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John O'Brian writes:

"Dear RRC,
I have noticed, in the hall of douchebags, that no matter what, a band can not look cool to you. Please tell me what IS cool so I don't end up there.

John O'Brian, Kansas City, MO”

Well, John, as we’ve mentioned before, we’re not in the business of teaching bands how to take good photos or how to “look cool”. Nor are we interested in providing photographic cautionary tales for dilettante municipal rock stars. To the contrary, we want shitty bands to continue to take awful photographs. Stands to reason, doesn’t it? No more Douchebags, no more RRC.

Since you are apparently incapable of recognizing the common traits among the photos in our hallowed Hall or are simply too hopped up on Mountain Dew to digest 400-plus Douchebag photos in one sitting, we’ll endeavor to point out the two main traits all Douchebag photos share.

Bad Photography - As you wander the Hall, one of the first common denominators you’ll recognize is that the photos are almost universally lacking in quality. Bands tend not to spend money on professional photographers. Bands, being creatures of immediate gratification, tend to spend money on marijuana and expensive but necessary STD treatments. As a result, band portraits are usually taken by all manner of girlfriends, managers and various hangers-on.

While these free faux-tographers may be skilled at selling automobiles, donating plasma or seating patrons of a restaurant, they are rarely skilled at the art of photography. The resultant photos are usually out of focus, poorly framed, dimly lit and tend to showcase power lines, household appliances, derelict cars and vast tracts of aluminum siding as much as the band itself.

To complicate matters, drug-addled, often-syphilitic musicians are usually delusional about how talented and invaluable they are as artists. Couple this with the fact that they are rarely possessed of the ability to recognize that these delusions are just that: delusions, and you’ve got a recipe for photographic disaster.

In the local “club-scene”, band dudes will often meet “artists” in other disciplines who share these delusions of grandeur. While these seemingly simpatico parties are glad-handing and backslapping each other and telling each other how much they “dig” each other’s “stuff”, they ignore or miss completely how much the other actually sucks. As a result, you get millions of terrible bands being photographed by millions of terrible photographers. It ends up like a sort of Mobius Strip of Douchebaggerie.

In other words: A Douchebag Comedy Bonanza!

Bad Subjects – Let’s pretend for a moment that a band is actually intelligent and financially solvent enough to procure the services of a bona-fide professional photographer. Hey, it could happen. Said professional will usually employ tasteful and interesting backdrops or a unique location for the photo session. They will use an array of expensive cameras, filters and film formats to shoot the band. The photographer will work to elicit a certain emotion in the viewer using all of his or her techniques, artistic vision and equipment.

For its part, the band will do everything it can to sabotage the work of the photographer. They’ll primp for hours, slathering themselves with make-up. They’ll arrive sporting ill-advised hairstyles in the most outlandish configurations and colors. They’ll wear ridiculously trendy clothing. They won’t wear enough clothing. They’ll insist that whatever they are wearing is “cool” and bristle at any opinion to the contrary. They’ll wear sunglasses indoors. They’ll wear matching outfits. They’ll wear tank-tops, pirate shirts, lace-up shirts, rubber shirts, see-through shirts, metallic shirts or custom-made Vikings-From-Space costumes. They’ll wear giant pants, rubber pants, leather pants, filthy jeans, shredded jeans, bikini briefs or nothing at all.

Once shooting commences, they’ll jockey for position in front of the camera. The singer will insist on being featured most prominently. The others will sulk. They’ll suck in their cheeks. They’ll jostle to make sure their tattoos are displayed properly. They’ll grimace and pout. They’ll hang on each other like lovers. They’ll take off their shirts. They’ll flex their biceps and suck in their guts. They’ll lower their heads and glower at the camera through furrowed brows. They’ll stare dreamily in different directions. They’ll pose naked. In short, they’ll do anything and everything they never do in real life. They’ll try to create an image that exists only in their own fantasy land of KickAss Kool.

In short, they’ll look like Douchebags.

Invariably, some “photographer” will link this article on their site under the heading “What NOT to do when taking band photos! Haw haw haw!” in an effort to say “Hey, I’M not a douchebag photographer!” Don’t be fooled, they are accomplished in the capture of Douchebags.

Perhaps band dudes will read this in order to educate themselves on the fine art of band photography. Maybe they’re just starting out and are making a concerted effort to do the right thing the first time around, to avoid some of the innumerable pitfalls that await a fledgling rock group on its way to the top. To those dudes, we say this:

Fucking quit. Seriously.

Post script: The guy who wrote the letter obviously wasn't the least bit serious about learning as he turned out to be one of the biggest Douchebags we've ever featured. Yep, that's him doing the "Big Jesus."


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