John Moore to release ‘practice sessions’ photo book featuring 23 local bands

All photos: John Moore, noir33

Local photographer John Moore is set to release another book documenting the underground music scene in Northwest Arkansas.

Moore was a fixture in the front row at the Lightbulb Club for most of 2014 while working on a 120-page photo collection that captured a year in the life of the Block Avenue venue.

Most recently, he turned his attention to the private studios and spaces where the scene’s players rehearse between gigs. Moore spent four months from May through August this year capturing 23 local bands during their practice and studio sessions. The result is a new book with 370 photographs in both color and black and white.

The book, entitled “23,” is set to be released at 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7 at LaLaLand, 641 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Moore said 33 copies of the book will be on sale for $15 each during the event, which will also include live performances from four of the bands featured in “23” and a photo booth by local photography tag team Rival Colors.

Moore answered some questions about the project in a brief Q&A below. Check it out, and then scroll down for a sample of photos from “23.”

What: “23” photo book release
When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7
Where: LaLaLand, 641 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Who: Local photographer John Moore, Izzi Savage & the Cannibal, MeatsweatTen High, Terminus, Rival Colors
More: Facebook event page

What was the inspiration behind the practice space photographs?
I’m no longer a night person, and haven’t been in many years. For the most part, live music photography requires you to be out late and for long periods of time. During the previous year, the conflict of my daily routine and the long evenings being in a club really dragged me down. The idea was to find a way to continue the music aspect of photography and not have it interfere with life. Practice sessions are shorter than a show at a club. And although it isn’t completely an original concept, it seemed like something that hasn’t been done, at least, in these parts. In this day and age, there is no shortage of live music photography. To photograph musicians in their practice spaces added an element of intimacy and gives a new perspective to people that are normally only seen or portrayed in one particular way.

Was there a band or event that you considered a favorite or most rewarding?
All in all, it was a pretty great experience. Originally, I sent out an email blast to many bands about the project. It did start very slowly and, believe it or not, there was a brief time that it seemed it would not go anywhere. And I was fine with that. Sometime around late June, things took off and I was receiving emails from bands that wanted to be a part of the project. Almost half the groups I photographed reached out to me. Many of these folks I had never met so that made it interesting. By mid-July, I was unfortunately having to turn bands away. Working with such a wide variety of different musical styles and personalities made this a lot of fun. To have these artists invite me into their personal space to record what they do was something special.

In this book, you incorporated not only the latest photography project, but also artwork and other photography dating back over a decade. Care to elaborate on this and on the book title?
The thing is, many people I have met in the last little while had no idea who I was or what I do. It is a generational thing among other things but at the same time, it is easy to become known for singular things. “Hey, you’re the guy that shoots those black and white photographs”. To know what makes up any artist or work requires a certain amount of background. People don’t suddenly become good at something. Most artists work diligently, at many different things, becoming who they are. I’ve always felt that the trail you walk is more important than the destination. By adding a small amount of other endeavors into this book, it might give people a new look into who you are and what your journey was. As far as the title is concerned, that was the number of bands that I decided to shoot. You have to put boundaries up when you do something like this. Otherwise, the thing could drag on forever. And with a predetermined number, it did apply a certain amount of pressure for bands to get their dates together and help me get it done.

Any future plans?
As of now, nothing solid. In the last month or so, life has taken some new directions. With the seasons changing, the plan is to take it easy and enjoy some time off. Who knows, this Winter or next Spring I may find something to do. Several ideas, nothing concrete, have come to mind. It would be nice to do a couple of music videos. Another idea was to shoot individual musicians, artists, performers around the scene (not on stage or playing) at different locations and then do an “interview” on video to finish up. A book, with those photographs, and a DVD telling their stories sounds kinda cool. These are just ideas but it would take a certain amount of interest from musicians and such for me to get to involved. If I were to get a few requests, I most likely would do a few to see what could come about. Also, I have a large bag of 35mm film left over from my film days. It would be nice to do one last big project with that. So, if anyone is interested (not just musicians) in collaberating, feel free to contact me at my website which is