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Photo Essay | Leighton Hoey’s view from inside Jacksonville’s music scene

Published on October 27, 2021 at 9:33 pm

Introduction by Matthew Shaw | Photographs and captions by Leighton Hoey

As someone who has spent the last half-decade or so writing about Northeast Florida’s burgeoning music scene, I’ve seen my fair share of press pics. Whether a highly stylized wide-angled portrait of a Duval pop artist or an intentionally lo-fi snap of a noisy local punk band, I love a good promo photo. 

Though she’s a veteran documentarian of the scene, Leighton Hoey captures a more kinetic energy. The 23-year-old music and lifestyle photographer’s immersive approach to documenting concerts separates her from her pose-capturing peers. More punk in the pit than fly on the wall, Hoey is known to disappear into the chaos of a crowd, training her arsenal of analog-style cameras on the joyous moments of performance — most notably the zeal of interactions between performer and audience. 

That’s why Hoey is the perfect choice to show us the vibrancy of Jacksonville’s music scene as it reawakens from its pandemic slumber. (Hers is the second in our three-part “Jacksonville, today” photo essay series: the city through the lens of three of its best lens-people)

Here’s Leighton Hoey:

“For this photo assignment, I decided to use a small, vintage point-and-shoot camera to capture images of how I often see Jacksonville today. The city is home to a variety of artists, and there’s a strong, dedicated community that supports these individuals. Shooting with a discrete camera allowed me to see the relationship between the city and community in its most natural, not-posed state.”

“Concertgoers enjoying themselves during a Faze Wave show at Kona Skatepark. Right as a this guy was about to jump into the crowd, the person next to me handed him a VHS camera. The moment happened so fast, during the most energetic part of a Faze Wave song. It still leaves me wondering what glimpses of the crowd were documented on that video camera.”
“My friend Cameron Korn filming for a behind-the-scenes-style video of local band Runner’s High recording new songs. I like the idea of capturing the recording process. Such fleeting moments of creativity.” 

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“Seeing different artists work together on something and getting so excited about the outcome provides great energy in a room. I like to try and capture that. Here, my friends Drew Portalatin and Matilda Phan were stoked on a line Matilda sang.”
“When I see a reflective surface while out and about, I like to take a photo of whatever is happening during that moment. I remember being excited for this image to get developed specifically because I knew I captured some of what was inside as well as outside.”

author image Matthew Shaw is a writer, editor and musician. His writing has appeared in Folio Weekly, Edible Northeast Florida, The Surfer's Journal, and SURFER Magazine, and he's reported on national stories for The New York Times. He was previously editor in chief of the Void Magazine. author image Jacksonville Today Contributor Leighton was raised in Atlantic Beach, FL. and graduated from Florida State College at Jacksonville in 2018 with a degree in Interior Design. Some of her favorite things are photography, going to concerts, creating art with her friends and spending the day at the beach. Leighton has been with Beaches Woodcrafts since August 2017.
author image Matthew Shaw is a writer, editor and musician. His writing has appeared in Folio Weekly, Edible Northeast Florida, The Surfer's Journal, and SURFER Magazine, and he's reported on national stories for The New York Times. He was previously editor in chief of the Void Magazine. author image Jacksonville Today Contributor Leighton was raised in Atlantic Beach, FL. and graduated from Florida State College at Jacksonville in 2018 with a degree in Interior Design. Some of her favorite things are photography, going to concerts, creating art with her friends and spending the day at the beach. Leighton has been with Beaches Woodcrafts since August 2017.

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