What’s it really like to be a band/artist/live gigging photographer?
Is it all just free passes, good music, socialising and releasing the shutter?
ForgottenBeeBlog gets an insight with Trust a Fox!
1/ Has photography always been a career path for you, or when you were younger did you have other ambitions? Haha, career….er, no it all just kind of fell into place. Always been into art, and catching moments in time, and used a camera for about 16 years now. My previous “real” jobs were marketing and sales, all shiny suites and Ford Mondeos.
2/ Is gigging photography your main occupation or do you have other jobs that run alongside?
First and foremost I’m a stay at home dad to my twins, but work around them as a commercial photographer by day and gig tog at the weekends.
3/ What do you feel is one of the most difficult things about being a gig photographer?
Getting asked by the crowd “take a picture of me” they don’t understand it means loads of setting changes on my gear. Image theft, or misuse – seems to be a problem at the mo, mostly with fans.
4/ I am sure you come across some difficult characters to work with, how do you deal with the situation?
I smile. To be fair very few “difficult” people on the unsigned music scene……this can change when bands are signed and managers, labels and PR bods get their piece. I’m a good guy and see the positives in everyone………well there’s been loads really but I can’t say on here 🙂
5/ How do the unsociable hours fit in with your life?
I don’t see them as unsociable, I’d be at many of the gigs anyway so taking a few photos isn’t so tough. I get in and get done, not one for hanging around after the shows. And I’m lucky my partner’s as mad keen as me about the music so it’s more like a work date.
6/ What advice would you give to someone wishing to follow in your footsteps?
Do it, try it and stick with it. I see lots try a few times and fade away as they can’t find the correct settings……it takes time. Find a style and develop it. Don’t worry too much about your gear, a basic DSLR with good glass (lens) if you know how to work it and have an eye will do it.
7/ What make of camera do you swear by and why?
NIKON, full stop. The rock n roll brand…..the other major player make ok copiers! Just feels right, and have always been the best in low light.
8/ Who have been the most inspirational groups you have worked with and why?
All of them, and I’m not being gushy. For an artist or a group of people to get together, and put tunes together, travel back and too from gigs which they often don’t get paid for, they do it for the love of music or at least they should – if they become the next big thing then that’s a bonus.
9/ Have you met and worked with many famous groups / people?
A few, back in the day. But before they made it. Oh and I see a leading soap thespian most weekends, he looks like Michael Caine but older.
10/ Is there anything you don’t like about being a photographer?
Letting bands down, when gigs clash. Also, not being credited for my work, most bands know the score.
11/ How do you feel about others muscling in on your scene? I noticed at the Mr Peeps/Puppet Rebellion gig at the Deaf Institute the venue was heaving with photographers even my good friend Gary was on the scene?
That bloody Gary, he made me cry again. I welcome all togs and like to chat and get to know them all. We all have a different eye, and it’s good to get the bands seen.
12/ What qualities make for a great gigging photographer, to get the perfect shot?
Anticipation, getting the shot. I used to be in a band and like to think I can follow music patterns which helps me. Oh and to be nimble on my feet like a fox.
13/ You obviously love Manchester music scene, and it clearly has some fantastic music venues. Do you have a favourite as both a music lover and photographer?
It changes, from show to show. If I had to pick one this week it would be Kraak, just shot Orphan Boy there, top band and will be there again on the 5th for No Hot Ashes – ones to watch these lads. I’m starting to spread my wings, and doing some stuff in Leeds, Warrington, Sheffield and the midlands – need to get to Liverpool soon.
14/ With seeing so many live bands, you must develop a sense of which bands have the drive, talent and uniqueness to break through and make it big. Care to comment on any bands you’ve seen recently?
It’s funny, we’ve recently lost 3 great bands….well one is looking for a new singer. I like The Backhanders, No Hot Ashes, Velocets a lot. Think The Moods and The Joint are quality, and top lads. Oh and The Family Rain, Catfish and the Bottlemen…….oh, not good at this, I feel all the bands I work with are better than the mainstream Radio 1 stuff.