Unfest 2018

It was nice having a break from professional Unfest duties this year so I could just follow where the amazing music, great conversation and fabulous company took me and my camera. As ever with Unfest, there’s always more terrific bands than it’s possible to see and Unfest2018 was no exception.( Just stop and think for a moment – how many festivals can boast that sort of thing, especially one that’s free???) You’re always guaranteed a great experience – whether it’s enjoying a band you’ve followed for years or finding yourself exposed to music you’ve never heard before in your life.

I barely scratched the surface of what was available but thoroughly enjoyed every moment (apart from the build up to my own set which still leaves me feeling nervous despite playing for almost two decades). From a photography perspective it reminded me of why I love shooting live music so much, and how much I enjoy it! In addition to dealing with lighting that can hugely vary in seconds, both artificial and natural, there’s the compositional challenges posed by microphone stands and spectators that inconveniently get in the way of your otherwise perfectly framed shot (said tongue in cheek!) as well as performers who have the cheek to move just when you have everything focused (also said tongue in cheek!!). Last but not least there’s the ultimate challenge – ensuring you’re at just the right place at the right time to capture the moment that encapsulates the performance, the split second catches the magic and makes the memory. Sometimes it’s almost intuitive – you become so in tune with the performance that you can anticipate what’s going to happen and when, other times it’s pure luck and being able to react quickly enough to the unexpected.

The featured photograph here is a mixture of both. I’d set myself in a position to get some great shots of the bassist in Suncharmer and it didn’t take long to see he loved making maximum use of his hair during his performance. There were also times, depending on when he did this, that he helpfully stood right in front of a spotlight. However, hair that long is unpredictable and after several good shots of his hair doing interesting things, suddenly everything came together in the most amazing way that showed the intensity and passion of the music and moment. Finishing the photograph in black and white (I know, it’s a favourite things of mine) further adds to the dynamism and movement, especially the contrast between the hair in/out the spotlight. Love it.

To see a selection of my other favourite shots from Unfest 2018, simply click here.

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