Hive’s Best Music Photography of 2012

There were so many great music moments in 2012. Hive couldn’t be at every concert or festival, but luckily we had an amazing team of photographers to capture and document the year’s festivals, parties, and concerts, along with intimate portraits of musicians and fans. Check out some of our favorite photographs from 2012, along with stories from the photographers who seized the moments.

Grimes Gallery

Photo: Mehan Jayasuriya for MTV Hive

I had gone down to a small gallery on the Lower East Side to see if I could take a few photos of [Grimes'] Claire Boucher at an opening for the first public showing of her ink drawings. The tiny gallery was packed with people, all of whom were waiting to talk to Claire, who was tottering around the room in these massive heels. Eventually, I was able to pull her aside and asked if I could shoot a few photos of her standing in front of her work. She agreed and asked me what she should do. As someone who rarely shoots portraits, I wasn’t sure what to tell her, so I said something generic like, “Just look at the camera and act natural”. She started goofing off and laughing and I managed to get this shot of her pointing at the camera with a grin on her face. — Mehan Jayasuriya

Electric Daisy Festival

Photo: Loren Wohl for MTV Hive

Can you believe I went to Electric Daisy Carnival and didn’t know what PLUR (Peace Love Unity Respect) was? The beads on his face, and arms, made me take a closer look. I spent a few minutes talking to him, impressed by his bead work, and took his photo. He taught me the PLUR handshake and I received a black and pink bracelet that I still have somewhere. I see you, kandi kids. — Loren Wohl

Guitarmy

Photo: Rebecca Smeyne for MTV Hive

Amid an active and historic day of protests in the streets of NYC, Tom Morello attempted to organize a Guitarmy march, made up of as many guitarists as possible playing a song that had been pre-distributed. The Guitarmy successfully gathered at their starting point, but once in the street, it was almost immediately subsumed into the huge mass of other protesters. In this image, you see Tom, mid-march, reveling and standing strong amid the chaos, a leader happy to adapt and become one with the crowd. — Rebecca Smeyne

King Khan

Photo: Chona Kasinger for MTV Hive

Fresh off playing the KEXP Lounge at Bumbershoot, [King Khan's] Arish Khan obliged to let me take his portrait. We walked just outside the Bumbershoot Music Lounge and I began snapping him in the shade underneath a tree. I noticed his eyes traveling upwards after a couple frames before he picked a leaf off the tree and exclaimed “These look just like pot leaves!” — Chona Kasinger

Bradford Cox

Photo: Christopher Kitahara for MTV Hive

I ran into Bradford Cox at Pitchfork Music Festival outside the Press tent. He is always a pleasure to see on and off the stage. Possible known fact: Bradford loves cameras. Here, he’s taking my picture with my Fuji. — Christopher Kitahara

Afropunk Festival

Photo: Loren Wohl for MTV Hive

I’ve seen Flosstradamus DJ plenty of times, but it’s clear their new material has taken them to a new level. The youths packed the place, and some were sporting their neon attire. — Loren Wohl

Skrillex Crowd

Photo: Chona Kasinger for MTV Hive

There were huge countdown timers everywhere on stage at this show. I recall the excitement in the photo pit building up until the moment Skrillex actually took the stage. Then every single photographer’s face fell — all you could see behind the giant block Sonny was standing behind was the top of his fist pumping fist. So I turned the camera towards the audience instead to capture their euphoria. — Chona Kasinger

Pitchfork Rain Crowd

Photo: Christopher Kitahara for MTV Hive

It’s an incredible experience to see live music amplified in the pouring rain. The degree of personal discomfort is somehow overcome by collective passion and dedication. I am always inspired by the spirit of festival goers, especially this crowd. — Christopher Kitahara

Lil B NYU

Photo: Mehan Jayasuriya for MTV Hive

Attending the Based God’s lecture was easily a highlight of my year. Speaking in stream-of-consciousness for an hour and a half, Lil B was sincere and humane, approaching subjects as diverse as ants and seat belts with a childlike sense of wonder. After the lecture, he expressed his desire to take photos with fans and made good on his vow not to leave the stage until he had signed every last spatula, shoe and sneaker, even literally giving a fan the shirt off of his back. I feel like this shot communicates how excited people were to be in his presence and how committed he was to reciprocating the love that the crowd had shown him. — Mehan Jayasuriya

Electric Daisy Carnival

Photo: Loren Wohl for MTV Hive

The over the top production at EDC is the piece that makes the back-to-back, and nearly identical, DJ sets entertaining. Also, why didn’t anyone tell me there were fireworks at the end of the last night? I left early to beat the crowd and missed the grand finale. — Loren Wohl

Frankie Rose

Photo: Christopher Kitahara for MTV Hive

Frankie Rose has a great sense of humor. We met her in the backstage area of Township, a small venue in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. She had literally everything laid out for us. Though she’s a very private person, she was very open when discussing what she carries with her on tour. — Christopher Kitahara

Flosstradamus

Photo: Loren Wohl for MTV Hive

These kids waited for hours to get in, and this photo shows why. The great release. For me this is what concert photography is all about — capturing that emotional moment. Maybe this shot is a self-portrait even though I’m not in the frame. — Loren Wohl

Bruise Cruise

Photo: Rebecca Smeyne for MTV Hive

This photo of Fucked Up’s Damien getting a visit from a shot girl was taken in the Bahamas at Senor Frogs, a touristy, Girls-Gone-Wild sort of bar, and the kind of place you’d never expect to see a bunch of alt-punk scenesters hanging out. But there we were, with Jello Biafra in tow as the night’s DJ, no less. These are the kinds of weird, fun contexts that became reality, thanks to the Bruise Cruise. — Rebecca Smeyne

Diamond Rings

Photo: Christopher Kitahara for MTV Hive

When we met up with [Diamond Rings'] John O’Regan and his crew at The Empty Bottle, he was candid enough let us photograph him as he prepared for his show. He’s always accommodating and willing to collaborate. The hardest part of photographing John is picking your favorite photo. His presence in this image is blissfully comfortable.– Christopher Kitahara

Afropunk

Photo: Rebecca Smeyne for MTV Hive

The Afropunk Festival had a great lineup, but the most notable feature to me was the incredible array of unique personal styles found off-stage. Most festival crowds are far more generic, and it’s rare to see this many interesting looks in the daylight. Look at this amazing person! — Rebecca Smeyne

Portlandia

Photo: Chona Kasinger for MTV Hive

Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen were in the middle of a dialogue when they struck this pose. They held it for only a few seconds, and literally every photographer in the pit hustled to get to the right angle to capture it. I happened to be standing in just the right spot for this shot. — Chona Kasinger

Latex Ball

Photo: Rebecca Smeyne for MTV Hive

This scene from the Latex Ball shows the area between the bathrooms and the coat-check in the Roseland’s basement that becomes one of many impromptu dressing rooms for this annual, epic runway competition. I like the behind-the-scenes perspective combined with the pose here – the mix of high-drama and the realness. And of course, the outfits in this scene are pretty fabulous too. — Rebecca Smeyne

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