OMG how did I miss this photo??! He is quite lovely. I adore him so!
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