Houston's Best Music Photographer Is...

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Photos by and Courtesy of the Winner
These folks are as happy this contest is over as we are. (Not really -- it's ACL Fest 2014.)
...finally over. After more than six months and 7,000 votes (wow), we have a winner.

Take a bow, Greg Noire. The floor is yours.

"Wow. I am literally amazed by all of this," he says. "My photography got me on this list, but my supporters definitely got me this win. Watching those votes go up was pretty overwhelming -- I didn't realize that there were so many people who enjoyed my work out there."


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Vote Now for Houston's Best Music Photographer

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Photo by Kārlis Dambrāns via Flickr
Note: none of the photographers in our contest uses cameras this old...that we know of.
February 24, 2014. A Monday. Go Texan Day, Houston's unofficial start of rodeo season, was still four days away. Stories in that week's Time magazine included "Mexico's New Mission," "Biden Unplugged" and a look at brand-new Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon. Songs popular at the time were Katy Perry's "Dark Horse," Pitbull & Kesha's oh-so-subtle duet "Timber" and a certain earworm Weird Al would soon parody as "Tacky." Closer to home, Houston's Tontons and Wild Moccasins were both celebrating new albums that had been months if not years in the making. Any of that ring a bell?

And...February 24 is also the day Rocks Off asked our readers to tell us their choices for Houston's best music photographer. In June, we announced our ten finalists from a pool of more than 30 candidates, as chosen by a panel of three people with exacting knowledge of both music and photography. The array of candidates that have made it this far is impressive, to say the least. We encourage you to explore their portfolios under the links below. But what we finally wanted to know was -- with respect/apologies to Jerry Seinfeld -- who are these people?

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Houston's Best Music Photographers: Marco Torres

Back in June Rocks Off brought you Houston's ten best music photographers, as selected by a small panel of insiders and professionals. Now we'd like you readers to choose the best. Before voting opens, though, here's a little more about our finalists, in alphabetical order -- and a lot more of their spectacular photography. Best of luck to all ten.

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Photos courtesy of Marco Torres
Pretty Lights
Rocks Off: Tell us a little more about yourself.
Marco Torres: I've documented my city's rich music and art scene since 2004. As a Mexican-American, I grew up listening exclusively to corridos and cumbias at my parents' home in Houston's East End neighborhood. I attended Jesse H. Jones Senior High in Houston's South Park district at the height of the DJ Screw era, and my love for Houston Rap music was born.

I give credit to my high-school band director, Mr. Ronald J. Cole, for introducing me to and teaching me jazz, funk, blues and soul music. I've been working as a paid photographer since 2009; it was my side gig for years as I worked a day job at a bank. I have been freelancing full-time now since May 2013.

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Houston's Best Music Photographers: Todd Spoth

Back in June Rocks Off brought you Houston's ten best music photographers, as selected by a small panel of insiders and professionals. Now we'd like you readers to choose the best. Before voting opens, though, here's a little more about our finalists, in alphabetical order -- and a lot more of their spectacular photography. Best of luck to all ten.

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Photos courtesy of Todd Spoth
Meechy Darko of Flatbush Zombies
Rocks Off: Tell us a little more about yourself.
Todd Spoth:
I am a full-time commercial and editorial photographer based here in Houston. I was born in Galveston and grew up in Paris, France, before settling back in the Clear Lake area. I graduated from the University of Houston in 2006 with degrees in both Political Science and Psychology before ditching the idea of law school for something a little more creative.

I started out with internships with the Houston Astros, Colorado Springs Gazette, and Patuxent Publishing in Baltimore, Md. before moving back in Houston as an independent freelancer. Although I shoot for several great editorial clients such as ESPN the Magazine, Billboard and Complex, my focus in recent years has been on commercial and advertising work.

I am currently working on an on-going photo essay of hip-hop in Houston and beyond. High school photography was the only class I ever failed. @toddspoth on Twitter and IG and Ello and everything else.

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Houston's Best Music Photographers: Jason Smith

Back in June Rocks Off brought you Houston's ten best music photographers, as selected by a small panel of insiders and professionals. Now we'd like you readers to choose the best. Before voting opens, though, here's a little more about our finalists, in alphabetical order -- and a lot more of their spectacular photography. Best of luck to all ten.

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Photos courtesy of Jason Smith
Charles Bradley
Rocks Off: Tell us a little more about yourself.
Jason Smith:
By day, I am a music teacher at a private school. I teach kids from pre-kindergarten all the way up to eighth grade how to sing and play xylophones and other rhythm instruments. I also help organize mini-music-festivals in Houston like Yes, Indeed! last month at Continental Club.

I also play bass in a band called Alkari, which is currently on hiatus. Lastly, I am part of a nonprofit organization called Houston Mod which encourages people to appreciate Houston's mid-20th-century modern architecture and design. I love to stay busy. I can't sit still for long.

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Houston's Best Music Photographers: Josh Ortiz

Categories: Art Rock

Back in June Rocks Off brought you Houston's ten best music photographers, as selected by a small panel of insiders and professionals. Now we'd like you readers to choose the best. Before voting opens, though, here's a little more about our finalists, in alphabetical order -- and a lot more of their spectacular photography. Best of luck to all ten.

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Photos courtesy of Josh Ortiz
Fat Tony
Rocks Off: Tell us a little more about yourself.
Josh Ortiz:
I grew up in College Station, where I got my undergrad and Masters at Texas A&M. Got hooked on photography in 2005 during grad school after winning Cingular's (now AT&T) national "Raising the Bar" photo contest. Contestants were asked to submit shots taken of the "5 bars" in everyday life with their cell-phone cameras.

I submitted multiple entries trying to win the weekly $50 prize and instead was nominated as one of five finalists for the grand prize of $50k. I somehow won the national prize and I used my earnings to purchase my first two Canon cameras.

I moved to Houston after graduating in 2007 and have been here ever since working in healthcare consulting. My job currently has me traveling to different hospitals around the country as our firm helps them install and optimize their electronic medical records.

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Houston's Best Music Photographers: Greg Noire

Back in June Rocks Off brought you Houston's ten best music photographers, as selected by a small panel of insiders and professionals. Now we'd like you readers to choose the best. Before voting opens, though, here's a little more about our finalists, in alphabetical order -- and a lot more of their spectacular photography. Best of luck to all ten.

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Photos courtesy of Greg Noire
Arctic Monkeys at Lollapalooza 2014, Chicago
Rocks Off: What inspired you to become a music photographer?
Greg Noire:
My first gig shooting anything music related came from capturing the Niceguys, I'd say around 2007-ish, at the University of Houston's annual Frontier Fiesta event. Before then I was only doing portrait work, which wasn't the best, since I was just starting out.

I remember struggling with getting a decent image during the Niceguys' set because I wasn't familiar with my camera settings. I guess I looked extremely dissatisfied with my shots, because another photographer approached me, looked and my last image and proceeded to raise my ISO and lower my shutter speed. I felt like an idiot, but that did the trick.

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Houston's Best Music Photographers: Victor Cervantes

Back in June Rocks Off brought you Houston's ten best music photographers, as selected by a small panel of insiders and professionals. Now we'd like you readers to choose the best. Before voting opens, though, here's a little more about our finalists, in alphabetical order -- and a lot more of their spectacular photography. Best of luck to all ten.

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Photos courtesy of Victor Cervantes
Chino Moreno of the Deftones
Rocks Off: Tell us a little more about yourself.
Victor Cervantes:
To begin, my name is Victor Cervantes and I am a graphic designer/photographer currently based in Houston, Texas. I have been a full time graphic designer since 2005, after graduating from The Art Institute of Houston. I have been photographing professionally for two years now, but started my interest in photography about four years ago.

I currently own my own graphic design and photography business. Which I feel blessed to do what I love for a living.

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Houston's Best Music Photographers: Julian Bajsel

Back in June Rocks Off brought you Houston's ten best music photographers, as selected by a small panel of insiders and professionals. Now we'd like you readers to choose the best. Before voting opens, though, here's a little more about our finalists, in alphabetical order -- and a lot more of their spectacular photography. Best of luck to all ten.

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Photos courtesy of Julian Bajsel
Markus Schulz at Stereo Live
Rocks Off: Tell us a little more about yourself.
Julian Bajsel:
I'm 32 years old and Houston has been my home since as long as I can remember. No formal training in photography. I actually studied to be an electrical engineer, which led to a job with a large construction firm designing petrochemical plants.

The first album I ever bought was Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream. I've watched Aliens more times than any other movie in existence. I've never had a happy meal. Let's be friends.

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Houston's Best Music Photographers: Trish Badger

Back in June Rocks Off brought you Houston's ten best music photographers, as selected by a small panel of insiders and professionals. Now we'd like you readers to choose the best. Before voting opens, though, here's a little more about our finalists, in alphabetical order -- and a lot more of their spectacular photography. Best of luck to all ten.

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Photos courtesy of Trish Badger
Rocks Off: Tell us a little more about yourself.
Trish Badger:
I'm a native Houstonian and I've been a full-time photographer for four years. I absolutely love it and I can't imagine doing anything else. I have a deep passion for people and music, so that's the focus of my photography. I also love traveling, dancing and encouraging others to pursue their dreams.

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