The alternative title of this blogpost should be ‘Diary of a reluctant gig photographer’.
Gig photography isn’t something I’ve really dappled in before. Brushing aside the fact that I haven’t actually been to that many gigs, I’ve always been put off photographing any that I have been to for a number of reasons.
- I assume that I’m not going to get to the front.
- I assume that the performers are going to be annoyed by the bint at the front in their face with the camera.
- I assume that other punters are going to be hacked off by the bint at the front getting in the way with the camera.
Earlier in the day of the Pint of 45 gig I had a little practice by photographing Goldie Lookin’ Chain at the first Spillers Saturday Session. The owner of Spillers, Ashli, told me that she noticed I wasn’t a very ‘in your face’ photographer of musicians.
That’s right. They haven’t asked me to be there, and stick my camera in their face while they’re trying to concentrate on something. Plucking up a little (dutch) courage I really tried to get a bit closer with these photos, and try not to worry about the consequences.
Why was I even shooting this gig, you might wonder, given everything I’ve said. Well… my friends at Pint of 45 gave me a ticket on the assumption that I would bring my camera. Can’t really turn that down can I – and, as with anything, I’m always, always keen to learn more, practice my photography and with any luck, improve and widen my skillset.
The Promised Land is a small venue, leading to intimate gigs, and if you can get to the front, the performance space is pretty nice. I made use of 3 different lenses on the night, a 10-20mm wide-angle, a 30mm f/1.4 and my trusty old 50mm f/1.4. The 10-20 was great for getting some proper context shots, showing all of the band in one photo, while the 30mm and 50mm were good for getting close in on portraits. The 50mm certainly allowed me to stay a reasonable distance away but still result in a tight photo.
This is one of the first times I used a proper flashgun too, kindly lent to me by the awesome, and not so afraid gig photographer and friend, Simon Ayre. He’s certainly not afraid to get into people’s faces.
Since the gig I’ve spoken with a couple of the bands playing on Twitter. Joy of Sex told me that they consider the fact that somebody wants to photograph them a compliment, and that all they want from the experience is to see the photos. Shooting the Moon were similar, saying that they wanted to use the photos on their own website. Does anyone know if Hunters are on Twitter?
I’m going to try and remember that the next time I’m shooting a gig and try not to worry about it. I guess if anybody has a problem with it, they’ll soon make it clear, and I try to read signals that I’m unwelcome – whether I succeed or not I’m never quite sure, but I’m still waiting to be punched as a result of aiming my camera at someone.
Time will tell.
See below for more photos from the gig, and of course, do let me know what you think in the comments box if you fancy. If you just can’t get enough of these photos – then you lucky devils are in for a treat as there’s a load more over in this Flickr set.