What it's like to be a beginner band photographer.
Several of my clients have commented that it sounds like a bit of a dichotomy, photographing contemporary beauty and glamour, and then going out that night and photographing dedicated musicians. They ask if I am a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde photographer, But I enjoy both of them SO much!
Our recent move to Melbourne has opened up the world of live music to me again, and I am so grateful to the bands who have said YES when I ask if I can come and photograph their gigs.
It's nerve wracking to ask, shyness grips me every time I approach the keyboard to send off a request email, but every single person on the other end of my emails has been so friendly and open. Take Saturday night's gig. Tex Perkins, Australian Music Legend. Long time musical love of mine since the days of The Cruel Sea. A man who's styles combine blues, roots, country, rock. AND to top it all off, he made a documentary about Chad Morgan, an Australian Country music LEGEND. It's called "I'm not dead yet" - look it up!
I've never been able to see Tex live - life got in the way, but I SO wanted to photograph him.. so after gentle prodding from some friends and with a glass of good wine under my belt, courtesy of supportive hubby, I fired off a facebook message. Then the panic set in. Did I sound too fangirly, did I put the right link in?? Was I being FAR too presumptuous (this was a private event, small and intimate). I did NOT sleep from the nervous energy.
"Sure, why the hell not" was in my inbox the next morning. Yes. He said YES! My feet didn't touch the ground all day (they still only barely reach). On to the logistics. Double and triple check ALL the gear. Double check the route to the venue, even though it's only 4 kilometres away. Stress over what to wear (remind self to get work 'uniform').
The night was fabulous. A private party in a small space, the venue was jumping, and everyone was in a good mood. But my shooting space is limited, and by limited, I mean I have claimed a square metre and that's all I am going to have. one angle of view, with a speaker stack blocking the right hand third of the frame. Bring out the 70-200 after the 85 1.4 proves to be just not versatile enough. Silently thank self for lugging heavy gear after all.
And this is the result. Close ups. Sweat upon the brow style close ups. Happy HAPPY joy joy!
I only stayed for 5 songs, just too close to the speakers, and the downside of such a small space is that other photographers think they can just walk in front of you whenever they want. Rather than create a scene and bad feelings, I resolved to get as many images as I could in the first few songs, and then slip out. I doubt Tex even noticed me, although I hope he will comment favourably when I send him copies of the images.
While I LOVE photographing live music, I have decided that I will focus my event skills and energies on small, offbeat weddings. Being so close to speakers is just no fun.