Shooting live concerts has been a huge passion of mine ever since my student days. I would always try to smuggle in a camera and take pictures without being seen (this was in the days before camera phones and digital SLRs.) My friend Claudio and I even designed, printed and laminated our own backstage passes, just to bypass security check and bring in longer zoom lenses.
Eventually I gained enough confidence to share my images with the bands, and to my surprise organisers actually started to issue me with official photo passes, and yes even pay me to shoot gigs and promo sessions. I've been lucky enough to shoot everything from intimate acoustic sessions to festivals like North Sea Jazz, Montreux and The Big Chill, and large stadium gigs including The Police at the Stade de France and U2 at the Olympic Stadium in Athens.
Shooting these low light/bright light, quiet moment/high action events was a challenge and a rush. Yet I found the techniques I had developed there worked perfectly for capturing weddings, which have a similar amount of energy, visual beauty and emotional impact. On a recent trip to Paris I changed it around, taking something I learned shooting weddings, double-exposures, and trying it out at the Pitchfork Music Festival. In some of the pictures below you'll see how I took one shot of the artists, then turned to shoot the spectator's reaction, all in the same image. Both the Canon 5D Mk III and the Pentax K-5 have this feature (I shot these on the Pentax with a Tamron 17-50 f2.8)
, and it helps a lot to see the
first image in Live View mode to overlay the 2nd image.
Pitchfork Paris is a very eclectic microcosm of sounds, artists, people and even photographers under the magnificent roof of the Grand Halle of La Villette. Inspiration could be found everywhere, from fanwear to shooting techniques. Be sure to check out some of the featured artists, Danny Brown, Colin Stetson, Connan Mockasin and Junip.