How Sam Schucker Captures Live Music in a Still Photo 

By Amira Turner 

 

   If you ever run into Brooklyn College junior Sam Schucker in the pit of a concert venue, they’re not there to mosh. Instead, they’re snapping pictures from the photo pit. Schucker has made a name for themselves in the New York concert photography scene, shooting for artists like MUNA, Samia, and Leith Ross. 

   Schucker recalled always having an interest in film and photography, making movies and videos on their family iMac for their own entertainment as a kid. It wasn’t until a high school film photography class that Schucker started to take photography more seriously. 

   Despite their passion for both music and photography, Schucker wasn’t sure concert photography was a viable career. “Concert photography was always something that I kind of admired from afar, it just seemed so cool,”  Schucker told The Vanguard. “These are my two favorite things ever: live music and photos, taking photos […] almost like too perfect to be something that I could ever get into.”

   Schucker decided to take a leap of faith into the world of concert photography by sending out cold emails. They reached out to as many artists as they could, looking for an opportunity to shoot at their concerts. In Dec. 2022, indie artist Leith Ross responded, and Schucker’s concert photography career took off. 

   “When I took photos for Leith Ross at their first show in New York and that was like, I feel like doors open […] like you’re proving to yourself that this is something attainable, like okay, this is the first step and like it’s actually something that I could see myself doing,” Shucker said. 

   From there, Schucker continued to reach out to artists to shoot their upcoming shows in the New York area, as well as music magazines to publish their photography. Schucker credits New York City with allowing them to have so many opportunities to photograph shows. They also acknowledge that the city’s saturation of artists can make it a little harder to get responses, “I’m not like super heartbroken if I don’t hear anything back because I know that there’s like just so many of us trying to like to do the same thing.”

   Schuckers’ success can be attributed to their ability to capture the energy of a live show in their photos. Their unique style is characterized by colorful neon lighting and an emphasis on emotion. Many of their photos also include close-ups of details like shoes and playing positions that can only be caught by the keen eye of a fan. This stems from their unique approach to their photography as a fan first. 

   “I think that definitely the excitement just comes through like on both ends of the artists obviously playing their show, but also like the joy both from me and from the audience. I’m like having fun and singing the lyrics while I’m in the photo pit, and I feel like that just makes it so much better. The joy that seeps through, and the photos,” Schucker said. 

   Despite their accomplishments so far, Schucker can’t help but have a sense of imposter syndrome–feeling as though they are not successful for who they are and their quality work. “It’s definitely really intimidating,” Schucker shared. “The photo pit can be really intimidating, especially when it’s a lot of like older white men.”

   As a Filipino American, Schucker wants to encourage other young creatives of color to combat the lack of diversity in white male-dominated fields, like photography, by fostering a more collaborative community. Their advice to other budding photographers: be kind to those who are your competitors. 

   “Be nice to the people that you are surrounded with,” Schucker stated. “I feel like things can be so like gatekeep-y and, like, so white, cis, male-dominated, that I think it’s really important to create a sense of community around something that is so collaborative and like music is meant to bring people together.” 

 

   If you’re interested in seeing more of Schucker’s work, you can follow them on Instagram, @schucke.r or see their work in Fanaticus Magazine at www.fanaticusmagazine.com/profile/samanthaschucker/profile 

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