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Luthia @ University of Glasgow

Luthia @ The University of Glasgow Cloisters // photograph by Calum McMillan

Mostly when I work with bands they’re really loud. Luthia are sometimes a little loud. But they’re also sometimes very quiet. It’s a mesmerising push and pull between quiet and loud, space and intimacy that defines their sound.

The band’s performances are challenging to photograph because there are no big movements to capture. On the other hand, there is a lot of very palpable, raw sincerity during their performances which is exactly what I always want to capture. At times you can hear a pin drop.

When you perform music like that in a venue as beautiful as the cloisters of Glasgow Uni, a place already dear for my heart, it was a bit of a no-brainer that I had to document this. And I’m glad I did.

Luthia @ The University of Glasgow Cloisters // photograph by Calum McMillan

Though the audience were slightly bemused at first by a band suddenly starting to play in the midst of the Sustainability Festival pop-up area, it wasn’t long before there was a small, enraptured audience soaking up Luthia’s richly textured sounds as they reverberated around the ancient building.

Currently, I’m consciously trying to up my still's games. I’ve been lucky enough to be really, really busy with my camera this year, but it feels like being incredibly busy means I’ve lost a bit of perspective on my craft and I need to delve back into that. Being pushed out of my comfort zone by photographing music like this, in a venue as unique as Glasgow Uni is exactly the sort of creative situation I need to put myself in more often.

Luthia @ The University of Glasgow Cloisters // photograph by Calum McMillan

And I’m pleased with the results. Black and white make perfect sense for Luthia, it evokes a similar kind of raw intimacy as their music does. And I enjoy the crackles of grain and noise caused my stubborn refusal to use any flash, even in an environment with lighting as wildly mixed as the cloisters. Black and white can be an easy cheat for photographers in challenging conditions, but I feel these edits are enhanced by the monochrome rather than propped up by it.

I like that the dark brick walls and grey midday natural light allowed me to really crush the blacks and push the contrast. I like my black and white edits to feel stark and bold, I feel that draws you into the image in a way more subtle blends and greys don’t. The mixed lighting also allows for some interesting shades and shadows.

I’m excited to collaborate with this band further and discover more about my own shooting and editing of performances as I’m pushed by the unusual sounds, performances and venues.

The band have a Kickstarter going just now for an amazing studio & film project on the Isle of Lewis and they’re dangerously close to making it all a reality. You should throw them a penny or two if you can.

Luthia @ The University of Glasgow Cloisters // photograph by Calum McMillan

Luthia @ The University of Glasgow Cloisters // photograph by Calum McMillan

Luthia @ The University of Glasgow Cloisters // photograph by Calum McMillan

Luthia @ The University of Glasgow Cloisters // photograph by Calum McMillan

Luthia @ The University of Glasgow Cloisters // photograph by Calum McMillan

Luthia @ The University of Glasgow Cloisters // photograph by Calum McMillan

Luthia @ The University of Glasgow Cloisters // photograph by Calum McMillan

Luthia @ The University of Glasgow Cloisters // photograph by Calum McMillan

Luthia @ The University of Glasgow Cloisters // photograph by Calum McMillan