Photographic transformation

July 19, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Hello and welcome to anyone that has stumbled across this probably rambling and incoherent post. I thought I'd write a bit about my relatively recent move from wildlife photography to live music and theatre photography, what has gone into this move and how it seems to fit with a Dr Who-like regeneration process that runs through my photographic endeavours...

For A couple of years, up to around this time last year, I had been a fairly dedicated amateur wildlife photographer. This entailed filling up my free time crawling around in bushes or freezing half to death trying to capture UK wildlife in those illusive moments that can convey something on an artistic level, not just to wildlife fans (yes, wildlife fans!) but also to wider audience. This could be a hugely rewarding past time that yielded some images that I was really happy with (like the one below) and also encouraged me to slow down and really think about the amazing things that can so easily go unnoticed with the frantic pace of things.

SanderlingSanderlingTitchwell Beach, North Norfolk

Around the summer of last year an opportunity came up to photograph a friends band at The Firebug bar in Leicester. Band photography was something I'd had a go at a few years ago and it seemed like a great opportunity to see if I could keep pace with it! The timing was particularly good as I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the wildlife photography, it had become a weekend activity to visit local wildlife reserves in search of the "perfect" image, always measured against the work of an army of dedicated and talented photographers that always seemed (in my opinion) that bit better than me. The pleasure of spending time in the presence of nature was being somewhat squeezed out and replaced by a rather formulaic form of competitiveness to try and keep pace with my peers.

So I packed up minimal equipment (which was pretty refreshing in itself) and headed along to photograph the band then known as HAUS (now Rich List) at Firebug. All the old complications of live music came flooding back (low light, unpredictable movements, trying not to be a massive arse and ruin people's night out!) but I still thoroughly enjoyed the experience, it was great to be photographing people again and whilst I couldn't be at all sure whether I was getting the kind of shots I wanted it was really refreshing to be doing something different. After the gig I selected a few choice pics and edited them down and was pleasantly surprised with the set I'd got, and so, it would seem, were the band!

With this success under my belt, I took any opportunity that came up to photograph local gigs that I happened to be attending. All the bands were really happy for me to take pictures and I sent across the images afterwards, so this was nice way of getting some practice, building up my portfolio and hopefully giving the bands some useable pics at the same time. I continued with the local wildlife photography alongside the live music, and was pleased to find that I felt a lot more relaxed and less like all of my photographic eggs were in one basket.

In a continuing pattern of opportune events, it was suggested that I could put on an exhibition of the live music photography in the bar at the Y Theatre in Leicester. I had previously had pictures in galleries, but only ever one or two as part of mixed open exhibitions, the possibility of being able to see several of my photos with a common theme seemed too good to pass up on. So I set about selecting, printing and framing the shots for the exhibition (I won't go into details, but suffice is to say I managed to go through all the key stages of anxiety along the way...) but the exhibition went up with very little fuss and I got some really great feedback from people that managed to get along to see it.

EarthEarthBirmingham Oobleck - 23rd Feb 2015

As a result of this exhibition, and the portfolio of images I had built up in the months before, I was able to get myself on the list of photographers for the Handmade Festival in Leicester. This was great fun and a fantastic opportunity to photograph bands on a larger stage than I had done previously (with a photo pit!!), it also yielded some great images and introduced me to other local photographers in various stages of career progression. Around the same time it was suggested that I could come along to the Leicester 14/48 theatre festival to shoot some documentary photos of the event for use in the program and other marketing channels, this was a fairly daunting proposition as I hadn't done any theatre photography previously, but in the spirit of taking any opportunities that presented themselves I thought I'd go for it! Having now shot three 14/48 events, I can genuinely it's one of the best decisions I've ever made! The people involved are amazing and the feedback I've had on the photos has been hugely encouraging (I shan't say much more as I'm hoping to do another blog focusing on 14/48).

So all in all that pretty much covers my recent horizon broadening, from wildlife to theatre & live music photography, I'd like to say a huge thank you to all the people that have encouraged me and given me the opportunities, I'm massively excited to see how this all develops (pardon the pun)...!


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