For the uninitiated, heavy metal may seem to be no more than a style of music. But metalheads know it is a mindset and a way of life. Metal culture is alternative, different, an outlier. The mainstream population has become more accepting of the metal scene in recent years, but it hasn’t always been that way. Metalheads used to be “weirdos”, “satan worshippers”, and people you didn’t bring your children around. For me, that is one of the most compelling aspects of the metal lifestyle.
Growing up, I knew I was different, strange, out of the ordinary. I was interested in things that most of my peers didn’t even know existed like the occult, herbal medicine, and obscure medieval art. So when I found metal, or rather it found me, I knew immediately that this is what I had been looking for. Not only was the music dark and moody, but it was loud and exciting and rebellious. It matched how I saw myself in relation to the world. Finding metal gave me a foundation upon which to begin building my adult identity.
Later, when I discovered photography, I had the exact same feeling of coming home all over again. This was what I was meant to do. It only made sense to me to marry these two integral pieces of my identity. I began photographing my friends at shows and bars and anywhere else we congregated. The images that I produced became the beginnings of Kids of the Black Hole.
I have chosen to photograph on black and white film because, like the metal scene I am portraying, it is DIY, gritty and retains a sense of direct engagement. Metal culture was born out of a desire to do things differently, without help or involvement from the mainstream. Similarly, I have my hand in every part of the film development and printing processes.
Through my work, I seek to give a peek into what life as a metalhead is all about. These photos are for the dreamers, the do-ers, the ones who have stuck around, and those who continue to support the underground music scene.
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