Sheryl Chapman ... from the front row By Max A. Herman "A lot of people go to concerts and they just come away with a ticket stub and here Ive got a couple rolls of film which have frozen that
Sheryl Chapman recollects from the front row
By Max A. Herman
"A lot of people go to concerts and they just come away with a ticket stub and here Ive got a couple rolls of film which have frozen that moment in time," said photographer Sheryl Chapman on her days of capturing shots of rocks most flamboyant stars. As a regular concertgoer in the 80s, Chapman froze moments on stage of Metallica, Led Zeplin and many others as she shot away from the frenzy of the front row. It was at Alpine Valley, however, at an Aerosmith show, where Chapmans mission became most challenging. "I had to sneak," said Chapman. "You couldnt use a flash or anything. It was funny - this bouncer guy saw me shooting and the flash was going off. I didnt know I had a flash on and he came up to me and is like, Give me the film! I had an extra roll of film in my sock, so the lights went out and I bent down and gave him the empty roll of film. And at the end of the concert I had the audacity to go up to him and ask for the roll of film back. I said, Its empty, can I have it back? Hes like, Get out!" When things werent quite as taxing, Chapman easily glided into shows and documented the likes of her favorite acts, sometimes reaping unexpected benefits. After she shot a couple rolls of Robert Plant at a Led Zeplin show, Plant proceeded to take Chapmans hand and sing "Custard Pie" to the audacious photographer. Unlike other female admirers of these musicians, though, Chapman came for the action onstage, not backtage. Today, the lights, sweat, wailing guitars and pounding speakers surround Chapman much less, but have not ceased from her existence as a photographer. In fact, Chapman spoke of a recent concert she shot at the Vic, which she describes as a "madhouse." While Chapmans shots never entered the pages of her ideal outlet, Rolling Stone, her work has been published in Chicagoland Magazine and a shot she took of Lemmy from Motorhead was featured on the cover of a punk tribute CD. She would like now to see her work on the walls of clubs like the House of Blues. Chapman is in the process of framing her classic shots, having them matted and putting in the guitar picks, ticket stubs and the autographed backstage passes - and, she hopes, passing along the action she lovingly captured. This mother, who began her passion by taking pictures of her baby son in 1985, has settled down somewhat - spending much of her time today shooting weddings and doing in-house photography. Chapman pointed out though that the work she does for her company, Chapman Photography, is no less interesting than when she is right next to the stage of a rock show. "I dont want to say portraits are boring, because I do a lot of kids and kids are interesting, but its a whole different world," said Chapman. A different world indeed, but dont count this photographer out of the concert action anytime soon. For more information on Chapman Photography call 708-512-0522 or log on at .