Why a I Want to “Light Up The Freight”

In times like these, music is our saving grace. We gather to be in community, to be uplifted, or to feel our common humanity. The Freight & Salvage is such a place where we can be deeply moved by our favorite musicians, as well as share a smile across the room with acquaintances we have been warmly acknowledging for decades. The energy summoned there through music helps us to see and feel the positive power of community. Many might say, The Freight serves as a “beacon of light” during these disheartening, uncertain times. So, I am writing this as an appeal to materialize this metaphorical light into a physical reality.

I have spent my lifetime looking at “light” on people’s faces. I literally watch how every muscle, every line, every shadow, every bump, and every shape is influenced by the quality or lack of quality of the light. I watch how the light makes contact and what the quality of that light might be saying about the person. I am sure you have taken photographs outside at high noon, and afterward, everyone moans because they have dark shadows under their eyes exaggerating what otherwise might be a simple, beautiful age line. All the light at The Freight comes from above! There are no “fill lights” or “footlights,” and the “backlights” are too weak to adequately delineate dark hair from the deep-toned background.

The Freight & Salvage is currently fundraising to vastly improve their lighting equipment. In 2009, when they moved into the new building located in the Berkeley Arts District, they were gifted with a state of the art sound system from Meyer Sound. The old lights, however, were moved from their previous venue and don’t match the quality of sound or the ambiance of the new hall.

Being a house photographer at The Freight & Salvage, I can tell you a lot about the light. I can tell you that pianists get the raw end of the deal. I can tell you that if the “center stage” performer stands too far forward their eye sockets go black. I can tell you that the light on the person standing in between the pianist and the main performer is often too hot in relation to others on the stage. I can tell you that supporting performer “stage left” goes nearly dark unless the entire stage is blanketed with even light.

So, why am I telling you all this? I am hoping you will consider donating to the current Light Up The Freight campaign. We need to raise money for a state of the art lighting equipment and considering what it would do for our beloved performers– if we each pitched in what our individual finances might allow– we could easily accomplish the goal.

Here is a simple truth. Most performers are fine with how they look, but no one wants to look worse. I am sure we all can relate. I am able to photograph at the Freight because I have 40 years experience watching for the details, and caring that when I click the shutter the musician has turned into the best light currently available.

I do what I do at The Freight for you– the community audience. I love how you love to re-live a show or feel like you were there even though you were miles away. I love how you write comments like, “Oh, I remember that moment! I knew you would catch that!” The work I do at The Freight is an “In Kind” donation. Might you consider matching my time, talent, and heart with whatever monetary funds your finances allow? I will personally send you a signed photograph of your favorite Freight musician whom I have photographed during a performance. 


We are very grateful for all donation amounts, and please do share.

Irene Young 
House Photographer
Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, CA

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Freight and Salvage, Live Performance Photography, Photographing Musicians