Practically 5 years ago, Kristel Sergo sent me a few questions about concert photography. Since today’s World Photo Day, I thought it would be nice to share that “interview” with you. Funny how little has changed ever since…
» Dear concert photographer!
I am studying art education in bachelor studies and I am asking for your help to accomplish my research about concert photography. This questionnaire consists of several questions about your experiences as a concert photographer as well as your opinion about it. Your answers are very valuable to me.
How did you become a concert photographer?
I love music, always have. So I started to shoot concerts to keep memories of the great gigs I’ve been to. Then it became an addiction.
What inspires you to taking photographs, what are you hunting?
That “special moment” at a concert – a funny face, an emotive expression, a “guitar hero” pose, the interaction between musicians, the empathy between the band and the public…
What is important to know while shooting a concert?
The camera! Light conditions keep changing during the concert, so that’s impossible to predict. And unless it’s a really static band, you can’t predict the musicians moves either. So you must know your camera very well to be able to change its settings as quickly as the situation demands.
Do you get to choose which concerts you want to shoot?
I take pictures for myself, for my deviantArt page, for my blog at MySpace… so yes, I only shoot the concerts I want to. The problem is that, not being there as an official photographer, sometimes I can’t go in with my DSLR… but that doesn’t stop my passion and I use a compact instead.
How important it is to have a professional equipment?
Well, I can’t deny that professional equipment helps A LOT. You can get better pictures under bad conditions, less grain, less blur, higher sharpness… But never forget that you’re the one in control. Some people buy a very good camera and then let it make it all by itself. Sure, you can get a good picture if you shoot in automatic with such cameras. But it’s a “soulless” picture.
How do you use your photographs after the shooting?
I post them on my deviantArt account, on the blog I write about the concert on MySpace… Sometimes the bands see them and ask me to send them, which makes me really happy. I also use them to decorate my bedroom walls and to create photobooks.
Do you consider concert photography a creative work?
How would you describe an excellent concert photograph?
Full of life! High emotion, vivid colours… an image that, by looking at it, you can feel what the audience was feeling.
What is your greatest achievement in concert photography?
Oh, I always think it’s a big achievement when more than 5 people “fave” one of my pics at deviantArt. So when my “heaven now” pic (a photo of Sean Brennan from London After Midnight) achieved 36 faves… I guess that’s my greatest achievement so far. It also makes me feel really accomplished when photographers I admire make a compliment to my photos.
The fact that you sent me this questionnaire also put a big smile on my face.
Name some photographers you admire. Why them?
Micke Johansson, Caroline Traitler, Soile Siirtola and André Henriques.
Micke’s been a professional photographer for some 30 years and he’s photographed every single band that I grew up with and love. He’s amazing and has the most respectful career.
Caroline is this young Austrian girl who takes the best live pictures EVER. She catches all those “special moments” I mentioned before.
Soile also has an eye for both live and promotional pictures. She pushes the contrasts to the highest level without saturating the image, bringing it to life.
And André is capable of all this as well, making him the best photographer in my country, Portugal.
Show me one of your best concert photographs you have taken. Why did you choose this one?
Ah, this one is unfair, lol. But okay. Not as popular as that of London After Midnight I mentioned, but Hardcore Superstar is one of my favorite bands; that was the first concert by them I was attending, so it was very special for me; and it has the life, the emotion, the pose and vivid colours that I like to see on a concert photo.
Anything else you would like to add?
Just a thank you for including me in your research and good luck in your studies.
Photo in the pit taken by Sandra Manuel, photo outside the pit taken by André Henriques, photo of me and Caro… I honestly can’t remember who took that one. I think it was also André, but I’m not sure. Sorry!