Oconee library hosting exhibit of Athens music scene photos

Richard Fay is a native Athenian who has seen band after band expel musical energy on the battlefield of stages when the night sky reigns over the Classic City.

About six years ago, he began photographing the musicians.

“Although I’m not much of a musician myself, I’ve always been fascinated by it,” said Fay, a 2001 graduate of Cedar Shoals High School and a 2005 graduate of the University of Georgia.

The Oconee County Library will host an exhibit of photographs by Fay during January in its auditorium. Fay, who works at a downtown Athens software company, said he expects to hang from 20 to 25 photographs showing such groups as The Heap, Drivin’ N Cryin,’ and Reptar.

Fay has used a camera for many years, but it wasn’t until about 2006 he turned his focus on the Athens music scene.

“It’s been a hobby of mine for a very long time,” he said. “I’d just take pictures and I wouldn’t call it photography until I was put in a situation where I had to learn a lot about it.

“When I started trying to take photos at shows, I was really terrible at it, but I enjoyed it anyway. I found out it’s really, really hard. It’s not just that the lighting varies so much. You end up having to work around the light a lot and it takes a lot of practice.”

The conditions vary at the musical venues — from small bars to ample theaters — with few having the quality lights one will find in such stages in the Georgia Theatre or the Melting Point, he said.

Fay has always used a digital camera, which he said gives him the ability to take a thousand pictures, from which he can pick the few that will become the finished photograph.

He has slipped into the veins of the music scene so much that he has come to know many musicians.

“There’s usually at least one person in the band I already know and I shoot any other bands playing with them that evening,” he said.

This will be Fay’s second exhibit. A few years back, he exhibited a series of pictures at a coffeehouse, and while he considers his current photography much better, he still likes those pictures for their sentimental value.

For more information on the exhibit, call (706) 769-3950.