Jeremy Saffer: Photographer

Published on September 21st, 2012
Vincent Bennett, shot by Jeremy Saffer

Vincent Bennett; Diamond Cut, The Acacia Strain

Jeremy Saffer is friends with all your favorite bands.

Well, “friends” is an understatement.

As a professional photographer, Jeremy  is an integral part of keeping them in the public eye; it’s his photos you see each month on the cover of Alternative Press, AMP, Revolver, Outburn, and more.

We caught up with Jeremy earlier this week just after he had wrapped up shooting for Hatebreed.

Straightedge Worldwide:
Alright Jeremy, tell everyone who you are and what you do.

Jeremy Saffer:
I am a photographer from/based in western Mass (USA).

Straightedge Worldwide:
And what kind of photographs do you take?

Jeremy Saffer:
I shoot (mostly) bands, as well as celebrities, models.

I’d say 90% of what I do is in the metal/punk/hardcore realm of the music industry.

Straightedge Worldwide:
What are some of the bands that you have worked with so far?

Jeremy Saffer:
Way too many to name – well over 1000s live – and I’m probably close to 500+ photo shoots at this point – but everyone from My Chemical Romance to Slayer to Slipknot to Megadeth to Earth Crisis, Shai hulud, The Misfits, Hatebreed, Alice Cooper… anyone who tours the US pretty much.

Terror, shot by Jeremy Saffer in 2008

Terror

Straightedge Worldwide:
Where can people find your work? Have you been featured in any magazines?

Jeremy Saffer:
My work can be found in Outburn, Revolver, AP, Hails and Horns, Amp, as well as many CDs/records, posters, and so on.

Straightedge Worldwide:
That’s awesome! Do you do this as a hobby? Or full time?

Jeremy Saffer:
I am a full time professional photographer, this is all I do – I don’t think I’d be able to do anything else haha

Straightedge Worldwide:
that’s so rad

Jeremy Saffer:
Yeah I love it. I’m very VERY lucky to be able to do this

Straightedge Worldwide:
How long have you been doing this professionally?

Jeremy Saffer:
Well – I’ve been shooting bands live since I was about 14 or 15 – but I went pro (getting paid, published etc.) around age 19 or 20 when I made this my full time job.

Straightedge Worldwide:
There are a lot of people out there that take photos, but they might not see a career in it. How hard is it to make the transition?

Jeremy Saffer:
It’s not easy – but you gotta throw everything you are into it. I mean… the only way to fail is to give up. and SO many give up… they shouldn’t. If you keep at it, and learn how to do things properly – it makes things easier – it took a solid 3 years before I actually went above breaking even.

But that’s why I do those seminars where I teach how to get published, paid, etc., so they don’t have to live the struggle, but even then it takes A LOT of hard work and dedication to make it happen.

Straightedge Worldwide:
And you’re a pretty proud member of the straight edge community; do you think that you would be where you are today if you weren’t straight edge?

Jeremy Saffer:
Oh absolutely not. I’m addicted to everything I do… photography… music… collecting vinyl… dvds… if I was into drugs or drinking – literally every dime I have would go to that – it would be awful – I am VERY fortunate that I’ve been a lifer.

I’d rather have my vices be something of positivity – like my job – rather than something that would hurt me or others around me.
also – straight edge is a STRONG community – we help each other out and connect because of being straight edge – so it also creates great working relationships and opportunities.

Karl Buechner of Earth Crisis, shot by Jeremy Saffer

Karl Buechner of Earth Crisis

Straightedge Worldwide:
A lot of kids say that they don’t get invited to parties because they’re edge. When you’re out on the road, do you find you’re the only guy not getting invited to parties?

Jeremy Saffer:
In general I’m not a party guy – I don’t like being around a lot of wasted people I don’t know – so **** that – I’d avoid that to no end when I’m home – but when I’m on tour – its people I know/friends – so I’ll end up laughing my **** off watching them get ****ed – and luckily I’ve never been in situations where I was around anything SUPER scary drug wise – just a buncha pot heads and drinkers.

But I keep up – I think they call it “sober rage” haha.

But there will be some nights where they go out to the bar and I’d rather stay on the bus and do photo work.

Straightedge Worldwide:
Yeah people don’t realize how much editing is involved in photography.

Jeremy Saffer:
Like when they go out to karaoke – I hate that **** and I’ll see it on iPhone video clips when they get back to the bus anyway – haha – so I’ll stay in a hotel room and do photo stuff.

But I am NEVER – EVER excluded while on tour because of being straight edge – I am always treated with the utmost respect to the point where they smoke only in certain areas – or when I’m not around – just to be respectful of the edge members of the crew or band.

Straightedge Worldwide:
Ok, so here’s a question, since you are much bigger into the metal scene – how did you first find the straight edge community and decide to become a part of it?

Jeremy Saffer:
You know – that was the biggest downfall of when I was younger.. I was a goth looking black metal STRAIGHT EDGE kid… whaaaaaaaaat the **** right?

Jeremy Saffer

Jeremy is probably more metal than you are

So this is how it happened…

I was 12 – and went to a local show – I forget who played but someone was giving out these **** foam “patches” with sXe on them – I’m like – oh – sexy – sure – I’m sexy! I want one! hahaha. And the dude was like – naw man – that means STRAIGHT EDGE – it means you don’t drink – don’t do drugs – and don’t smoke! – so I was like… oh… well I’m that too. and also sexy! I want three! haha

I was 12 – c’mon!

But as soon as I learned what straight edge was – I knew that was me.

And I’ve worn it as a badge since then.

Straightedge Worldwide:
That is hilarious.

Jeremy Saffer:
So being that I knew what straight edge was – I was kinda the only METAL metal METAL straight edge dude… (mind you this was before metalcore even existed).

This was late 90s – metalcore didn’t get anywhere ‘til about 2004 – so that’s when straight edge sort of transcended into metal – sorta…

Straightedge Worldwide:
I blame Eighteen Visions and Throwdown for that one.

James Hart, Eighteen Visions, shot by Jeremy Saffer

James Hart, Eighteen Visions

Jeremy Saffer:
But I was also a huge fan of some hardcore bands when I was younger – Earth CrisisBiohazard – a few others – so I got to see EXC when I was SUPER young – prob[ably] 98.

I met Karl [Buechner] and had him sign my Ozzfest CD (where they played [Earth Crisis song] Broken Foundation on it) – he wrote – “KARL – SXE”

I was like – “yessss he’s straight edge too! there’s more than a few of us!” – at that point I had NO IDEA this was a worldwide community – you know – I thought it was like – ok cool – there’s like 10 of us – awesome.

Straightedge Worldwide:
Now that is funny.

You’d actually be surprised: most of the kids we talk to say the same thing.

Jeremy Saffer:
But when I got to about 14/15 and started listening to more of it – and got into high school – that’s when I realized it was more of a community – however the edge kids in high school HATED ME.

Straightedge Worldwide:
Yeah, but everyone in high school is insecure.

Jeremy Saffer:
Most straight edge dudes and hardcore dudes hated me a lot growing up – because I was straight edge – and wore eyeliner when I was like 15-17…. how embarrassing to have a straight edge dude wearing eyeliner and black clothing instead of camo shorts and a Minor Threat reprint tee…

A goth edge kid?! BLAPHEMEDGE!

Now you see it everywhere… edge grew from just being a “this is hardcore – **** all other genres” to being global and more open to everyone – WHICH IT SHOULD BE! – I back that 10000%.

And yes – 18V certainly showed that

Straightedge Worldwide:
You were just ahead of the curve.

Meanwhile, I see you’ve worked with Chris Cerulli and [Motionless In White] – hope you’ve told him this story.

Jeremy Saffer:
Oh Chris is a very close friend – and is straight edge (as [are] Balz and Angelo of that band)
It’s awesome to see people with such – you know – influence over kids – pushing something other than partying and being wasted and **** .

Motionless In White, shot by Jeremy Saffer

Motionless In White

Straightedge Worldwide:
Yeah we post MIW stuff every once in a while – they are actually touring with Stick To Your Guns soon.

Jeremy Saffer:
It’s why I have the highest respect for my friends in Motionless – they are GREAT people and have a great POSITIVE message – there needs to be more people like that in this world.

Straightedge Worldwide:
Ok, before we use up too much of your time,

What are you working on these days and what do you have in store for us in the future?

Jeremy Saffer:
Right now I’m really excited to finish up the Corpse Paint project I’ve been doing and put that into a book and also finally put together a sequel to Bring the Noise – my first band book… Finishing up my Capturing Music photography seminars this fall – and trying to relocate to LA – which actually has a HUGE straight edge community.

Straightedge Worldwide:
That sounds amazing – yeah LA is such a good place for bands to be.

Jeremy Saffer:
Absolutely – I’m trying to get more into the celebrity portraiture side of things – and that’s the only place to do that other than NYC – and I can’t handle NYC.

Danny Trejo, shot by Jeremy Saffer

Danny Trejo

Straightedge Worldwide:
And one final question: You were shooting semi-pro at 19; what is the one best piece of advice you can give to kids that will give them a shot at someday being where you are?

Jeremy Saffer:
To quote my friend Dave Peters [Eighteen Visions, Throwdown]… Never Back Down, Never Give In.

Straightedge Worldwide:
Very much appreciate your time Mr. Saffer. As always, keep us up to date on any projects you are working on!

Bring The Noise is currently available through JeremySaffer.com

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