Category Archives: Blabberings

Megan Washington Pops Up in Syndey

Megan Washington live at Pitt St Mall, Sydney 14/9/14
Megan Washington live at Pitt St Mall, Sydney 14/9/14

It was probably the hottest day that I had ever been out in Sydney but I hardly felt it, so great was my anticipation – and some anxiousness/desperation to find the place – to see Megan Washington live for the first time. I got there pretty early and proceeded to wait, and wait, and wait. Then finally she started.

It was a reasonable turn out, the crowd circled around the Westfield stage in a type of bowl formation. I was a little disappointed I couldn’t get as close as I usually do and I regretted not bringing my 70-200mm lens so I could get my usual close-up shots – it’s what I do best. And parts of the crowd seemed annoyed that I moved from one side to the next, to the middle, ah oh I’m bored with that so I guess I’ll move back to where I was. I admit I was seriously under medicated. I have ADHD which isn’t medicated with any prescription medication, more supplements but that day I neglected to take them. I was easily stressed at times but I tried to stick it out until I was content with the photos.

Even people doing their basic shopping stopped to watch the show.
Even people doing their basic shopping stopped to watch the show.

I must admit that few people in the crowd were looking out more for themselves than those around them. There was a father who told a cameraman – I was seriously envious of that beautiful piece of machinery – that he better not get in the view of his daughter. OK, those were not his exact words. I have a bit of a learning disability and struggle to express the right words at first. It was more, ‘are you going to stand up?’ The cameraman said ‘no.’ I understand he wanted for his daughter to have a good view, but you don’t make it hard for a professional to do their work, or get any other person in the crowd to move. If the girl’s view was obstructed I was going to offer that she stand beside me. There was a large gap and the people behind were taller than her so it really wouldn’t have been an issue. I was at one point told to move out of someone’s view. I kept being repetitively tapped on my sides. I did move but I ran out of room to shuffle along to. So I moved back to where I was before being touched. I was only going to spend two minutes at that spot anyway.

I realise now how anxious I was that day. As I was walking to Pitt St Mall I was almost colliding with people at the pedestrian walk, and I knew that was clumsier than usual. So, by the time I gave up on taking photos from down the front and thought I’d try and see if I could take some photos behind Megan and get the crowd in the photo, I started to politely ask people to move so I could leave. Some did but the ones in the middle seemed to be catatonic so I had to weave my way through them. Then I lost my footing and fell onto someone and stepped on their foot and they let out this animal groan and started to shake me. Really, it was the most difficult crowd to be in. Either in this type of music scene people don’t have the same etiquette as those in the rock and punk scene. We look after each other.  We don’t tell people to move – unless you’re a professional photographer – in that case we ask politely and promise to only be there for a few songs – or even make a big deal when they accidentally tread on your toes. I know that because I’ve done it a lot of times. I was treated as though I did it on purpose.

meganwashington_westfieldsydney_14914_15

Anyway, Megan was great. I forget most of her set list. I should probably buy her album or something. More photos can be found at Lost Through the Len’s Facebook page or at The Dwarf’s website. If you like my photos then maybe you want to ‘like’ my page on Facebook so you can see more photos like that in the future. You can even request a gig for me to take photos at. If you want me to take photos of your band then contact me for a quote.

So, who am I going to shoot next?

Lost Through the Lens

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A Few Thoughts On My Photography

Hey there! Welcome to the new home of LTTL’s thoughts and maybe I’ll put a few sample photographs up here as well. The only reason I’m moving my blog here is I just find WordPress so much easier to navigate and check my stats on.  This page is going to be a bit messy for a while but then I’ll put up a nice header and make my writing a bit more formal. I haven’t read a book in a long time.

I grew up in Nowra on the NSW South Coast and was most active as a band photographer in the Wollongong/Sydney hardcore scene a few years back. These days I take photos of musicians who played in bands when I was a kid, and some bands I started to get into in my late teen years. Really, I’m honored to be taking photos of those artists I grew up listening to on Triple J and getting a chance to take photos of international (emo) rock-punk bands is always a great accomplishment. Plus I know most of their songs.

I haven’t been getting a lot of feedback from taking photos of those bands as I expected, which confuses me because I think they’re huge. But I also think Facebook has made me addicted to collecting ‘likes’ from just anybody when really the type of feedback I should be getting is from the true fans of those bands, or just people who really know about photography. Since departing the rock-punk-hardcore (coughsemocough) scene those types of people have been hard to come by.

But I made peace recently with only getting access to a very small number of musicians and those were the ones I knew from Triple J who are older now and willing to give a young photographer a chance, after the website I shot for called The Dwarf stopped sending out e-mails of bands I could apply to shoot for them. I pretty much lost hope that they would ever come back so I applied for another website. Then The Dwarf was re-born and got me into an international show. It was Anberlin by the way; a band that I had lost all hope in photographing because over the years I just kept missing out on that photo pass. The website I applied for never got back to me by the way. Maybe they will one day but it hardly matters anymore because I’m a Dwarftographer now. Yeah. I do refer to myself as that.

I’ve been shooting a lot of gigs recently and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the way I take photos. I take photos of musicians who I know or have seen a lot and picked up a lot about their personality. When I take photos of them what I’m really looking for is a photo that says to me ‘that’s a really Davey Lane shot.’ This may be very hard for me to explain because I have to convert the pictures in my head to words and that’s not my default programming.

I think since I knew The Hot Lies I’ve always wanted to take photos that showed a part of their personality in those photos. The first time I ever got the idea to do this was when I saw a photo of Pete Wood that his girlfriend took. When I looked at that photo it was just like I was looking at Pete. The personality was there, the posture, everything – it was the Pete I knew – oh, at that point it was the Pete I wanted to know. So, I started to take photos like this especially when I took photos of Davey Lane. I would look at other photographer’s photos of him and think ‘nah, that’s not Davey.’ I got a bit cocky about it. Then I started to capture his mannerisms, or sneakily shoot while he was talking in between songs as instead of just while he was singing. I wasn’t always quick enough. I tried the same thing with Darren Middleton. I was still too slow, but then when I got to go to an intimate Tim Rogers gig I nailed those photos. I got personality, mannerisms, emotional faces and action photos.

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Tim Rogers at Anita’s Theatre, Thirroul. For more photos check out http://www.thedwarf.com.au. I also think he looks like Matt Smith in this picture. Yes, I kind of miss him as Doctor Who. I actually told Tim he could be Doctor Who.

Then I got thinking, this is great, but I probably couldn’t get the same results during a 3 songs/no flash shoot, but when I photographed Anberlin I did get one emotional picture of singer Stephen Christian. In all that chaos of ten photographers’s pressing up to the front of stage in the photo pit and me frantically switching from different lenses to just get one good shot, I stood back with the longest and heaviest lens and I got a moment.

Stephen Christian of Anberlin gazes in amazement at the 1000 fans cheering his band on, on Anberlin's Final World Tour and final gig in Sydney.
Stephen Christian of Anberlin gazes in amazement at the thousands of fans cheering his band on, on Anberlin’s Final World Tour and final gig in Sydney.

So, it is possible. I would love to get another chance to practice my shooting skills at those 3 songs shows. My friends go to them all the time and their photos are just fantastic. I like the little photographer circle we were sitting in each time our three songs were up and we quickly scrolled through our photos to see if they were ok. Usually, I go solo at gigs at meet a few fans of the band or I might have a chat with the band, depending on who they are. It’s so good to talk about cameras and photography without someone giving me an odd look or saying ‘I hardly know anything about it’ – that’s pretty much all we talked about.

Currently I’m on a small break from taking photos but I may go out and photograph Megan Washington in Pitt St Mall on Sunday. I like having a break because for at least a week I was doing nothing but editing and uploading photos. Even when I still had loads of photos to edit I would go to more gigs thus adding more photos to my already overwhelming list of band photos to edit. On the other hand I’m a person that can adapt to a situation that was different and want to stay there forever, so I kind of want to get out there again.

Next year I’m going to stop giving freebies to bands and as long as I continue to shoot for The Dwarf on other sites my galleries will be cut back a bit. It’s just very time consuming to put up 60-80 photos on several different sites, and I’m really trying to earn some cash from my photography. I don’t work for money yet (a few live shoots here and there) and I want to turn my photography into more of a business than hobby, otherwise I will probably ever work. The type of person I am wants to work but I want to do something I’m passionate about. No one has ever given me a chance to work and I never wanted to work those jobs and they knew – well, the photography jobs I really did want – so I never got the jobs. I’m going to be making my own business cards to shower the streets with too. Or maybe just hand out to hopeful people at gigs who wanna have a looky at the photos I took of their favourite band.

So, I guess that’s it for the first post of my new blog. Hopefully I’ll get to some gigs soon and share some photos. And I promise you I will start reading books again so I can start writing like a physicist from the 1950s again. At least a magazine.

Here’s a link to my old blog in case you wanted to see a few more photos or read some more ramblings.

Oh and Lost Through the Lens on Facebook has stacks of photo galleries so make sure you check it out. You can ‘like’ the page or not – no big deal.

– Lost Through the Lens