There’s only so many ways to take a group photo of a bunch of musicians — we know this because we see a lot of repetition in band publicity photos.
How is it that creative and talented musicians across the planet keep coming up with the same band photo over and over again? Is looking off-camera while your photo is taken somewhere in a musician’s DNA? Or is the publicity pic just the last thing on a long list of taxing promotional activities a band has to go through to be seen?
Whatever the reason, the Advocate has come up with a list of band photo cliches, and what they really mean, with the hope of exposing and stifling these tropes. Check out our illustration of band photo cliches above. Did we nail them? (We took photos in front of a brick wall, an industrial stack of stuff, and some train tracks, but this outdoorsy photo was the best.)
1.) Weird hair. My hair doesn’t play by the rules. What are you going to do about it?
2.) Road sign. For some reason, bands really love to show how bad they are by defying signage.
3.) Random item. Yep, that’s a stuffed cheetah on a pink leash. It’s like a metaphor, man. Don’t you get it?
4.) Leather jackets. Everyone looks cooler in a leather jacket.
5.) Wearing Another Band’s T-shirt. It shows you’ve got deep roots and respect for your musical ancestors, or alternatively, bad taste in music. (Above, we’re proving our good taste.)
6.) What’s that? There needs to be one person distracted by something barely entertaining off-camera.
7.) Disinterest. Is this a photo shoot? That’s cool, I guess.
8.) Shades. Got to keep the brightness of your future out of your eyes somehow.
9.) The smolder. Someone should be making love to the camera. Sex sells, honey.
10.) Too many rings. They’re fashionable brass knuckles that prove a band’s bad-assery.
11.) Head jut. Everyone wants to see some Adam’s apple. Gotta give the people what they want.
12.) Outdoor location. Because we’re down to earth — get it?
13.) Jeans. They’re classic; we’re classic.
14.) Tough guy. Having a tough guy says, “Yeah, we may be artists, but we can still beat you up,” because that’s an important point to make for some reason.
15.) The horns. In case anyone has any lingering doubt about how awesome your band rocks, throw ’em the horns.
Contact Advocate staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.