Jason Carlson joined the SkullsNBones team this year as a photographer, and he quickly cornered the Chicago area metal scene, shooting numerous shows and delivering a host of incredible photos. Given the many shows and many photos that he captured, we asked Jason to pick out his 10 favorites of the year from his portfolio. Thanks to Jason for all of his work this year. We hope you enjoy. – Jamie Lee, Managing Editor
10. Aversed from Chicago Open Air, Chicago, IL
I love this photo of Sungwoo Jeong from Aversed. He’s totally in the moment. High contrast black and white works well in this image. Check out the full gallery here.
9. Mushroomhead From Chicago Open Air, Chicago, IL
Mushroomhead make for great images. It was hard to choose just one from this set. I chose this one because he’s making eye contact with me, there’s water splashing from the drums, and the lighting is cool. I really do like this image a lot. Check out the full gallery here.
8. PAIN from Wire in Berwyn, IL
PAIN made their first ever USA tour this year and I was lucky enough to live in a city that they came through. I’ve been a big fan of Hypocrisy and PAIN for a long time. As far as concerts go, this was my favorite of the year. As far as images, this is definitely in my top ten. For a high ISO shot, the image is clear, high contrast works really well on this image, and Peter Tägtgren stands out very clearly from the background. Check out the full gallery here.
7. The Black Dahlia Murder from The Forge in Joliet, IL
I shot The Black Dahlia Murder twice this year – first on the Summer Slaughter tour, then on a headline tour for Nightbringers. This was definitely my favorite show of the two. Sound was great, the lighting was a lot better, and they put on a hell of a show. Even though you can’t see his face, Brandon Ellis pops in this picture. Check out the full gallery here.
6. Gojira from The Vic Theatre, Chicago, IL
I really thought this image of Joe Duplantier would be my best of 2017. It’s up there, but I think I have better. Regardless, this was my first time shooting for SkullsNBones and seeing Gojira live. This was easily my second favorite show of 2017. Check out the full gallery here.
5. In This Moment from House of Blues, Chicago, IL
If you’re a fan of them or not, you can’t deny that In This Moment put on one hell of a stage show. It was really hard to choose a favorite from all these photos, but this one of Travis Johnson really stood out to me. They are unique to photographers because we actually get to shoot the whole show due to Maria’s wardrobe changes. It was a lot of fun and a lot of fog. I’ll remember to bring an ND filter next time… Check out the full gallery here.
4. Belphegor from The Forge, Joliet, IL
This was my first time seeing Belphegor. I’ve heard of them before, but never really heard their music until this show. I was impressed. I was also impressed with their stage show and really had fun taking photos of the band. Again, it was hard to choose a favorite from the set, but this one of Helmuth is great. Check out the full gallery here.
3. Avatar from House of Blues, Chicago, IL
Another band I found and got into this year was Avatar. They played on the main stage at Chicago Open Air, but I didn’t have access at that time to get photos of them. However, I did get them on tour with In This Moment. I was really impressed with their show. The theatricality, the costumes, the songs, and the fact that it seemed everyone in the House of Blues knew all the lyrics to their songs – I was impressed. Johannes Eckerström is quite the character as a frontman, and the costume and face paint make for great photo material. Check out the full gallery here.
2. Cryptopsy From The Forge, Joliet, IL
Crypotopsy have been around for a long time. I have a few of their albums and finally got to see them live. I love this photo of Matt McGachy. High contrast really works here. The details stand out and the shadowing is great. Check out the full gallery here.
1. Amon Amarth From Chicago Open Air, Chicago, IL
For me, this photo of Johan Hegg from Amon Amarth summarizes heavy metal as a whole. Screaming, fire, and heavy music. This is my favorite photo from Chicago Open Air, and my favorite photo of 2017. Check out the full gallery here.
I’m grateful to Jamie and Sam for giving me the opportunity to shoot for SkullsNBones, and I’m looking forward to more photographic adventures in 2018. Until then. Cheers!