First gig of 2017: Emilie @ King Tuts Wah Wah Hut
The first gig shoot of 2017 is done. It was a total joy to get back into shooting shows again, the back end of 2016 was mostly focused on my exhibition project (which you can explore here if you're so inclined) and more portrait based stuff. I missed photographing shows.
That I got to kick off the year doing a show that was a little different from the usual my the usual gigs I shoot. This time the stage was devoid of angry and shouty men (though presumably there will still sweaty men there because there are always sweaty men at gigs) and it was something a bit more serene.
I first encountered Emilie's music around this time last year at King Tuts. She was playing on the same bill as my pals in Banshee for the King Tut's New Years Revolution showcase in 2016. I really liked her textured and richly melodic electronic music. It brought to mind a little less complex and innocent version of Imogen Heap circa "Speak for Yourself."
I took some truly terrible pictures of her set last night and since then she's been kind enough to look past that and ask me to collaborate with her since. This though is the first time the schedules, or fate, have lined up enough to allow that to happen. After such a long wait, I was pretty determined to deliver much better results than last time.
Emilie's set was great. Admittedly, the start wasn't the strongest due to some unforeseen technical gremlins, but that is the nature of the beast. Once those were overcome, the quality of her songs spoke itself.
I really enjoy all the layers in her music, the live electronic percussion is an interesting element as it would be really easy just to play those back on tracks, and the mix of ambient electronica elements and piano is an intriguing texture. Combined with her delicate voice it creates a very soothing sound. Which isn't to say it lacks intensity at all, but it's a creeping intensity rather than one that clubs you on the head.
From a photographic standpoint, this was a challenge. Unusually for King Tuts there was a large amount of light, but it was strongly saturated blues and purples. Pulling those sorts of colours out an image can be difficult. But they created a wonderful chill atmosphere that completed Emilie's music and my job is to document shows, shows jobs are not to be ready to be photographed.
Lightroom is a wonderfully powerful programme. I don't know why anyone would edit in anything else. Spending enough time with the colour profiles, HSL saturation and the temperature of the image allowed me to bring out a few shots I really quite like. I was particularly pleased with some of the natural lens flare I spend a long time moving myself to create turned out.
I've been really re-evaluating my editing style of late. I am aiming much for interesting photographs that communicate atmosphere and a story over perfect focus and exposure. A combination of all would be nice, but that isn't always the case. When a band are as still as this it allows me more time to compose, but also forces me to really consider if one image enhances the story over another. If one moment communicates the atmosphere more than another.
I think I'm starting to get there, though. I got 12 images I was happy to share from her full set. That's culled from 200 RAW files I went through on the camera. Thank fuck, I don't have the limitations of film. It clearly wouldn't work with my approach.
I'm very much hoping 2017 sees my editing finally come into its own, and I feel this is a good start.
click images for full screen