We caught up with Grace Practhauser a New York based music photographer who tells us how she went from being told "No" to being front row shooting Machine Gun Kelly on his "Tickets To My Downfall" tour. Checkout Grace's amazing story and photos below!
There are certain artists that every photographer dreams of photographing one day. Ever since I was in high school and got the opportunity to shoot my first concert, Machine Gun Kelly has been on my dream photograph list. A few years back, when I had only just started my concert photography journey, I had learned that MGK was playing a show the day before my 19th birthday. I DESPERATELY wanted to photograph the show, but I had yet to learn the skill set of tracking down an artist's publicist. Larger artists tend to make it a bit more challenging to find their publicists, so in 2019 I missed my chance to photograph one of my favorite artists.
Fast forward through 2019, learning my way around the music industry, and a whole pandemic later, we're here in 2021 and I’ve learned a few things. As shows had started to be re-announced, I made a spreadsheet of all the artists I wanted to photograph. Partially to manifest these goals, and the other part to ensure I was returning organized and ready to go. When I saw that Machine Gun Kelly had announced he was going on tour, I knew that concert was going into my spreadsheet. Days and weeks went by, and two weeks before the show, I sent everyone's favorite email requesting to photograph the show. MGK had two shows in New York, which I figured gave me double the chance to photograph him. One was at the Central Park SummerStage, and the other at The Rooftop at Pier 17.
All of my close friends knew how badly I wanted to photograph this concert. A few days before the show, my friend Anna had texted me asking if I wanted a photo pass for his SummerStage concert. I remember staring at my phone for a few minutes, wondering if I had read that correctly. Sure enough, I had. A publicist had offered Anna a pass - she knew how badly I had wanted to photograph this show. Of course, I immediately replied yes while overflowing with thank you's. However, there was one issue - I did not have a ticket. With bated breath, days went by while I waited to see if there were any extra tickets, but I soon found out there were no more comp tickets.
At this point, I had done everything I could to try and get into either show. I couldn't justify buying a resale ticket for $200 to photograph the SummerStage show - I had heard nothing from either opener, and I did not receive a reply from Pier 17. The day of the SummerStage concert had passed, and it was the day of the show at Pier 17. I had lost all hope and chalked it up to "if it was meant to be, it would happen." Throughout the day, I texted my friend Bran'dee about how badly I wanted to shoot the show. She was such a big help trying to use any connections she had to try and get me into the show, but we were both coming up short. However, she reminded me that I still had not heard anything from the venue, so I thought to myself, "why not email them again - I probably won't hear anything." Little did I know, 20 minutes later, I would have an email in my inbox letting me know that I was approved to photograph both openers.
Ensued feelings of both panic and excitement. I was over the moon that I was now able to photograph one of my favorite artists, but I was at work and had to figure out how to get all of my gear and then get into the city. Luckily I work in a camera shop, so my boss lent me some equipment for the show. Thankfully I was able to SOS my friend Brandon and convince him to give me a ride into New York - so I would make it on time. After those brief moments of panic, I finished my day at work and headed straight to the venue. From that point on, everything was easy breezy as always and I was finally able to photograph one of my bucket list artists. If you get anything out of my story, let it be to persevere until you have tried absolutely everything! Had I not followed up with the venue, I would have missed out on photographing the show. Everything happens for a reason though it all worked out as it was supposed to.