Photographing Johnnyswim at The Ryman Auditorium
While it’s been a long time since I’ve been to a show with the pandemic going on and a little one at home to keep safe, this one is one that will always stand out in my memory as a favorite.
A Proposal and Another Surprise
Before we get to this show, let’s rewind just a little… Back in 2017, Johnnyswim played two sold-out Christmas shows at The Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Before their first concert my girlfriend (now wife), Katelyn, and I got engaged. Just before they played our favorite song, Touching Heaven, they gave us a little shoutout and dedicated the song to us as a congratulations!
I had managed to set this all up through a mutual friend the band and I have. And as my way of saying thanks, I photographed their second show a week and a half later. You can see more of those photos and read all about it right here.
An Unexpected Text Message
Fast forward to May 10, 2019, which just happened to be our six month wedding anniversary, and Katelyn and I are deciding what we want to do for the evening. My phone buzzes, and I look at it… It’s Abner from Johnnyswim asking if I’m available to photograph their show at The Ryman that night. I ask if he can throw in a ticket for Katelyn to come with me, he obliges, and we’re on our way!
One of my favorite things about photographing a show for the artist is, most of the time, you’re allowed all access, to photograph the entire show from anywhere in the venue. And with this being one of the most historic, renowned venues in the world, I wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity.
The last photo above is in the hallway next to the stage, where some of the band’s road cases were stored. That big one on the right is their wardrobe, but you may be wondering why it says Donna Summer. Johnnyswim are a husband and wife duo, Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano Ramirez. Amanda is the daughter of the legendary Donna Summer, thus the road case!
As exciting as it is to be stage side, you never want to stay in one place the entire time, so I decided to head back to the balcony. I didn’t know it, but I made that decision at just the right time!
I got the above photo, and then they left the stage…
To come right to the spot I had been standing in! As I came up to the balcony, I thought I noticed a couple of familiar faces in the crowd…
Friends and collaborators of the band (and founders of Moon River Music Festival), Drew and Ellie Holcomb, jumped up from their seats to join Abner and Amanda for a couple of songs.
Here are more of my favorites from the night:
And I’ll close with this photo of Abner and Amanda walking off stage, which is featured in their book Home Sweet Road.