Concert photography sucks.
No really. Anyone that is into music as well as photography should do themselves and everyone else a favour and not become consumed by the idea that they too can be involved in the supposed glamour of the rock-and-roll world by picking up their DSLR.
Since I started shooting bands and working at festivals, I’ve noticed a tenfold increase in the numbers of people going along to gigs under assumed press credentials.
This wouldn’t be a big problem if these people’s pictures were actually making it onto some decent website or publication, but they’re not.
This wouldn’t be a big problem if the pictures that people were taking were any good, but they’re not.
This wouldn’t be a big problem if those that crowded the front of the stage were pleasant, but.. they’re not.
The big problem is that we now have a situation where there are swarms of uneducated, crap photographers who are filled with unbelievable arrogance about the position that they hold in their own minds, to the extent that they can’t bring themselves to speak to other people civilly. Once you’ve shot one gig and had a sticky-pass, you become some sort of demi-God, qualified to make youtube videos telling other people how to do things due to your sheer experience in the field.
Some advice from someone who was a musician before a photographer:
– Jumping around the stage and pushing other people out of the way does not get you better pictures. It just makes you look like an arse.
– Invented titles for crappy music websites that no-one reads does not make you a music journalist, let alone a good photographer.
– Take that stupid DIY diffuser off your flash.
– You are not important.
– Bands actually can’t stand being unable to see their fans because of a line of idiots who’ve blagged their way in and don’t have a clue about their music.
– All your pish gig photos just look the same as everyone else’s pish gig photos.
– Just because the NME or Rocksound magazine printed your photo, it does not mean that you were ‘working’ for them unless you were paid properly. If you weren’t, you are a moron. If you choose to give large publications photos for free, at least be honest about it, and the fact that you will continue to be walked over once they realise they can.
All of this growing dis-satisfaction at being herded in and out of photopits like cattle by venue staff who don’t care, and PR staff who care even less, whilst having to talk to idiots and get paid fuck all for taking the same boring photos over and over has led me to decide that I am not going to be doing it in the same manner anymore.
What I’ve always wanted to do is shoot real features about bands. Backstage. Those iconic pictures in black and white on film of the people in the bands, not just the same view from the lenses you can get from anybody. I want to be able to apply my portrait-taking skills and amiable nature(!) to the world of music photography, because whilst the music of a group might be interesting, the people behind it are so much more.
As part of this reaction, I spent the other night with the incredible Pulled Apart by Horses to see how it’d work in practice – shooting a gig without actually shooting any gig photos at all.
You can check out the feature at www.artrocker.com/node/25047.
Check back there in the next few days to see the full photo gallery, or stay on here to see them trickle slowly in.
King Tut’s, Glasgow – 17th June 2010
Canon 7 – 50mm f0.95 – Fuji Neopan 1600