Sometimes it’s just crazy how fast time goes and how much we can accomplish in that span. For someone who began their passion a short two years ago and is currently shooting for one of the TX/Red Dirt scene’s most popular acts, photographer Paxton Waitman has made some serious strides.
”I bought my first digital camera around Thanksgiving of 2019 and shot my first acoustic gig for Braxton Keith at a little BBQ joint called Betty Roses BBQ in Abilene, TX in March of 2020,” remembers Waitman.
Explaining his first gig, Waitman goes on to say: “The first band I worked with was Grady Spencer and The Work. I reached out to him asking to shoot the show for free and he graciously let me come to their show in Stephenville and acted like we’d been friends for years. It was definitely a reassuring deal because I had no clue what I was doing or what to expect.”
The day after he shot for Spencer, Waitman contacted Pecos & the Rooftops. After messaging multiple bands online, he decided to give Pecos a try, and sure enough he was given the green light. After being thrown on the guest list, he found himself in a great situation.
“I am currently touring with the guys and have been since I quit welding full time back around April or so,” Waitman explains. “It’s been everything you could hope it would be. Those guys are super easy going, really take great care and look out for me. They have from the first time I met them. You kinda figure out when to give people their space and whatnot, but we all get along really well. Pecos and I have had some of the craziest games of Madden.“
When asked which acts he’d be interested in shooting for in the future, he had quite the list.
”I’ve always been a huge Flatland fan, this includes Kaitlin Butts. Their photographer was about the second guy I met and has always been super helpful, so I’d like to work a show with them sometime. A few others would probably be Lost Dog Street Band, Colter Wall, Zach Bryan, Dierks Bentley was one of my favorites growing up, and of course Turnpike if I was really dreaming.”
An interesting trait about concert/tour photographers is that they each have a different idea of when to capture “that moment.” Some look for a badass guitar solo; some look for something a bit more intimate. Waitman takes a unique approach.
”I honestly don’t really plan my shots out a whole lot,” he explains. “I mostly focus on what I think the band would like to look back on in 50 years or so. I try to just capture the moment and tell the story from that show in a picture. I’ve always liked looking at pics of bands back in their start or prime, so that’s kind of what I’m going for. I want whoever is looking at my photos to really feel like they’re at the show.”
Photos hold memories and moments in time that can connect individuals all over the world. They are what make people involved in an event even without being there.
“The greatest thing about expressing my art through photos is knowing that these bands will have them to look back on for the rest of their lives and share with everyone. It’s pretty crazy knowing that people from all over the country or world can see my pictures with the power of social media. I hope my art brings happiness and appreciation to those who see it.”
Check out Paxton Waitman’s work and follow him on his socials!