The Highs and Lows

Had two shows back to back this week which had me wondering why I am still, after over 15 years, still doing this.

Smashing Pumpkins at O2 Academy Brixton weren’t allowing photographers in the pit or the mixer (the two spots we are usually allowed) but we could go anywhere else, which is basically, anywhere the ticket holding public were in the auditorium.
Fortunately, we could shot the whole show, which is a rarity these days, normally restricted to the first 3 songs. However, despite the lack of time restraints, finding somewhere to photograph from at a sell out concert is not as easy as you’d think, despite having worked at this venue for over 13 years.
Perhaps my height (or lack of it) was more of a hindrance than the actual restrictions.
The set was either dark and/or backlit, combined with being crushed with the hot sweaty masses, security suddenly deciding ‘you can’t stand there, love’ and the stage lights flaring in my lens, this show was proving quite a challenge.
The fact that the challenge lit a fire within me, reminded me why, after all these years, I still do this, the more setbacks, the more determined I became to get ‘The Shot’

Smashing Pumpkins performing live at O2 Academy Brixton, 16th November 2011
Smashing Pumpkins performing live at O2 Academy Brixton, 16th November 2011

The following evening, at the same venue, Beady Eye, Liam Gallagher’s new band, decided just before show time, that photographers couldn’t take their bags into the pit.
I always keep my bag with me, so I have all I need to get the shot, change of lenses, change of memory card and batteries if necessary, lens cloth for when the over excited or frustrated and disappointed crowd start throwing beer towards the stage.
Having never had to go to work bagless before, I hadn’t dressed with  that in mind and found myself standing there, pocketless and unable to take anything but the camera round my neck. The initial despair and frustration soon wore off and although I felt naked without my kit by my side, again, the challenge of dodging the flying pints and trying to get the shot with just the small memory cards I use and the lenses on my camera got the adrenaline going once more.
Both evenings started with me feeling so low I was ready to jack it all in, both ended on a high, fuelled by the challenge of the unknown.

Beady Eye, performing live at O2 Academy Brixton, 17th November 2011


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