Nicole Fara Silver: Macklemore, Roseland Ballroom

The Image

Nicole Fara Silver

Roseland Ballroom, New York City

Time / Date:
May 20, 2013

The Technical

Camera Body: Canon 5D Mk II
Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L

Camera Settings:

Shutter Speed: 1/100s
Aperture: f/3.2
ISO: 2500
Focal Length: 25mm

The Story


Rolling Stone was co-sponsoring the Bacardi Rebels concert with Fitz And The Tantrums and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Late that afternoon, I got an instant message asking if I wanted to shoot the show and some backstage portraits for a gallery on How do you say no to that? You don’t.

It was a last minute assignment so there was no time for dinner, only time for a large coffee on my way to the venue. I was so very hyper, and on a suicide mission to make the serious-faced Macklemore smile (and I did it, briefly). They did a meet and greet, and then I had about a minute and a half to take the artists’ portraits before they prepared for the show.

The Scene: 

I was very stressed out during the entire shoot. Until this moment happened, I knew I didn’t have “the shot” and that was really upsetting. Macklemore is one of the most difficult people I have photographed in a concert environment. During his performance of ‘Can’t Hold Us’, Macklemore decided to stage dive… or more accurately, stage surf. I still don’t know how he got up there, but that’s besides the point.

When I realized what was happening, I clamored up on the back of the photo pit. I was shooting with one hand and was using my other hand to support myself. I prayed and started to click. I relaxed significantly after I took the photo- there wasn’t going to be a moment that topped that one.


Just my trusty Canon 5d Mk II and my 24-70mm lens. The same set up I bring to every show, every shoot. I’ve always shot with Canon and I doubt I’ll ever switch. My first camera was a Canon, and I’m a loyal gal, what can I say? My 27-70mm is my go-to lens. I pretty much shoot everything with it. It’s just so versatile, and that really pays off in a fast paced concert environment. If this moment had happened and I was using any other lens, I’m certain I would have not gotten this shot. I’m probably one of the very few music photographers who likes to stick with one lens.

Making the Shot:

Since the show was being live-streamed on the internet, when Macklemore jumped up, all of the good light followed him. I was worried that the image would be over-exposed, more than anything. My main focus was to capture the scene in its entirety, to capture the insane energy that was occurring on all sides. To fit it all in the frame. I wasn’t even sure that was possible, since I’m pretty small. Initially I was bummed that I was directly behind him, but after seeing the way the photo turned out, I like it better this way.

Editing & Processing:

To be honest, I didn’t edit this image a lot. All I really did was tone down the reds and punch up the brightness and contrast a bit in Photoshop. It pretty much came out of my camera this way. I like for my photos to look like a natural representation of the scene, so I usually don’t process my images a lot.

Looking Back:

This is by far one of my favorite photos of 2013. It’s what I strive for in every image I take. I still can’t believe it’s mine. Really!


Whatever you are photographing, do it because you love it, because you physically can’t do anything else. If you are truly passionate about the images you are making, I believe it will show through, it will add that extra oomph.


I am fascinated by the past. Baron Wolman, Henry Diltz, Linda McCartney, all of them (and so many more) documented a time in history that we will never get back. That blows my mind!



About the Photographer

Nicole Fara Silver is a music and portrait photographer from New York City. Her photography has appeared in many publications including Rolling Stone, CMT Edge, InStyle, Elmore Magazine. Paying homage to the beginnings of rock photography, Nicole Fara Silver captures the spirit and electricity of her subjects. Her iconic images of rock musicians, including guitarist Jason Hill of Louis XIV have graced the walls at the Milk Gallery in New York on more than one occasion, and her music portfolio expands almost daily, including work with Wayne Coyne, Robert Plant, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, The Backstreet Boys, Dawes  & more.

Twitter: @nicolefara
Instagram: @nicolefara

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