Sigrid is a star on the rise, so I made sure to get to her show to catch her on the smaller stage for GoldenPlec before she ends up playing bigger, and less intimate shows. I only stayed for the three songs I shot so I can't really comment on the gig itself, but you can read all about it here. I did have a giggle at the set list noting when to talk to the crowd, and what to say. The crowd were going crazy for her on the night and I don't think the smile once left her face while I was taking photos.
Erica Cody was the second shoot I did for this year’s Plec Picks for GoldenPlec. We met up one Saturday afternoon in December to do our shoot around the city centre. We began in Smithfield with a graffiti’d wall that Erica had in mind for the shoot. The sun shone very bright down the alley way, which took away any need to set up a flash. Erica’s boyfriend was there to give a hand holding a reflector, to bounce back some light to the right side of her face in the above photo. After a few shots and poses we moved on towards the Tivoli Car Park to make use of it.
I used to worry that taking photo around the Tivoli car park would seem cliché but it’s such a deadly place to use. I’m glad I held off until now as Erica is a great personality to photograph against its backdrop. We started with a few shots of her sitting on a wall of the car park. The shot above makes it appear like the graffiti lightning is coming from her fingers which was a fun touch.
We moved over towards the back wall and shot a variety of poses, this time with the flash/soft-box set up. The final round of shots took place over by the smoking area of the Tivoli Theatre, where there are a load of picnic tables set up. The same flash set up was used again. I read this week that the Tivoli complex is to be knocked down, including all the graffiti except that it had to be preserved in photographic form. I'm now glad I didn't leave shooting here pass me by, because very soon it will be gone. It will be missed.
The Pet Shop Boys played two sold out nights in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre on September 5th. I covered the first of the two shows for The Thin Air. I honestly didn't think photo passes would be granted, I was told by another photographer that they denied them on their last visit. I was allowed to shoot the first four songs, which gave me a chance to do two songs from each side of the theatre. It was to be a Front of House shoot but there is no access to FOH due to the seating set up in the theatre.
The band had good visuals in the background but the head-wear was a little distracting when trying to get a shot of them at the right time. By the fourth song Chris Lowe removed his headpiece and this gave me a last minute or two to try and catch him in action. At that stage they were lit by red lights which is never a favourite. All in all it was another classic band added to my list of photographed bands, which is never a bad thing.
GoldenPlec sent me to cover Green Day in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. It was a very wet and rainy night in Dublin, in between all the nice weather we had been having, which was unfortunate. I had just one camera cover to do me as I used two camera bodies to shoot the gig. I didn't know which was better or worse, having it to keep one dry, or to just do without it as it kept getting in the way of me accessing buttons.
There was two songs to shoot from the pit but the band gave ample time with these two tracks to catch them in action. During the first song Billie Joe Armstrong pulled a fan to the stage and got her to stage dive after a bit of singing and hugging. He moves around so fast on stage that you were constantly having to move, focus and readjust, trying to be careful to not bump into security or other photographers. When Bille Joe went out to the platform, we couldn't go further out to shoot a nice wide angle of him with the stage as the background from the side I shot at. The grey/white cloudy skies were also an uninspirational backdrop compared to a sunny day or some cool looking clouds.
By the time the second song was started into the cameras were struggling even more to focus through the rain. I've some great shots that are wasted as a result of this, though one or two others had a cool, near bokeh effect but still not worthy of using overall. Another missed opportunity was the pyrotechnics which went off every now and then when I wasn't expecting, and when Bille Joe was out towards the crowd on his platform. So because I was shooting him while he was near me I missed those shots. It was a quick enough shoot and unfortunately I couldn't stay to watch the band, but the prospect of going home, getting dry and going to see Baby Driver in the cinema was just as good an opportunity at that stage. 31 years going and the band have still got it though.
July was another quiet month for me shooting gigs. I took a week off work at the start of the month to travel some of the Wild Atlantic Way which I'll blog about in another post, but he rest of the month seemed to just be more festivals. Festivals I wasn't attending as sad as that is. One gig I had on my radar to cover for The Thin Air was Popicalia Returns, the 22nd Popicalia gig after an absence of 2 1/2 years, featuring Squarehead, Land Lovers & Ginnels. I'll not rehash what was said in the review so you can click here to have a read of that. It was my first time in Bello Bar so I was glad for a change of scenery from my usual haunts.
Click the any image to see the full gallery.
Non photo related, I ventured over to Leeds to see The Cribs in Leeds Millennium Square. Danny Payne has great coverage of that gig that I'm very jealous of. It was an epic gig, with support from local acts plus... Thurston Moore!! Other gigs I went to but didn't shoot were Pixies in Iveagh Gardends & Longitude. I headed along the Sunday to see Christine & the Queens, Kurt Vile and The National. Christine is someone I have to try photograph when she returns.
At the end of June The Thin Air gave me a great assignment to photograph Joseph Mount of Metronomy. I'm a big fan of theirs and photographed them live on the main stage at Longitude last year. They do that thing for me that LCD Soundsystem used to do every time I'd see them live, they'd make me giddy with happiness. I don't know what it is but it's a rare thing for me to get at every show by one band, even with those who are my absolute favourites.
Joe was in Dublin for the bones of a day to promote the release of their new album, Summer 08, jetting in early that morning for a day of interviews before taking off again that night for more promo in Paris. We had a half hour slot with him, meeting up in the Dean Hotel in Dublin city centre. Myself and my Thin Air colleague, Eoghain, agreed to split it as 20 minutes interview, 10 minutes photoshoot. This gave me quite a tight slot, especially when I did not know what I had to work with, where would be best to do the shoot in the location or how busy it would be with people, given the time of day it was happening.
At the venue I decided upon using the smoking area on the ground floor as it had fairy lights on one wall, a tiny bit of natural light and a fireplace with multi-coloured glass and fire logs behind it. The door to the smoking area is so close to the bar that you'd be forgiven for mistaking it for a staff door, which was to my advantage as it was empty inside, save for a guy on a video conference call on his laptop that left minutes before the shoot.
I tested the natural light with my camera and tried my pocket wizards with the flash, using Warner's very helpful rep as a stand in model, to see how it looked in the room. Ideally I would have brought a bigger set up (tripod & a soft-box for better portrait lighting) but I sacrificed bringing too much for fear of over complicating things within the time constraints. To get the natural light in the room I had to use a higher ISO than I would have preferred, combined with a slower shutter speed.
Joe was taller than I expected. The fairy lights would have made a nice backdrop for a straight on portrait but they were not high up enough on the wall to accommodate the look I wanted, so I asked Joe to sit on a chair so I could feature them in the background. The first thing I noticed at this point was that he looked very tired. This was emphasised more as I looked at the previews on the camera display. This was completely understandable given all the press he had been doing. To combat this I asked him to look slightly off camera, over my shoulder, up at lights on the ceiling or through a window depending on where I stood him for the shot. I used photoshop afterwards to help ease things around the eyes. I did three quick set ups with him.
- As described above.
- I stood him in a position where the one little gap in the wall that let in natural light, and cigarette smoke out, so I could use it to light him while again keeping the fairy lights behind him. This is the main shot used for the feature.
- In front of the fireplace, making use of the lights overhead and the colours behind him. This proved tricky in not trying to catch myself in the mirror's reflection, particularly in shots where I tried using off camera flash.
I was told that if I needed the extra few minutes that I could continue but I chose not to keep him any longer as he still had more interviews straight away, and a radio show to go present on TXFM before hitting the airport, so I decided to stick with my allotted time. He was great to deal with, I chatted briefly with him in between shots about his visits to Ireland and such. As we were saying our goodbyes I quickly remembered that I meant to ask for a quick photo with him. I asked this of him & frustratingly said "Can I get a selfie?" Nooooo!!! Why?? I hate that word. He graciously obliged and I took a quick snap on my phone and thanked him for his time.