Pablo Vigueras’s photography has been a cornerstone of southern Arizona’s hardcore scene for years now, with his work being featured in Revolver magazine, CVLT Nation, and even here on No Echo. Capturing the visceral nature that these types of shows create, Vigueras has used his skills to capture an entire scene’s ethos. To finally give the man behind the lens his dues, Vigueras and myself discussed everything from his start in photography to what got him in the whole hardcore and metal game to start. Check it out below.
What got you into photography?
When I was a freshman in high school I saved up money for a camera and ended up getting a Canon PowerShot. I always had it with me, taking pictures of what I thought might be interesting. After 18, I went through a party stage, I would take out my camera every once in a while with friends or try to take photos of the local car scene. Then I got into trouble and ended up on house arrest for about 2.5 years. I was stuck in my room just thinking about the dumbass situation I had got myself into. I was having to write a schedule every week with specific detail where I was going to be from the hour I left my house to the time I got back. The only way I could go out was if I was working or at the probation office.
I would tell my parole office I was hired to take pictures at local shows and was able to stay out later than 10pm. Photography was my release, literally. I was able to get away from the hell I had put myself into and watch bands that made life a bit more bearable.
That’s so cool that it’s become cathartic for you. What was the first show you shot? How do you feel you’ve improved since?
The first show had to be one of the first Get a Grip shows under the practice spots at Pennington in Tucson. It was a small smoke shop with like 10 heads but those guys have brought it since day one. Definitely improved by not staring at my damn screen for half the show and learning the whole point of being there is for the music. The pictures are secondary. Also how to not be a dick and stand on stage all the time or hang out in the same spot getting the same photo over and over again. Yeah, sometimes you're stuck in a corner, depending on how violent a show gets, but you can definitely find ways to avoid it.
What’s your favorite show you’ve photographed?
Hands down the Gatecreeper show at Gary's Place (RIP). With each band that played that night the crowd and vibe intensified. It was so packed and hot I swear I could see some type of fog even before Los Gatecreepers turned their machines on. Once the guitars rung out it was just a wall of pure chainsaw tone! Some of my favorite shots were taken that night. I always bug Eric and Sean when they are going to play a packed house show or even a small bar. Definitely an experience and you were there so you can vouch for it [laughs].
Easily one of my favorite shows ever too. I would love a Gatecreeper house show again. Are there any specific bands or events that you want to photograph in the future? A dream project?
So many bands I would love to photograph! Right now, I'm really hoping to shoot Terminal Nation, Three Knee Deep, Never Ending Game, Buried Dreams, Be All End All and so many others. I know the homie, Matt Marcum, will come through and book these bands soon. A dream project would probably consist of a gallery opening featuring all of the AZ hardcore photographers showing off, not only band pictures but the people who make up the active music scene. I've been pushing myself to take more pictures of the people who attend shows to try to reach this goal eventually.
AZHC is unlike any other. What is your favorite photo you’ve taken?
So far I would have to say the Gatecreeper photo with Te from Crossfire, Ryan from Get a Grip, Matt and even yourself singing along with Chase at Gary's Place. One for the books.
What is your camera and usual setup?
Currently using a Canon 6d w/ an older 28-70 Sigma 2.8 and a flashpoint speedlight w/ a blue gel. Depending on the lighting and type of show might use my Canon 50 1.4 and shut off the speedlight.
What kinds of shows do you find it most difficult to shoot? Which do you enjoy most?
Shows at bigger venues can sometimes be a little more restrictive on where you can go and if you can use flash or not but usually have better lighting so it's an even trade off. The challenge comes in when the artist orders all red or blue lighting at the lowest possible setting. The best kind of show is going to be a local show. You see and feel the sense of community. Everyone's homies and hanging out having a good time no drama no problems. Only the real ones make it out and the lames stay home.
What bands first got you into punk and metal?
On the metal side that's easy, Ride the Lightning by Metallica: the tone, the attack, especially on “Creeping Death” after the solo. One of my older cousins actually threw some Sworn Enemy and Death Threat on my iPod in high school and I was hooked.
What is one defunct band you’d go back in time to photograph?
Don't mean to talk shit but Sepultura ain't Sepultura without the Cavalera brothers. Seeing ‘em around Beneath the Remains/Arise era would be fuckin amazing. Definitely would drive the Delorean to a Terror Ave show. I can only imagine the craziness during that set.
What recent releases do you think everyone should listen to?
War Prison dropped some ridiculously heavy tunes and can't forget Terminal Nation's new jamz. Something about bands that give a voice to those who are being silenced hold a special place in my heart. Of course, what the legendary Crossfire already has out and what's to come!
For business inquiries, please visit Pablo's website. You can also see more of his work on Instagram.
Tagged: photographer spotlight