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Obituary: Reno Concert Photographer John Tuckness

By Nick McCabe

As the years roll by the past becomes a blur. Like distant mountains enveloped in the haze, the details of who, what, when and where become indistinct.

I can’t remember exactly when it was that I first encountered John Tuckness, but I would guess it was between 10 and 15 years ago. I was shooting shows for the Reno Gazette-Journal at the time, and I saw a Facebook post of John’s about getting yelled at by Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders for taking pictures at their show.

John was not an authorized photographer back then and was sneaking his camera in to shows. That’s how a lot of us got started.  John and I connected and have been friends ever since.

He asked me how to get press credentials for shows. I told him he had to find somebody that would publish his pictures and that would open the door to getting credentialed. Sometime after that — there’s that blurry hazy mist of time again — he was accepted by examiner.com as a photojournalist, and the flood gates were opened.

I watched as his pictures and writing got better and better. John was the most prolific shooter I have ever seen. He could be seen shooting two or three shows in a single evening. He was relentless at getting photos of local artists performing in our community. As many of you have experienced, he was always generous with his work giving his pictures to any who wanted them.

He was there to help keep the music scene as visible as possible.

One evening we were both shooting a show at The Knitting Factory, and I was in a particularly uncommon self deprecating funk. I didn’t think I wanted to keep shooting shows. What was the purpose?  It was a lot of work for next to no pay, and the field was full of great shooters, like John.

I shared this with him in the alley before the show. He looked at me and said, “Are you kidding me? You’re the one that showed me how to edit a picture. “

He had sent me a photo he took of the Stone Temple Pilots that I cropped and sent back to him. I had no idea that made an impression on him. It was at that moment that I realized there was a purpose. We all make an impact on the lives of others that we are not aware of.

As shooters we are all sharing our passion for the music scene with all of you. Nobody did it as frequently as John did. He was relentless at capturing what was going on in Reno, and spreading the word. After examiner.com closed shop John moved on to ThisisReno and kept putting the local music scene on the virtual front page.

His recurring column in ThisisReno, “Local Band Alert,” was a vehicle for the promotion of local artists. Many of you were fortunate enough to be his focus in one of these stories, as was I.

There won’t be another shooter like John. It was his life. He wasn’t complete without his camera in hand. Here’s my challenge to you. Go to ThisisReno and put John’s name in the search bar. Find your story, or one of a show you were at and share it. 

The next time you’re at a gig, share a John story with friends. I’m sure we all have at least one. He died unexpectedly on Wednesday.

The show is over. Tuckness has left the building.

A Celebration of Life scheduled at The Musician Rehearsal Center next Saturday, November 17, 2018. Address: 587 Dunn Circle, Sparks 89431.

LA Guns


Gary Wagoner November 20, 2018 - 5:12 pm

John I knew you in HIGH school, and we went in different directions as life goes… I am very impressed with your work, love and passion as a concert photo journalist. God Speed and God Bless!

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