Who knows why Lissa
Wales was born to photograph drummers, but she was. And thank goodness,
because whenever I need a photo of even the most obscure drummer late
Friday afternoon, I make one phone call, and can expect a killer Lissa
Wales shot in my hands early Monday morning.
But it wasn’t until 1982 when Lissa began shooting drummers in particular. Her inspiration came from Jim Zupancic of the Creative Drum Shop in Scottsdale, Arizona, who asked her to shoot some drum clinics in his store. Next he invited her to attend her first Percussive Arts Society International Convention, where she was hired to shoot the show.
Basically, she never looked back. Since then her work has appeared internationally in respected magazines such as Drums & Drumming, DRUM!, Rhythm & Drums (Japan), Rhythm Magazine (UK) and Slagwerkkrant.
Her favorite assignments have included shooting the Yamaha Groove Nights at the 2000 Winter NAMM show, the Buddy Rich Memorial Scholarship concert at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles in 1988, and Zildjian Days events throughout the country in 1990. Her catalog is jammed with the top names in the history of drumming — past and present. Lissa likes to photograph “anybody who really emotes,” and cites Louie Bellson, Simon Phillips, Andy Newmark, Gary Husband, Dave Weckl, Steve Gadd and Chad Smith as some of her favorite subjects.
So what’s her secret for taking the perfect drummer photo? “Just catching their emotion on film,” Lissa explains. “Trying to be in the right spot — that’s the key.” Almost sounds too simple doesn’t it? Well, it is, because there is another, much more mysterious factor involved with getting the right shot, and that is whether or not the photographer has a good eye. Lissa Wales has a good eye.
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© 2003 Lissa Wales — Last Modified 14 January 2003