The Humanity in Being a Robot: Photographing The Cybertronic Spree
JANUARY 31, 2024
The Humanity in Being a Robot
Photographing Cybertronic Spree
Modern robots and artificial intelligence are becoming more and more humanlike. But what happens when you're humans performing in character as robots? Toronto, Canada rock band The Cybertronic Spree are currently exploring that question, and how it relates to their music and vision for the band.
The Cybertronic Spree began as a project to cover the heavy metal soundtrack from 1986's The Transformers: The Movie. At that time, it was easy to focus on maintaining the illusion of their characters. But as they evolved and released original music, including their August 4, 2023 album Ravage, it became evident there really is More than Meets the Eye.
The band features Hotrod (bass, vocals), Arcee (keys, vocals), Rumble (drums), Shockwave (drums), Unicron (guitar), a Quintesson (keys, guitar, vocals), Soundwave (dancing, hype), and Bumblebee (dancing, hype).
[Shockwave and Bumblebee were not present for the show at which these photos were taken.]
At the same time, the band still doesn't seem altogether ready to identify who's behind each mask. Which is probably a good thing, because then members can come and go as life moves them, and no fan will complain that, "it just isn't the same without so-and-so."
As for life on my end when it comes to photographing a band in costume, I have to say I love it.
There's a lot more freedom for me, and likely for them as well.
Sure, it's still up to the band to give a visually stunning performance, complete with flattering poses, animated movements and confident delivery. That goes for any and all live performances.
And I still need at least halfway-decent lighting under which to watch for moments that create an appealing photo.
Fun props and an attractive stage setup also add so much to the images. Even little simple touches can be used to give insight into the band and its performers.
But when everything works together — from the moment and the pose to the lights and my angle — the hitrate can increase for some truly epic images.
Some of my favorite moments are when performers interact with their audience.
It takes guts to put yourself out there onstage.
But a look and smile of acknowledgement and gratitude says a lot to the people in the crowd and the ones viewing these images.
In-between moments of quiet introspection can also make for beautiful images.
A well-timed dance break can also add a lot to a performace.
So if everyone in the band is busy playing and singing, it can't hurt to get yourself an extroverted hype man.
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As a professional photographer for more than 15 years, I serve areas throughout northeast Ohio and am available for travel worldwide.
In addition to live concert coverage, I also offer studio and on-location portrait sessions for individuals, couples, families, musicians and any occasion; business and actor headshots; pet photography, event photography, product photography and more.