I moved to San Diego in the spring of 2000 and was immediately struck by the immense talent in the San Diego independent music scene. Coming from a town with very little to offer in the way of original live music I almost immediately started exploring what my new hometown had to offer. A chance meeting with an up-and-coming musician in South Mission Beach in the summer of 2000 was the start of a journey into music photography that has lasted more than ten years.
Those ten years have seen bands break up and new bands form in their wake. Music venues opened and closed and artists moved in and out of what is in my view one of the greatest music communities in the world. On any given night you can find truly great live music at a small coffee shop like Lestat’s (a photographer’s favorite with great lighting and sound) or larger establishments like The Belly Up Tavern with their artist-friendly backstage area and first class lighting and sound systems. Some nights it is a real struggle to decide which venues to spend time at.
I was lucky enough to have many of the people I photographed on stage become my friends and accept me and my camera into their off-stage lives. Those friendships brought opportunities to photograph CD covers, do promotional shoots and even film and edit a few concert length videos for Berkley Hart and Deadline Friday.
In late 2010 I began the process of curating my collection of music photographs for this book. In doing so I found some things I expected to find as well as some pleasant surprises buried in my digital equivalent of a dusty shoebox. As the book started to take shape it became evident that while I’ve shared many amazing moments with the artists contained herein, there were a number of talented San Diego writers I’d met over the years that also had close relationships with these artists and great stories to tell in their own voices. As a true testament to the sense of community that helps hold the scene together, each of the writers I contacted agreed to contribute their stories and perspectives.
The photographs presented here are moments in San Diego music as I experienced them. While I wish it were possible to dedicate a page to every deserving performer that has graced a stage in this city, I don’t think they make books with that many pages and it would be a book that would never be finished. Besides, a photographer is entitled to his favorites.
Tim Flack grew up with music and photography. Exposed to the guitar at an early age by two uncles and fascinated by a third uncle’s film cameras, he was drawn to the varied artistic expression that each medium provided. The two art forms came together when, in the year 2000, he moved to San Diego and began exploring the vast community of talented musicians. He started bringing his camera to local music venues and found his experience as a musician gave him a unique perspective, allowing him to capture the purity, honesty and power of a stage performance. Performance music photography led to long lasting bonds with many of the performers and collaborations on album covers and video projects along with the occasional promotional photo shoot. Every once in a while the itch to take the stage becames irresistable, leading him to join local acts like Podunk Nowhere, SweetTooth and Brooke Mackintosh for periods of time.