We pride ourselves on showcasing quality over quantity. Music lovers who want in-depth coverage with substance come here. Those who are looking for regurgitated PR emailers have thousands of other sites to reference. We are very fortunate to have a staff that is comprised of artists and musicians alike, who have true passion for whatever they are covering. Our writers and photographers are a part of local artist communities in several cities throughout the country and it would be criminal for us not to give ample credit where credit is due.
One of our premiere photographers, Dante Torrieri, has been making waves throughout the Philadelphia area. His emotional and poignant photos are featured on both Blow The Scene and his professional site, Useless Rebel Imaging, which is updated multiple times per week with incredible band shots.
Dante’s intense love of music is evident in every photo he shoots. Photography, like any other art form, requires passion when it comes to taking amazing pictures. You can know every technique in the book, but without that extra drive, your photos are going to fail to capture true essence. One thing is for sure, Dante has no shortage of passion or enthusiasm for the subjects he shoots, a fact which puts his shots heads and shoulders above the vast majority of “photographers” frequenting East Coast shows today.
Dante was recently featured in the legendary Maximumrocknroll for his stellar coverage of Toxic Holocaust’s latest Philly performance. We pinned Dante down to get a nuts and bolts interview that takes a detailed look at his history with photography, as well as a massive gallery of his recent works, and several exclusives of recent shows. Without further ado, let’s hear from Mr. Torrieri.
Joshua BTS: How long have you been taking photos and what originally sparked your interest? Any formal training?
Dante Torrieri: Well I was given my first camera at age seven by my great grandfather, a 1940’s Argus C3. I loved that camera, but sadly a forty year old camera is not the best gift for a child and eventually it made it’s way to a landfill. I will forever have it with me now since I recently got it tattooed on my chest. That sparked the interest, but when I was in junior high I had the option of taking photo classes, the school supplied you with a medium format Holga that was as light tight as a colander holds water. I loved the chaos of the results. Shortly after starting high school I stole a Nikon FM2 from one of my mom’s dirt bag boyfriends, and from that point on I spent hours a day missing classes, coming in early and staying late in the school darkroom. When summers rolled around I would take summer college photo classes at CCP (Community College of Philadelphia) and U of the Arts. I was offered scholarships to a few prominent art colleges but I decided at that time it wasn’t my path and I left home without graduating high school and hit the road. Flash forward 10-plus years and I finally decided to buy a used digital camera that I let sit for a few years before realizing I had this hole inside, sucking my life away. So while trying to think of projects for myself I picked up my camera and taught myself in this new digital age. I took my camera to a show, cause music has and will always be a constant for me. That was a year ago this past August, and I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy with myself.
Dante Torrieri: I love dark dingy bars, basements, and abandoned buildings while trying to never use a flash. I like to do things the hard way, I’ve never been able to grow by doing things the easy way. A river is crooked because it flows in the path of least resistance.
Joshua BTS: Do you ever step outside of your comfort zone and attempt foreign techniques or shooting things you have never shot before?
Dante Torrieri: Honestly, I don’t think I have a comfort zone. I think every puzzle has a solution. I thrive on challenge. I want to constantly learn and experience new things. I’m currently working on putting together an art show, and working on a photo journal from my time in Finland. In the past, I’ve published zines, made my own furniture, and just do and learn whatever I want to do.
Joshua BTS: Any recent shoots that saw you step outside of your comfort zone?
Dante Torrieri: The most recent challenge that I dove head first into was Riot Fest East. It was my first outdoor fest and for me the biggest issue was stage height, it is a very rare occasion that I’m the tallest person in the room. That’s when I just let the photo ninja reflexes kick in and look for holes and angles, also a lot of the time I forget that I can look at the photo’s and just trust that I got the shot, like with film. It keeps me from being over critical on a screen that I don’t trust my eyes on. Regardless I’d say that Riot Fest was a very successful experience, and I came away with images that I can be proud of.
Joshua BTS: How much emphasis do you put on editing photos after they have been shot?
Dante Torrieri: Editing is all the fun. An image is never simply done when you are working on it in the darkroom, there is always details you want enhanced. Why should digital be any different? I want my images to be an expression of my emotions while I’m taking the pictures, as much as what I’m seeing through the lens. So yes, I edit every image I take, even when I use my cell phone.
Joshua BTS: What’s your rig look like?
Dante Torrieri: For shows and in general I’m a minimalist, I shoot with a Nikon entry level DSLR. I like to shoot with prime lens, mostly a 35mm on my DV body = 50mm, cause I feel that you get a much different image if you travel back and forth then having a lens do it for you. Sometimes it creates challenges on large stages but I just play through it. I dislike using a flash, but I do keep one in case of emergency. The only time I had to ever even use it recently was for Jucifer‘s opener because their speaker stack is so massive Sourvien had to setup on the floor..
Joshua BTS: Any other photographers out there that have your interest right now?
Dante Torrieri: I use tumblr and flickr to view lots of photos, I enjoy looking at everyone’s different perspectives.
Joshua BTS: Apart from shooting photos, what does your day-to-day look like? Working a 9 to 5er? And do you have any other creative outlets?
Dante Torrieri: I’m a tile mason, third generation in the 40+ year family business. It’s Monday to Friday, and I leave every day at 6 in the morning. I take the train, I’ve made it my designated time to read, usually my favorite part of the day. I would say doing tile work is a creative outlet, but it is too “in the box” and I am always doing what someone else wants. I have a hard time stomaching people telling me what to do, asking goes a lot further. I wouldn’t give up the time I get to spend with my father though, it is worth more to me then any paycheck. I relish the limited time I get to play video games in my underwear and do nothing with the misses, without her support I’d be a scatter brained mess. Now that hockey season has started you can and will see me down at Flyers games, I’m a huge hockey fan.
Joshua BTS: Any recent shoots that have been particularly memorable?
Dante Torrieri: Doing This is Hardcore 2011 back in august was really cool, I was in no way prepared for the amount of work, I didn’t even take off work. I wouldn’t change any of those things, they are part of the reason the photo’s turned out how they did. I couldn’t recreate my delusional dehydrated self again and get the same results. It stands as one of the best run and organized events I’ve ever been to in the past 15+ years. And would be honored to be invited back in future years.
Joshua BTS: Favorite aspect of being a photographer based out of Philadelphia?
Dante Torrieri: The music scene is great here, on average I go to a least two gigs a week and in the summer time, four-a-week happens a lot. You never know what you’re going to get yourself into either, it is a big old city with a lot of history.
Dante Torrieri: I rarely look at the negatives in life, but I really despise ticket masters and live nations three song limit, I understand it but I don’t have to like it. I didn’t mind it at Riot Fest cause it gave me time to hangout with friends and enjoy the bands. When I shot Kyuss it was a pain in the ass cause they over flowed the stage with smoke and by the time it cleared and I could see what I was focusing on the three songs were over. I also think that bands are just starting to get sweaty and show emotion by the time they kick you out of the photo pit.
Joshua BTS: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers? Like emerging bands, there seems to be no shortage these days.
Dante Torrieri: It is easier to photograph things you are passionate about. It needs to be fun not work. I’m passionate about all kinds of music and pick bands to shoot that I enjoy listening to. I also never turn down an opportunity to see a new band and listen and enjoy with an open ear.
Joshua BTS: Where do you see your photography taking you as we head into 2012 and beyond?
Dante Torrieri: Good music, quality time, and new friends- Anything else is a bonus. I recently moved into the city from a suburban hell, so the possibilities are endless. Also, I have a plan in place to have an art show in the next six months, I don’t know where or when, but I will make it happen. I will be sure to keep you posted.
Joshua BTS: Best place for fans of your work to keep up with you online?
Dante Torrieri: If you really want to see all my photo’s even stuff other than bands my Flickr has enough to keep you busy for months. The second best option for info and photos would be Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/uselessrebelimaging) and all you really need to do is look up Useless Rebel and you’ll find me on some social network.
Enjoy these Dante Torrieri exclusives of Riot Fest 2011 in Philadelphia. Below this Riot Fest feature we have handpicked a few photos with links to the full galleries of some of the amazing shots Dante has captured for us over the past six months. This is only the tip of the iceberg of what Dante has shot, to get a full scope, simly use our search box and type “Dante Torrieri” for full listings. Enjoy!
7 Seconds – Riot Fest East
Dead Milkmen – Riot Fest East
The Descendents – Riot Fest East
Excitebike – Riot Fest East
Hot Water Music – Riot Fest East
Larry and His Flask – Riot Fest East
Naked Raygun – Riot Fest East
Plow United – Riot Fest East
Population Zero – Riot Fest East
Samiam – Riot Fest East
Shot Baker – Riot Fest East
Suicide Machines – Riot Fest East
The Claw – Riot Fest East
The Holy Mess – Riot Fest East
The Menzingers – Riot Fest East
Weston – Riot Fest East
X – Live at Riot Fest East
Black Kites – TWOB House Philadelphia – Sept 10, 2011
Jucifer and Sourvein July 6 at Kung Fu Necktie In Philadelphia. Click Here For Full Gallery.
This Is Hardcore Fest Day 1 and 2. Click Here For Full Gallery.
This Is Hardcore Day 3. Click Here For Full Gallery.
This Is Hardcore Fest Day 4. Click Here For Full Gallery.
Fight Amp, Bison BC, Weedeater Gallery from The North Star in Philadelephia. Click For Full Gallery.
Punch, Loma Prieta, Stockpile, Foreign Objects – The Barbary in Philadelphia. Click For Full Gallery.
Bouncing Souls, Tim Barry, Iron Chic – First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia. Click For Full Gallery.