In the great state of Texas, there is surely an overabundance of subject matter on which a photographer may fixate. For North Texas-based photographer Courts Griner, his focus lies mainly on the region’s music scene. Perusing the “Nocturnal Creatures” section of his web site, one can tell that Griner spends a lot of time in various music venues after hours capturing images of DJs, indie artists, and headbangers.
In fact, one of his current projects is a series documenting the music scene and well known musicians of Denton, a town located roughly an hour northwest of Dallas. The entire series is being shot on 35mm and medium format film with vintage cameras. “Each image really gives viewers a good look at the extraordinary local music talent,”, says Courts, “And I am happy that this project is being done on film, like decades ago, instead of digital photography.”
The photographer, who has been shooting for thirteen years total and for seven years professionally, attended Midwestern State University earning a degree in Communication Design. He later worked as a photo assistant for an auction company in Dallas learning image workflow, studio management and product lighting from seasoned catalog photographers. Afterwards, he went into business for himself and has been running full steam ahead with a large client base in North Texas. Griner shoots digital as well as 35mm film and medium format film. Besides live music, his work also focuses on portraiture, weddings, nature, and wildlife.
Speaking of nature and wildlife, Griner’s other ongoing assignment is a particularly riveting one. It is a long running documentary on Bigfoot and the work of the Bigfoot researchers in the North and East Texas regions. This project is based on first hand accounts, technical aspects to the research, and documentary-style video work in the field. It tells the stories of those who spend years trying to solve the mystery of an undocumented bipedal ape species in North America.
Courts says mythos and the unexplained plays a part in his personal, non-client work as well. He says he is influenced by the outdoors, folklore, legend and “anything weird”. Additionally, much of his insight comes from fashion catalogs and other sources. “I really have drawn a lot of image inspiration from movie posters and front covers of first-person shooter video games. Many times if I run across another photographer’s work that I really dig, I may use that technical style of lighting or angle, so I like to check out other photo blogs when I can.”
Among his favorite works of art he’s produced are a number a great musician portraits he has created in his home studio. He also recently began shooting night sky and milky way landscape images in remote areas. He’s enjoyed a positive response to his work over the years that gives him a great deal of satisfaction. “I’m happy to hear a lot of great feedback on my work over the years,” Griner says. One of the most memorable responses to his work wasn’t about his imagery, but about the experience working with him. “Having a client tell me as well as others that working with me was the most fun and enjoyable photo experiences she had ever had really made my day. Another memorable response to my work is the great words and support from Denton Radio. They regularly come to me when they need anything concerning local music imagery. Working with them and hearing them describe me as one of Denton, Texas’s best music photographers has always made me smile.”