12 June 2018

I want to be a tour photographer

Through my music photography I've already found myself in places I never thought I'd be privileged to be in.   I've been on stage with the likes of Rick Astley, Tony Hadley, Midge Ure, and I've photographed one of my favourite bands - Afro Celt Sound System more times than I can remember.

I want to be a tour photographer. 

There, I said it.  Being in a position to photograph bands on stage performing is huge, and I love it, but I also want to capture those backstage, behind the scenes candid moments, like this photo of Leo Sayer ironing his own shirt before going on stage.

When I am privileged to be behind the scenes, I respect the privacy of the artist  and don't take photos, and yes, I asked Leo before taking this photo (fully expecting him to say no!).

But I'd like to be capturing everything, warts and all, from the glamour of headlining to 1000's of people under the lights, to the energy draining travel between gigs.

At the bigger events and festivals, unless you're known to the artist, it's normally first three songs and you're out.  I get it, the artists want photos of them looking their best, before they get sweaty, and the paying audience really don't deserve a horde of photographers annoying them for the whole gig.   In reality this means you get around 15 minutes, which for any half decent photographer should be plenty long enough.

Sometimes though, at the more theatrical gigs, the artist does stuff differently - take Peter Gabriel as an example (because I've seen him more times than anyone else).   During his "Growing Up" tour, he'd hang upside down, bounce around the stage in a zorb ball, cycle around the stage, wear a coat made of light bulbs, none of which happened during the first three songs.   During his last tour (Back to Front) he performed the first three songs with the house lights still on.



With the tough economics of music, it's probably only the bigger name acts that could afford the luxury of a full time tour photographer. 

Tom Bailey, pictured below, taken from the sound desk at a recent concert.


I'll end with a photo of Morton Harket from A-ha, just because....






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