Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Hey Everyone-

Wow, what a year it was. Lots of ups, a few downs, but lots of highlights. This has been a very good year, for me. I was busier this year than I've been in over a decade, and having a lot of fun. I've worked with a lot of people that I greatly admired, and will hopefully continue to do so. There's also a lot to come this year, so stayed tuned.

My sincere thanks to all of you that were a part of the high points of this year. My love also goes out to the good people that left this earthly place in the last 12 months. May we see you again, someday. Safe travels, and see you next year,
December 31, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Recent Discovery

Last month, I was thumbing through some records at a local antique shop. One of the boxes was marked "various," so I decided to look and see what I find. I usually don't go looking for budget best-of's, but sometimes the radio station compilations LPs are interesting to look at. Spying an LP with the telltale "groovy graphics" font of the late '60s, I picked up an LP by the Ray Bloch Singers, entitled Hits Of '69.

On the cover was featured some various pics of guys and girls, dancing and looking cool. I then began to look at the guys on the cover, and realized that I recognized their faces. It was the Left Banke, whom many of you will know is one of my all-time favorite bands. The set-up for the photos also looked familiar. In searching the Left Banke's photos for articles I've written on the band, I had seen some photos that the band had done for an article in Datebook Magazine in 1968. These were photos from that same shoot, only in color.

What I believe happened was this. The photographer took pictures of the band for Datebook in the late summer of 1968, and turned in most of the pics to the magazine. Like many photographers of the time, he kept some "out-takes" for himself. Somewhere in the following months, the photographer sold the out-takes to Ambassador Records, who were a low-budget label that was putting together a series of albums by the Ray Bloch Singers. They probably asked the photographer if he had any shots of "groovy kids," so he sold them the Left Banke shots. The photographer is credited on the back cover, which leads me to believe that the label bought the photos directly from the photographer, and not an agency. As far as I can tell, the Left Banke did not know about this happening. I have since discovered from the photographer's daughter (the photographer is deceased) that the photos from that shoot no longer exist, so the album you see below is what remains of those photos.

This is the second time that I've helped locate Left Banke material. In 2004, I was given by some collectors a video of the Disc-o-Teen TV show from 1966, and was able to definitely say what portion of the film actualy featured the Left Banke. (This footage was also important as it is the only existing footage of the band's original lineup, with original drummer Warren David Scherhorst.) What I really wish, of course, if that the Ray Bloch LP contained a completely unknown LP of Left Banke songs, I'm happy to have had a hand in discovering some forgotten photos of one of the best bands of the 1960s.
Dec. 29, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Avett Brothers article in Our State that features my photos, and quotes

My quotes are only used in this online portion, but definitely check out my photos in the magazine, which were given a full three-page spread.
December 20, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Update from my photography site You should visit this, too.

Hey everyone-

Merry Christmas! There's been a lot going on, so let me get you up to date.

My photos of a certain Charlotte author went web crazy last month, after photographing her just a few days before the big story broke. My photo was purchased for usage by People Magazine, New York Daily News, New York Post, and NBC/MSNBC, and has been posted online by many other outlets around the world. I was also interviewed by People Magazine about taking photos of said author. It was an interesting week, to say the least, but I'm glad to have seen the hubbub die down.

The day before the People interview, I did a lengthy interview with Our State Magazine about the early days of the Avett Brothers. The magazine also purchased some of my photos of the band for the article. They'll be hard to miss! It will either be the January or Febaruary issue, I will keep you posted when the issue is on the stands.

In late November, I had the great honor of photographing the Monkees tour in Glenside, PA. It was a a thrill to see Mike Nesmith in action, and to finally photograph a Monkees show. Some of my photos from the show are now up on the band's Facebook tour page, as well as my blog. Hopefully, you'll see more of my Monkees photos in the coming year.

My Procol Harum promo photos were used all over Japan this month, as the band did a well-received tour of the country. Other places that my photos have turned up included the Charlotte Observer, Charlotte Magazine, Southpark Magazine, cover of Myers Park Life, Society Charlotte, Bedford Magazine (Ridgefield, CT, which used my photo for a feature on Beach Boy David Marks), and many others. If you've seen my photos in other places, let me know. It's been hard to keep up with the photos, as of late.

Lots of cool shoots, recently. The Who concert in Washington, DC, the Hit Men in Newberry, SC, Chatham County Line holiday tour in Greenville, SC. Back in North Carolina, recent shoots include Willie Nelson, the Gathering, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Wanda Jackson, promo photos with the Mack Fowler Band, and shoots with many other clients. You'll see some of these photos on this site shortly, but also check out my blog,, for photos and ramblings about my adventures.

I am currently waiting to see the proofs for the NC Musicians book (now officially titled "North Carolina Musicians: Photographs And Conversations"), and will keep you posted. I am also supposed to be working right now on finishing my book on the NC rock and roll scene of the 1960s, but work has been slow, due to my recent work blitz. I'll keep you posted on this one, as well.

Godspeed to so many good people that we've lost in recent weeks. I also want to welcome my new niece, Milah Andrea Parks, into the world. Seeing her is, for me, seeing all the possibilities that life can offer us. You can also read my welcoming letter to Milah on my blog. My family cried when they read it, so I hope that is a good thing. Thank you to everyone that helped make this year one of the best in my life, and I hope to see you again in the coming months. 
Safe travels,
December 19, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Note To My Niece

To my niece Milah (and others)-

The world is not always like this. For all of the millions and billions of good people on this earth, it sadly can take only person, and action to remind us how dark our world can sometimes be. Hold on to the good things, and the good people in your life. The dark can be daunting, but hope can emerge again, if you allow it.

As to why bad things happen, I can offer no good explanation. There is never a good answer in times like this, no matter how much we wish there was.

December 14, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Travels With My Camera - Ravi Shankar

I never thought that I would get the chance to see Ravi Shankar. As the years wore on, the master of the sitar was touring less. As many older artists also do, Shankar rarely toured the Southeast US. Many artists prefer to tour in the northeast, or west coast, where there is a better guarantee of making money on the tour. This is why so many of the artists that I tend to be interested in rarely tour below Ohio.

In 2007, the Charlotte Symphony announced a show with Shankar. I was thrilled. Shankar with an orchestra! Sadly, Shankar fell and broke his hip broke his hip before the tour began. With the tour now cancelled, I figured that my last chance had come and gone. However, nearly two years later, Shankar and his daughter Anouska booked a Charlotte date. I immediately lined up a photo pass.

Shooting the show presented a different problem. I was still shooting film at the time, using my trusty old Canon AE-1. ("George," if you know of my old habit of naming my film cameras.) The venue asked that I turn my shutter sound off, assuming that I now shot digitally. Of course, that wasn't an option for me. Much of the sound in the theater was coming offstage, and was very quiet. Indeed, it was possibly one of the quietest large-theater shows I've ever attended.

The solution was simple. When the crowd applauded, shoot. If the crowd laughed, shoot. If anyone in the audience made a loud noise that covered up my camera sound, shoot. I was only supposed to have shot the first ten minutes of the show, so I snuck some photos from my seat. All in all, the time that I took photos only spanned about ten minutes, so perhaps I was following instructions, after all. I got a few good photos, despite the low light and quiet conditions.

Even at age 89, Shankar was still something to behold. He was not able to always sit cross-legged, but he sat with the sitar for the entire show. Much of the show was improvisational, as is the custom for a lot of Indian music. Shankar and his daughter traded passages on the sitar, building a layer of sound between themselves. Ravi's energy grew throughout the show, as the music still moved him to different ideas. Ravi also had a small white dog with him on tour, which came out on stage to greet him after the show.

You always hope that you get to see your heroes as many times as you can. That's not greediness, that is just one human's hopes and wishes. Once you have seen the mountaintop, doesn't one always hope to someday see it again? In the long run, it does not matter how many times that you saw, or spent time with someone. What happens is that you did spent those fleeting moments you admire. Those few stars in the sky that changed the people around you, and in the process change you. The moments are fleeting, but the influence lasts forever.
-Daniel Coston
December 12, 2012
photo copyright 2009 Daniel Coston

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lee Fields photos, Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte, NC, 12.7.2012

Lee Fields 

Tremont Music Hall
Charlotte, NC
December 7, 2012
all photos copyright 2012 Daniel Coston

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My Monkees photos on the band's official tour page

Check them out at-

My thanks to Andrew Sandoval, and the Monkees for this.

You can also currrently see my recent Procol Harum posed pics used to promote their current Japanese tour.  Check out the band's fan page on Facebook for more photos.
December 9, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

To My Niece Milah, Who Was Just Born

Hello Milah-

Thirty five years ago, I was spending Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house when my dad came in, and told me that I had a sister. Now, with a few days past Thanksgiving, my sister has given birth to you. Welcome home. As your uncle, it has been remarkable to watch your mom become more than just my sister. She is now your mother, and so much more. One of the miracles of living is that we can live long enough to watch the next generations of our family come in, and carry on this line that began way before you, or me.

As you are new to the world, there are a lot of things to tell you about. The planet we live on is a strange place. Always has been, always will be. Millions of people got lost in the little things of everyday life, while bigger issues pass right by them. There is, and was no exact thing as "the good old days." That is just each person's perspective on their own lives, and how they look back on their past. Someday, you might even look back on the next several years of your life as "the good old days." As I said, the world is a strange place, but it has it's possibilities. Make the most of them, and enjoy every day that you can.

What can I tell you about your mother? She is a good person, and is really happy to have you here. When she tells you about our days as kids, she might tell you that we had a lot of good times together. This is true. She might also tell you that I was not the ideal older brother. This is where our memories sometimes differ. Again, there is no concrete thing as the truth, just one's view of it. I might feel the same way if you asked me if your mother was the perfect younger sibling. The truth is, our memories meet somewhere in the middle. But your mom has always had her heart in the right place, and I'd like to think that I did, as well.

Obviously, I have not known your father as long as I've known your mother, but I believe that he shares my sister's hopes and aspirations for you. By the time that I finally meet you, you may have already met my parents, who are now your grandparents. We all did a lot of growing up together. From the home that we shared in upstate New York, living on the banks of Cayuga Lake, to that first home we lived in here in North Carolina. It was a long journey from there to here, yet rewarding. Now, my parents are ready to take care of you the same way that they raised myself and your mother. Give them your attention, when time allows. They've been waiting for you for a long time, and they will be good to you.

As I think about you, I remember all of your relatives that you did not get the chance to meet. Great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, great uncles, aunts and more. You are descended from hard workers, mailmen, engineers, priests, travelers and characters such as myself. Someday, I want to tell you about them all. This includes your grandmother's parents, who also took time to raise me when I was young. I did, and still love them as much as I love you. And that's a lot. They may not be here to welcome you, but they are glad to have you here, just the same.

There is so much for you to learn, and experience. That it is okay to dream, whether you are an adult or child. That some dreams are worth fighting for, while others will change and adapt with you. That it is possible to grow up, and not completely grow old. That it is okay to care about what you do, and the people around you.  And to not be afraid to be yourself. As I said before, the world is a strange place. It is not always hostile to the things I just mentioned, but it can be indifferent. And that can sometimes be the toughest thing of all. But always remember you who are, and who you came from. Your dreams will always be worth fighting for, as we fought for our own.

That being said, there is time to discover these things. You will get there. Until then, enjoy your time in this new place. Look around, and smile at it. And sleep as much as you can. You will appreciate that more as you get older, as will your parents. There is so much to share with you, and I look forward to doing that soon. Until then, rest well, and welcome home.

Sincerely, your uncle,
-Daniel Coston
December 5, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Monkees photos, Glenside, PA, November 27th, 2012

The Monkees
Keswick Theater, Glenside, PA
November 29, 2012
all photos copyright 2012 Daniel Coston

Review coming soon.

Update on THAT photo

Hey There-

I am happy to report that I struck a deal with the NY Daily News for their use of my photos of a certain Charlotte author. Ironically, their check ended up being the first to arrive. My sincere thanks to them.
The tally of outlets that purchased the photos from me directly included the Daily News, NY Post, NBC/MSNBC, People Magazine, and People's sister publications in India and Australia. (No, I didn't know about those papers, either.)

The Daily News also confirmed that my photo was also picked up by the Associated Press, via the Observer. Since I am freelance with the Observer, I will have to contact AP soon about this. If I was full-time with the paper (which they probably assumed I was), my contract would have covered this. But since I am freelance, I will need to make sure that I get paid for that usage.

I still need to contact the paper's national wing that handles sales via Getty. As some of you may know, freelancing is a full-time job unto itself. I have been so busy shooting and traveling this month, that I have not always had time to make all of the business calls that I might have. However, I also wanted to give some outlets time to contact me, as did the Daily News. As for the Daily Mail, my photo has disappeared from their site, and I'm just taking that as something to laugh about. Some fights are not worth the time and money that one might invest in them, so you just move on.

Out of this, I have gained some insight as to how quickly a photo can race through the interest. The business has changed greatly from how photos were handled ten years ago. Unfortunately, the pay scale has not largely changed in that time, with the exception of the tabloids. That being said, I have also gained contacts at several national media outlets, and I look forward to working with them again soon. With photos that will hopefully have nothing to do with international scandals. The business of rock and roll now doesn't seem so mad, after all.
December 3, 2012

Thoughts On The Passing Of A Birthday Milestone

How did this happen?

This past Friday, I officially turned a year older. It was also one of those "milestone" birthdays, the kind  that makes some people say, "Wow, you're old now." The kind that you used to think seems so much older, and so far away from the age you were at the time. And now, I am one of "those" ages. However, as my grandfather once said, "This happens if you life long enough." And so I have.

I got a little freaked out when I turned 28 and 29. The impending rush of age frightened me more than the milestone's eventual arrival. By the time that 30 arrived, I honestly didn't care anymore. Like many things in life, one's age is not so much a physical entity, but how concrete that concept is in your mind. I have known old men that were still like children, and young kids that were already old men. I myself started as an old child, and like to think that I continue to grow out of old age, as the years go by. You can grow up, without growing old.

More and more, I appreciate being here. Survival is not for the faint of heart, but I have found more joy in this past year than I have experienced in some time. I work now like I did in the early part of the last decade, but except now I'm better about letting myself be overwhelmed by things. I like to think that I can see things clearly now. If that all comes with adding more numbers to my age, so be it. The point is not to count the years, but enjoy the days while we are here. And I intend to do that, for as long as I can.

Old age? I'm just getting started. There is so much more to do.

Here's to living. Here's to survival. Here's to life. Safe travels,
December 2, 2012