Live music photographers don’t ask for much. No, we just want the simple things in life. Maybe more than ridiculous time limits, for starters. We’d even like the acts to be more ‘forthcoming’ in character for the camera. Nothing makes a good live music picture than an animated ‘in your face!’ performance. But there is one think we ask for; one of the holy grails of the job: Eye contact.
Picture the scene, if you will. The photographers’ mosh pit is rammed with ‘All you can Snap’ practitioners, not to mention members of the audience with their own cameras, but that’s ok: their cameras’ don’t look ‘professional’ enough to cause a nuisance! (Are you kidding? The flash system on those gizmos are getting more powerful!!) You’re hoping to have that one shot that no other camera can pick up in that instance. Now, unlike Red Carpet photographers, we can’t shout to the performer to turn to us and give us a smile or such. That’s just the excuse PR/Musicians/Security/Jobsworth wait for to demonise us even further. Can you imagine screaming to Philip Glass to look up from his piano so we can get a decent shot? I bet even the audience would lynch us for that. No, Live music photographers are always praying that, by some miracle, you get the performers attention and he/she gives you just 2 seconds of eye-contact. If you get that shot, it can make all the difference at times. I’m not implying that these are the kind of shots that are the best; rather, it’s nice to have a frame within your set. Here’s one I made earlier.
So, should you ever find yourself in the pit and you manage to achieve said shot, always remember to mouth, “Thank you.” immediately to the act. Trust me, it can make all the difference.
No such luck at yesterday’s John Legend gig, though. To be honest, I actually wanted to cover the African Soul Rebels gig at the Roundhouse, but I’d heard a lot about the warm up act, Laura Izibor, so I guess that’s what swung it for me. Laura’s an amazing singer and pianist, with tons of Gaelic charm about her. She reminded me a bit of Alicia Keyes, but that would be an unfair comparison, with no disrespect to Ms. Keyes. I envisage great things for Laura.
As for John Legend, well, he was the reason why the venue was packed yesterday. Not sure about his wardrobe, but who am I to criticise? Besides, the ladies loved him!:
Oh, there was an earlier warm-up act yesterday by the name of Vaughn Anthony, whom I’ve been advised is John Legend’s little brother. May I just say that it takes a very brave black man to ‘fess up to a crowd of predominately black women that you cheated on your ex, but you’ve seen the errors of your way and wrote a song about it. Kudos to you, man. You’ve lived to perform another day. 🙂