Yesterday I worked as an assistant photographer at Gunther Prague’s much anticipated new gig at The Tin at The Coal Vaults, Coventry.
I normally photograph in natural light so this job was quite different for me and meant I was probably going to come up against quite a few problems I’d not encountered while shooting in daylight. But, as I was working as an assistant alongside a main photographer and because Gunther Prague like their publicity shots to be a bit quirky and different, it meant I could really have some fun on this shoot and in the following edit.
Because of the extreme lighting at the gig I found I had a lot of problems with the artificial lights washing the whole scene resulting in over exposed images or the band members looking like they had purple or green skin. I found the best way to avoid this was to get down really low so I was under the lighting. At first I felt quite self conscience about crawling around on the floor in front of a crowd of people but I soon realised they were far too engrossed in watching the band to pay any attention to me. I had also made a point of wearing black clothes and flat shoes to the event which helped me to blend in more and meant I had no problems rushing from one side of the stage to the other depending on where the next good shot was likely to be taken from.
I think I may have actually learnt more from editing these images than I did while taking them.
With gig photos you often end up with photos awash with glaring colors and blur from the bands constant movement. Initially I spent quite a long time trying to correct these things. Resulting in some really terrible images that looked totally unnatural. I soon came to realize that you need to work with these things instead of pulling against them. Audiences don’t expect to see gig photos naturally lit. They are used to seeing images tinted by stage lights and blur from a guitarists enthusiastic strumming so, instead, I tried accentuating these things and that’s when my photos really began to gain their own personality.
The image above is the same image reversed and placed over itself while a second image has then been layered over the first two after the base image was color filtered and partially posterized. Obviously this kind of image will not be to everyone’s taste but I think they really fit with the band’s style and essentially that is what you are trying to capture in most photos. The essence of a person or place, their individuality and the atmosphere of that moment to share with the people who weren’t lucky enough to be there to discover it themselves.