From the alleys of Bay Area punk, Rob Coons emerges not only as a photographer, but as a visual provocateur; each frame a story, a narrative. Through the camera lens, Coons illustrates the pursuit of disorder and rebellion, distilling its raw energy into visual symphonies.


My number one rule is the band and my enjoyment of the music always comes first.

Regardless of whether I have a camera in my hand or not, I’m there to see the band & feel excited & passionate about music. In a way, I almost define myself as a fan of music first and as a photographer second.

I like the money shots.

Something action-packed. A good scream, somebody in the pit. Someone stage diving, or just somebody jumping. That’s mostly what I’m looking for – passion or someone exuding a lot of life. That doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be doing anything, but you can tell when it’s happening. It’s about finding the right angle within that moment.

E N E R G Y.

I want someone to be able to walk up to my photo & feel the happiness, the rage, the sadness; the intensity of the moment. Pure emotion and energy.

I want to reflect any type of emotion coming from the crowd. I want people to be able to look at my photo and feel what’s happening in the exact second I’m capturing.

Almost every photo I take is off the hip, meaning I’m not looking through the viewfinder. This is one thing I try to instill in photographers – my hand is ready to go anywhere where the action goes. If I’m looking through my camera, I cut my vision off from everything going on around me. When my camera’s down, I can actually enjoy the music more and what’s happening in front of me because I’m not so focused on the shot.

I’ve worked for punk record stores, distributors, magazines… I’ve had my finger in many pies over the years. I try not to have very many regrets.

But the one major regret I have in photography revolves around my biggest influence – a photographer named Murray Bowles. I regret never introducing myself. He indirectly influenced my entire approach to shooting bands. He passed after I started taking photos, so I never got the opportunity to share my love. Not only for his effect on my photography, but for how much his work captured my taste growing up.

I try really, really hard to not get too hung up on getting the shot. Your expectations might let you down because a good photo’s never guaranteed. Try to always find the good in your work, or have fun with it, regardless of what’s happening.

Relax a little bit and don’t be afraid to miss a shot. Take a step back and enjoy the band! Be present, get into the music, and the photo will follow.

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As featured in our January issue, available now. All proceeds go to keeping our content free to read online.


By Hector Zaldivar

Professional magician. @hexzald