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getting back into music

April 3, 2017

I’ve probably mentioned countless times before that the main thing that got me into photography was music. I used to love sitting down and just looking at my dad’s record collection and the photos on the sleeves, then later the work of Anton Corbijn and a book I got around 1995/96 about Paul Weller, called Days Lose Their Names and Time Slips Away. That was what really got me into live music and performance photos- I really felt they captured the energy and atmosphere of seeing a band, and also time in the studio. More recently I’ve really loved the work of Danny Clinch and Bob Gruen. There’s a small series which has occasionally been shown on Sky Arts produced by Don Letts called Rock and Roll Exposed, and it’s essentially about Bob Gruen’s career in New York, from the late 60s/ early 70s pretty much until the last few years and there’s a quote from Bob Gruen which I love and keep coming back to:

“Sometimes the subject isn’t exactly sharp, but the feelings are always clear”

I’ve spent so much of my time and money trying to get the best lenses and cameras I can afford for the sharpest photos, but I look at other photos and they often leave me cold. I don’t know if that’s an issue of over saturation with gig photos or that I’m not familiar enough with the subject, but if you go on any photography forum there are arguments aplenty about which lens is sharpest and it makes pretty tiresome reading. Still, I always make sure I get to the end of the thread then wish I hadn’t bothered.

In the last couple of years for a variety of reasons I’ve fallen out of music photography, whether that’s live music or promo shots and it’s something I’m hoping to get back into.
So with all this in mind, I’ve started planning a project to coincide with a dark room session I’ve started doing. I tried a music project a few years ago but it stopped as I think I was being too rigid with it, so now I want to be more flexible with the idea, but with the financial and technical constraints of using film. I’m hoping to get some portraits along with some nice documentary style photos of artists writing/ recording/ practicing. I like the idea of it not just being about the musicians themselves, but the space in which they work. I want it to somehow recreate the feeling I get when I listen to music. It’s essentially a personal project, so that’s something I need to think about.  I’m excited about it (and also excited about the new lens I’ve bought for my old Mamiya camera which should arrive tomorrow) and I’m hoping to start it soon. Once it’s well underway and I’m happy with the direction it’s going in I’ll probably be posting it in a new section at simonayre.co.uk!

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