Beyoncé breaks the Internet once again with new post of her and her twins and social media users get extra creative with memes. Buzz60’s Djenane Beaulieu (@djenanebeaulieu) has the scoop.
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Stuntman John Bernecker sustained a serious head injury during production of The Walking Dead this past week in Atlanta, halting production on season 8.
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Sophie Turner says key plot lines are coming full circle, while co-stars including Iain Glen, John Bradley and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau share excitement as “Game of Thrones” premieres its seventh season in LA. (July 13)
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The Fox Theatre will host the premiere for “Detroit,” Kathryn Bigelow’s movie about the summer of 1967 in the city.
Detroit Free Press
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Taylor Swift returned to Instagram on Thursday, after going radio silent for months, to support her best friend, Selena Gomez.
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See the nominees for Outstanding Comedy and Drama Series for the 69th Emmy Awards.
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On Tuesday night , “America’s Got Talent” aired the audition of a contestant who died in a car accident in June.
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Kid Rock tweeted late this afternoon to “Stay tuned, I will have a major announcement in the near future.”
Detroit Free Press staff
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Madonna has just opened the Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care at the Queen Central Hospital. This is the first center of this kind in the African country of Malawi and it is being named after one of her adopted daughters from the area, Mercy James.
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Beyonce debuts the twins, and the Internet loses it
Stuntman injured on ‘Walking Dead’ set has died
‘Game of Thrones’ stars tease new season thrills
Cast of ’67 riot film ‘Detroit’ coming to the Motor City
Taylor Swift returns to Instagram to praise friend Selena Gomez
Did the Emmys snub your favorite TV show?
Audition aired of ‘America’s Got Talent’ contestant who died
Is Kid Rock running for U.S. Senate?
Madonna continues to give back to Malawi
Metro Detroit-based music photographer Ken Settle shot his first concert when he was just 11 years old. It was 1971, and Creedence Clearwater Revival was playing at Cobo Hall. Back then, concert security was lax. If you had a camera and acted important, no one questioned you.
“It was an amazing experience,” says Settle. “Cobo Hall seemed so huge then, especially to a little kid.” His parents took him and his three sisters to the show, and Settle’s father, who owned a decent camera from the ’50s — a Kodak Signet rangefinder — let his son borrow it. “I remember walking down the aisle and taking a few shots, maybe one of which turned out.”
There was always an intersection between music and photography for Settle, whose work spans more than four decades and has appeared in everything from Rolling Stone to VH1’s “Behind the Music,” to a Martin Scorsese companion book to 2003’s “The Blues” documentary series, to Hard Rock Cafes around the world, where 153 of his prints decorate the walls.
In the small house in Taylor and then Westland where he grew up, Settle would hear the sounds of Beatles and Rolling Stones records that his older sisters brought home, and when the kids were asleep, his mother would quietly play Elvis Presley and B.B. King in a nearby room.
His father, meanwhile, took family photos for slideshows, which he’d set up in the kitchen and gather the kids around to watch. “That was one of my first real moments where I got fascinated by photography,” recalls Settle. He received his first camera — a Kodak point-and-shoot — for Christmas at age nine and took action shots of the family cat Twiggy.
One day while his mother was watching Presley perform on TV, Settle took photos of the screen. “I wanted to take the photos to school and say that I photographed Elvis,” he laughs.
Yet the rock ‘n’ roller that fascinated Settle most was Bob Seger. When Seger played a 1973 show at Lakeview High School in St. Clair Shores, the 13-year-old dragged along his father’s new Canon rangefinder. They were his first batch of photos that came out well.
Because his father worked for a phone company, the Settles had phonebooks from all over the state. Seger wasn’t listed, but his bandmates were. So a young Settle called up drummer David Teegarden, but organ player Skip Knape (VanWinkle) answered the phone. Settle asked if he could start a Bob Seger fan club. Knape told him to run it by Seger, and then passed the boy his personal number.
The first time Settle called Seger, the rocker said to him, “They don’t have fan clubs for auto workers, do they?” But once or twice a week, Settle would call back and ask various questions, like “what’s the chord to ‘Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man’?”
“He was so very nice and patient,” Settle remembers. “It was a great moment for me, because to me, Seger was as big as the Beatles.”
Settle’s first “real rock ‘n’ roll photo,” he says, was of Seger at a WRIF ballgame with a mitt in one hand and a pack of Marlboros in the other. The sleeves of his shirt were torn off. Years later, the shot ended up in the video for Seger’s “Turn the Page” for his 1994 “Greatest Hits” album.
This freedom, the ability to openly document a music culture without restrictions, shaped what we know of pop culture. “There’s such a great visual record of the ’60s and ’70s rock ‘n’ roll explosion because they allowed free rein for the photographic media,” says Settle. “It helped create a visual excitement around the bands, which I don’t think would’ve occurred otherwise.”
Settle dabbled with music writing, but excelled with music photography. He sold his first shot — Seger, of course — to the now-defunct Rock Magazine in 1975. He was 15. Later that year, he sold a shot of Seger to Creem magazine, a legendary rock ‘n’ roll monthly published out of metro Detroit and edited by Lester Bangs, often cited as “America’s Greatest Rock Critic.”
From there, a lifelong career as a music photographer blossomed. At the dawn of MTV in the early ’80s, concert photography began to change. Artists became more aware of image. Settle says the first-three-songs rule that’s a staple of modern concert photography was born during this time. “Artists didn’t want to look sweaty, and after the third song, they’re starting to sweat a bit.”
Then things took a turn for the digital. “Of course everybody now shoots digital, and it’s a blessing and a curse,” says Settle. “Digital allows you to do more with shooting in low light, but it’s also made photography more accessible, which creates a bigger competitive situation.”
Back in the day, he recalls, there were two or three photographers at a show. Now it’s common to see a group of 12 to 15 photographers fighting for space in the pit. A frequent requirement to shooting from the soundboard – farther back – he says, has made things more difficult. “It’s harder to get a real expressive photo.”
For Settle, whose work shines with a trademark human element — one that’s characterized his aesthetic for more than 45 years — he’s learned to work around the curveballs. Still, he takes his time with shots and doesn’t use a rapid-fire approach. “I try to latch onto something I see early on in the performance,” he describes. “The raw nerve that strikes the audience. Whether it’s the artist’s moves or the intensity with which they’re playing a lead break, I hone in on that.”
While Settle also does gear and artist portraits, including several for B.B. King, shooting shows in the Motor City has remained his calling. His shots often appear in national publications like Guitar Player, Premier Guitar and locally in the Oakland Press. “Detroit has always been such a special music town,” he says. “It was a fertile ground for really aggressive, hard rock music. But at the same time, if you went west to Ann Arbor, there was a huge jazz and blues scene.”
“I think the coalescence of all those forms of music created a playground for any photographer who wanted to chronicle what was going on in music,” he adds. “In general, in Detroit, we have a (strong) work ethic. Your job is your craft.”
In his Detroit portfolio are countless Seger images, along with Alice Cooper, Madonna, Kurt Cobain, Guns N’ Roses, Nine Inch Nails, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Van Halen, Prince and hundreds more. His work is, essentially, an encyclopedia of Motor City music history.
He even shot the last photos of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, who in May committed suicide in Detroit following his final show at the Fox Theatre. appeared in Rolling Stone and were referenced in publications around the world.
“Even now I feel the need to go back and look at the photos of what turned out to be Chris Cornell’s last show… to search his eyes, to look for clues as to what he was feeling,” Settle says.
A recent photo blog list of alongside his heroes like Jim Marshall, the man responsible for documenting the 1960s San Francisco music scene, and Neil Zlozower, who has more than 800 magazine covers under his belt.
“I always looked at music photography as working really hard,” Settle says. “You go down in the pit and get sweaty and knocked around, but that’s the way you come up with really great shots.”
Ashley Zlatopolsky is a Detroit-based writer. Follow her on Twitter at .
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