A Night with The Hives
Tuesday August 7th, 2012
by Maria Luci
Philadelphia-based photographer Gene Smirnov has been photographing bands for years now, and having shot hundreds of musicians, finds working with them “seamless.” Many of his band-related assignments come from the alternative music magazine Magnet, who he collaborates with often. However, no matter how many assignments he receives from Magnet, it still feels like Christmas every time they call. Recently, Gene heard jingle bells once again when Magnet commissioned him to shoot the popular Swedish garage rock band The Hives.
The Hives—who are probably most recognizable from their song “Hate To Say I Told You So”—were scheduled to perform at a secret industry show at Webster Hall in New York. Magnet wanted Gene to head up to New York and shoot group and individual portraits of the band along with some performance shots. Gene was excited for the assignment, and to hear the band play such an intimate show. When he arrived he found The Hives were already prepared, ready to be photographed wearing tuxedos and top hats. Gene got to work quickly trying to fit in several set ups into a tight time-slot before the show began,
We had three spots mapped out. I think we were supposed to have one hour to work with the band, but as always, things came up and we got cut to about 40 minutes for everything. But this was still plenty. We got the cover and the opening spread done in 15 minutes—even an extra five minutes can make a big difference.
Luckily, The Hives are already seasoned professionals when it comes to photo shoots. Gene says,”they’ve been in so many that they were natural in posing themselves; each member was aware of the others. It was very helpful.” Gene knew from past experience that shooting five subjects in one shot in a small amount of time was going to be tricky, but with the help of the band, Gene’s assistant and Magnet‘s art director, they pulled it off with time to spare.
After the shoot, Gene was happy to find that his favorite image was chosen for the cover, which he adds, almost never happens. He says of the group shot, “the reason why it’s so special to me is because my initial sketch ended up on the cover.” And although Gene says the day was somewhat of a blur, he really enjoyed his collaboration with The Hives.
View more of Gene’s work at genesmirnov.com.