Photographing live music performance calls for high intuition. No control of the lights, the set nor what happens next– it’s about acquiring a connection with a moment. Greg Noire has that relationship with time. He shoots Sirius, the brightest star; capturing each at the height of divine energy in a single click. He says, “I approach live music photography like capturing and framing the subject of a portrait. That line of thinking just works for me.”
Noire started his journey in college. Looking for a job, he wanted to make money to pledge Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, he found employment at Sam’s Club, fatefully, in the photo department. He reflects, “I was developing film and memory sticks, that was the thing back in the day, I would always get inspired by the work people would bring in. I ended up ruining my credit by getting a camera from Sam’s Club.” The college student and his new camera documented everything that moved him on his campus.
Texas rap group The Nice Guys performing at the University of Houston was the Alpha’s first live music gig. “They were opening for The Clipse; that was a huge deal.” He continues, “I had never heard of a photo pit before in my life. I went in there, I didn’t know what I was doing. It was so bad that I was trying to capture an image and all I could see through the viewfinder was complete black.” A photographer friend noticed his struggle, took his camera and adjusted the settings. Reveling in the memory, he says, “It was the most beautiful photo I had ever taken.” After going home and editing his work, the feeling of satisfaction overwhelmed him. Noir was determined to figure out how he could photograph live music full time.
A manifesting man, in 2014, he was hired to shoot the Austin City Limits Festival. Seeing Outkast perform live and to have the best seat in the house—the photo pit, was a clear indication that this art, live music, would embolden his career.
Photographers always have those images that that they think could have been better. The image of Childish Gambino live in 2015 is one of those moments for Greg. Validation clapped quickly, he recalls, “The photo director personally called me and said the producer told me that this was the greatest live photo she has ever seen in her entire life. On social media it’s received the most engagement of all my photos.” Helping him realize that the technical aspect isn’t always that important. Baby…it’s a fire work.
There was a point in Noire’s career, when he took an 9 to 5. Because, the bills. Sitting in his cubicle, he wrote on a notepad: ‘I will shoot Coachella for Coachella’. Tearing the affirmation from the pad, he folded the paper and put it in his wallet.
Manifesting that goal, he’s photographed every Coachella from 2017 until present. Other events where his lenswork is respcted include the Essence Festival and the Governor’s Ball, to name a few.
All stars are not on stage. At Coachella, 2018: “I wanted to make a portrait right here in this location. And that’s when this beautiful Black woman walks up with her two friends.” The two friends having little confidence in his skill. When he shows them the photo on his camera, one says, “Maybe you do know what you’re doing.” This, too, is one of his all-time favorites.
Houston-based, the live music and portrait photographer, travels the continent, hired to purse his passion. “I don’t work in Houston, I keep it as my base. When I’m home I’m relaxing with my wife and kids. When I’m traveling, I’m working.”
Many people tell Noire that he needs move to New York or LA to get more work. Self assured he replies, “I’m doing very well, actually.”
View more of Greg Noire’s work at here.