Amber Ainsworth/MJ


Amber Ainsworth/MJ
Amber Ainsworth/MJ

When I inquired about my first concert photo pass my freshman year of college, I had no clue my life and journey I was on would be so greatly impacted by one email.

On Dec. 12, 2013 (ask me if I will ever forget that date… I won’t) I sat backstage at the Fillmore in Detroit, trying my hardest to calm my nerves as I waited for the band I would be interviewing. Immediately following the interview, I was knee-­to­stage with the front of the Fillmore, the same stage I watched intently from the balcony six years earlier when I attended my first concert.

By that night in 2013, I was hardly a journalist and a photographer. I had written a handful of articles for the student life section of the paper at school and I loved carrying around a nice DSLR camera with me, but beyond those aspects, under­experienced was an understatement.

The photo pit, that area between the barricaded audience and the stage, felt so foreign in 2013.

During 2014, my time in that place increased considerably and what was once practically unknown to me became like a home. I’ve shared these pits with other photographers, artists, security guards, and the occasional crowd surfers. Often, the commotion within the pit makes for limited working conditions, but somehow my creativity hasn’t been stifled by the lack of room or the short time, which is limited to the first three songs, spent in the area.

As a person whose life has been influenced by music for as long as I can recall, the chance to document one art in the form of another art is one of the most important opportunities I’ve ever enjoyed.

Music goes far beyond the beat and even lyrics, and with my body plastered against the stage and eye following every move on that stage, the full meaning of music could never be more evident. I’ve heard and seen what artists put into their music when I have been at concerts, but my camera still manages to catch a passion that maybe wasn’t noticed at first glance – it’s the way a singer’s mouth moves during a certain line or word, an unspoken thought in their eyes, a slight move that proves what is happening on that stage is more than just entertainment.

On that first night in the pit a little over two years ago, my main thought was about having fun. Fun is far from the motive now. In a world saturated with pop culture, some musicians focused exclusively on the money, that raw emotion that goes into music is essential.

I use photography as an outlet when life becomes a bit overwhelming, and I admire artists of different modes who are similar in their own creative expression. The stage is a place of creation, emotion and art, and to me, the photo pit is exactly the same except with a camera instead of a mic.