With festival season well upon us I am seeing a lot of photos from the big stages and, for a minute there, I felt all, “I should be photographing those shows”. Which is silly. At the end of the day, anyone can photograph those events. That shit has a big fat bow on it. The lighting is good. There are photo pits. It’s not rocket science. Seriously.
All of this got me thinking, and once again questioning why I do what I do and why I have maintained a strong passion for the underground live music scene. Yeah, the underground scene is a bitch to be in as a live music photographer. The lighting is more often that not shit; most of the bands don’t even take it into consideration. I don’t care. That’s the light and that’s the key. Getting creative. Waiting for that shot. Man. When it happens it’s amazing.
What is it that I love about the underground scene? The rawness and energy. It’s that simple. Everything heaves and breathes together.
I started in the pubs, and then, for three years, pretty much only shot A list events (you know, the big shit). In 2009 I was lucky enough to score an official photographers pass for MotoGP. It was the most amazing thing I have ever done. So challenging! So fast! Shooting GP taught me a valuable lesson as a live music photographer … three songs is a lifetime.
When I started veri.live I was back in the pubs – with no bows haha. Not only did I have to make massive re-adjustments in the way I shot, I had to deliver – for full pages of print.
Don’t get me wrong. I like shooting shows with fancy lights and a nice big photo pit, but at the end of the day, home is in the dive pubs and clubs, with the sweat and the beer, with the house PA rumbling through my bones and with accessible human beings that sustain live music culture from the base up.
Next year marks the 10th anniversary of my being published. Pretty fucking exciting, eh? And I still believe in the music and the scene.