Mayhem, music and moments in time

Photo By Dayanna Negrete

Members of the Crucial Times Photography Collective gathered at 1078 Gallery in Chico last Friday to showcase their most recent works.

The Crucial Times Photography Collective is a partnership of professional photographers, each with their own individualistic styles, who challenge themselves to work on a single chosen topic. They then showcase their work together at different venues and compile them into books for purchase. 

“We all individually shoot and then come together to collaborate for shows or books or what have you,”  photographer California Travis said. “It’s just a good way to share resources, equipment and ideas.”

The theme for this volume, the third one released since the collective formed in 2017, was strictly music photography.

Photos were hung on clothing lines throughout the studio, which made for an excellent addition to the space’s raw, industrial style. The majority of images depicted bands and singers in the midst of performances, focusing on emotional and high energy moments. 

“If you look at all the photos, most of the bands are pretty intense and bands like that are really easy to get good photos of because they’re just so expressive,” Travis said. “That’s why it’s a lot of punk shows and goth shows, interesting people and interesting expressions, it makes for an interesting photo.”

Despite having the same topic in mind, unique styles of the different photographers still shined through with some photos highlighting only inanimate objects, others shot purely in black and white and some featuring images with pops of colorful blurred lights. 

Collective member and Chico State alumnus Miles Claibourn explained that the goal of forming the collective was aimed around community engagement. 

“Every one of these (photos) are someone either directly within our community or someone from our peer group up and down the West Coast,” Claibourn said. “That’s the biggest component, to have that and to meet as a group. If not, we would just hang out on Instagram.” 

Most members of the collective are Chico residents, who met each other through shooting at local shows and spaces. 

In addition to the photo gallery, there were a variety of bands set to perform during the event. Some were familiar faces from the photographs, as a few of the performers were actually collective members as well. 

The different musical styles drew out an interesting crowd, with the opening act by “Grey Loom” adding an otherworldly feel to the studio. As singer Erin Lazardo belted out echoey and breathless notes against a reflective pink background, the entire venue seemed to stop in time for a bit. 

As the night continued, more people entered the studio as deathrock bands “Desperate Hell” and “End//Game” took to the stage. It quickly became a full fledged party, complete with ear-splittingly loud guitar solos and a slightly buzzed, but energetic audience. 

The Crucial Times collective has their second and third volumes for sale, with free standing prints also available for purchase. You can check out their work on Instagram and Facebook at “Crucial Times Photography.”
Kirstin Joyce can be reached at [email protected] or @joyce_kirstin on Twitter.