Gig Photography Archive: Part 1

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From around late 2017 i started developing an interest and own sense of style and framing with gig photography, mainly of local bands, or bands performing to the local area with a few notable exceptions.

At the start of 2019 I took on booking gigs at Dubrek Studios as One Zero Presents which consequently meant less free time on Fridays and Saturdays to go and see bands at other venues, so it’s been a nice journey looking at how my photos developed from the start through to the end of 2018. At some point, I hope to upload the various photo sets from 2019 onwards, even if they are all at the same location.

To see the complete list, go to ‘Photography/Browse Photography/Gig Photography’ above, or click here.

I decided to go through and pick out five of my favourites.

1. Chris Tree – Crimewolf at The Hairy Dog, 23/08/2017

Before I got a 50mm f/1.8 I was just using the stock lens that came with the camera. Pair that with just shooting as JPEGs and using open-source software for editing, and figuring it out as I went it led to some shots being astronomically dark. I had a set pattern of unsaturating the image and then building it up in small incrementations with destructive contrast and lightning. I really like the look of over-blown images and someone told me it reminded them of the photos you’d get in Melody Maker and NME pre-1990s printing.

2. John Hartwell – These Wicked Rivers at The Hairy Dog, 15/12/2017

In a few short months I’d picked up and played with a 50mm f/1.8 and got use to the restrictions of not having a zoom to frame shots. I’ve found this much more liberating as it sped up ‘finding’ the shot in real life, as well as ensuring that if i knew that i wanted to crop anything down further then i’d be far enough back to give myself additional headroom. I’d also got pretty handy at using shadow/black/contrast setttings to keep focus on the lit sections and make much more use of negative space.

3. Aivars Mantinieks – One Eyed God at The Maze, 03/05/2018

I like being in the audience whilst taking photos. I try to be as out the way as possible and always get super conscious if I’m in the way at the front. I’ll happily sit on the floor instead of standing in the way for too long. This shot was cropped from a larger image taken through the gap between two pairs of people’s bodies as it closed in. It took quite a while to get one I liked but tracking where Aivars was moving and playing on stage generally made it easier to predict his location for when the right shot came in. Like the second photo, this uses a lot of black dead space to naturally frame the subject.

4. Chas Palmer-Williams – Dubrek Studios, 24/08/2018

It’s very rare that i get to take a photo of musicians in daylight, so was really pleased with how these turned out of Chas. A little bit of saturation and de-noising smoothed things out and made them vibrant, especially the faerie lights at the back wall, and the original Dubrek signage.

This sort of vibrancy isn’t something i mornally manage to capture with gig photography and usually finds itself into my landscape or countryside photographs.

5. Hope – The Bodega, Nottingham, 21/11/2018

So difficult to choose just one photo of the singer of Hope from this set. Whilst she didn’t stand still, she did move elegantly on stage all through the set, lining up silhouettes using the lights from the rear of the stage and balancing that against audience silhouettes from the near ground was great fun.

And finally…

My favourite block of photos that i took in that time frame was Kris Rochelle of Listener. From the side of the stage i had a clear view straight across to his compelling guitar work as he threw himself back and forth all set.

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