Tonight was a slightly odd way to end a great year of gig photography. I’ve been very lucky indeed in 2012 and there have been many highlights – Black Sabbath at the Download Festival, photographing Rihanna from no more than a couple of feet away at Hackney Weekend, and working with the Little Angels 19 years after I last saw them perform to name but a few.
But back to the odd gig. I was the only photographer there. When I filed the photos my agency didn’t actually believe me at first that I had exclusive coverage! I knew I was shooting from the back but with no-one to tell me where exactly to shoot from I picked the least worst spot and got on with it, only to be hauled to the mixer after a song and then to be told by the production manager to stop shooting until he could verify that I’d even been allowed in!
I’m not a fan of mixing desk shoots but it was worth doing as it was in a relatively small venue. Maybe a New Year’s resolution for 2013 should be ‘no mixing desk shoots’! How long will that last I wonder!?
When I was at University, Skin and the Little Angels were two of my favourite bands. The first time I sneaked a camera in to a gig and got reasonable shots was when they played together at Southampton Guildhall in December 1993.
Fast forward 19 years and tonight they were playing again together. I’ve been working unofficially with Skin for the past three years and shot the Little Angels’ come back show at Download in the summer. But to shoot the whole show tonight was an absolute delight. The fixed lights in the venue were terrible but the lighting tech even agreed to chuck as much white in as he reasonably could for me and both bands were fabulous to shoot. Who knows whether the Angels will play more shows, but if they do I’ll be there!
Steve Vai was pretty high up on my ‘top 10 artists I’ve never shot’ list so I was very excited about tonight…until I walked in to the Apollo and saw seats. Urgh. That means shooting on your knees from the aisles. There were empty seats in the front row and for a while a couple of us thought we’d get away with shooting from them (which would have kept us out of everyone’s way) but no, security got us in to those aisles instead. All things considered it turned out well as he spotted us and played to our side quite deliberately, so it wasn’t too bad.