The Atlantic City Hilton's Michael Frawley can be found banging heads and snapping photos at the area's best rock shows. Hey, everybody needs a hobby.
All photos by Michael Frawley.
By anyone’s reckoning, Michael Frawley, COO of the Atlantic City Hilton, has a high-pressure job. He runs a casino in a high-pressure market in a high-pressure and decidedly down economy.
Everyday, someone seems to start a rumor of his casino’s imminent demise.
Like we said — pressure.
So a guy like that needs to blow off a little steam, find a release, get some R and R. And like so many of his fellow casino heads, Frawley finds that release in one of the most tranquil and relaxing places around — down in the pit of hardcore rock shows by groups such as Social Distortion or Papa Roach, snapping away on his camera.
OK, maybe you won’t find all that many casino execs that relax by morphing into a rock photographer.
“Some guys play golf, I take pictures,” Frawley explains. “I love it and I find it to be such a great release. I’m the kind of guy who gets tired when he has nothing to do. I like to try and capture the energy and the passion I see in these groups.”
So much so, that Frawley works about three times a week as a photographer.
But we know what you’re thinking. Somewhere, there’s a befuddled group of Hilton employees who have to indulge their bosses photography whim.
“Yes Mr. Frawley, that’s a wonderful picture of the Christmas Spectacular you’ve taken. Santa seems so life-like.”
For one thing, Frawley rarely shoots at the Hilton. And secondly, he doesn’t do Christmas shows (not that there is anything wrong with that).
(Pictured: Papa Roach)
Nope. Frawley can be found at venues all over Atlantic City, from the House of Blues to the Borgata, and in numerous live-music spots in Philadelphia.
And when it comes to the acts he shoots, it’s a decidedly rock feel. Just this past weekend, he shot the Allman Brothers at the Taj Mahal and the Hendrix Experience concert at Caesars.
“Some of the shows I’ve loved doing recently have been Papa Roach, and I especially enjoyed shooting Billy Idol, largely because his guitarist Steve Stevens was so gracious and nice to me. And I loved the [recent] Social Distortion show.”
Noticing a trend here? The COO of the Hilton is a punk-rock-loving hardcore bad ass.
“Actually, I’m more of a blues guy,” Frawley says. “But this has really given me an opportunity to discover some music I didn’t know too much about. The thing for me though is the passion and the energy. These types of bands are very passionate about their music. For me it’s about trying to capture that on film.”
Frawley spent years in “another life,” as he describes it, as an aspiring guitarist and was involved with video and other ways of presenting shows. But it was only about five or six years ago he picked up photography.